Banning Lewis Ranch Academy Case Study

Approach the heart of the mountain-rimmed Banning Lewis Ranch development on the east side of Colorado Springs, and you’ll likely be impressed by the 60,000 square foot, state-of-the-art school with ranch-style architecture honoring the renowned heritage of this former cattle-ranching community. With the snow-capped Pikes Peak serving as its majestic backdrop, this K-8 public facility presents a stunning visual blend of modern technology, natural beauty and communal legacy.

Fortunately, when it comes to educating Colorado’s youth, the scenic Banning Lewis Ranch Academy (BLRA) is more than just another pretty facade. The Colorado Department of Education Data Center recently reported that 78% of BLRA students were “proficient and advanced” in math on the 2014 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) exam, compared to 63% proficient and advanced state-wide, and 64% proficient and advanced district-wide. Similar results were reported in the areas of reading and writing. BLRA was also recently recognized by its education management organization with the 2014 Mosaica Award, given to one school in the Mosaica Education 100+ schools network demonstrating outstanding implementation of its educational model. Such achievements are a testament to the ongoing progress of a school that, two years ago, received the 2012 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award.

“How proud I am of being part of a team of leaders and schools that are doing such amazing things with kids and student achievement,” said Andy Franko, Head of School at Banning Lewis, upon receipt of the Mosaica award on behalf of his school. The tuition-free, public charter school offers students a world-class, college prep education through a blend of core curriculum and specialized programs, including Mosaica’s proprietary Paragon Curriculum. The school is dedicated to providing a safe, positive environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and a thirst for discovery where students and staff succeed through exceptional programs.

At BLRA, continued Head of School Franko, “our focus is on making change within our organization, in our state of Colorado, in our nation and now throughout the world.”

For Mosaica cofounder and renowned education expert, Dr. Dawn Eidelman, this positive change lies in both the school’s leadership and its effective employment of the Mosaica Model, a proven hallmark of Mosaica schools. “A great school always has an outstanding leader and Andy Franko is truly an outstanding leader,” says Dr. Eidelman, noting the integrity of Head of School Franko and the fact that both of his children are enrolled at BLRA. “The essential question for any walk-through of a Mosaica Model school is this: Would I choose this school – and this classroom – for my own child?

“The Mosaica Model looks to the past to prepare students for the future,” continues Dr. Eidelman, describing it as “a classical education, rich in the history of technology, engineering, architecture, math, science and the humanities that prepares students to be critical thinkers and the architects of tomorrow.”

At the core of this model are its 8 pillars: Student Achievement, Extended Learning Time, Secure Environment, Professional Development, Community Support, Integrated Technology, Parent Involvement and the Paragon Curriculum. These pillars integrate and combine with an interdisciplinary approach that empowers students to see all subjects as part of their lives, rather than as separate, often daunting disciplines.

Dr. Eidelman further connects the model with the school’s consistent success. “Banning Lewis Ranch Academy is a stand-out Mosaica school because of its continued excellence in all eight of these areas, and its commitment to ongoing improvement.”

Given this steady improvement, committed leadership, and its adherence to a proven and successful educational model, it’s easy to see why for Banning Lewis Ranch Academy—even in the shadow of Pikes Peak—climbing any mountain is just a matter of time.