New Christian school eyes August opening
Ryan Summerlin January 7, 2014
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Plans are under way for a new tuition-based private Christian school serving students in grades kindergarten through eighth to open this coming August for the 2014-15 school year.
The Skylark School is proposed to be located in a group of unused classrooms in the lower level of the Mountain View Church building on Garfield County Road 154 south of Glenwood Springs, across Highway 82 from the Red Canyon area.
A formal application is pending an administrative decision by the county planning department.
The school is to be based on the Ambleside Schools International model, offering a Christian-based curriculum around the educational philosophy of noted author and teacher Charlotte Mason, according to one of the new school’s founders, Nicole Wenger, who will serve as principal.
“Children will learn through living ideas that capture and inspire their minds while learning habits such as attention, truthfulness and responsibility,” Wenger said in explaining Mason’s philosophy.
“These intentional habits blossom in time to give them tools for lifelong learning and service,” she said.
Organizers of the Skylark School have invited Ambleside International founders Bill and Maryellen St. Cyr for an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at Mountain View Church.
“We welcome anyone interested in learning more about the school’s educational philosophy, methodology, curriculum, service learning opportunities and employment,” Wenger said.
Wenger, who has two children of her own who will be attending the school, said the project has been in the works since last summer, when she and other organizers completed an Ambleside internship in Texas.
“It was a real journey for us to find the right curriculum,” she said of the decision to choose Ambleside. “What really stood out for me is that everything is done with excellence and with parental support, and it’s very community-based learning.”
Wenger said she envisions being able to develop partnerships between the school and community organizations such as Feed My Sheep, which provides services for the local homeless population, and other service organizations.
Although other potential locations were explored, she said it made sense to go with Mountain View, where she and her husband Chris and co-founders Andrea and Rich Barth attend church.
Mountain View Pastor Dave Pearson said it has been a longtime dream for the church to accommodate a Christian school.
“It just never quite worked for the church to be able to do it,” Pearson said. “When [the Wengers and Barths] approached us, we asked them to put together a presentation, and we decided to embrace it.”
The church will be leasing the space to the Skylark School.
Wenger said there has been “quite a bit of interest” in the school, both from within the church and in the larger community. She said she anticipates the school will open with about 30 students.
Skylark would become one of two Christian schools in the immediate Glenwood Springs area, the other being St. Stephen’s Catholic School.
It would also be one of two brand-new schools opening up in Glenwood Springs next school year. The public charter Two Rivers Expeditionary School won approval last June from the Colorado Charter School Institute to begin operating for the fall 2014 semester at a location to be announced.
TRES intends to open with 151 students in grades K-6, expanding to 225 students as it adds seventh and eighth grades over the next two years.
For more information about the Skylark School, visit www.theskylarkschool.org.