Last week, an exciting new public charter school in Delta, the Blossom Valley Charter Initiative, was voted down by the school district. We appreciate the fact that this wasn't an easy decision for Delta County but disagree with their decision to deny bringing this quality public school to Delta.
The Colorado Charter Schools Act is in place "to encourage parental and community involvement with public schools"; and "to encourage diverse approaches to learning and education and the use of different, proven, or innovative teaching methods." A full 20 years after the passage of this law, it's more important than ever that school districts in Colorado see charter schools through the lens of cooperation rather than competition, as many charter schools are assets and lift the whole community.
Likewise, we believe Blossom Valley Charter School would be a tremendous asset to the community, keeping families in Delta County and attracting new families and businesses to the area. This high-quality, attractive and unique public school option would support our agricultural heritage and enroll an estimated 46 new children into the district as full-time students, helping to create the next generation of Delta County workers.
Blossom Valley Charter Initiative is modeled after the Waldorf education model, which is highly sought after the world over. If approved Blossom Valley would offer this proven model to Delta County students at no charge compared to private Waldorf schools that charge up to $20,000 per year.
Fewer children are being raised on working farms, where a real connection to work is facilitated along with a sense of self and a "whole systems" understanding. Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner developed the Waldorf model of education at the turn of the 20th century, to help educate children whose families were moving from farms into cities to take factory jobs. Therefore, it makes sense that these methods which have been adapted and evolved over the past 100 years help children to become confident and capable learners. Academic lessons are infused with story, practical arts such as sewing, woodwork and gardening, painting, drawing, movement and music. These methods are supported by neuroscience and educational research undertaken by prestigious institutions such as the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Studies of Waldorf graduates over the past 80 years support that Waldorf education is our biggest hope for the future of our communities in an ever-changing world. Waldorf education is highly sought-after and prized world over. Affluent families pay as much as $20,000 per year for a private Waldorf education.
Thanks to supportive communities throughout Colorado and the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, four other districts have opened public Waldorf schools, open to all families at no cost, including Jefferson County School District, Mesa School District 51, Poudre School District, and Colorado Springs School District 11.
We believe that these methods should be available to all students and families who want them, and that the whole community of Delta County will be lifted by bringing this education forward.
At this time we are looking at all the information we have in order to determine our next steps, which could include an appeal, or re-applying for charter authorization. In the meantime, our thanks go out to the many organizations, businesses and individuals who have supported our initiative so far. The friendly exchanges in our community, constructive feedback, written letters of support, and financial donations are very much appreciated. We could not have come this far without you!
Coordinator for the Blossom Valley