As waiting lists for local charter schools like The Community School of Davidson and Corvian Community School in Charlotte continue to grow, families this summer will have a new option: Pioneer Springs Community School will open this August as a reduced-tuition private school, in the Historic Croft Schoolhouse, 9200 Bob Beatty Road, Charlotte. The school aims to apply for a charter in the coming years.
Pioneer Spring director Cheryl Demers, a Huntersville resident and mother of a rising first-grader, found the waiting lists for area charter schools discouraging.
“The schools in our area we were most excited about were charters with holistic educational philosophies,” she said in a statement. “However, the waiting lists were so long that it was next to impossible to get in. It became clear to me that our area needed more schools like this to keep up with the demand.”
A certified Handwriting Without Tears specialist and former member of the board of directors at the Children’s Schoolhouse, Ms. Demers will serve as director and also will work with students on handwriting support and will oversee the health and natural connections portion of the curriculum. She is joined by Assistant Directors Randolph Lewis, a musician, potter, and writer in Cornelius who also will teach music; and Erin McDonald, vice president of the Children’s Schoolhouse Cooperative in Huntersville and an avid runner, who also will teach physical education.
The school’s curriculum will be based on The Basic School, by Dr. Ernest Boyer, with the same principles that founded the Community School of Davidson and Corvian Community School. Lisa Humphries, a CSD teacher, served as an education consultant in founding Corvian Community School about two years ago, and also has been working with the Pioneer Springs founders.
In addition to the academic curriculum, the school will emphasize seven core virtues: honesty, respect, responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, perseverance and giving.
Much like Corvian, Pioneer Springs will begin offering Kindergarten and first grade, and aims to add a grade each subsequent year as students progress. Enrollment for the 2012-13 school year is now open, and tuition is $550 per month. To be eligible for Kindergarten, children must be five years old on or before Aug. 31.
The Pioneer Springs board of directors includes: Tanya Chartier, adjunct lecturer in education at Davidson College; Kristin Clewell, pediatric occupational therapist; Abigail Jennings, president of Lake Norman Realty, who also is the school’s financial director; Sandra Knox, attorney at law; and Dr. Susan Massengill, medical director of pediatric nephrology at Levine Children’s Hospital.
The Croft School first opened in 1890 to serve the rural, railroad-centered business district of Croft in North Mecklenburg County, and closed nearly 80 years ago.
GRAND OPENING AND OPEN HOUSE AUG. 1
Members of the community are invited to the schoolhouse for a ribbon cutting and celebration Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m., followed by an open house at 7 p.m.
The opening celebration will honor the schoolhouse’s past and future, and will include recognition of some of the school’s original alumni, a brief historic overview of the schoolhouse by Dr. Dan Morrill, consulting director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission and professor of history at UNCC, and an introduction to Pioneer Springs Community School by the school’s founders.
Following the presentations, guests will enjoy refreshments, games, and live music prior to the open house.