Artwork by Ani Ranstrom, 4th Grade 
Liberty Common School  
1725 Sharp Point Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80525
Phone: 970-482-9800 | Fax 970-482-8007 |
Attendance Line: (Please call by 8:30 AM) 970-482-9800 Option 2 
Office Hours:  Monday -  Friday 7:50AM - 4:00 PM
Volume 20, Issue 21
January 30, 2017     
Mark your Calendar 
January 30|Character Assembly, Citizenship|Speakers from Habitat for Humanity, Josh McMullen, Development Director, Alex Statham-Lardner, Volunteer and Youth Engagement Manager. **See photos below**
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity by CLICKING HERE 

February 3|Chessmates
February 7|CVC Mtg. 8:00 a.m., Teacher's Lounge 
February 10|Chessmates
February 10|Free Dress Day
February 10|Chessmates
February 10|Winter Carnival
February 13-16|Volunteer Appreciation Week
February 17|NO SCHOOL- Professional Development Day
February 20|NO SCHOOL-Presidents' Day
February 24|T-Shirt Day
February 24|Chessmates
February 28|New LCS Kindergarten Parent Orientation, 6:30 p.m. 

Liberty T-Shirt Days
Feb. 24th
March 31st
April 28th
May 19th

News From Casey Churchill, LCS Principal
Liberty Common Science Instruction
by: Casey Churchill

On Friday last week, 174 science fair projects filled the gym.  5th and 6th grade students presented their projects to judges and visitors.  Over the past month, these students diligently worked through the scientific process to demonstrate their understanding of how to question, test, experiment, collect data, and explain the world around them.  

Liberty Common School teaches Core Knowledge science from Kindergarten to eighth grade.  We teach science to develop science literacy of our students.  Science literacy encompasses mathematics, scientific tools as well as the natural and social sciences.  Students learn how to scientifically think and analyze the world around them.  Science is also taught to help students build vocabulary.  The better the vocabulary, the better our students will comprehend what they read.  

In order to understand the value of how we teach science, it is best to describe guiding practices of other schools.  Other public schools use the Colorado Science Standards to guide instruction.  Like the Common Core State Standards, these are vague standards that help guide teachers on what students should know by the end of the year.  The three standards of science are Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth Systems Science.  Each grade level will apply standards to each of these three science disciplines.  Below is an example of the Kindergarten and First Grade science standards .

          Grade Level Expectation 
          Grade Level Expectation

The problem with these standards is that they are ambiguous.  Teachers are left to fill in gaps in student learning.  Teachers many times will fill in these gaps with information they already know or are comfortable teaching.   The lack of detail leaves some teachers floundering about as they try to figure out what to teach next.  Many districts simply purchase textbooks aligned to the standards.  Some teachers open up the textbook and begin teaching with little thought or energy put into the lesson.  This lack of unit development on the teacher’s part can be dangerous as they may not use their better judgment on what is best for the students. 

Liberty teachers develop units around the Core Knowledge Curriculum.  Core Knowledge provides specific content to be taught in each grade level.  Teachers are given detailed outline of content that students should master.  Each teacher has expected content cover to ensure their students move to the next grade level with adequate prerequisite knowledge.  Below is a simple overview of the topics taught in Kindergarten and First Grade.  More detail of the below topics are outlined in the grade level section of the Core Knowledge Sequence

As you can see, the teacher that is using the Core Knowledge sequence is given quite a bit of guidance as to what he or she should master and teach. When you look closer at each of these topics above in the Core Knowledge Sequence, you will see even more detail under each of these domains.  There is no question on what material should be covered or what concepts a student should learn.  The beauty of the Core Knowledge curriculum is that a teacher can teach Core Knowledge and they will cover all the state standards, but if a teacher uses the State Standards to drive instruction, they cannot guarantee continuity of content from grade level to grade level.

The Core Knowledge Curriculum teaches science differently.  Since students’ receptive learning out paces expressive, we believe that all students should be read to and taught an abundance of information at an early age to begin building vocabulary.  Even before a student can read, teachers and parents are reading books out loud to build student vocabulary.  The more vocabulary a student knows the better they will be able to comprehend what they read. 

Kindergarten students learn about early civilizations, astronomy, human body, weather, plants, etc.  Second graders learn about cycles in nature, insects, simple machines, and more.  By teaching the various disciplines within one grade level, the teachers can help students make connections and see patterns they may never have seen when disciplines are taught in isolation.  For example, when I taught 6th grade, we discussed convection currents in almost all science units.  During astronomy we discussed the sun’s core and how convection currents caused infrared rays to travel to Earth.  We discussed convection currents when learning about the ocean and how water at the equator is hotter than water at the poles.  These are called density currents.  We discussed convection currents in the mantle of the Earth when learning about plate tectonics.  These convection currents are what theoretically cause the plates to move.  All of these disciplines in science have similar terms and concepts that we as teachers need to know in order to help students make connections and understand the world around us.

The Core Knowledge curriculum does not outline the skills of scientific process as these skills are taught within each science domain.  The Liberty Common School staff has taken the initiative to develop a curriculum map outlining what grades teach what processes.  Students are introduced to basics of questioning the world around them and describing what they think will happen in an experiment.  This is the start to their understanding of hypothesizing.  Students are shown experiments by the teachers in early grades as well.  As the students get older, we release some of these scientific terms and concepts to the students, such as hypothesis, variables, independent and dependent variables, etc.  Students are expected to know these terms and are given opportunities to demonstrate their understanding during the 5th and 6th grade science fair each year.  The science fair is a great way for staff to work with grade levels below them to ensure all students come to 5th and 6th grade prepared to conduct their own experiments.

As an agency education, parent involvement is crucial to your child’s success.  I would like to thank all parents for their active involvement with their child’s learning.  Whether you are a 5th or 6th grade parent that assisted your child with these projects over the past month or a parent of a Kinder to 4th grade student, you play an essential role with your child’s ability to understand and discover science.  


From left to right:

3rd Place               Noah Johnson

2nd Place               Jill Koontz

1st Place                Maxwell Moran


From left to right:

2nd Place               Spencer Lynch

3rd Place               Will Campbell

1st Place                Hunter Lipsey

Congratulations to all 5th and 6th grade students for their completion of their 2016-2017 annual science fair projects.  The elementary gym was filled with science fair boards and experiments this last Friday.  Thanks to all the parents, teachers and judges for all their hard work over the past month helping with the completion of these projects.   
Liberty Happenings 
  Time to Sign-Up Now to Volunteer at the Winter Carnival   
Mark your calendar. Winter Carnival is February 10th. This year we are mixing it up and hosting a Flannel Pajama Party. Bust out your best (modest) pajamas, craziest bed head hair and wildest slippers and join us for a fun evening.  Take the night off from cooking, feed the whole family Panino's pizza and grab yourself a drink at the Coffee Barista. You and your whole family can rock out with friends to the live music of Scott Von Bargen. Enjoy familiar favorites like... bounce houses, face painters, popcorn, cotton candy, cake walk, fuse beads, etc. Or try something new like Truth or Dare, Pillowcase Decorating and Races, Bedhead Hair Salon, Minute To Win It or Nerf Balloon Shooting Gallery. No tickets are required thanks to the success of the Fall Festival. This is a great night to visit with our wonderful Liberty community and support our hard working kids. 

Please click on the following links to volunteer and make this event one to

To volunteer at the Winter Carnival CLICK HERE 
To donate items to Winter Carnival CLICK HERE  
Amazon Smile  We are excited to announce a new and easy way for you to generate donations for Liberty.  Earn money for Liberty while you shop through AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Liberty every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at , you’ll find the same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as , with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price back to Liberty.
  • Simply go to and enter “Core Knowledge Charter School Foundation.”  CKC School Foundation is the technical name for our non-profit organization.  You will not find us by searching for 'Liberty.’
The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases back to Liberty. 
 I t is the time of year when The Board of Directors seeks parental input on your child's educational experience at Liberty.  The Board values your opinion and strives to do its very best to be one of the top schools in Colorado.  This year one survey will be sent to families via email during the week of February 6, 2017.  If you have more than one child attending Liberty,  please complete a survey for each of your students.  Please take a few minutes to fill out these surveys.  If you have any questions, please call the front office at (970)482-9800.  We value your feedback.
  Mrs. Megan Salazar and Mr. Rex Seiple discussed contemporary art at last week’s Liberty Lecture

"Weird" Was Wonderful.  Last Thursday’s Liberty Lecture was really great.  LCHS art instructors Mrs. Megan Salazar and Mr. Rex Seiple presented their lecture on contemporary art, entitled “Wake up to Weird,” to a full house of students, parents, colleagues, and visitors.  If you missed this fascinating lecture, you missed a lot.  Mark your calendars now for the next Liberty Lecture – Wednesday, March 22, 2017 on the topics of math, physics, heat transfer, and vibration.  It will both move you, and warm your heart.

Upcoming Spring Creek Trail Closure. The City of Fort Collins will be closing the Spring Creek Trail where it crosses underneath Timberline Road this Tuesday and Wednesday. Please be advised. 
Attention: Job OpeningLiberty Common High School has announced an open job posting: Technology Assistant.  This full-time position entails assisting with any technological issues. CLICK HERE to view job posting, 
Many Ways to Support Liberty Common School
Morning Fresh Dairy  Cash for Caps. Caps collected in the Front Office.
Box Tops for Education. Please cut out and check expiration date before turning in at the Front Office. 
Give Your Child the Gift of Time and Energy: Be a Liberty WATCH D.O.G.
WATCHD.O.G.S . (Dads of Great Students) is an innovative father involvement, educational initiative of the National Center for Fathering (see for more info). It began in 1998 in Springdale, AR and has since grown into a nationally recognized program that has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into our nation's classrooms and hallways.  

Liberty Common School's WATCHD.O.G.S. program provides many benefits for our children and our school:
  • Students win because the father and father-figures give their time and energy as a positive role model.
  • Fathers, father-figures and grandfathers get a glimpse of their student's everyday school life.
  • Liberty gains another set of eyes and helping hands for the day.

Become a WATCHD.O.G. today by CLICKING HERE.  Go to School Forms and then  scroll down the page to WATCHD.O.G. registration. 

Already a WATCHDOG? Take a few minutes and Sign-Up. Remember, part-days are also appreciated.

Thank you for wanting to make a difference in the lives of Liberty Common School students.  

Board of Directors
Paulette Hansen:  282-8455
Patrick Albright:  232-8257 
Joel Goeltl : 593-8556 
Jeff Webb : 545-9636 
Denise Benz : 420-4184 
Kelly Notarfrancesco:  295-4643
Aislinn Kottwitz : 217-5925

Upcoming Board Meeting- February 16th, LCS 6:00PM

You may contact all members on our Board of Directors at .