Our Approach

Whole-Learner Development

The Cottonwood School is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of each student in a supportive and safe environment that nurtures whole-learner development. We let parents be in control of your child’s education. You can choose the best learning approach — eclectic, unschooling, Montessori, etc. —  for your child and family. Plus, you work with a teacher who helps you choose the right curriculum and implement it on a daily basis.

This holistic approach builds on a child’s natural curiosity and interests. Each student’s learning pathway is individualized so that the child’s curriculum expands on their interests and needs. And because people change as they grow, our programs are flexible and adjustable.

At Cottonwood, we address the social and emotional needs of youth as well. Managing emotions, setting and achieving positive goals, feeling and showing empathy, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, making responsible decisions — these essential skills are foundational to our approach. We understand that education and development in all areas help students learn.

Our flexible approach to whole-person learning in an intellectually stimulating environment allows students to develop their individual gifts. The Cottonwood School promotes a positive growth mindset that embraces learning and establishes a strong foundation for future personal success in academics, career, and community.


The Cottonwood School’s mission is to provide educational options including Montessori-based pathways and other personalized educational pathways that encompass many options to meet each student’s needs and interests. The Montessori-based pathways include both a homeschool program and a site-based personalized learning experience grounded in Montessori philosophy inspired by a deeper learning pedagogy in order to support the unique needs of each student in an environment where they can feel safe and experience academic success. a personalized environment that fosters successful achievement through quality, personalized, standards-based education, which could include online coursework, offline textbook work, and unique hands-on and experiential learning experiences facilitated in partnership with students, parents, staff, and community.


The vision of The Cottonwood School is to create a learning organization that prepares students for their tomorrow.

Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

  • Knowledge and Thinking – Students will develop the ability to reason, problem-solve, develop sound arguments or decisions, and create new ideas by using appropriate sources and applying the knowledge and skills of a discipline.
  • Agency – Students will develop a growth mindset and take ownership over learning.
  • Collaboration – Students will develop the ability to be a productive member of diverse teams, through strong interpersonal communication and a commitment to shared success, leadership, and initiative.
  • Oral Communication – Students will develop the ability to communicate knowledge and thinking through effective oral presentations.
  • Written Communication – Students will develop the ability to effectively communicate knowledge and thinking through writing.

College and Career Readiness has a very specific meaning at the Cottonwood School. When the Charter School says it is focused on getting students college, career, and civic life ready, it means that every Cottonwood School graduate leaves aware, eligible, and prepared to pursue postsecondary education or training.

  • Aware – The student understands post-secondary options and sees the importance of continuing their education.
  • Eligible – The student completes the requirements necessary to continue their education.
  • Prepared – The student graduates from high school with the skills necessary to further education without remediation.

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