Welcome to Children's Success Academy; Tucson, AZ | Phone: 520-799-8403 (Se Habla Espanol)



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Introduction to Children's Success Academy Programs

Children's Success Academy (CSA) was established as an Arizona public charter school in 2000.  The overall program is designed to assist all children, especially behaviorally challenging children, to develop their intrinsic gifts in a nurturing, positive and supportive environment. The combination of the use of a language of virtues [The Virtues Project], a positive behavior program [The Nurtured Heart Approach], a nutritional program [The Nurtured Body Program] and a values based, global and service-oriented curriculum [Nurtured Mind Approach] results in our peaceful, nurturing and positive academic environment.  The integration of these components has produced a program that is highly successful in assisting students in learning to redirect their energies into positive academic and social experiences.  This control then allows academic learning to accelerate and high achievement to occur.

Children's Success Academy has acquired respect and a reputation in the Tucson community for taking students that have been expelled from other schools, and for assisting them to acquire self-control.  As a result, a number of agencies in the greater Tucson metropolitan area recommend Children's Success Academy to students with behavior difficulties.  These agencies include regular public schools, public charter schools and various behavioral services, as well as individual parents, pediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Effects Of Program On Academic Achievement

Children's Success Academy’s Integrated Positive Behavior Program consists of four components.  These include (1) the Virtues Project, (2) the Nurtured Heart Approach, (3) the Nurtured Body Approach, and (4) the International Educational Initiatives curriculum.  Each component integrates fully with every other component, and together they provide a structure that allows students to develop their inner talents and gifts, including academic success and achievement.  Each component addresses particular growth needs.  These individual components are described in detail below.  All staff members (teaching, administrative and support) receive intensive training in each component in the weeks prior to the beginning of the school year.  Continuing in-service training is provided during the school year.  At the end of the school year, analysis is made of progress during the past year, suggestions are made and requests for further trainings are discussed.  Plans are then consolidated for the coming school year.  This type of continuous development and adjustment to meet unique situations results in a vibrant, viable and dynamic program, with the very best interests of each student at its heart.

The Integrated Positive Behavior Program produces in an atmosphere of respect, peacefulness and joy.  In such an environment, learning is exciting and fun.  Although many of the challenging students are far behind their academic expectations when they arrive at Children's Success Academy, within one to two years, their academic progress is greatly improved.  The following sections describe the four individual components of the Integrated Positive Behavior Program.

The Virtues Project (Positive Language)

The Virtues Project provides the central focus of the Integrated Positive Behavior Program – it is bond that holds it all together.  The Virtues Project (http://www.virtuesproject.com) is a simple, character building program that cuts across cultural and religions barriers and has had positive effects world-wide.  It was developed in Canada in 1991 by Linda Kavelin Popov, a psychotherapist, organizational consultant and trainer who facilitates character education.  Since publication of The Family Virtues Guide (L. Kavelin Popov, 1991), the program has been used successfully by families, schools, corporations, religious organizations and other agencies, including the Boys & Girls Club, on a global basis.  In 2000, The Virtues Project™ Educator’s Guide (L. Kavelin Popov) was published. This volume is in constant use by all staff at Children's Success Academy

The Virtues Project focuses on the “virtues”, the best qualities within each individual person. “Virtues: the Gifts of Character” include:  assertiveness, caring, cleanliness, commitment, compassion, confidence, consideration, cooperation, courage, courtesy, creativity, detachment, determination, diligence, enthusiasm, excellence, flexibility, forgiveness, friendliness, generosity, gentleness, helpfulness, honesty, honor, humility, idealism, integrity, joyfulness, justice, kindness, love, loyalty, moderation, modesty, orderliness, patience, peacefulness, perseverance, purposefulness, reliability, respect, responsibility, self-discipline, service, tact, thankfulness, tolerance, trust, trustworthiness, truthfulness, understanding and unity.   These are qualities that are universal and necessary for positive interactions.  Our Integrated Positive Behavior Program emphasizes learning the language of virtues and learning how to demonstrate these virtues in daily life.

The academic week at Children's Success Academy begins with a “Virtue of the Week”, presented at the Monday morning all-school assembly.  On Friday afternoon, classes take turns presenting the meaning of the Virtue of the Week at the Virtues Assembly through plays, puppet shows, songs, etc.  The various virtues also are noted during the day-to-day routine of the school, with all CSA community members, staff and students alike, acknowledging each other for use of specific virtues.  For example, classes close each day with a Success Circle, where students describe in detail to each other what virtues they noticed other students practicing during that day; what virtue(s) helped them during the day, and how it helped; what virtue(s) they need to work on, or that would have helped during a particular situation.

The virtues are used in every aspect of school functioning.  Teachers and administrative staff are very creative in incorporating the language of virtues, and teaching their meanings, into every aspect of daily events.  For example, administrative staff gives Virtues Vouchers to students that name the virtue(s) observed, and describe in detail how the student exemplified the particular virtue(s).  Students can then take these vouchers to their teacher to exchange for the age-appropriate credit. 

An example of how the Virtues Vouchers contribute to the positive school environment is demonstrated by an incident with a kindergarten student.  He had attended school joyfully for about three weeks.  One morning, however, he and his mother arrived in the office about 30 minutes late.  The Administrative Assistant observed that he was teary eyed, and about to cry.  His mother said that he really didn’t want to come to school that day.  The Administrative Assistant immediately said to him, “I see that you are upset and really don’t want to be at school today.  But I also see that you are here, even though you don’t want to be.  I am going to give you a Virtues Voucher for showing responsibility and determination, because you came to school even though you didn’t want to.”  As she wrote out the Virtues Voucher for him to take to his teacher (to exchange for the appropriate points), his mouth began to turn up and his eyes to sparkle.  “You are really going to give me a Virtues Voucher?!!”.  “Of course!  You are a very responsible student, and I appreciate your being here, even when you don’t really want to be.”  The kindergartener smiled up at his mother and went happily to class.

The Nurtured Heart Approach (Positive Behavior)

The Nurtured Heart Approach is a strategic systems approach designed to turn the challenging child around to a new pattern of success.  It was developed by Howard Glasser, the founder and director of Tucson’s Center for the Difficult Child (CDC) (http://www.nurturedheartkids.com/research), in 1994.  The Nurtured Heart Approach has also been found to produce outstanding success in helping the average child flourish at higher-than-expected levels of functioning.  This component teaches significant adults in the child’s life how to strongly energize the child’s experiences of success while not energizing his/her experiences of loss of self-control.

Children's Success Academy has adapted these techniques for use in a school setting, as part of the Integrated Positive Behavior Program.  Nurtured Heart provides a structure of rules and goals where the excitement, “loud voices” and rewards are built around positive behaviors.  There are simple consequences (time outs) for negative behavior, with no energy involved (no lectures, yelling, etc.).  Once the time out is completed, the student has an accountability to complete, depending on the action that resulted in the time out; he/she then goes right back to the classroom. 

An age-appropriate credit system is used in each classroom.  Students gain points (1) for not breaking rules, (2) for achieving goals and (3) for other outstanding behaviors.  These points can then be spent to do service projects (such as working in the school garden, helping in the main office, reading to the kindergarteners, extra reading time, etc.).  At the beginning of each year, each class consults about the basic rules and goals, and add any others they feel would be helpful to them in the classroom for the year.  These added rules and goals can be modified as the year progresses, depending on the evolution of the particular group of students.

The Nurtured Body Program (Positive Nutrition)

Successful academic progress requires nurturing not only the mind, but also the body.  Another component of the Integrated Positive Behavior Program is that of assisting students and their families in learning and using healthy eating habits, in order to provide a healthy body.

Diet is directly implicated in both the prevention and the causation of disease; for example, a diet high in processed foods that include large quantities of sugar and fat is directly correlated with the development of insulin resistance, which in turn leads to non-insulin dependent diabetes.  On the other hand, a diet utilizing complex carbohydrates and foods high in fiber (such as whole grains, vegetables and certain fruits) results in decreased incidence of cancer, diabetes and other diseases.  Thus, nutritional intake is an important determinant of overall health, and of longevity.  It is therefore of prime importance for the development and healthy growth of children to provide optimal nutrients. 

The Nurtured Body Program is geared to provide family guidance in planning excellent nutrition for optimal growth and development of children.  People who eat relatively simply - that is, primarily whole grains, a large quantity of raw and/or lightly steamed vegetables, fruits, and quality proteins (such as eggs, tofu, lean meats, legumes) - enjoy excellent health, with few illnesses.  These people are generally more resistant to infectious diseases, and rarely are subject to chronic diseases, including asthma and other allergic conditions.  When illnesses do strike, they are generally of much less severity and are over much more quickly than in people who eat mostly highly processed foods, that contain large quantities of refined sugars, salts and hydrogenated fats.

All staff at Children's Success Academy are trained in, and use, the Nurtured Body Program.  In addition, classes are given at Children's Success Academy for families and other interested community members on the role of nutrition in health and the effects proper nutrition can have on behavior.  Food preparation suggestions, ideas for snacks, menus, etc., are provided; active discussions occur and ideas are exchanged.  Parents and staff are currently collecting ideas and recipes in order to produce a cookbook to sell as a school fundraiser.

The Nurtured Mind (The International Educational Initiatives)

The curriculum used as part of the Integrated Positive Behavior Program meets and exceeds the requirements of the Arizona State Standards, and is completely compatible with No Child Left Behind.  It was chosen as the basic curriculum structure (1) because it presents academic lessons from a global perspective, but most importantly (2) because it uses and teaches students consultation techniques and problem-solving skills.  These skills are vital for producing and maintaining an atmosphere of respect and cooperation in the school community.  Learning the art and skills of consultation and problem solving provides a foundation for productive contributions by the student, not only academically and behaviorally while at school, but for his/her entire life. 

The IEI curriculum gives in-depth and ongoing attention to the development of global consciousness and responsibility.  It assists individuals to develop the ability to search for knowledge, evaluate it, and decide how to put it to use in meaningful ways.  Further, it results in responsible, ethical individuals who possess the ability to think clearly, logically, morally and independently as participating members of a society, with the ability to work in international situations.  Students develop understanding and appreciation of cultural, social, scientific, economic, political and religious ideas and practices worldwide, and learn to nurture the concept of unity in diversity.

The IEI curriculum develops critical thinking skills and cooperative strategies that help train students in the principles of consultation so that they will be enabled to analyze their environment and use this knowledge to develop solutions to the challenges they identify.  Student activities are designed to develop competent, self-directed and responsible social interaction in a cooperative, respectful atmosphere, with a mastery of good communication and learning skills. 

The IEI curriculum is in use at the Townsend International School in the Czech Republic; the Ocean of Light School in Tonga (South Pacific); in Rural Learning Centers in Malaysia; and was used at the Daystar International School in Japan.  Portions of the curriculum are in use in both remedial and advanced learning centers in the People's Republic of China, Germany, and Mexico.  Children's Success Academy is the first school to use this curriculum in the United States. 


Substantial progress in improving student achievement

Children's Success Academy opened its doors in temporary quarters to 30 students, Kindergarten through 4th grade, in September 2000.  In January 2001, the school relocated to its permanent site, located in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood that has a large percentage of low income households, and is known as a high crime area.  The following year the 5th grade was added, with an enrollment of 73.  Our third year, we increased enrollment to 85.  Approximately 86% of our students meet the qualifications for Title I (free lunch).  The diversity of the student population is wonderful!  Although about 75% of the students are Hispanic, most from the immediate neighborhood, 12% are African-American, 10 % Native American, and the rest Caucasian or mixed.  Our Special Education population is 12%, primarily Speech and Language Impairment and Specific Learning Disorder.

Parent Satisfaction

Parents have been the backbone of our school since its inception.  The diversity of our school, ranging from Title I families to wealthy families from the elite sections of Tucson, is one of the strengths of the school.  We have a book filled with letters from parents who are grateful for the assistance they have received through the school – both for the academic and social improvement of their children and for the changes that they are achieving at home by using our program.  We find it takes about a year for the nutritional program to become fully incorporated at home, although there have been some exceptions.  Some families were able to make immediate changes in everyone’s eating habits, not just the student attending our school.

The most profound gratitude comes from parents of students with a long history of behavior problems, including suspensions and expulsions from school – often from more than one school.  A few comments are shared below.

“My son has changed his attitude towards school work and his peers tremendously.  He likes to go to school now.  His attitude towards his father and at home has also changed – and he has only attended Children's Success Academy for four weeks.  Thank you!”

“We have found that our children love school because of the caring staff.  We believe in Children's Success Academy because of the respect and dignity they show their students and parents.  With that kind of environment, who wouldn’t want to learn!!”

“My daughter has been attending Children's Success Academy since the 2nd Grade.  The reason I switched her is because she is a very sensitive child.  At the other school where she was attending, I always had the feeling that she was in a military school rather than a children’s school.  Emotionally she never felt well, plus her self-esteem was down.  At CSA my daughter feels safe, understood, and her self-esteem went up.  Academically she is doing excellently.  As a parent, knowing that my daughter is learning at the same time that she has self-confidence makes me feel relief.  Thank you!”

“My son was kicked out of three other schools.  You are the first school to make a difference, to see his potential, and to quit sending him home – making him stay and be accountable for his behavior.  The difference you have made to our lives is overwhelming.  I am a single mom who felt totally unheard and that my situation was unappreciated.  You listened to me, and have helped support my learning how to deal with my son.

Welcome to CSA | Dr. Aiken | Dr. Aiken's Publications | CSA Programs | 2009-2010 Calendar | Nurtured Body (CSA Nutrition Program) | Nurtured Heart | Nurtured Mind (IEI) | Virtues Project | Why Choose CSA | Printable_Enrollment_Form | Why Donate to CSA | Printable Arizona Tax Form-(MS Word) | Meet The Staff  | Art Gallery |

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