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Ideas for new school take shape in Farmington

Five days of planning have produced a plan for the Farmington School District’s proposed new school of choice, but district administrators aren’t quite ready to share it yet.

Residents who want to know what the plan looks like can see it unveiled at one of a pair of community meetings scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at Boeckman Middle School and Jan. 9 at Riverview Elementary.

Laura Pierce, the district’s director of innovative programming, said she was happy with the planning meetings, which took place over five, eight-hour days earlier this month.

“It was exhilarating,” she said. “The design team members embraced the ability to think anew about a new school and new opportunities.”

Pierce came away from those discussions with a solid conceptual design for the school. Now she and district teaching and learning coordinator Caleb Drexler Booth are working to prepare that information for the public.

Those public meetings will be just one more step in a process that still has plenty of steps to go. There is still a lot of work to do after that.

“We’ve taken a very large, big-picture vision for the school and it’s becoming clearer, but we need to be able to work with the community and have conversation with the school board,” Pierce said.

The district’s plan is to present its vision for the school to the school board Jan. 13 and to get ready to open its doors by fall of 2014.

The entire process has moved quickly. Superintendent Jay Haugen announced the planning process at a Nov. 25 school board meeting.

The plan as it stands now to create a 100-student school in the district’s instructional service center that can serve as a kind of small-scale testing grounds for implementing some of the ideas in the district’s comprehensive plan. That could include using iPads and other technology in education, encouraging students to learn in ways that allow them to explore their own interests and possibly even doing away with the traditional idea of grade levels.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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