Accelerated Schools: Powerhouse of Learning
Accelerated Schools
Accerated Schools

What is the purpose of education? On a personal level, we usually perceive education as a means to progress—a magnificent tool for empowerment.

Undoubtedly it is true. But, in the case of the global education industry, education serves as a major catalyst in developing capable professionals and leaders.

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

–   Aristotle.

As we contemplate the above quote by one of the world’s greatest thinkers, it certainly seems accurate.

Education has empowered and enhanced individuals to become knowledgeable, civilized, confident, and capable of surviving, growing, and contributing to society. As education is no longer confined to theoretical academics but goes much ahead in imbibing values and instilling critical wisdom, one can smile about the real purpose of getting established.

Value education is the new pedagogy developed by numerous progressive schools to imbibe the essential aspects of morals and principles. The objective here is to equip the student with the important values and principles required to make them capable and shine as responsible citizens of the modern world.

One prominent name that has developed itself based on students’ value, their differentiated designed curriculum, and social-emotional learning (SEL) support is Accelerated Schools, Denver, Colorado, USA.

The school functions on a practical learning methodology involving the students in the sessions, understanding the learning patterns and interests, and then customizing the learning module. Accelerated Schools specializes in the education of the individual student and plans with the whole student in mind no matter the Learning Difference. As a result, the entire pedagogy has worked out to engage and develop the students in enhancing their capabilities.

In the brief discussion with the team of The Knowledge Review, Michelle Tuengel, Executive Director, elaborated on the journey of Accelerated Schools, including their various phases of periodic developments and their poised growth.

The Humble Beginning and the Glorious Journey

The journey of the esteemed school began as the iconic founder- Ms. Randell, initiated tutoring subjects for her neighborhood children in the year 1920. Over the years, she had so many students that she ultimately opened a school. In 1967 the school moved into its current building, looking for a larger space.

In 1977 Carl Peterson was hired to work with students using his unique teaching style. He ultimately took over the school and became the first Executive Director. In 1984, as the technology was starting to boom, Carl changed the school’s name to Accelerated Schools and had a few locations teaching students and adults with computer skills.

Over the years, the school closed other locations and focused on the current location and continued its quest for excellence in education.

Influencing Management Leadership

The original concept for the school was created by Carl Peterson, who was the Executive Director of the School from 1977 to 2009. He was followed by Jane Queen, a teacher and Enrollment Counselor for the school, before becoming the Executive Director. In her role as the Executive Director, she developed new policies and updated the curriculum for the school, with assistance from the admin team.

In August 2020, Michelle Tuengel took over as the Executive Director of the esteemed School. Michelle had earlier started with the school in 2012 as a teacher and later moved into helping families get started in the school. Michelle and her admin team have worked to make the school the key element in the neighborhood and adjust the curriculum to meet the needs that students have in the rapidly advancing world.

Mission Statement:

The school management acknowledges the diversity in talent and capabilities of children. The school puts in specialized efforts to ensure polishing the innate qualities in each student. The management explains, “Accelerated Schools is an Individualized Learning Sanctuary: We nurture students to be confident, contributing people with a positive relationship to the community.”

Value-Based Foundation

At Accelerated Schools, important growth-inducing values are designed to nurture the mindset of students. Mutual respect, a sense of responsibility, the quest for excellence, and a selfless attitude toward serving society are imbibed in the students with special attention. The school management lays out its methodology to imbibe the core values as mentioned below:

  • Catching kids doing the right thing is paramount.
  • Every student will have an Individualized Success Plan in a safe and secure environment.
  • Honesty and integrity guide the school’s decisions. Accelerated Schools focuses on: High morals, principles, and values. And to treat all with dignity and respect.
  • Cooperative efforts- (students, teachers, staff, parents, and guardians) is used in saving students’ academic lives.
  • Accelerated Schools manifests a private school identity where teamwork is the norm.
  • All students progress at their own pace from where they are to where their highest potential lies.

Innovative Approach to Development

Accelerated Schools allow students to work at their own level and pace. If a student is struggling in a specific subject, the teacher can adjust the instruction to meet the student’s needs. Michelle asserts, “The best way to ensure personalized and focussed learning is to have small class sizes. The school averages a nine-to-one ratio of student to teacher in the classrooms. This enables the teachers to give more assistance or help to students that need it.”

Consistency and Customization

At the Accelerated Schools, each student has an individualized success plan, which enables them to learn as per their own learning patterns. The teachers at the school adapt every lesson for each student as needed, and the student’s schedules with the classes are adjusted weekly. This allows the students to be confident in their academic and social-emotional learning (SEL).

Balancing Modernity with Tradition

As humankind continuously learns from history, analyzing it to make a better modern world, Accelerated Schools balances and harmonizes modernity with conventionalism. Accelerated Schools strives to encourage students to become responsible, independent, and collaborative.

Students are the center of the school, and Accelerated Schools’ top priority is to encourage students to be curious, inquire and learn. The use of conventional and modernized ways for student attendance facilitates students’ situations; if they cannot physically attend the school, the school makes it possible for the students to be online to access the class where they can interact with the teacher and the students in class.

Accelerated Schools thrives on incorporating tradition with modernism by valuing cultural heritage and place-based knowledge and helping students form their identities rather than forcing an identity on them. Their positive atmosphere guides students who have not thrived in a conventional pedagogy to achieve SEL and academic skills.

Their comprehensive learning environment supports the success of students with learning differences such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, OCD, depression, anxiety, and gifted and talented students who need to be challenged.

20% of the student population of Accelerated Schools are international students from various countries. Accelerated Schools believes it is essential to blend the students with international students to learn from each other and accept different cultures worldwide.

This program has a significant impact on domestic and international students, where they can nurture themselves to be open-minded and care for global issues. It is vital for students to think globally and act locally as they have more opportunities to travel, study or do volunteer services overseas.

Accelerated Schools welcomes international students and supports them at their best for them to succeed in school. There is an emergent English program for international students. Because Accelerated Schools is open all year round, we accept students anytime to assist them in succeeding throughout school and supporting them to matriculate to colleges and universities in the United States.

Because Accelerated Schools is located in Colorado, one of the famous States for skiing and skiing is one of the popular activities that students participate in. During the ski season, Accelerated Schools takes students to ski every other week. Students get to enjoy the activities they love and experience the nature of the Rocky Mountains.

The school has numerous programs that facilitate smooth progression in the growth of the students. The programs are mentioned below:

Individualized Curriculum; Executive Functioning Skills Development; Positive Behavior Intervention Supports; Social Skill Development; Applied Behavior Analysis; Self-Discipline Strategies; Relationship Mentoring; Character Development; College Advisement; Career Exploration; Social Coaching; and School-issued laptop.

The students at Accelerated Schools thereby become confident contributors by developing a positive relationship with the community.

Dynamic Pedagogy and the Historically Resourceful Facilities

Accelerated Schools is in the Fitzroy Mansion in the University Park neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. The school building was built in 1893 and was once the home of Elizabeth Iliff Warren and Bishop Henry White Warren. Elizabeth and Henry were instrumental in starting the Iliff School of Theology on the University of Denver campus.

The Fitzroy Mansion holds the distinction of being named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated as a Denver Historic Landmark in 2008. Their curriculum is constantly evolving and meeting the needs of their students. Their elective classes are updated at the start of each new quarter.

Crafting the Future Leaders

While speaking about the school’s legacy in creating leaders, Michelle asserts, “Students at Accelerated Schools learn that they cannot be classified as unsuccessful in their lives just because they do not fit the ‘norm’ of public schools. Accelerated Schools believes in catching kids doing the right thing and then celebrating success. This encourages the students and helps build up valuable self-confidence in them.”

Empowering through Catalytic Changes

“Education is not learning the facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

– Albert Einstein

Accelerated Schools has been a perfect testimony to the above quote. The school educates and trains students to become innovative self-learners poised to develop their skills and innate capabilities.

By allowing the students to learn how best it is for them, the school sets an example to break the stigma around failure. As the students find their niche and perform successfully, they overcome their fear of failure in every walk of life. The school also encourages past students to visit the school to assist other students relating to the school’s impact on their lives.

Envisaging a Progressive Future

Michelle reveals the school’s plan to continue its mission of helping the students who are struggling and need a better way to learn. The school is planning to increase its current enrollment and is trying to create a scholarship fund to help students who cannot afford their tuition.

Guiding Piece of Advice

The teachers at Accelerated Schools nurture a central belief in the core value of being an educator and having a passion for leading the students. The school encourages the students to develop a love for learning, become risk-takers, and nurture care for others. The students are taught to become responsible contributors to society, be impactful global citizens, and venture into the medical education sector, but seek every different field where their knowledge and ability can be applied.

Michelle adds, “The students need to be holistic and academically robust for those who aspire to venture into the medical field. It is essential to evaluate how responsible and serious the students were.” The educators at the school encourage students to spend their valuable time serving others, like volunteering in shows and social activities, which inculcates a sensitivity among them and makes them compassionate towards all living forms.

Michelle further mentions, “Volunteering should be consistent practice, and children should try to give the time to serve those in need. This process helps the students gain more than what they try to give.

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