If there’s one thing Isabella Bird’s faculty would like you to know, it’s that the new Stapleton school will involve everyone.
“It begins with our model of shared leadership, where it’s not just one person making decisions. There’s a shared teaching model in addition to shared decision-making with families and kids. As a school community, we get together to discuss issues from budget to curriculum,” said lead teacher Jeff Bushnell. “Instructionally, we’re also reaching outside of the walls and interacting in meaningful ways with the larger community … we will have parents and grandparents who will come in and be trained, teach kids and share their stories. We are really expanding our definition of who can be teachers.”
“We’re very intentional about everything we do,” said lead administrator Sonny Zinn.
Traci Bushnell is also one of the lead teachers at Isabella Bird, which will open with about 100 students this fall.
“There are still a few available spots for kindergarten and first grade,” Sonny said. “We know this is the year to get in – it’s going to be amazing.”
The school will be located at the Samsonite building (11200 E. 45th Ave.) before moving to Stapleton’s Bluff Lake neighborhood in August 2014. It will also serve preschool through fifth grade by year five.
Isabella Bird Community School’s curriculum will integrate literacy, mathematics, science, studies of societies, technology, world languages and the arts with evidence-based, instructional approaches and a curriculum that focuses on issues of social justice, environmental sustainability and personal fulfillment.
“Working with Jeff and Traci is the best thing ever, and we’ve been talking for many, many years about opening a school together … our vision of a school is to work on a bigger scale by including the whole community,” Sonny said. “We have felt completely welcomed and embraced in Stapleton. In fact, we have a profound gratitude for the welcome we’ve received.”
The school’s named after Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) – a well-educated English explorer, author and naturalist who travelled the world.
“The choice of Isabella Lucy Bird is intended to inspire future explorers, dreamers and trail blazers to do great things, well beyond the boundaries of the school’s walls,” according to the school’s team. “In the end, she personifies the school’s goal to promote learning for a more informed, compassionate and unified global humanity.”