The Eatonville School Board agreed Wednesday to keep Columbia Crest School in Ashford open for a minimum of five years to give the school a chance to grow its A-STEM (Arts, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program.
Just a year ago, the school board had threatened to close the tiny rural school in Ashford, just nine miles from the Nisqually entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. A districtwide drop in enrollment had the board looking last year at closure as a cost-saving measure. But community members pleaded with the board to keep it open. And the Columbia Crest staff developed the A-STEM idea as a way to attract students.
A school district news release said the board also authorized the school’s potential expansion to a kindergarten through eighth grade school. It now serves students through grade six. Also in the works is a possible name change for the school, to Columbia Crest A-STEM Academy, and an exploration of school uniforms.
The board said its decision on Columbia Crest also signals its interest in innovation and powerful programs at all six Eatonville schools.
“I’m very excited about the board’s decision to support innovation and provide high-quality programs and options throughout our district,” Superintendent Krestin Bahr said in a news release. “All of our schools have amazing programs that we can elevate in order to qualify as a designated innovative site.”