Mountain House Academy to offer nontraditional, Christian education
A private Christian school called Mountain House Academy is expected to open in Dillon this fall.
Erica Bull is a local parent who home-schooled her kids for the first time this year, and after seeing her children thrive in that environment, she had the idea to start a school that would implement some aspects of the experience.
“We’re excited about reimagining what education can look like,” Bull said in an email.
The school will offer flexible options for parents to enroll their kids in full or half days, with the possibility for experiential and excursion learning in the future. Students enrolled at Mountain House Academy will have in-person classes with a teacher three days a week, and they will take part at-home learning directed by the teacher Mondays and Fridays.
Class sizes will also intentionally be kept small in an attempt to individualize learning for the students, Bull said. For its first year, Mountain House Academy plans to have two pods, one for junior kindergarten through second grade and another for third grade through fifth grade. Each pod will accept 10 students.
Bull said seeing her children thrive in a nontraditional learning environment this past year inspired her to pursue starting a school, an idea she had once the COVID-19 pandemic pushed all education online. She also said it is important to bring a Christian-worldview option to the county, as one doesn’t currently exist.
“I think there is a huge outcry from parents looking to take back control on how their children are educated and what their children are being taught in school, in addition to realizing that maybe traditional public schools aren’t always the best fit for their child or for their family,” Bull said.
Bull said the Mountain House Academy would focus on the “educational foundations of reading, writing, math, science and history versus social issues.”
Creating a space for students to have adventures and alternate experiences is also an important part of the school’s education model, Bull said. She said these experiences can teach more than a textbook and help to round out a well-balanced education.
Catrina Jordan has been home-schooling Bull’s two children for the past year and said she is excited to keep working with her as the Mountain House Academy’s junior kindergarten through second grade teacher. She said she’s looking forward to creating not just a school but a community that works with families to ensure every student’s voice is heard in the classroom.
“As a person who grew up through the public school system and intended to spend the entirety of my career there, I can say it just does not work for every family,” Jordan said in an email. “I think our county needs to be able to offer a different type of schooling for families that want it.”
Mark Keedy is currently on the board for the school and has been working with Bull to plan the school’s finances and get its 501c3 designation. He has been Bull’s accountant for years and said he was excited to help her get the school off the ground.
Keedy said he’s excited to help Bull start the school because the students will grow with it, as it’s currently focused on elementary students. Jordan expressed the same sentiment, noting that she, too, can grow as a teacher with her students.
“Having these students from such a young age and being able to move up with them will allow me as an instructor to make sure I am planning lessons that truly fit the students’ needs,” Jordan said.
Bull said she worried that her kids would get lost in the shuffle in a public school setting.
“I just became determined to start an alternative option here in Summit County, as there are not many alternatives for families here in Summit, especially noting there are no options that provide a Christian worldview being taught,” Bull said. “I figured if we felt there is a need for something different, we probably weren’t the only ones.”
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