Independence Institute profiles LPR Chairman Bob Schaffer’s “school of excellence”

Bob Schaffer, LPR chairman and headmaster at Liberty Common School — the award-winning K-12 charter school in Fort Collins, CO.

In a story titled “Liberty Common Charter School: Excellence in Education,” Independence Institute profiles a far-reaching outcome of LPR Chairman Bob Schaffer’s leadership in K-12 education. Authored by Independence Institute’s Senior Fellow in Education Policy Ross Izard, here is potent inspiration for parents and educators alike seeking excellence in education. Join Ross in a school tour and see how Liberty Common Charter School has provided its students with outstanding in-person learning—despite the pandemic.


Liberty Common Charter School: Excellence in Education

It is a crisp fall day when I arrive at Liberty Common School’s elementary campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. This campus, which sits adjacent to a placid open space on the eastern edge of the city, houses all of the public charter school’s kindergarten through sixth-grade students. Grades seven through twelve study in a building about a mile away. From the outside, Liberty Common School’s elementary campus looks much like any other elementary school. It does not occupy a chic, modern building. It does not project an aura of prestige or fame. The building itself used to be a toothpaste factory that, in its early years, still smelled of oral hygiene products and featured hallways marked by well-worn tracks where workers once moved carts and equipment. It may come as a surprise, then, that

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Liberty Common School sit at a distance from one another behind clear plastic “desk masks” that wrap around the front and sides of their workspaces. Though most of the school’s students have returned to in-person learning, each room includes a web camera for students whose parents would prefer for them to participate virtually. (Photos courtesy of Liberty Common School and Independence Institute.)

this modest campus is the entry point into what many regard as the best public school in Colorado—a school renowned for elite academic performance, prestigious state and national awards, and a student lottery pool that reaches into the thousands. Here, in a small city about 60 miles north of bustling Denver, Liberty Common School is leading its own “revolution in education.” Education leaders from across the nation come to Fort Collins to see Liberty Common School, hoping to discover the secret to its remarkable success. They want to know what new innovation the school has discovered that produces such incredible results. What most of them do not know is that Liberty Common’s secret, if one can call it that, is that the school’s success has very little to do with “innovation” in the traditional sense. Instead, Liberty Common relies on content, philosophies, and teaching strategies that have been in use for thousands of years—all of which are combined with a highly intentional approach to education.

For All Things, a Purpose
My first experience at Liberty Common School is a Character Education Assembly in the gymnasium, where neat rows of masked elementary students have been assembled to listen to a presentation from members of the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. My visit to Liberty Common happened at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the school needed to take extra precautions for its assemblies…

Read the rest of the Independence Institute’s profile of Liberty Common School… 

Jimmy Lakey Interviews Bob Schaffer
Click here to listen to Jimmy Lakey interview Bob Schaffer about Independence Institute’s profile on Liberty Common School, and how Bob’s unique school is outsmarting COVID-19.



Liberty Common School’s Sixth-Annual Festival of Ideas Symposium
Saturday February 27th, 1:00 to 4:45 p.m. Liberty Common School’s sixth annual Festival of Ideas is going virtual, and you’re invited! Festival of Ideas is a colloquium at which content experts and secondary students contribute to a diverse and vibrant conversation of intellectual curiosity and expertise. We have speakers from a variety of disciplines, including mathematics, literature, philosophy, engineering, science, art, music, history, and sociology. Keynote speakers will include two former Poet Laureates from Colorado, (Dr. David Rothman and Dr. David Mason), as well as other leaders in the surging classical education movement (Dr. Robert Jackson, Dr. Matthew Post, and Dr. Brian Williams). This online symposium will also include fantastic speakers from surrounding schools, including Loveland Classical, plus Liberty Common faculty members and students. There is no charge for Liberty Common School’s Festival of Ideas Symposium. Click here to register and find more information.