The New PK-8 School in Erie!
The walls are up, the roof is on, the concrete floors are polished and the final touches are being added to the new Soaring Heights PK-8 School in Erie. The building stands on a 22-acre site, with 131,000 square feet that will contain two gyms, four music rooms, an impressive stage, media center and two “maker spaces”.
“The maker spaces will be used for robotics, a virtual reality lab, coding and programming as well as a space to actually build and make things,” says Principal Cyrus Weinberger who has been deeply involved with and is excited about plans for the new school. “Both maker spaces are equipped with garage doors to a heated patio where Soaring Heights students will have access to things like 3D printers to bring some of their design thinking to life.”
While innovations have been welcomed, “First and foremost, we’re going to create a strong, well-rounded rigorous academic environment with the St. Vrain Valley School District curriculum,” Weinberger says. “Additionally, we’ll have innovation time at the middle and elementary school, organized around specific themes, like ocean, land, space — and beginning with a series of scientific experiments.”
The principal of Soaring Heights went on to say the innovation time is designed to explore and develop students’ interests and propel them into the scientific process.
The students will take their ideas and use them to come up with a unique solution to a problem, “not in lieu of but in conjunction with the St. Vrain Valley curriculum,” Weinberger says.
“It could look like a science fair or a play, a movie or a sculpture,” he added. “We want to make sure kids who want to explore the arts have that opportunity.”
Unique Partnerships and Opportunities
“We’ll offer a lot of curriculum acceleration, not only in K-8, but also for students who want to take classes at the high school in courses like Intro to Engineering or Algebra II. The classes will be early enough in the morning that kids can seamlessly integrate into the school (day) back over here,” he says.
Erie High School has a focus on aerospace engineering that’s pretty rigorous, Weinberger admits. And, he says, middle school kids who are interested can pursue that accelerated learning pathway early which will allow them to take choir or band or additional elective offerings in high school. Those elective classes would not have been allowed if the middle school and high school weren’t collaborating to make it possible.
And since it’s a PK-8 school, Weinberger says, Soaring Heights will be able to help kids transition from fifth to sixth grades more smoothly as well as from eighth to ninth.
“Our teachers K-12 will work together to create a more robust understanding of what’s expected at each grade level,” says Weinberger. “The elementary wing is separate from the middle school wing to allow for a distinct experience at both levels. However, when it comes time to transition into the middle school 5th graders will not need to adjust to a different building or culture, but rather just have to walk to a different section of the building.”
The same goal exists for middle schoolers graduating to the high school. “We’ll work with the high school program to coordinate mentorships and shadow days that will really allow for an understanding of what it’s going to be like at the high school.”
The next open-door community meeting is scheduled for May 15 at Erie Middle School, 650 Main St., in Erie:
4:30-6:00 p.m. Neuroscience Exhibit
6:00-7:30 p.m. General meeting
The get-together will allow community members to hear updates about the school, and also experience one of the Anschutz Neuroscience Center’s exciting traveling exhibits, most recently featured at the Museum of Nature and Science.
“We meet regularly with the leadership team — six parents and 12 teachers — to develop everything from the minutia of where to line up and what supplies to order to the Soaring Heights mission, vision and culture,” says Weinberger. “It’s been engaging and thought-provoking to hear feedback from the community about what they’re looking for in their local public school.”
So Much More in Colliers Hill!
The families with school-age children in Colliers Hill value and appreciate St. Vrain Valley educators’ commitment to every Erie child’s future. If you don’t live here yet, stop by and tour the 12 models from Colorado’s top home builders Meritage Homes, Shea Homes and Richmond American Homes in this singular master-planned community. New Homes in Colliers Hill are available in ranch and two-story designs, priced from the upper $300s to the $600s.
The new school in Erie will enjoy unique partnerships and opportunities to grasp cutting edge science discoveries. “The Anschutz Neuroscience Center is working with us to create hands-on experiments and training for our teachers, and we’ll also be working with the University of Northern Colorado,” Weinberger says.