A Safe Place to Grow and Learn

CSA District: Then and Now

A visitor at Charyl Stockwell Academy once asked Chuck Stockwell, Founder, what inspired him to open a charter school. Chuck’s response was automatic and clear: “My daughter was my inspiration. I wanted to open a school that would be a safe place for her to grow and learn and I figured if it was a school that was a safe place for her, it would be a safe place for all children.” Armed with 20 years of experience as an administrator in traditional public schools, Chuck understood well the significance of this simply stated charge and how challenging it would be to create a school that was truly a safe place for children. He also knew that a charter school was the only vehicle that would allow the innovation necessary to create such a place and that the process itself would help push forward educational reform.

Charyl Stockwell Academy celebrated its 20th birthday on September 11, 2016. Over the years, the commitment to the mission of providing a safe place for children to grow and learn has never wavered or lost its inspiration. It has been developed, deepened and refined into five core philosophies and extensive researched-based best practices that directly align to and drive the mission. The Academy has embraced accountability measures, understanding that inside the mission of a safe school is student learning and achievement at the highest level.

CSA District serves over 1100 students in Kindergarten through High School and will graduate its ninth senior class in June 2020. The District has two campus locations, both with beautiful and well-maintained buildings and grounds. CSA Elementary School is located in Hartland, Michigan. CSPA Secondary School, which encompasses the Middle School and High School, is located in Brighton, Michigan. The comprehensive high school program includes Honors and Advanced Placement coursework with an 80% or above mastery learning standard that is the high expectation requirement for all students in the District. In addition, CSPA High School is certified as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and offers all students the opportunity to earn an IB Diploma.

CSA District offers a comprehensive music and performing arts program, student government, National Honors Society, a FIRST Robotics program whose team has competed in the World Championships multiple times and a comprehensive athletic program that is a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). The District offers a wide variety of extracurricular and after-school activities that enhance the curriculum, develop the whole child and align to the mission and core philosophies.

Due to the hard work and dedication of many stakeholders and with support services from CS Partners, CSA District is ranked among the top performing public schools in Michigan. CSPA High School students have consistently performed well on the ACT and SAT, several times achieving the highest score among all public high schools in Livingston County. CSPA High School graduates have been accepted into some of the nation’s best high standards four-year universities such as University of Michigan, Michigan State University, California Polytechnic State University, University of Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Butler University, United States Military Academy at West Point, Loyola University Chicago, Pennsylvania State University, Hope College, Hillsdale College, Kettering Institute, Alma College, Albion College, Adrian College, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, and Michigan Technological University.

CSA and CSPA have both been recognized by Central Michigan University as a School of Excellence and were awarded a ten year charter. Student retention rates are high, the District budget is consistently balanced with no deficit and the programs operate within the required laws, rules, and regulations.

The spirit of innovation is a hallmark of the District and has resulted in, just to name a few, innovations related to the delivery of services and support to students with diverse needs, teacher training and evaluation, forming the partnership with parents, implementing an organizational delivery model that allows for continuous progress/mastery learning, teacher collaboration, processes and procedures that create a high expectations professional culture and a character education program that is based on psychological theory (internal motivation psychology).

CSA District continues its work to refine and move forward its mission, inspired by the simple but profound charge of providing a safe place for children to grow and learn. Although many goals are in place, the one continuous overarching goal that remains central to the work being done is:

All students will experience love and belonging in their classroom and school; all students will experience a school environment that is free of coercion by adults and the use of heavy reward and punishment to control them; that every student knows that their dignity is protected; that every student knows that their teacher believes in their high capacity for learning and inherent goodness; and that their school is a place of happiness and excitement for learning.

This is the very essence of the District’s mission. It is why CSA District knows that its mission is relevant and timeless and always a vigilant pursuit in progress.