Second year of Shared School in Moffat County
Shared school supplements programs for homeschooled students
September 6, 2016
Craig — Homeschooled students and parents are once again benefiting from the Shared School program started by Moffat County School District last year with more students enrolled this second year of operation than last year.
Attending her first day back, Arianna Anderson, a fifth-grade middle class student, said her class was "good. Our music teacher told us that our voice is an instrument and I agree."
Anderson was joined for her first day by 46 other shared school students and that is up 13 from last year's number of 33 enrolled students.
"The goal is to have 50 students enrolled this year," said Zach Allen, Moffat County School District’s director of curriculum and educator effectiveness, who also directs the shared school.
"The school is good for us, she can see friends and I am able to have lunch with my husband," said Ann Anderson, who homeschools her daughter Arianna.
The Shared School is free for students. The school district is able to count each student as a part-time pupil of the district to receive state funds to pay for the program.
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The school was modeled on a similar program, of the same name, developed in Durango. It works through collaboration between the school district and parents.
"We don't take the primary education role, we respect and value the part of the parent and supplement and enrich what they can provide. We focus on electives and core-like classes to supplement not supplant programs," said Allen.
Ann Anderson finds the school removes anxiety from planning her daughter's studies.
"They can hit on subjects that I can't or that I don't have time to cover," she said.
The school has seven teachers who provide instruction and they are still hiring. Subjects include art, music, physical education, science enrichment, literacy enrichment, Spanish, drama and novel-writing. This year the school has added computer science and home economics.
Students and teachers meet once a week from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and during field trips that occur about once a month. Parents are able to participate in classes.
"We did a field trip last year to Dinosaur that parents were able to attend," Ann Anderson said. "It was a really fun day. I am looking forward to this year's field trips."
Having parents in class is one big difference between shared school classrooms and a more traditional setting; another is the lack of tests and grades.
Instead of grades or test scores, shared school teachers provide parents with feedback on how students are doing.
"We don't give grades. We offer homeschool to participate with standardized testing, but this is not mandated, it's up to the parents to arrange for assessments," Allen said.
Social learning and increasing student opportunities are fundamental to the school.
"We try to meet needs and interests, for example, trying to hold P.E. without a team is difficult, we provide the opportunity for social learning," Allen said. "It's a program that was built on the needs of homeschool parents and students based on surveys. We may still make some changes based on interest."
Enrollment is still open. Information is available through Moffat County School District.