Behind the Headlines

Charting progress: The North Routt School

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Q. Has the school year lived up to your expectations? Do you see any areas that merit improvement?

A. We have nearly completed the first semester of our school year and I am very happy with the way things are going.

We have had our ups and downs, of course. Start-up of any venture is a learning experience and we are learning every day. I am extremely happy with the multi-age concept and the small size of the class. The kids are happy and learning, so much so that they don't want to go home when school is out.

We are staying in close contact with our parents, who are wonderful and are one of the main reasons we are successful.

They volunteer countless hours and are very involved in their children's education.

We are having a Parent Night Potluck on Jan. 28 just so we can talk about what successes we have had and also what challenges we need to meet.

Q. How has the North Routt Charter School contributed to the North Routt community?

A. As some may already have read in the Pilot & Today, we have a 21st Century Grant that funds our after-school program, evening classes and summer program.

The steward for the grant, Sandy Clark, and the Community Leadership Forum are attempting to gather information about what particular needs and wants the community at large has so they can plan classes and programs. We hope they will contribute to the opportunities available in North Routt.

I also believe the school has provided a focal point for the North Routt community. We have hosted events such as a Halloween party. The kids made a haunted house and invited everyone to attend. It was a great success.

Q. How important is place-based education to the school's mission? What is the ratio of classroom instruction to on-site instruction?

A. At the beginning of the school year, we spent a lot of time "out in the field" when the weather was nice and we were not yet in the old Clark school.

Place-based education is a component of our curriculum whether we are "out" taking field trips or "in" doing more traditional work. It's an integral part of our everyday work.

Q. Which place-based trip was the most memorable?

A. I would have to ask them which of the trips was the best, but I am sure that they enjoyed visiting the Fremont Indian rock drawings located near the school. It was fascinating to sit in the same place and see the same vista as people from long ago. We could see all of the Elk River Valley and talk about the development of the town of Clark and how civilization had changed the valley.

Q. What measures are you taking to keep the public informed about the school and its mission?

A. This question is very timely, because the board and the staff are very interested in keeping the public informed and up to date on the charter school particularly because we want to increase our enrollment each year.

There will be an open house on Feb. 2 from 8 to 10 a.m. and another on Feb. 11 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

We tried to pick times when people can just stop in and take a quick look at our facility and program.

We hope that anyone at all who is interested in the charter school will take a minute to drop in and talk. In addition we are planning a mailing, a telephone blitz, newspaper ads and radio spots to notify the public of the open house dates.

Of course, we welcome visitors at any time.

The best way for anyone to learn about the charter school is to simply make a visit.

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