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July 25, 2023

Banning Lewis Academy Wins Five 2023 Accely Awards

Congratulations to Banning Lewis Academy for winning five Accely awards at the annual leadership summit held this July. The school was recognized for outstanding student attendance, teacher retention, and academic performance. 

Recognizing the hard work and success of our schools and school leaders is an important tradition at ACCEL Schools. While schools across the country are still recovering from challenges related to the pandemic, we have seen a surge in success from schools serving historically underrecognized communities. 

“We are mission driven to make quality education available to all children regardless of geographic location or life circumstances,” said ACCEL Schools CEO Ron Packard who presented the awards on July 17. “It is an honor to recognize the staff and leadership who are putting ACCEL’s ideals into action and creating positive change in the lives of the students and communities who need it most.” 

Banning Lewis Academy received the following 2023 ACCELY awards: 

Outstanding Student Attendance 
Banning Lewis was one of 10 schools across the ACCEL network that achieved an Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of 92% or higher – no small feat in a year where schools nationwide reported high rates of pandemic-related absenteeism. 

Outstanding Growth in Reading & Outstanding Growth in Math 
Testing over 1,500 students, Banning Lewis received high marks for excellence in reading and math—making it one of the top scoring schools in Colorado and a shining star of academic achievement in the ACCEL Schools network. 

Outstanding Teacher Retention 
Despite an ongoing shortage of teachers nationwide, Banning was one of 12 schools recognized for creating a thriving workplace that retains talented and engaged teachers. 

Gold School Award 
The Gold School Award recognizes the highest achieving schools in the ACCEL network. This prestigious award went to 10 schools in 2023 that demonstrated strong academic outcomes as well as positive enrollment growth. Banning Lewis Academy’s strong test scores place it in the highest bracket of schools in the state of Colorado.  

Congratulations to every member of our Banning Lewis community for contributing to our success in 2023. We are honored to accept these Accely awards on behalf of our entire team and look forward to another extraordinary school year. 

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June 12, 2023

Congratulations BLPA Class of 2023

On May 26, Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy (BLPA) celebrated its third graduating class during a 1:00pm commencement ceremony held at UC Health Stadium. Valedictorian Bransen Mihalko and Salutatorian Jaryn Even were honored during the ceremony. Superintendent Andy Franko and BLPA Board President Leigh Bolton offered their congratulations to the Class of 2023 who began their freshman year during the COVID pandemic. 

Student speaker Adrianna Alesch and Student Body President Hayley Crist gave insights and encouragement to their fellow seniors as they look to college and career opportunities. The BLPA singers under the direction of David Webb performed “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay and the band and orchestra under Peter Jones’ direction set a celebratory tone with “Pomp and Circumstance”. 

The future looks bright for BLPA’s 79 graduates, the majority of which have a long history at the school. Sixty-one seniors have been attending the school since at least 9th grade and 11 students started at Banning in kindergarten. Students accumulated over 150 hours of concurrent enrollment credits throughout their high school careers. 

Principal Athena Rehorst offered her congratulations saying, “We’re very proud of our seniors for their hard work and dedication these past four years. We are confident that they have the academic ability, character, and life skills to be successful as they go on to college and career pursuits.” 

April 26, 2023
April 19, 2023

Middle School Career on Wheels Event

On Tuesday, April 18, the Storm Squatch hit the road to Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy for its Careers on Wheels event.

FOX21’s Meteorologists Valerie Mills and Ashley Nanfria visited the school’s sixth, seventh and eighth graders to teach them all about what it takes to have a career in meteorology, how to forecast the weather and how to do a live report.

Nearly a dozen careers all based in the Pikes Peak Region were featured at the event including the Colorado Springs Fire Department, the city’s Police Department, Adventures Out West and more.

See the full coverage from FOX21: https://www.fox21news.com/news/fox21s-storm-team-teaches-kids-how-to-be-a-meteorologist/

April 25, 2022

Health and Wellness Success Stories at BLA!


22-23 BLRA Wellness Success Story: 

During the month of February, our campus participated in Kids Heart Challenge and raised over $21,000 for the American Heart Association.  The students at BLRA had a chance to learn about hands only CPR, signs of a stroke, and learned how to recognize the difference between their active and resting heart rate.  Thank you to the PE department and everyone who helped make this such a success!  BLRA was a top 10 school in the state of Colorado for funds raised to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke. 

22-23 BLPA Wellness Success Story: 

Our campus recently wrapped up an extremely successful American Heart Challenge! A huge shoutout to our Wellness Team and PE Department for their efforts in planning and executing this for our community. We were able to raise over $3,500 for the American Heart Association and over 70 families in our community learned hands-only CPR! Thank you to all who participated in raising funds and awareness for congenital heart defects, nutrition security, CPR training, mental well-being and more as we work to end heart disease and stroke.

BLPA AHC Totals:

  • Online donations: $3,564.87
  • # Students online: 391
  • 13 students completed Finn’s Mission
  • 73 families learned hands-only CPR!

This year our Health and Wellness committee was committed to teaching the students at BLRA about perseverance, teamwork, and overall health.  The Great Endurance Race was a five week PE unit where the students spent 10 minutes at the beginning of each class building endurance as they ran laps.  They also kept track of their laps by using tally marks and working together to encourage their partner to set goals and meet them.  At the end of the 5 weeks, each class added up all of their laps and converted them to miles to see if they were able to complete the Great Endurance Race.  This unit was in alignment with the Fun Run put on by Boosterthon!  This was a huge success for BLRA and we are looking forward to having our Bounce House Day and Color Blast first week in May to celebrate reaching our fundraising goal!

Another big event this year was the Kids Heart Challenge! We were able to teach the students about cardiovascular health and how it impacts their mind and body! Weekly messages were sent out to our BLRA community to raise awareness about heart disease and provide information on heart healthy choices students and families can make at home.

We are incredibly grateful to be a part of this community and share these success stories with you!

Coach Brooks and Coach Dosmann
Wellness Co Leaders for BLRA

This year at BLPA, we have tried to build upon the success of our Social-Emotional Learning programs from last school year. Our Counseling team has done an amazing job creating and executing strategies for better identifying the personal needs of our students. We have utilized referral programs to organize specific small groups for our students.

Our Strengthening Family Ties small group was open to 6-8 graders who were referred based on a divorce in the family or significant family change or disruption. The group sessions and activities addressed the following areas: Building Trust, Family Support, Kindness, Communication, and Working Together. The overall objectives for the group were (1) Identifying their feelings, their family roles, and changes in their family. (2) Developing coping skills: Learning how to handle problems and feelings. (3) The child’s role in family relationships. (4) The child’s perception of themselves and their families.

We also provided an Owning Up group for middle school girls who either were referred based on friendship/relationship issues that caused admin or a dean to intervene, or interest in gaining social skills.  The group sessions address social and friendship skills to help middle school girls build and maintain healthy connections. The activities will empower your adolescent to confront social cruelty, bullying, and injustice while increasing their “soft skills” which are the ability to work with others, negotiate conflict, understand and respect the needs of others in balance with their own needs.

Lastly, our Coping Skills for Stress small group consists of 6th-8th graders who were referred based upon the needs assessment, self-referral, or teacher referral. The goal of this group focuses on identifying emotions, understanding personal response to emotions and situations, and understanding how to best utilize coping skills in a variety of situations. Students are taught to utilize these skills in both the school setting and home/personal setting.

A huge shoutout to our Wellness team and Counseling Department for all they do for our students, staff, and community!

Wes McKenzie and Ben Novak
Wellness Co-Leaders for BLPA


September 23, 2021
August 6, 2021

The ACCEL Schools Difference

We are a proud member of ACCEL Schools—a public charter school network serving thousands of PK-12 students throughout the United States. ACCEL was founded in 2012 by the early pioneers of online learning. Our leadership believes that all children, regardless of location or socio-economic background, deserve a quality education that prepares them to succeed in school and become productive global citizens.  

ACCEL Schools Instructional Model provides: 

  • Aligned Academics meet or exceed state standards ensuring your child is on track for rigorous college and career opportunities.    
  • Certified, Licensed Teachers and a student-centered staff are united in executing our mission to make a difference in the life trajectory of each student.    
  • More Time on Tasks and double the instructional minutes for ELA and Math maximizes learning in your child’s school day.   
  • Short Cycle Assessments keep track of how students are progressing in the program, giving teachers ongoing feedback so they can tailor instruction to your student’s needs.    
  • Individualized Instruction driven by assessment data means we are familiar with the needs of each child and set students up for success in each course of study.    
  • State Testing Preparation reduces the anxiety often associated with high-stakes tests, helping our teachers and students feel confident with the structure and methodology of state exams.    
  • Academic Support including education technology, interventional specialists, and instructional aides assist students during the school day. After-school tutoring, summer school, and Saturday school programs extend support services beyond the traditional school day and year.   
  • Extracurricular Courses & Activities round out our educational offerings providing students social-emotional learning, athletics, arts, service learning & more.   
June 23, 2020

Capturing Kids’ Hearts® National Showcase School

For the third year in a row, Banning Lewis Ranch Academy was selected by the Flippen Group as one of the 2020-21 Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Schools®. Capturing Kids’ Hearts is an ongoing and immersive process to engage students academically and reduce behavioral distractions. The program is grounded in the belief that “if you have a child’s heart, you have their mind.” The program creates high-achieving centers of learning by strengthening students’ connectedness to others by establishing collaborative agreements of acceptable behavior. These “social contracts” are present in each Banning Lewis Ranch Academy.