Since its founding, the Lowell Whiteman Primary School has offered scholarships to about one-third of its kindergarten to eighth-grade student body. As a result, the school has been able to reach out to motivated students throughout Routt County and as far as Walden.
"There are lots of alumni of our school whose parents didn't think it would be possible to come here before they knew about our scholarship program," said Debbie Gooding, the school's director of admissions.
The scholarship program at LWPS is as old as the school, beginning with some of the first students in 1993. Although the scholarship program is the primary focus of the school's annual fund-raising program, informing parents about the program continues to be a challenge, Gooding said.
"The scholarship program is solid," she said. "Expanding community awareness of the program has been one of the things we've worked hardest on over the last 12 years."
The Lowell Whiteman ABC ("Anything But Chardonnay and Cabernet") winter fund-raiser is the school's main scholarship funding event. Funds also come from private gifts and grants, including several grants from the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation of Denver.
Scholarship amounts and recipients are determined after students are accepted to the school, according to the LWPS "needs-blind" admissions policy, which focuses on getting the right mix of talented and interested children. School policy also keeps all scholarship information private.
"This lets a lot of kids, and their families, benefit the school and benefit from it," Gooding said.
The school is working on its admissions for the fall term, with notifications of acceptance due out about April 15. But there's still time for parents to apply for positions regardless of economics, Gooding said. Because of the school's small class sizes (typically five to six children in a grade), interested parents should contact the school as soon as possible.
"The scholarship program is one of the primary ways to develop diversity in our school," she said. "I try to encourage everyone to apply who thinks small class sizes and a fun and challenging curriculum are vital to their kids."
LWPS is an independent school and the only local kindergarten through eighth-grade school that has been accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools. Applications can be picked up at the school, 818 Oak St., or downloaded from the school's Web site at www.lwps.org.
-- Lowell Whiteman Primary School