Battle Rock Charter School to get new building for library

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Michael Canzona is the new director of Battle Rock School. The school has 51 students signed up for fall classes. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Michael Canzona is the new director of Battle Rock School. The school has 51 students signed up for fall classes.

Students attending Battle Rock Charter School this year will have access to a library for the very first time.

The library will be located in a modular building that was donated by the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1.

New Battle Rock Director Michael Canzona, who was the chief of operations for Re-1 until this year, knew there was a modular building not being used at the closed Lakeview Elementary School site.

The building around 12-feet by 30-feet in size, would be perfect for a library at the charter school, Canzona said.

He said the donated building will be a little small but it will be a big improvement on what the school has had in the past.

He joked that he knew the former Re-1 chief of operations (himself) who knew that the modular building had been decommissioned six years ago.

The Re-1 school board was more than happy to get this building off of its hands and books, and Re-1’s Superintendent Alex Carter, tongue in cheek, said that the minute the building was loaded onto a truck to be transported to the charter school, Re-1’s liability for the structure would cease.

Canzona said in the past, Battle Rock students had no place to sit down and read books in a designated library room, and added that there is also no place for one-on-one learning for individualized instruction.

How the library will be filled with reading materials is still unclear, though Canzona said the school is dependent on donations. He said the school has a great network with the community, and added the school has already secured donors.

The new library will not be just for students and will instead be a building for the entire community to use.

He expects the building to be transported to the school site in about a month and to be ready for use in another two weeks, after the building is professionally cleaned.

The building will not be a full-fledged library, Canzona said.

“It will be about books and a place for students to read and a space for the community to come in and read,” he said. The use of the latest technology methods or the Internet and computers will likely not be included.

Enrollment spike

Canzona also mentioned the McElmo Canyon charter school has increased in student enrollment by nearly 40 percent from last year with incoming students totalling 51. That’s up from 31 last year.

“We just had so many kids that wanted to go here, and it’s hard to say no,” he said, adding the school’s capacity is now maxed out.

“Kids come and go. We won’t know the exact numbers until the first of October,” he said. “We did not anticipate enrollment growing so fast.”

The school, which has been a charter school since 1994, hired its second teacher earlier this week. The school has enough materials for the 51 students who are enrolled.

The majority of the students are from Cortez, and about 10 pupils will come from Towaoc, but the schools’s priority remains for the students living close by in the McElmo Canyon area.

“Our intention is to educate the community’s children,” Canzona said, and added the school tries its best to not separate siblings when enrolling students.

Since Battle Rock is under the umbrella of Re-1 it is eligible to receive the same meals other students receive in other schools, and every day meals are delivered to the charter school.

He said the lunches are extremely important since most of the charter school students are on the free meal or reduced price program.

The charter school also has transportation through the use of a Re-1 school bus to pick up and drop off students at one location.

Battle Rock, he said, pays for these services.

“We will be going full speed ahead,” Canzona said.

Curriculum

Battle Rock has traditionally had a unique curriculum and has used its surroundings for lessons.

The school will use a garden to teach students about math and history, while also teaching them about agriculture. Canzona said both the fencing and the gardening materials were donated at no cost to the school.

The school director, who will also teach part-time, said the garden can be used as a teaching tool until late November, then the colder weather will roll in and in effect, kill the garden.

An equestrian program will also be offered to students, where horses will be brought to the school for a certified horse therapy course will be offered as an elective or a special class.

For physical education classes, Canzona said teachers will use nature to grab students’ interest, including hiking a one-half mile trail by the school that ends at a waterfall along with other hikes.

“A lot of our teaching is environmentally based by doing things in the field,” he said. “We try to use the environment.”

michaelm@cortezjournal.com

Keith Duncan welds the hinge on the bottom of a flag pole as his son, Brian, holds the pole that is being moved at Battle Rock School. A modular building from the Montezuma-Cortez School District is being moved in for the library and the flag pole needed to be moved. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Keith Duncan welds the hinge on the bottom of a flag pole as his son, Brian, holds the pole that is being moved at Battle Rock School. A modular building from the Montezuma-Cortez School District is being moved in for the library and the flag pole needed to be moved.