The Renaissance Expeditionary Learning School in Castle Rock has just received approval to go forward with the expansion of their program. This fall they will break ground to add a secondary school for the 2017-18 school year.
“Right now the Renaissance Elementary School only goes up to sixth,” Renaissance Secondary Principal, Debra Rabideau. Once the new addition is completed, they will have the room to accept kids going into 7th grade and eventually, 12th.
“There’s definitely a need and interest to expand the current program at Renaissance,” commented Rabideau.
Until now, no nearby options were available for their students to continue a post-elementary education that reflected the learning style of Renaissance. Instead, parents had a tough decision; discontinue their child’s expeditionary learning career or face a long commute to another similar institution.
“Now parents and students will have a choice,” she commented.
Constructed on the same 4-acre property, the new building will be two stories tall with 15 classrooms. “The site we have selected will be on the same property as the current Renaissance Elementary School,” she continued. “It will be a small but mighty school.
And the design of both the interior and exterior have been a communal effort. With input from the board, existing students and new community members, they are hoping to create a secondary school that emulates the five traits of their program: perseverance, empathy, beneficence, integrity, and stewardship.
“The new school’s design definitely reflects the input of young adults,” she said. “We’ve included students and people from the community in the entire design process.”
Those plans will include views of the front range, a central commons area for gatherings (and the drum circle), as well as an outdoor rock wall. The school also has plans to operate during slightly different hours.
“Another unique feature will be our schedule.” Unlike the typical hours of operation for schools, the day will start at 9am and end at 5pm. “Research shows that young persons sitting in seats at 7:30 am is too early. We will try to accommodate that.”
As the set of unique design plans solidify, Rabideau and the board will continue to ride the momentum and move towards an even brighter future for the Renaissance School. “By 2019, we hope to have a high school built on a separate property for our students.”