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Integrated Curriculum

Educational experiences at CCS happen inside and outside the classroom.

Building on the pillars of our school philosophy - relationships, academics, experiential learning, the arts, wellness, community engagement, equity and a small-school setting — we create a holistic approach to education by integrating learning into all aspects of school life.

Kids on stage
Water color

The Arts

The arts — including visual arts, performing arts, ceramics and music — are integrated into the daily classroom curriculum with projects, visiting artists and parent volunteers. Students engage in formal art classes with the art teacher two to three times a week. Music is used as part of everyday classroom experiences and all-school meetings.

Social/Emotional Program

The sound development of the physical, emotional, and social well being of the student is an essential component of our program. Each teacher participates in the social/emotional progress of the students. Teachers schedule class time in each learning center to discuss problems, interests, ideas concerning physical and emotional health, and conflict resolution.
Kids in social emotional program

Boys playing basketball

Physical Education

We incorporate the study of the body through sport, skill development, physical fitness, nutritional awareness and the learning of lifelong health strategies. Students are also exposed to language arts, mathematics, science, problem-solving, critical thinking and cooperative learning through individual and team sport instruction. Our philosophy is based on teaching students self-discipline, self-motivation and team cooperation in a non-competitive manner.

Experiential Education

CCS was founded as an alternative to conventional public schooling, in which outdoor education, exploration and respect for the natural world were among the school’s pillars. This program provides an environment for developing leadership, teamwork, and other important life skills. Taking a student out of a familiar environment and into the out-of-doors builds self-confidence and resilience, fosters communication skills and extends the classroom curriculum into an applied environment.
Kids studying on desert rock

Field Trip to Smuggler Mine

Field Trips

CCS teachers frequently design field trips that relate directly to the curriculum. Field trips and other experiential activities are essential to our program because they provide invaluable hands-on learning experiences.

Community Service

We are a true “community” school: we work to develop a respect for and involvement in both the school community and the community at large. Each student is personally involved in the successful functioning of the community through learning conflict resolution skills as well as performing daily chores. Community work days, the 8th grade student internship program and outreach programs all serve to involve the community at large in the culture of the school. Each learning center also takes part in a service project in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Teachers helping with community service project

Kids in cooking class


Choice blocks are passion projects and a unique and intensive learning experience created by teachers, students, or community members offered at school and off campus four times a year. These deep dives provide an opportunity to focus on lifelong learning in a multi-age setting, giving students and teachers opportunities to develop relationships outside the typical classroom setting and helping to enhance community ties. In a mentoring capacity, adults can share the interests and skills they have acquired through a commitment to lifelong learning. Choices provide an alternative venue for student success and enrichment, through the experiential development of skills, opportunities for service and exposure to and practice of the arts. Examples of past Choice blocks include Leather Work, Design & Build, Songwriting and Recording, Ceramics, All Things Art, and Service Trips to Heritage Park Senior Center and Colorado Animal Rescue.

The Internship Program

The Internship Program offers 8th grade students the opportunity to work for a variety of local businesses and nonprofit groups. This community partnership promotes an awareness of the diversity of adult and community life and builds confidence and interest in partnership with the community outside of the school. We believe that education is too important to take place in the school building only.
Pots and pans in school kitchen

Kids on stage

The Big Event

The Big Event is a project that involves the entire school community and integrates all aspects of the curriculum. With student input, a theme is chosen every fall. Traditionally, students have written, produced and performed a major theater production with support and direction from teachers, parents and visiting artists. The Big Event is a three-week process that incorporates drama, movement and music in the daily schedule — and an integral part of each student’s total education.

Eighth Grade Trip

Each spring our eighth grade class embarks on a one- to two-week trip within the US that incorporates outdoor education, cultural immersion and community service. The trip is an opportunity for students to apply the skills that they have learned throughout their tenure at the Carbondale Community School. Students, teachers and parents work together during the school year to fundraise for the trip.
Students with park ranger

Colorado Read Act