Frequently Asked Questions
The School Day, School Calendar and Location
What are the school hours?
- Classes will begin at 7:55 AM. and extend until 3:15 PM daily.
- CILA will have before and after school fee-based program (provided by the YMCA) which will be open from 6:30 AM and close at 6:00 PM.
Does the school have the same calendar as the Colorado Springs District 11?
Generally yes, we try to stay closely aligned to the District 11 Academic Calendar.
Are there fees for the before and after school programs?
- Yes, please see the information listed on the before and after school care program.
Are there any fees or tuition to attend the school?
- No. CILA is a free public school and offers tuition-free full-day kindergarten.
Do students have to live in the Colorado Springs District 11?
- No. Any Colorado student may enroll.
Is busing provided?
- Yes for a small fee. Students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch will have reduced or free pricing for busing.
Where is the school located?
- The school is located at 303 Austin Bluffs Parkway.
Is there a school lottery?
- No, we review admissions to the school for any student in the Colorado Springs area throughout the school year.
Do you provide lunch and will you offer free and reduced lunch pricing?
- Breakfast and Lunch are contracted by Colorado Springs District 11.
- Reduced meal pricing is available for eligible students.
Do you require student uniforms?
- Yes, students are required to wear a CILA T-shirt or Polo shirt with blue or khaki colored pants. Solid colored polo shirts are also allowed.
- Girls may wear blue, plaid or Khaki dresses or skirts.
- For our complete uniform policy, please visit Uniforms.
- The CILA T-shirts and Polo’s can be purchased on the CILA website directly from the supplier. Solid colored polo shirts are also allowed and can be purchased anywhere.
What about school safety?
- CILA has a School Safety and Emergency Response Plan in place.
- The building is designed with a locked single primary point of entry with a security buzzer entry system.
- The front desk will check IDs of all adults entering the building.
Teaching Staff and Instruction
What is the average student to teacher ratio?
- CILA averages about 25-30 students per class.
Are your teachers licensed?
- CILA teachers meet or exceed all state and federal requirements for highly qualified teachers.
- Language immersion teachers are all native-language speakers with elementary and middle school teaching experience.
- We anticipate as many as 40% of our teachers will be from countries outside the U.S. but they still must meet or surpass state and federal teaching requirements.
Who is the CILA principal?
Dr. Barbara Rutter is our school principal!
What extra-curricular options and non-core classes will be offered?
- Students will have art, music, technology, and PE as special classes during the week.
- CILA also has annual events such as a science exhibition, an oratorical festival and art show and monthly international assemblies featuring different countries.
What is your curriculum?
- The Colorado Academic Content Standards are the center of our K-5 curriculum.
- These curriculum content standards are supported with aligned instructional materials and include: Singapore Mathematics, Better Immersion Chinese Literacy, Tesoro Spanish Literacy, and Der Die Das German literacy.
- Teachers use EngageNY as their English curriculum.
Do you issue regular report cards?
- Report cards are distributed at the end of each quarter. CILA report cards are unique in that they show each student’s progress compared to state standards by subject.
Do your students take the state CMAS tests?
- Yes, all students starting in 3rd grade take the state CMAS test.
- Starting in Kindergarten students take DIBELS assessments for reading, MAPS testing to measure academic progress, and the ACTFL test to measure fluency and literacy levels in the new language.
- These standardized tests are in addition to regular unit tests and quizzes.
How is technology incorporated into the school?
- Each classroom will be outfitted with interactive whiteboards and students will have regular access to the computer lab.
What is language immersion?
- Language immersion is an instructional approach that enables students to learn a second language “naturally” by learning core subject areas in a new language.
- It’s the approach that Europe has used for centuries and it’s based on the fact that the brain of a younger student is more flexible and adept to learning a second language when it’s naturally incorporated into instruction.
How is this different from just learning a foreign language?
- Most foreign language classes are limited to a couple of hours per week and not offered until upper grade levels.
- They primarily focus on basic speaking skills and grammar.
- Immersion is about learning core subjects within a new language, preparing CILA students to be fluent in discussions about math, science, social studies, and cultural events in addition to literacy.
- Eighth graders who have gone through our program enter high school as freshmen with skills that are generally at or above AP (Advanced Placement) levels.
What does language immersion look like in the classroom?
- Core courses are taught in the immersion language in order for students to gain reading, writing and speaking skills in a new language.
- Kinder through Fifth grade is 50% of the day in the immersion language and 50% in English.
- Middle School is 30% of the day in the immersion language and 70% in English.
How can a kindergarten student learn in a new language they don’t know?
- It becomes natural because the brain is developmentally still very open to accepting language skills.
- Learning to read or do math in Spanish or Chinese actually strengthens the capacity for learning math or reading in English.
- The neural brain pathways that enable this great capacity for learning actually begin to close off as we get older, making it more difficult for older mono-lingual learners to add new language skills.
Does learning in language immersion hurt students' ability to keep pace in English and other subject areas and hurt their test scores?
- Even though you might think so, it doesn’t.
- Research has proven this and language immersion schools in other areas of the state have demonstrated that students are at or above grade level learning through immersion.
How can I help my student with homework if he’s learning Chinese and I don’t know Chinese?
- Homework in the immersion language is very limited.
- However, CILA offers parents resources to assist with homework and to enrich the overall learning experience.
What has research shown as the benefits of learning more than one language?
- Research has shown several benefits including improved overall academic progress, enhanced student sense of achievement, increased cultural awareness, enhanced career opportunities, improved chance for college admissions, and better critical thinking skills.
What options do students have with advanced language skills once they reach high school?
- CILA is currently working with colleges and high schools to develop a specific advanced dual credit language skills track that will enable our students to earn college credits for their advanced language skills while they’re still in high school.
English Language Learners, Gifted and Talented Students, & Special Needs Students
How does this program work for English Language Learners?
- This is an exceptional program for ELL or ESL students because learning through immersion builds upon each student’s current language skills.
- Therefore a Spanish-speaking student will be able to build their English skills without discounting their Spanish skills.
- ELL students in the CILA program have repeatedly shown significant academic achievement growth that far exceeds that of students in traditional ESL programs.
Do you have programs for Gifted and Talented students?
- GT students are provided expanded study and learning opportunities within the CILA program.
Does CILA provide services for special needs students?
- Yes. As a public school, CILA provides services in accordance with state and federal guidelines that are based on the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is developed by specialist and staff members.
My child is a native-language Spanish speaker. Can she enroll in the Mandarin program?
- Yes, only if her English skills are sufficient. Otherwise, she will be enrolled in our Spanish Village and will get extra instruction in English to enhance her overall command of both languages.
Will you have a school nurse?
- CILA will have a part-time nurse overseeing the school as required by state law.
Does CILA have any working relationships with other countries?
- CILA currently has partnerships with the Beijing Foreign Language School and the Spanish Ministry of Education.
- CILA also had one of the nation’s first Confucius Classroom programs and has received nearly $2 million in federal grants to develop language curriculum and train foreign teachers in language immersion instruction.
If my student is accepted through the lottery process, will his sibling automatically be enrolled?
- Yes, siblings are given priority in the enrollment process.
Who governs the school?
- The school is governed by a local six-member Board of Directors that includes community members with education, business, and government experience.
How can parents get involved?
- CILA has a PTO and other committees for parents to become involved in the school.