Two former teachers at St. John's Pine Peace School are making preparations for the opening of the island's first private middle school this fall. It will offer 7th, 8th and 9th grade instruction.
Scott Crawford and Sabrina Boebert said they had first intended to set up The Coral Bay School on the eastern end of the island, but circumstances have led them instead to the St. John Lumberyard complex in Cruz Bay.
However, "even though we are in Cruz Bay, we're keeping that name," Crawford said.
Already, they said, a dozen students are enrolled for the start of classes after Labor Day. Many are this year's graduates of Pine Peace. Others have been part of St. John's home-schooled population, Boebert said.
It will be a two-room school, with instruction taking place in classroom settings on the second floor of the building housing the bakery, using block scheduling. Boebert will teach math and science; Crawford, social studies and language arts. There will be a part-time Spanish-language teacher. In the afternoons, students in all three grades will receive group instruction in art, music and physical education.
Computer science classes are also planned. The two teachers, who are also the school co-administrators, are setting up a web site.
Crawford said he and Boebert hope to expand classes by one grade a year until The Coral Bay School includes grades 7 through 12. Boebert said they hope to attract a cross section of students by keeping tuition affordable. "Our ultimate goal is not to be an expensive private school," she said. Tuition for the first year is $5,500, with some scholarship assistance available.
Both teachers took an academic approach personally to developing plans for the new school well before they got to the space-leasing stage. Boebert wrote the thesis for her M.A. in curriculum development at St. Michael's College in Vermont on "Alternative Education: Meeting the Needs of Today's Children – The Reality of The Coral Bay School." Crawford's capstone project for his M.A. in social studies and global education at The Ohio State University was to develop an "Integrated Curriculum at The Coral Bay School."

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