EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The future of the Little Red Schoolhouse in Eau Claire County took another step forward Monday night as the Eau Claire School Board voted to support an area organizations plans to turn the building into a newly developed middle school and nature campus.
The Eau Claire School Board unanimously voted to support INDE or Initiative for New Directions in Education to formally develop its proposal to turn the schoolhouse into an innovative place of learning, but that didn't come without discussion.
Monday night, the Eau Claire school board discussed the continuation of INDE’s proposal.
School board member Joe Luginbill expressed support in continuing the exploration process with blessing from the board.
Budget for the proposal was also discussed at Monday night's meeting. Members of INDE said the budget is not an issue they are able to talk about in detail at this point as the organization first needs support from the Eau Claire School Board in order to form a formal proposal and begin applying for grants and begin fundraising.
Dr. Lori Bica, another board member, expressed concern on the hard tie of the project to the location of Little Red, which closed back in 2008 and is currently being used as a storage unit, as well as concern for focusing on the three existing middle schools.
“When I think about making the district the strongest it can be and to attract people into that district, it's strengthening the experience for the 3,000, not for 130,” says board Member Dr. Lori Bica.
“That's how innovative education starts is it starts small and it starts through research and it starts by developing the systems necessary for success,” says INDE Member, Erica Zerr. “We can't do that because we have such a large district, we can't do that on such a large scale, its cost prohibitive so we look innovative programs within the district as a place where we can start.”
Monday night, the Eau Claire School Board also unanimously passed a resolution that would honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By proclaiming the third Monday in January to be known as ECASD day of service and learning, a day to study and act on the legacy of Dr. King and the ideals he represented. The district has never passed a resolution for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Little Red Schoolhouse in Eau Claire County could soon be the face of a newly developed middle school and a nature campus.
Monday night, a local organizations plans to bring the next generation of public education to the Eau Claire Area School District will be presented to the school board.
The Little Red Schoolhouse was closed back in 2008, and after a number of proposals for the empty building, INDE or, Initiative for New Directions in Education is looking to the Eau Claire School Board for support in turning the schoolhouse into an innovative place of learning.
Just outside the Eau Claire city limits the Little Red Schoolhouse has become a storage unit for the past nearly 10 years, but in the eyes of the INDE, the building and its property has a lot of potential.
“There's so many opportunities for learning that could happen on the 30 plus acre campus, we're just really excited to explore it," says Erica Zerr, a member of INDE.
Monday night, INDE will bring a proposal to the Eau Claire School Board looking to transform the Little Red Schoolhouse into the Little Red Nature Campus, a dual-purpose property which would include a middle school and a nature campus.
“We found is that project-based learning, personalized learning and outdoor focus, community focus, that these things, they're having tremendous success all across the state, in our region, and in the city of Eau Claire already,” says Zerr.
The Proposal says the Little Red Nature Campus has the ability to fill a void in the education and experiential learning potential of many ECASD children.
“The traditional program doesn't fit all of our kids all the time and we really look at personalize learning and project-based learning as sort of the gateway as to how we reach those kids,” says Zerr.
This is the first time the entire board will hear the proposal. Superintendent of schools, Mary Ann Hardebeck calls the proposal "interesting and exciting" and a "significant investment."
“There have been a number of proposals that have been brought forth about Little Red, but nothing that has been really outlined as carefully as this proposal has been,” says Mary Anne Hardebeck, Eau Claire Area School District Superintendent. “So I think it will be a really great opportunity for the board to look at this proposal and see whether or not it's something we want to move forward with.”
Members of INDE say right now they will need the approval of the school board to develop the program first, and later pursue funding through grants.