Fundraiser for new charter school Saturday



Parents planning to open a new public charter school in Grand Junction will host a fundraiser for the school from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday in the Mount Garfield Pavilion at Long’s Park.

Juniper Ridge Community School has no land or building yet, which is one reason for the “Bread, Beans & Bands” fundraiser this weekend, which will feature activities, music and information about the school. The school organizers also need money to pay for materials, apply for 501c3 status in order to accept tax-deductible donations, and to fly a consultant from California to Grand Junction.

Attendees are asked to bring a bread or bean dish to share, plus their own dishes and utensils in order to cut down on trash at the event. The school will have more informational events throughout the summer and already has 30 to 40 families interested in enrolling their children at the school, according to Patrick Ebel, one of the school’s originators.

A seven-person steering committee hopes to open Juniper Ridge Community School in fall 2013. The school will start with kindergarten through sixth-grade and add a grade each year after its founding until it is a K–12 institution, Ebel said. The school will follow a curriculum inspired by Waldorf schools, a private chain of schools worldwide that encourage learning through art, movement and interaction with nature.

Ebel, who home-schooled his sons, now 7 and 10, using the Waldorf method, said he wants local students to have a chance to experience a Waldorf education throughout their childhoods. Grand Junction currently has a Waldorf-inspired kindergarten, River Canyon School, but no grade schools that specifically use the method.

Because Juniper Ridge will be public, it cannot be certified as a Waldorf school but will have curriculum similar to a traditional Waldorf school. Ebel said the school’s founders wanted it to be public, so more students can attend without having to pay a hefty tuition. Although River Canyon charges tuition, Ebel said he believes the creation of Juniper Ridge will help both schools gain students rather than create competition.

“I think more people would be more interested in sending kids to a Waldorf kindergarten if they know their kids can continue in Waldorf” in future grades, he said.


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