PLEASANT VIEW — Students at Capstone Classical Academy, a public charter school in its second year of operation, get to come back from their holiday break to something a little different from their regular school day.
The school has a special session called “Winterim” that started on Thursday and runs just over two weeks. During the session, the school offers in-depth courses called “intensives,” which run for the entire school day.
“It gives us a chance to go deep and wide on a topic or subject,” said Susan Goers, the school’s director. “... It allows (students) to relax, not having to worry about their other disciplines, and just focus on that one thing.”
All students in grades 6-12, called “scholars” at the school, are required to participate, Goers said.
They will all showcase their work at a Winterfest program at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17. The community is invited to attend, though there is a small entrance fee, from $2-5 depending on age, to raise funds for the school.
High school students earn a half credit for their work, getting a taste of electives that they don’t get to take during the regular year because the school has so much required coursework, Goers said. They’re required to be there every day in order to earn the credit.
Goers is teaching an introductory film course as part of Winterim.
On their first day, students in her course watched the 2019 Amazon film “The Aeronauts,” which is based on the story of James Glaisher’s record-breaking ascent to 37,000 feet in an air balloon in 1862 — higher than Mt. Everest, and about as high as a jumbo jet flies, as reported by the BBC.
Scholars in the course were introduced to film terminology and paid special attention to the types of shots the film used, Goers said.
Because the film is work of historical fiction, Goer’s class will also do research to investigate the accuracies and inaccuracies of the film — including how high the balloon went in the film compared to reality, she said.
This is one of several courses offered during Winterim, including digital photography, Medieval heroes of England, nuclear physics, fife and drum core, ballroom and Latin dance courses — as well as courses where students can prepare for science fairs and history day, projects that are usually completed outside of school.
“If you ask parents about science fairs, they hate them, because they don’t want to do the work,” Goers said.
With intensives, parents don’t have to worry about their children’s science fair projects, and students have the advantage of the dedicated mentor with expertise to coach them through the project, Goers said.
Students can finish their entire projects during the intensive, Goers said, so they don’t have to work on them outside of school.
It’s also an opportunity to make up credits. One of the courses focuses on math credit recovery.
The Winterim offerings vary each year based on teacher’s interests (teachers are called mentors at the school).
In the future, Goers would like to broaden the school’s Winterim offerings, bringing in all the resources of the community.
“We want to expand this program, and we want to get parents involved in it, we just haven’t had time to do that yet,” Goers said. “ ... The vision is to get parents in here teaching, community in here teaching ... bringing other things in that (students) wouldn’t otherwise get the option to learn from.”
Any parent or community teachers would work with a certified teacher, Goers said.
This expansion will depend on the school’s ability to stay open, however, since the Utah State Charter School Board (SCSB) voted in December to close the school at the end of the school year due to financial difficulties caused by lower than expected enrollment.
School leadership are appealing the decision to the Utah State Board of Education while also requesting that the SCSB reconsider the decision if the school’s enrollment and financial status improve.