Moffat County School District launches Shared School for homeschool students

Lauren Blair

— Homeschool parents and students in Moffat County have a new option on the table this year with the launch of the Moffat County School District Shared School program.

The program offers part-time enrollment for homeschool students, but with dedicated classroom space and teachers who can tailor curriculum to meet their needs.

Inspired by a shared school program in Durango, MCSD Director of Educator Effectiveness Zack Allen spearheaded efforts to start a similar program in Moffat County. Several informational meetings this month brought together interested parents and students to discuss the launch of the program, based on which Allen expects a starting enrollment of 20 to 30 students.

“I was excited to see how Durango was doing it… thinking boy, I think that could happen in Moffat County,” Allen said. “Now that it’s really starting to take shape, it’s exciting,”

The free program benefits students and parents by providing courses that some parents aren’t able to provide at home, as well as an opportunity to interact with other students and different teachers. It also offers small class sizes.

“It’s nice to have the interaction with the other kids for (my son) and I work part time, so having someone else teach one or two of the subjects takes some of the load off of me,” said parent Haley Barber, whose son will be a ninth-grader this year.

For the school district, it brings into the fold students who otherwise wouldn’t be enrolled in public school. The program is intended to financially break even for the district, though it may generate some additional revenue from the part-time-enrolled students.

The program — set to launch Sept. 15 — will offer a full day of classes on Tuesdays each week at the district administration building, with additional dates for field trips.

Classes will be grouped into primary (kindergarten through second grades), upper elementary (third through sixth grades) and secondary (seventh through 12th grades) age groups to accommodate the full kindergarten through 12th-grade range. Allen is seeing the most interest for the upper elementary and secondary levels.

Class subject areas were selected to meet the biggest needs of parents and students, ranging from the basics such as science, math and writing to elective subjects such as Spanish, computer programming, art, music and physical education. Allen expects to hire five to 10 part-time teachers for the program.

“This will give (my son)… other opportunities outside the home and other teachers besides me and allows him the opportunity to take art class, PE and music class, which are obviously classes that are really hard to do at home,” said parent and homeschool teacher Dana Prescott, who has taught writing for several years through the Northwest Colorado Homeschool Association co-op, and has applied to teach for the shared school this year. “It was very needed in this community.”

For more information about the shared school, contact Zack Allen at 970-756-4291 or

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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