Stone Creek Charter is a moving miracle
EDWARDS, Colorado – Let’s be clear: Classes start at Stone Creek Charter School Aug. 26, and students will begin learning that very day.
Stone Creek is moving to Fox Hollow in Edwards, and they hope to be in their new home by then. If they’re not, they’ll be in spaces around the neighborhood and will move as soon as they can – weeks, maybe a couple months, say Stone Creek board members.
Stone Creek learned last November that they’d have to move out of their Avon space. Since then, they’ve packed a year and a half’s worth of work into five months: finding a new home next to the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center, landing a $3 million loan, raising money, nailing down governmental approvals.
They got their CDOT approval in seven days.
“I am tremendously proud of our progress over the last five months,” said Ron Wolfe, former Avon mayor and president of the Stone Creek board of directors. “Ask anyone involved in construction in the Vail Valley whether they thought it was possible to go from zero to fully permitted for a project like this in that period of time, and I guarantee they would tell you it is impossible. We did it with the collective help of everyone from the county and state to CDOT.”
A little help, please
Jim Skidmore is president of the Stone Creek Education Fund and says after getting the Stone Creek family on board, they now need a little community help.
Skidmore and his committee did what we all do when trying to raise cash, they approached family – in this case the Stone Creek family. In five days, 75 percent of Stone Creek families jumped on board with donations and pledges.
“No one wants to help people who don’t help themselves, so once we determined what the guaranteed cost of the project was, we immediately went out to our families to stand together and commit to it,” Skidmore said.
They still need around $1.1 million to complete the $4.6 million project.
About Stone Creek Charter
Stone Creek Charter School is not affiliated with the local school district, but it’s still a public school, not private. There’s no tuition.
There’s also no built-in bureaucracy. If problems pop up or if something needs to be changed, they can deal with it right then, said John Brendza, Stone Creek’s headmaster.
Stone Creek is home to 210 kindergarten through eighth grade students. The school topped the valley’s CSAP scores, and consistently places at or near the top on standardized tests.
The school uses a Core Knowledge curriculum that allows teachers to develop and use their own teaching styles and methods, while allowing students to progress at their own rates.
It’s common to have classes with sixth, seventh and eighth graders working at the same level on a particular subject, Brendza said.
“We like to say that we teach to the ability of the student rather than to a grade level,” Brendza said. “People value what we are trying to do.”
Stone Creek was founded in 2006 and is operating in the black, Skidmore said.
“We now need others who value public school education to help us get over the hump,” Skidmore said. “Competition in public education helps everyone in the community win by raising the standards we collectively have for our children’s educations. Choice in education is a critical option for us to preserve.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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