Sunday, April 3, 2011

Paradox Valley Charter School

There's an incredible charter school in the state that's also probably the most unique. Paradox Valley School (PVS) is at the end of a 25 mile long canyon. The school is chartered by the West End School District. PVS sits right at the edge of the Utah border. The town sits below a series of switch-backs that take you up the side of a mountain and into Utah. Moab, Utah isn't far from Paradox.

The community school had been closed by the district for a couple of years when the town began to lose it's vital link with each other, which often happens through the school in small towns. Renee Owen was a mother who didn't want to have her children ride the school bus to Naturita, about a half-hour drive away. She did her research and wrote a charter school application. The charter school opened in the original school building, but soon afterwards they added a number of classrooms. The old part of the facility was the lunch room and gymnasium. Renee also worked it out for the school to house a local branch of the Montrose Public Library system.

Now PVS has applied for a BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant and plan to add new space and also renovate their current space. The new build includes a multi-purpose area, library/office and kitchen. In order to qualify for the grant, PVS needs to raise $305,000 by mid-June. If approved for the BEST grant, they'll get $9 for every dollar raised.

I visited the school years ago and was very impressed with the support from the community; especially community members who had no children at the school. The school publishes a newsletter, Paradox Paragraphs, that I read from front to back every time. It's often got a corner for thank you's to people who have donated to the school. I smile as I read about someone donating garden produce for student lunches.

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