The Pueblo West View

D70 increases class sizes at Swallows

More students from the waiting list at Swallows Charter Academy will be admitted, effective immediately, after the Pueblo County District 70 school board approved a request last week to increase class sizes by two students per class.

Swallows Charter Academy Director Dr. Cindy Compton said the change in class size comes after ongoing requests from parents and when school officials took a hard look at the waiting lists.

“When we looked at the kids on wait lists, about a third of them were siblings of kids we already have here,” Compton said.

“Parents want their kids at one school. And we want to accommodate more students and meet the needs of our community.”

Compton said she is confident that the small increase in class size will not have repercussions, as the classes are still smaller than most public class sizes.

The school has capped class size to 22 students since the original charter with the district was approved in 1996.

Not all grade levels have waiting lists, Compton noted, saying that there are some openings currently at the school in various grades.

The high school has several open spots. Overall, enrollment at the academy this year looks to be near 500 students.

In 2012, Swallows added a class of both kindergarten and first grade students, changing those grades from 22 to 44 students total.

Each year, as that group of students moves up, it expands that grade level, meaning this year there are two third grade classrooms, next year another fourth grade, and so on.

All Swallows Charter Academy students are on a shared campus, with elementary housed in one building and middle and high school in the other.

Most upperclassmen take all their courses off campus through Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University-Pueblo through the early college program.

Early college allows for a student to earn concurrent degrees – a high school diploma and college credits – at the same time, and the school picks up the tab for the college courses.

Many students graduate from high school with an Associate’s Degree already completed.

Compton stressed that Swallows is not just an option for Pueblo West residents.

There is a bus that picks up middle and high school aged students at PCC at 7 a.m. and brings them to the school. It allows students throughout the Pueblo community who are interested in early college to begin the prep work for those college courses.

Applications for Swallows Charter Academy (all grade levels) and more information is available on the website at sca.district70.org.

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