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About Our Program

Vision: To engage learners in the love of literacy and a vibrant foundation of the arts, sciences and world cultures.

Mission: To provide a personalized K-5 learning community that respects all student learning styles and diverse capacity, resulting in each student’s foundational and accomplished literacy skills to last a lifetime.

Through the collaborative efforts of a world-class team of innovative educators – TPAAK builds confident students who deeply understand the heart, head, and hands of the fine arts. The Academy’s interdisciplinary literacy and world culture curriculum, rooted in the fine arts, studies the origins and fruits of all civilizations – the arts, the sciences, and the cultures therein – resulting in each student’s fundamental and accomplished literacy skills to last a lifetime.

TPAAK’s educational plan is founded upon the intersection and integration of fine arts, literacy, world cultures, and the skills and understandings of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Together each of these pillars of TPAAK’s vision come together to drive, inspire, and dedicate a K-5 learning community. The pedagogical framework of TPAAK results in significant literacy achievement as a result of the integration of the pillars.

Furthermore, the methodology of project-based learning has been a staple of TPAAK over the years and continues to be a cornerstone of how the pedagogy is delivered. In addition, the tenants of place-based learning — where students contribute to and learn from the community – will inform and shape the implementation of the fine arts, literacy, and world culture/history curriculum.

In effect, TPAAK promises to each and every family the highest quality of personalized learning and delivers it through a project-based curriculum of integrated fine arts, literacy, world cultures, and foundational STEM skills.

TPAAK Pedagogy
The six components that build the TPAAK pedagogy


  • website5Community of Learners
    • Create and inspire a community of learners for each student to become a successful contributor to our global society through a strong integrated education.
  • Arts Integration
    • Learn and demonstrate a range of fine arts skills and engagement through a full complement of arts integration into the core academics: two music and two art classes each week, opportunities to participate in: Dragon Scales Choir, TPAAK Orchestra, and TPAAK Band, along with Arts and Drama workshops, & afterschool opportunities.
  • World History and Culture
    • Build and apply students’ world culture and history knowledge using the Paragon curriculum and a project learning approach aligned with Colorado State Academic Standards.
  • Literacy Skills
    • Make meaningful connections and build literacy skills across subject matter through interdisciplinary art, STEM, and world cultural studies. Benefit from literacy collaboration across disciplines and teaming to close the achievement gap.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Skills (STEM)
    • Foundational within the Paragon curriculum, and applied over and over again in daily math, science workshops, class projects, and advance student chosen seminars.
  • Place-based, project oriented learning
    • Learn in meaningful, place-based contexts through community partnerships that empower students to learn by creating projects that engage the resources, issues, and people of the greater Fort Collins Community.


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The Role of the TPAAK Student will be to:

  • Act and collaborate as an investigator.
  • Act and collaborate as a researcher.
  • Act and collaborate as an artist.
  • Act and collaborate as a leader.
  • Act as a thinker; considerate of others, perceptive in knowledge, and empathetic in execution.
  • Be a questioner, concerned with knowing more.
  • Be a connector, building a bridge from school to the community.
  • Be a respectful person to others on this collaborative journey.




The Role of the TPAAK Educator will be to:

  • Engage in joint exploration and wonder with students.
  • Build a school community promoting enthusiasm for the arts, sciences, literacy, and world culture and historical understanding.
  • Model a passion for learning and facilitate an equal voice for all students.
  • Dedicate themselves to working collaboratively with colleagues.
  • Actively participate and give diligence to learning and achieving.
  • Explore ways to create a difference in the school community and the community at large.
  • Understand personal learning preferences and styles to achieve academic and artistic success.
  • Pass their knowledge on to others.


The Role of Art at TPAAK

gio, isobel dianneThe Arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. The Arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of the large lessons kids can learn from practicing the Arts is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.”
– Elliot Eisner, Professor of Education, Stanford University

Creative thinking and reasoning are affirmed as essential to life-long learning by business, education, community and government leaders. TPAAK is convinced that our students can learn how to express their unique identities in a strong literacy-based integrated arts curriculum, while simultaneously developing habits of mind that will help them succeed anywhere, from the playground to the classroom to the workplace(s) ahead of them.

All students benefit from the arts, especially students needing more concrete, visual, and kinesthetic experiences for successful learning. At TPAAK, the integrated arts, literacy, and world cultures platform both strengthens and is a multiplier for effective learning transfer. The arts at TPAAK are about proble
m solving as well as producing objects, or accomplishing performances or skill development. TPAAK adheres to the proposition that arts integration produces better readers, better writers, and better speakers – and moreover, the range of skills engaged will close the achievement and opportunity gaps that stubbornly often remain in place.


The Role of Music at TPAAK

Music, like literacy, allows students to experiment with rhythm, words, tempo, and melody. Musical notation and reading the meaning in the music dovetails strongly into moving from text to meaning in literacy. It is the conviction at TPAAK that music produces – besides the gifts of music itself – strong readers, writers, and presenters.

As a fundamental pillar of TPAAK’S pedagogy, we offer a variety of opportunities for students to engage and excel in music beyond the weekly music instruction:

  • Dragon Scales Choireli and luke
    • This introduction is enhance by those students that join Dragon Scales, the K-5 TPAAK Choir that meets twice a week and enjoys numerous performances in the community during the year.
  • Marching & Performance Band and Orchestra
    • Many young students at TPAAK take individual instrument lessons – when the family decides the time is right then the student has the opportunity to join the Intermediate Band and develop the skills and can move into the Advanced Band when ready. TPAAK also works with our campus neighbor Colorado Early College – Middle School to have an Orchestra that meets each week.
  • Recitals and Ensembles
    • Finally, as a school of music development we also have many recital and ensemble experiences available. Always feel free to contact the Music Coordinator and Teacher, Lorna Floyd with any questions.


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Literacy Platform

TPAAK’s literacy development begins with the conviction of all adults in the TPAAK learning community that literacy development is everywhere in the life of the school.

An integrated literacy platform believes in an anywhere, anytime approach combined with daily and disciplined series of classes, workshops, projects, performances, and interventions where literacy goals are the driving intent and purpose.

We agree with the Maine Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy in defining its nine specific areas below that shape the TPAAK Literacy platform.

  1. TPAAK faculty have a common understanding and continued conversations on how children learn to read and write and solve problems and how they use literacy skills in a variety of other content areas in and out of school.
  2. Students have an extended block of literacy time to learn using authentic reading and writing and math materials so that their work is meaningful.
  3. Professional development is provided through a combination of individual coaching, PD workshops, and graduate level courses.
  4. Shared leadership in literacy development and implementation.
  5. TPAAK implements coordinated supplemental instruction through multi-tiered interventions, ELL, Special Education, Intervention Case Studies, and Personalized Literacy Plans.
  6. Strong home/school literacy partnerships as evidenced with monthly Paragon nights, family literacy events, opportunities for parent volunteers at school and book-lending programs.
  7. Systematic assessment where TPAAK faculty and staff select appropriate assessment measures to support ongoing direction for teaching and evaluation decisions that inform literacy implementation efficacy.
  8. The TPAAK literacy platform meets the required literacy standards established by the Colorado Department of Education.
  9. Multi-level organizational support is evident through orientations and workshops so that families, board members, and others all understand TPAAK’s comprehensive literacy approach.


IMG_3618 (2)World Cultures

TPAAK combines the rigor of classical education with the relevance required by contemporary society. Whether studying the Ancient Greeks or Mesopotamia, TPAAK students learn about character, ethics, empathy, and self-esteem by studying the world’s great heroes and by stepping into the shoes of these great historical figures through active projects, skits, musical performances, and distinctive artistic expression. The social studies and the sciences of all the great World Civilizations are taught through this curriculum. The content rich Paragon curriculum is interdisciplinary, project-based, and multi-cultural.


STEM Curriculum12698369_10153572003611051_8705487246653896398_o

In the study of world civilizations, the origins of scientific inquiry, engineering marvels, technological advances, and mathematical applications all come alive for the young student. Whether the student is studying Mesopotamia, Greek, or Indian civilizations the scientific narrative of those advances in civilization are often taught through the STEM applications.


Team Teaching and Common Planning Time

Complementary to the interdisciplinary learning at TPAAK is a strong ethos of team teaching in delivering the daily life of the school in an interdisciplinary format. Each grade teacher has another grade level colleague and – together – with a daily common prep they team to deliver outstanding grade level learning.

Researchers suggest that teams of teachers, in taking on collective responsibility for student achievement, create a family-model that helps strengthen social bonds between students and their teachers.
Roberta Murata’s empirical study on the effects of team-teaching stated, “As teacher and researcher, she used qualitative methodologies, primarily interviews, observations, and student evaluations, to study four interdisciplinary teams to discover how teaming informed their practice. The data affirmed teaming as a best practice…” (Murata, Roberta. “What Does Team Teaching Mean? A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Teaming.” The Journal of Educational Research 96.2 (2002): 67-77. Heldref Publications. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.)

TPAAK is organized with two teachers teaming in each grade level with dedicated common planning time. This commitment to common planning time and teaming is a powerful design for effective instruction and workplace satisfaction. It allows for a unified approach to curriculum implementation, valuable discussion on instructional approaches for those students in need of remedial and/or enhanced skill development; and sharing of best instructional practice.

The Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois (CPRD) studies were some of the first to examine the length of common planning time and its relationship to other factors. CPRD was able to demonstrate that teachers in schools that are engaged in teaming with high levels of common planning time reported statistically higher levels of both interdisciplinary team and classroom practices (Flowers, Mertens, & Mulhall, 2000a, 2000b; Mertens & Flowers, 2003). Teachers with higher levels of common planning time also reported higher levels of teacher job satisfaction (Flowers et al., 1999) and more positive interactions with their colleagues (Flowers et al., 2000a). Common planning time was also found to have an impact on student learning and achievement. Schools with high levels of common planning time reported higher levels of student achievement, particularly schools with higher percentages of free/reduced-price lunch students (Flowers et al., 1999; Mertens & Flowers, 2003; Mertens et al., 1998).


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Project Based Learning (PBL)

The Buck Institute’s project based learning cycle of a:

  • Challenging problems or question
  • Followed by sustained inquiry
  • With essential designs of
    • Authenticity,
    • Student voice and choice
    • Reflection
    • Critique and revision
  •  Resulting in a public product and/or demonstration

The Buck Institute (www.bie.org) has an extensive library of research collected on this area of curriculum; e.g. inquiry, problem, project, and place based learning.


Habits of Mind

Developed by Costa and Kallick (www.habitsofmindinstitute.org) the 16 Habits of Mind come to play day in and day out at TPAAK. Brought out in discussions and reflections each student brings these habits into the work of learning at TPAAK.

Habits of mind:

  • 12719325_10153586081641051_6513866960422840868_oPersistence
  • Managing impulsivity
  • Listening with understanding and empathy
  • Thinking flexibly
  • Metacognition
  • Striving for accuracy
  • Questioning and posing problems
  • Application of knowledge to new problems
  • Thinking and communicating with precision and clarity
  • Gathering data through all senses
  • Creating, imagining, innovating
  • Responding with wonderment and awe
  • Taking responsible risks
  • Finding humor
  • Thinking interdependently
  • Remaining open to continuous learning



Place-Based Learning

TPAAK engages students in projects and field studies that learn from and contribute to the community. The work of the Rural Trust (www.ruraledu.org) and the Coalition of Community Schools (www.communityschools.org) both affirm the value of place-based pedagogy. The community is vital to the success of a personalized learning school. Experts and elders for the school and community will be utilized to share their expertise, and support students with their learning goals. Extensive research has been conducted across the country that shows the efficacy of place-based learning and can be accessed at http://www.peecworks.org/PEEC/PEEC_Research/.
A short list of TPAAK community engagement shows the breadth of this commitment:10307421_10152198105171051_7052822139655820879_n

  • Youth art shows at a community gallery each year with live music solos & duos at the Open House.
  • Various community parades like the CSU Homecoming parade, Windsor Harvest Festival parade, St. Patrick’s parade.
  • Dragon Scales Choir singing Star Spangled Banner at Bighorn Wrestling Championship and Eagles Hockey Team.
  • Recitals and Spring Showcase for all grades each spring
  • Dragon Scale Choir performance at the Bud Event Center the last three years.
  • Volunteer run booth at Drake Road Farmer’s Market.
  • Elks partnership with funding of computer for learning disabled students.



Brain-based Learning

TPAAK understands the integration of fine arts enhances the effects of neuro-science and linguistic learning. Brain research has shown that learners need to participate or have:

  • Nurturing reflective thinking
  • Physical movement, to enhance learning
  • Choices in how they learn and how they demonstrate learning
  • Substantial time to thoroughly explore and use information and skills
  • Enriched class environment and use of the outside world as an adjunct
  • Collaboration, rather than strictly individualized learning

TPAAK’s full integration of arts, world culture studies, and STEM in a literacy rich environment provides these conditions for the above experiences to take place for each student.


Personalized Learning

TPAAK is committed to implementing and continuing to develop a personalized learning system. This pathway will provide opportunities to maximize the potential of all students based on their needs, abilities, and preferences. Personalization incorporates, and moves beyond, both individualized learning and differentiated instruction. There are core components to a personalized learning environment and they include comprehensive data rich learner profiles, customized learning pathways and performance-based measure of progress and success. In effect:autenrieths lavigne

  • Instruction is customized to individual learning styles and preferences and builds on learner strengths.
  • Learning can take place anytime, anywhere, utilizing a wide variety of delivery methods.
  • Curriculum is dynamic, individually paced and acknowledges learner interests.
  • Standards are rigorous, comprehensive and relevant; they provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn.
  • Students are authentically engaged in their education experience.
  • Enabling and honoring student voice helps build strong relationships between students, educators and community.
  • Teachers assume new roles (e.g. learning coordinators, facilitators and assessors) both individually and as part of instructional teams.
  • Assessment is varied, relevant, and utilizes sophisticated systems to track, illustrate, and translate student performance data; it incorporates innovative practices such as performance-based ePortfolios and embedded formative assessments that produce immediate results.
  • Feedback occurs in rapid cycles and is objective, connected to learning goals, and suggests the next step in the learning process.

Personalized learning calls for a data driven framework to set goals, assess progress, and ensure that students receive the academic and developmental support that each needs to achieve life-long literacy capacity.