Discussion of bringing a new charter school to Marine began during a meeting Saturday, January 25. The new school is planned to occupy the former Marine Elementary site and hopes to open its doors in 2021.
Organized by new board members Win Miller, Brian Mader, Jean Spisak and Susan Loomis, conversations have already begun in private, but Miller provided that soon the public will have more involvement in this process.
“We started talking in September, so this has been brewing for a few months,” he said. “We’re a private group, but once we become a unit of government we will be governed by open meeting laws, so then all of our meetings will be open to the public.”
In that January 25 meeting, the board showed a presentation to community members of their hopes and plans and heard comments and questions from those attending. Miller attests that the general consensus overall was very positive.
“The community has wanted a school up there since it was closed by the district,” said Miller. “It’s important to the vitality of Marine as a city and a community that we have a school. It helps downtown businesses and makes the whole place more vibrant. So, we’re intent on creating a school in Marine.”
The new school is intended to be a charter school that would open the school to all students despite ability or needs, be independent of public schools and remain tuition free. It would be run entirely by licensed teachers, parents, and community members.
The hopeful school’s mission statement is, “To provide a nurturing and inclusive learning environment that fosters academic success in a traditional, yet dynamic classroom setting.” And will focus primarily on academics, ecology, community and service. Miller expanded on this mission statement.
“We want a traditional schoolhouse with one class of 25 per grade,” he said. “Academic success has long been held high in Marine on St. Croix, but we also want to use up to date teaching methods. So, the curriculum will be forward looking.”
On topic of that forward looking curriculum are projects like the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) Lab, and Makerspace where students can use hands on training to build, create and learn. Students will also likely have a second language curriculum, and before and after school care included as well.
While this project is in its beginning stages, the current board is seeking additional board members and community volunteers who would be interested in seeing the school grow and thrive in Marine on St Croix.
“We’re very excited about bringing this school in and we hope to open our doors in September of 2021,” said Miller.