We have come so far since Highlands Micro School was just a thought in our heads! In the past three months, we have met many people who have been instrumental in bringing this dream to life.
We started with the Denver Zoning department to make sure a residential property in the Highlands neighborhood could be converted into the schoolhouse. It turned out that “educational purpose” is one of the few commercial uses permitted for embedded residential properties (not otherwise zoned for commercial use.) After clearing through that major hurdle, we worked with Denver Health and Safety, Fire Safety and Building Departments to understand what changes we would need to make to the schoolhouse, and what limitations might be imposed.
We also navigated the not-terribly-complex legal framework for private schools in the state of Colorado. In Colorado, private schools are unregulated by the Department of Education, and are instead treated as a private business. While we will follow some of the tried-and-true guidelines used by state-funded schools, like using a licensed teacher, we are free to develop curriculum and assessment methods that best match each child as well as the most compelling research in the field of elementary education.
We also met with tax advisors, insurance brokers, teachers and parents to make sure our school was fully legal and capable of providing an excellent education to our students. After getting the major legal and logistical details sorted out, we presented our business plan to a well-known, Denver-based education consultant. Her overwhelmingly positive response was the last thing we needed to move forward, and we got it.
We have begun the difficult hunt for the perfect schoolhouse location. The real estate market in Northwest Denver is tight, and places move on and off the market quickly. We are currently under contract on a home in the Highlands Neighborhood and if all goes right, we will close in late-February. Because the home is tenant-occupied we will not release the address until the tenants’ leases have expired.
While the property development is underway, we will be working with a team of curriculum developers to build a unique, evidence-based framework that honors our mission to educate the whole child. To do this, we are creating a team of innovative educators and curriculum developers who have a cumulative experience of more than 100 years in the field of teaching.
We hope our next update includes news that we have closed on the schoolhouse property, as well as information on our team of curriculum developers!
As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support!
The Highlands Micro School Team