La Cima Charter School
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Emphasis on character development; 5th grade trip to Paris
Some problems with order and discipline
La Cima Charter School focuses intensely on character development as well as academic achievement. Each classroom has a wipe-off chart for students to mark down how well they follow the school's conduct principles. Each evening, students bring home a Daily Choices page that reports on their behavior, to be signed by parents. Each week, a grade-wide meeting immerses students in that weeks featured value, which have included reliability, forgiveness and humility. The school aims to introduce children to themes of social justice.
La Cima (summit, in Spanish) has a no-nonsense atmosphere that still takes on playful moments. In one class, the teacher led the room in call-and-response cheers and clapping. They loudly sang together: Ooh ah, Im going to college someday. Students take yoga to learn how to cope with stress.
The kindergarten area is homey, with the classrooms surrounding a common play area. La Cima has its own cafeteria, with signs echoing behavior expectations. At recess the younger grades use scooters, or jump rope, or play with gymnastics ribbons.
A highlight: 5th graders took a trip to Paris in 2016 to learn, among other things, about African-American expatriates who made their home there.
A downside: only 20 percent of teachers responding to the 2016 school survey agreed that order and discipline are maintained and only 40 percent said they would recommend the school to parents.
Admissions: Lottery, with District 16 preference. Applications are available on the school website. (Matt Fleischer-Black, February 2011, updated with web reports July 2017)Read more