High Altitude Society column: Stone Creek Charter School receives $50,000 donation | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society column: Stone Creek Charter School receives $50,000 donation

The Stone Creek Charter School executive principal recently received a donation of $50,000 from the Parent Teacher Organization family and students to help support ongoing programs at the Edwards and Gypsum campuses. The students helped raise some of the funds through events including a Jog-a-Thon, pottery making at Dewey Dabbles in Eagle, golf tournaments and a book fair.

Founded in 2006, Stone Creek Charter School is the only independent, public charter school in Eagle County. As an independent kindergarten through eighth-grade school, Stone Creek is able to take a creative approach to curriculum content and design instructional experiences that intrinsically motivate students to succeed. In order to support the school, fundraising and parent involvement is key. Stone Creek Charter School's motto, "Go Boldly," applies to its entire school community.

The Jog-a-Thon that the Stone Creek Charter School community holds annually is its largest fundraiser.

"While this is wonderful exercise and great fun for the kids, it is also our largest (Parent Teacher Organization) fundraiser," Stone Creek parent Wendy Groover DiVenere said. "The fundraiser gives Stone Creek students the opportunity to raise money for their school by collecting pledges and participating in the Jog-a-Thon."

To date, the Parent Teacher Organization has given more than $244,000 to the school to help support field trips for all students, a spelling bee, eighth-grade continuation, Stone Creek Charter School Board Curriculum, teacher-appreciation lunches, two vans for school use, Smart Boards, playground equipment, guest speakers, core knowledge library materials and mobile computer lab equipment. In addition, the organization has organized golf tournaments that have helped raise more than $16,000 to support music, art, world language and technology programs.

Popular Book Fair

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Another way in which the Parent Teacher Organization helped raise money was with a book fair at The Bookworm of Edwards. The book fair was a huge success, with a percentage of the sales going to Stone Creek Charter School.

"It was the first ever book fair that The Bookworm hosted for a school and we were thrilled," Stone Creek parent Maggie Dedecker Rey said.

It was good business for the bookstore, as well.

"We were happy to help support our local economy by holding the event at The Bookworm," Groover DiVenere said.

Stone Creek Charter School's Capital Campaign is an ongoing campaign through which families, friends and businesses can make one-time, monthly or annual donations to the school. These donations can be made through the school's online store. Donors can also select area of interest for their gift, choosing from technology, science lab, the arts and world language programs.

Welcome, Jason Mills

This past spring, the Board of Directors of Stone Creek Charter School announced Jason Mills had accepted the position of executive principal, effective July 1. Mills was selected from more than 30 highly qualified applicants and has assumed the role that was held by John Brendza, who retired June 30 after seven years of remarkable stewardship at Stone Creek.

Mills brings 15 years of Colorado Charter School experience to Stone Creek. Most recently, he was recognized as an Outstanding Educator and served as the seventh- and eighth-grade team leader at Eagle County Charter Academy and served on the Eagle County Charter Academy Board of Governors.

Throughout his career Mills has worked to create collaborative educational environments, inspiring kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers, directors and governing boards to promote democratic ideals, implement research-based programs and utilize engaging educational practices to grow students' character and academic achievement.

"My goal is to create authentic learning experiences and to support and challenge our students as they develop a love for learning on their path to self-discovery," Mills said.

After a yearlong, extensive nationwide search, the Board of Directors is delighted that Mills now leads Stone Creek students, faculty and staff forward, as Stone Creek builds upon its strong academic record, commitment to individual virtues and service to the Vail Valley community. For more information on enrollment and the mission and vision of Stone Creek, visit http://www.stone creekschool.org.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.