Candeo Peoria School is a Core Knowledge School of Distinction. Their dedicated community of school staff and families have embraced a collaborative and domain-based approach to learning.

After extensive review, we are honored to note Candeo Peoria School as Core Knowledge Schools of Distinction due to the following qualities:

Candeo Peoria School building

About Candeo Schools

Candeo Peoria School is a charter school in Peoria, Arizona known for embracing a rigorous classical liberal arts education. Candeo recently opened another location in North Scottsdale, Arizona, but Core Knowledge Foundation staff have only observed the Peoria location at this point. 

Through the two locations, Candeo schools accommodate around 600 students in kindergarten through grade 8 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 1:17.

Candeo Schools and Core Knowledge Foundation

Candeo Peoria has been using Core Knowledge resources since 2008. They utilize the Core Knowledge Sequence and curriculum at every grade level to ensure that students meet and exceed state standards. The leadership at Candeo is committed to the Core Knowledge approach to knowledge-based schooling. They work together with the staff to provide an outstanding learning environment and meet students’ needs.

Outstanding Content Integration Across Subjects

Teaching domain content in context across school subjects not only makes learning more meaningful, but enables teachers to cover content and skills simultaneously. For example, in a grade 4 language arts lesson, students explored the poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and connected that text to their American history knowledge on the Revolutionary War.

Sixth grade students take content integration a step further within Latin classes. They have the weekly opportunity to discuss “The Aeneid,” an epic poem written in Latin. They use their background history and geography knowledge of the ancient world to form opinions of new situations in “The Aeneid.” Students debated topics such as:

  • “Should the gods intervene in the lives of humans?”
  • “What funerary rites are bestowed on the Roman dead?”
  • “Was Aeneas a good or bad person?”

Because of the richness of the Core Knowledge curriculum, students are able to pull, not only the text they are reading in class, but also a variety of texts and sources they have read across the curriculum. This is not only higher level thinking about “The Aeneid,” but it also promotes a higher level of thinking in all Core Knowledge subjects.

Integration of Content Within Special Areas of Study

Candeo Peoria integrates content not only across main areas of study, such as language arts, math, science, and history and geography, but also across special areas of study, such as art, music, physical education and foreign languages. 

For example, students in grade 4 art classes learn about the art of the Middle Ages of Europe, including Gothic architecture and famous cathedrals. Using that knowledge and historical context, students then sketch the features of Gothic cathedrals and their original ideas for stained glass windows.

Features of Gothic cathedrals from class presentation

Collaboration Across the Community

Dedicated leadership, teachers, parents and other Candeo Peoria community members eagerly adopted the Core Knowledge approach to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive education for all students.

Professional Development for School Staff

Candeo’s professional development process is timely, aligned with school goals, and needs based. The schools encourage regular collaboration among teachers, especially for new teachers. All teaching teams are provided a common planning time daily, which they can use to work together or alone as they see fit.

Each Wednesday, students are released after a half day, and staff engage in professional development from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Topics for professional development are rich and varied based on school needs, grade level band needs, or individual grade level needs. Time is always provided for teachers to learn and meet with their teaching teams to apply what they’ve learned.

Teacher Evaluation for Learning, Accountability, and Recognition

In addition to regular administrative walkthroughs, Candeo’s TELAR (Teacher Evaluation for Learning, Accountability, and Recognition) system supports the application of learning to practice.

At the start of each year, teachers meet with an administrator to discuss their professional goals for the year. Teachers engage in a lengthy mid-year and end of year review to reflect on those goals and formal observations.

When teachers engage in their formal observations, new hires are taught how to write a formal Core Knowledge lesson plan, while returning teachers refine their lesson writing prowess. Administrators review lesson plans prior to formal observations and suggest changes, if needed. After the lesson is taught, administrators and teachers discuss what worked well and what could be improved. 

School and Family Partnerships

Candeo Peoria goes above and beyond to engage families with school curriculum throughout the year. Each year, parents are  invited to a Meet the Teacher event that serves a dual purpose—to meet the teacher and learn about the curriculum for the school year. They hold a special evening for those families who are new to Candeo and Core Knowledge to allow time and space to explain the approach to learning. Parents are also invited to volunteer in the classroom to see the curriculum in action.

Families receive weekly updates from teachers about what their children are learning and a monthly message from the Head of School that narrates the curriculum in action. Candeo also publishes a quarterly parent magazine that is provided free to every family at Candeo, educating parents about topics that celebrate the curriculum or inform parents of their approach to education.

Additional opportunities for  parents to engage in the curriculum include:

  • Winter and Spring music concerts
  • Middle School Science Night
  • Annual art show
  • Spring conference
  • Monthly parent meetings

Classroom Curriculum Celebrations

Rather than host parties for holidays, like Halloween or Christmas, that don’t align with their curriculum, Candeo Peoria celebrations solidify learning in the classroom. Each grade level engages parents in the process of planning a celebration, cooking authentic food, running learning stations, and creating children’s costumes for the event.

  • First grade’s Fairy Tale Ball
  • Second grade’s County Fair
  • Third grade’s Roman Festival

“I couldn’t be more excited about being part of such an incredible community of proactive, passionate and dedicated parents and educators. My son comes home every day talking about all the things he’s learned, which then leads to rich conversations that engage our whole family and challenge us to dig deeper into each subject as we explore the endless world of learning together. Candeo provides my bright and inquisitive son with the stimulating environment that he needs to really thrive, and that is a gift that we will never take for granted.”

Candeo Kindergarten Parent

Visit Candeo School

To learn techniques and processes for implementing our approach at your school, consider a visit to Candeo Peoria. Check out their Facebook page and the Candeo Schools website to learn more and plan your visit.