Academy educates with global flair

BROOMFIELD — Small class sizes, regular parental involvement and a range of hands-on learning experiences create a recipe for student success at Broomfield Academy.

The school blends international and American students with a focus on multicultural education along with a strong academic foundation, student-directed goal setting and respect for each individual to create a balanced mix of what children need to stay engaged, build community and grow academically and socially.

“We celebrate children for who they are,” said Pat Garner, principal of Broomfield Academy. “They don’t need to come in and fit our program. Instead we provide students throughout the program with the tools and strategies to meet their potential.”

Broomfield Academy serves students from preschool through middle school, Garner said, and currently teaches 132 students. It recently expanded its license to accommodate 150 or more, she said.

The school boasts a diverse student population, including families from South Korea, Kuwait, China, Japan, India and Panama. Broomfield Academy is one of only a handful of area schools that hosts students from other countries in an exchange program for fifth graders. The school completed an approval process to become a host school. Students from other countries apply and must be accepted to attend. Broomfield Academy currently hosts two Korean boys who stay with an approved host family, Garner said. Occasionally parents come with their students.

“It’s very exciting and truly helps all of them learn about different cultures,” Garner said.

Broomfield Academy classes typically contain about 10 students grouped by age, with individualized learning plans for each student targeting specific needs. Teachers, parents, students and administrators meet each fall and spring to create social, emotional and academic goals based on students’ needs while fostering a strong, traditional academic education.

“I look at it as a bonsai tree with a strong root system,” Garner said, “But then they grow in the direction of their interest because each child is unique.”

Addressing the emotional well-being of a child tops the list of goals at Broomfield Academy.

“Children need to feel trust, to feel comfortable and valued and then they can move forward academically when all those pieces are in place,” Garner said.

Many parents look to Broomfield Academy after their children struggled in a previous setting, Garner said.

“Parents hate to hear their child say they hate school,” Garner said. Some children, especially gifted children or those with special needs, can fall through the cracks in a traditional classroom,” he said.

“Some children that are gifted are wired differently,” Garner said, “and they need a learning environment that knows how to work with the sensitive child and allows them to be creative and be who they are.”

For Laura Hoyle’s two children, who are enrolled in Broomfield Academy’s middle-school program, it’s been a fit that’s worked well. She discovered the school after being dissatisfied with the communication, safety and social interactions her children were having at their previous school. She fell in love with the staff at Broomfield Academy.

“They interact with the kids well, and the principal is amazing,” Hoyle said.

In addition to a strong school staff, Broomfield Academy’s host of extracurricular activities drew the Hoyles. All students learn to swim at the school’s onsite, saltwater pool. Hoyle’s children went from non-swimmers to proficient in a matter of days, she said, and now they take snorkeling.

The school also offers physical education, a music program and after-school dance and performance programs, Garner said. For the recent winter performance, each student was assigned a special part, Hoyle said, rather than a select few taking starring roles. That sense of equity and encouragement plays out in the classroom and on field trips, Hoyle said, recalling that the first field trip of the year included building teamwork through an obstacle course-type activity.

Academically Hoyle’s children are being challenged, she said, with high expectations set and teachers providing the tools children need to meet them.

Second-grade teacher Hanna Frazier, a Broomfield Academy teacher for the past two years, feels the smaller class sizes and collaborative staff allow her to be successful in the classroom.

“Every day I truly feel like I get to work one-on-one with every child,” Frazier said. She plans to enroll her daughter at the school next year.

Students at the school wear uniforms, reducing social pressure, she said, and she has an “open-door” policy for parents, meaning they can come to her any time to discuss concerns.

Tuition at Broomfield Academy currently runs $12,360 a year with scholarships and tuition reduction for siblings available, Garner said. Parents interested in the school can set up a time to visit and have their child shadow and meet with staff to determine if it’s a good fit.

The switch to Broomfield Academy boosted her children’s confidence, which was a relief, Hoyle said.

“The biggest thing is the change in our children,” she said. “At their other school they couldn’t wait to go home. Now they can’t wait to go.”

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