Blog: Compass Points News

The evolving conversation around charter schools


This was a meaningful piece recently published in EdWeek that highlights the evolving conversation around charter schools. The author notes how one of the great successes of charter schools politically has been their capacity for bringing both parties together in support of our children. As the charter conversation evolves, may we all find ways to help foster this inclusive, bi-partisan support for charter schools by telling the Compass story and the service we provide to our students and the broader Jefferson County community.


The article can be accessed here:




Universal Design for Learning in Action

In Many education circles, “Universal Design for Learning” or “UDL” is receiving greater attention. You may wonder what UDL is. I found this succinct summary written by Kim Marshall in his weekly memo. A link to the original report is included at the end of the article.


From the Marshall Memo...

In this Educational Leadership article, Spencer Salend and Catharine Whittaker (State University of New York/New Paltz) deconstruct Universal Design for Learning. UDL makes instruction accessible to all students in the same way that a ramp makes a sidewalk accessible to wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles, skateboards, and delivery carts. When UDL is executed skillfully, it meets the needs of a wide range of students by providing multiple means of:


-   Representation – content is presented in a variety of ways;

-   Action and expression – students can respond and show their learning in several modes;

-   Engagement – teachers use a range of practices to boost student motivation.


Salend and Whittaker suggest seven steps for optimal implementation of UDL:


            • Understand students’ learning differences. Before designing a unit and its component lessons, teachers need to get a handle on students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds and their academic, behavioral, and social interests, strengths, preferences, and challenges.

            • Conduct an ecological assessment. This includes curriculum expectations, assessments, technology, class size, classroom layout, support personnel, collaboration with colleagues, and how students are accustomed to working with each other.

• Customize learning goals and objectives. “Learning objectives may vary,” say Salend and Whittaker, “in the amount of content to be learned, the level of difficulty of that content, the pace at which students are expected to learn, and the ways in which students are expected to demonstrate their learning.”

            • Identify possible barriers to student success. Certain ways of presenting content may cause problems; there might be limits on how students are allowed to respond; and certain approaches might not motivate students.

            • Select UDL solutions. Taking into account the barriers, teachers need to find the best ways to present material, engage all students, and get them responding. For example, a teacher might use color, graphic organizers, and enlarged type size to highlight important information; incorporate animals to spur interest in particular students; use manipulatives; and get students working in small groups.

            • Ensure that UDL solutions are well implemented. This means monitoring timing, materials, technology, groupings, and implementation.

            • Assess results. The bottom line: how did the UDL plan affect student learning, behavior, and socialization? Artifacts might include tests, performance tasks, student work, teacher observations, interviews, and self-reflection.



“UDL: A Blueprint for Learning Success” by Spencer Salend and Catharine Whittaker in Educational Leadership, April 2017 (Vol. 74, #7, p. 59-63), available for purchase at;



Peace alights in Wheat Ridge


--Written by Susan Hoffer, Compass Parent. Thank you Suzi!--







If you drive 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge you most likely witnessed a spectacular landing in February. Artist and Compass Montessori father Tiimo Mang’s sculpture, “Risen of the Ashes” now rises from the southwest corner of the Wheat Ridge campus parking lot of Compass Montessori located on 44th Avenue just west of Kipling Street (10399 W 44th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033).


The origami crane is made of stainless and mild steel and represents the story of Sadako Sasaki and world peace. It weighs approximately 350 pounds and is six-feet wide and 12-feet tall. This is not the first Mang installation at Compass.  Most Wheat Ridge students have most likely waited after school while sitting on “The Bench”, a 2014 commission located adjacent to the lower-elementary pick-up lane.


Art has been a full-time endeavor for Mang since 2011, but he has always been creative.  He remembers watching his father paint and encouraging him to, “Draw with the right side of your brain, Tiimo.”  He began his creative ventures at a young age and continued developing his skills with: high school wood and metal working classes, welding and metal work training in college, years of running his own construction company, and most recently glass fiber reinforced concrete fabrication and design. Mang creates public art, functional art, furniture and sculpture with wood, metal and concrete.  He has exhibited several times at the Lakewood Cultural Center and has multiple public art sculptures and private commissions.

Homecoming image


Mang’s designs begin with research: the background, people, history, setting and philosophy related to the piece.  “I gather all of this information and then listen for the intuitive ‘bursts’ that are generated,” says Mang.  He collects these ideas, takes notes, creates mockups and renderings, and then fabricates the projects in his studio, AethyrWorks.


The inspiration for “Risen of the Ashes” was the story of Sadako Sasaki told in the book “Sadako and the 1,000 paper cranes” written by Eleanor Coerr.  Two-year-old Sadako survived the 1945 atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima but ten years later succumbed to leukemia from radiation exposure.  While she was sick, she began folding 1,000 origami cranes in the Japanese tradition for good health.  She made 644 cranes before passing. Her friends and classmates finished the remaining 356 cranes.  Every year children from around the world place origami cranes at the Children’s Peace Monument in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan in her memory.  Sadako’s passing unintentionally transformed the origami crane into a symbol of peace around the world.

Mang explains, “Risen of the Ashes” honors Sadako’s life and her struggle with illness and mortality.  This is the second time Sadako has risen from the ash, though this time it is her spirit and legacy gracefully rising toward freedom and coalescing to symbolize peace in the form of an origami crane.”


The sculpture will take flight again June 1st, spreading peace to Carbondale, Colorado as part of the Carbondale Public Art Commission’s Art on the Streets 2017.  “Risen of the Ashes” will remain at its current location until May.  But the Wheat Ridge campus will not be bare for long. Mang plans to have other pieces displayed in the future.


More information on Tiimo Mang and his art can be found at


Information on this piece can be found here 

Recent Posts

The evolving conversation around charter schools
Universal Design for Learning in Action
Peace alights in Wheat Ridge