Caurus Academy, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a fast growing, AdvancED and “A” ranked free public charter school. Founded in the Responsive Classroom approach (teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic competencies in a strong and safe school community), over 400 students in grades K-8th start their day in a nurturing environment, where they explore rigorous curriculum that peaks their personal interests. Morning meetings, experiential and hands-on learning, student-led weekly whole school meetings, an emphasis on social-emotional competence, and differentiated instruction are all part of the culture at Caurus Academy. Boasting an astronomical 139 percent enrollment growth over the past three years, Caurus will be opening the door to grades nine and ten for the 2018-2019 academic year, then adding grades eleven and twelve over the next two subsequent years.
Caurus remains steadfast in combining challenging curriculum with a dedication to the mental, physical, and moral development of all students. This is done by creating leadership opportunities for students, providing access to fine arts curricula, offering a number of extracurricular clubs and athletics, as well as prescribing to the Rigor and Relevance program of instruction. Students love coming to school because they are personally greeted by administration and instructional staff each day, celebrated for their individuality, and allowed to take risks in a safe environment. The Caurus C.A.R.E.S. (Cooperation, Assertion, Respect/Responsibility, Empathy, and Self Control) philosophy is implemented to help students reach their academic potential, as well as be productive “citizens” at school.
Five years ago; however, Caurus Academy was in a much different place. Facing declining enrollment and a shortage in cash flow, a change in leadership was necessary. Dameon Blair, now the charter holder, as well as the Principal and Director, took the helm to right the ship. Blair reached out to Community Investment Corporation (CIC) to help liaise with the school’s bond holder, as well as assist with cash flow by way of a short-term loan. The dedicated guidance of CIC staff in conjunction with the strategic and intentional shift in culture, led to the thriving organization Caurus is today.