Friday, August 16, 2013

Commission approves charter school

Syringa Mountain School set to open in 2014

Express Staff Writer

Students at The Mountain School collect eggs from some of the school?s chickens. Express file photo

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission on Thursday approved an application for Syringa Mountain School to become a state-funded charter school.
    “Yeah!” Mary Gervase, who led the charter school application process, wrote in an email to the Idaho Mountain Express announcing the approval.
    Syringa Mountain School is set to open in fall 2014. The school will replace the private Mountain School near Bellevue, which is set to close next spring. As with the Mountain School, the new Syringa Mountain School will use the Waldorf Education teaching methodology, which emphasizes, in addition to basic education, “educating the heart, head and hand,” sustainable living, gardening and farming, minimal use of technology and experiential learning.
    “Successful approval today gives us a full 12 months in which to begin pursuing site selection and preparation, and most importantly our fundraising efforts,” Gervase stated. “We have already received a generous donation contingent upon our successful approval. Now we can fully embark on a vigorous fundraising campaign.”
    Charter schools rely on private donations and fundraising because although they receive state funds they are not allowed to levy taxes as can school districts.
    Syringa Mountain School plans an initial enrollment of 165 students, grades K-5. Future plans are to expand to grades K-8.
    “This school and methodology will be a real asset to the families of the Wood River Valley, offering yet another quality public education choice for our children,” Gervase stated. “The board put together a bulletproof case for this truly wholesome, rigorous, arts-infused liberal arts education that has traditionally only been available to families of means.”
    In addition to Gervase, founding board members and advisors for the school are Ben Rogers, Travis Scott, Laurie Wertich, Dick Springs, Phoebe Pilaro, Greg Bloomfield, Kate Sokoloff and Don Keller, who is CEO of Sage International School, a charter school in Boise.

Terry Smith:

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