The Juniper School, an elementary charter school in Durango, will move out of its tight quarters above Big Picture High School and into two buildings in the Tech Center.
The charter school is in its second year and has reached capacity serving 135 students in kindergarten through fifth graders in its 6,500-square-foot space, said Heather Houk, president of the school’s board.
“We can’t add anything or anyone,” she said.
The school decided it needed to move out of its space on East 12th Street in December. It plans to spend the next four years at 9 Burnett Court and 150 Tech Center Drive where it has leased space, she said.
The school will remodel the two office buildings into classrooms over the summer, she said. The school will have a little more than 10,000 square feet in its new spaces and room to add new classes, she said.
“We are giddy. We are down-right giddy,” Houk said.
In the fall, the school will add a third kindergarten and a first grade class. The school offers mixed classes that combine kindergarten and first graders, second and third graders, and fourth and fifth graders. It currently has two classes for each of the combined grades, she said.
In the future, the school plans to add middle school grades. The school could serve up to 228 students under its charter, she said.
Parents have been drawn to the school because of its unique model that allows students to move at their own pace, Houk said.
“You know your kids are never going to get stagnant and bored,” she said.
The school’s model also doesn’t employ traditional disciplinary methods; rather, teachers focus on helping students understand what they have done wrong and work with their classmates and teachers to resolve problems. The disciplinary model helps students feel heard and respected, Houk said.
While the school is leasing space in the Tech Center buildings, it will likely plan for a permanent location, she said.
Juniper School has reopened its enrollment as a result of its planned move and having more space for students.
More information about the school can be found at juniper.durangoschools.org.