The first day of classes could be different starting in 2014 if officials opt to reconfigure the district’s elementary schools.
Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 superintendent Alex Carter told school board members Tuesday at their monthly meeting that he wants them to examine reconfiguring the elementary schools in town. He said the move would improve the district’s educational programs while increasing efficiency.
“This is just a plan, a big idea,” Carter said.
While school officials took no action on the measure, Carter explained the move would be necessary if board officials approve a pending application for the Children’s Kiva Montessori Charter School. Charter school officials are hopeful to open its doors at the start of the 2014 academic year.
By clustering students via a reconfiguration of the district’s elementary schools by grade level, Carter said the measure, if approved, would allow for greater collaboration between teachers and pooling of resources, like library books, equipment and technology best suited to the grade levels being served.
“The reconfiguration of the elementary schools is a proven method to improve instructional programs,” Carter told school board members.
Manaugh, Mesa and Kemper elementary schools could be impacted by the reconfiguration. Currently, each neighborhood school serves kindergarten through fifth grade students.
Under the proposed plan, Manaugh could serve as the district’s early primary center for kindergarten and first-grade students; Mesa could transition into a primary school for second and third graders, and Kemper could operate as an intermediate school for fourth and fifth graders.
School board member Diane Fox didn’t oppose the idea, but she did raise concerns that parents could be inconvenienced if they had to drop children off at multiple campuses.
Understanding the move would be a “big change” in the community, Carter said he simply wants the board to consider the measure as a means to better educate the community’s students.
In regard to the charter school application, a group of area parents, educators and community members have joined forces to form a Montessori charter elementary school.
“It is quite a mixed group politically, socioeconomically, racially and culturally, but many of us have children in the Cortez schools,” said organizer Anna Cole. “The charter will be a public kindergarten through eighth-grade school serving kids and families from all over the county.”
Located in Cortez, the school would provide area families with a viable, research-based educational option in the community, Cole added. The school’s academic program emphasizes three core components: an authentic Montessori education; academic rigor through interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics; and community-based education.
Carter is currently reviewing the charter school application, and he expects to submit it to school board officials for their consideration later this year. A public hearing will also be scheduled at a later time.
Developed by an Italian physician and educator, the Montessori educational approach emphasis independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical and social development.
Charter school officials will hold a series of informational meetings next month. To learn more, visit www.kivacharter.org.
In other news, the school board voted unanimously to file an application to list Kemper Elementary on the city’s register of historic structures. The listing is merely an honorary designation by the City of Cortez Historic Preservation Board.