New Profile Highlights Crossroads School in Longmont

I had a serious internal debate with myself this morning about whether I should use a Friday post to engage in a major policy discussion. There are several such discussions out there that we need to have, and have them we shall. But I think I’ll save you the brain damage for now and instead engage in a little shameless self-promotion.

Well, not quite “self-promotion,” since I, Little Eddie, didn’t technically write “Altering Course: A Profile of Crossroads School.” My Independence Institute policy friend Ross Izard took care of that. Then again, it just so happens that I agree with Ross on every issue—sometimes to the point that people allege that we may, in fact, be the same person. Which sort of reminds me of a funny meme:

Back on topic, “Altering Courses” is the Education Policy Center’s third entry in the Profiles in Private Education series.  The two previous profiles looked at Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver, which serves only low-income students, and the Havern School for Children with Learning Disabilities in Littleton, which (as the name implies) exclusively educates children with disabilities. The newest profile looks at Crossroads School, a private alternative school in Longmont. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “alternative school,” it’s edu-jargon for a school that serves kids who have struggled with issues—behavioral, emotional, academic, etc.—in other school environments.

The Profiles in Private Education series is different from many of the wonkier publications Ross and his Independence Institute friends write. It is not a series of white papers. Numbers and data are great, but they pale in comparison to truly understanding the inspirational work being done every day in Colorado private schools—work that could benefit thousands more students in need of additional educational options. People, not spreadsheets or numbers, lie at the heart of why we care about educational choice, after all.

With that important realization in mind, these profiles focus not on high-level policy analysis, but on the human stories underlying unique private schools in Colorado. By extension, they offer powerful illustrations of the power of choice to influence real kids’ lives and rebut the too-common stereotypes of private schools as evil, profitizing monsters or havens for the elite.

“Altering Courses” continues this storytelling tradition by chronicling Ross’s experiences and conversations with Crossroads’ inspiring teachers, leaders, and students. It also covers the school’s unique approach to education (hint: it doesn’t use a traditional classroom model). From the profile’s summary:

In “Altering Courses,” Senior Education Policy Analyst Ross Izard describes his time at Crossroads School in Longmont, Colorado. Described lovingly as the “island of misfit toys where everybody fits,” Crossroads is a private, faith-based alternative school for at-risk middle and high school students.

Started in 2010 with the specific goal of serving children whose needs could not be met by existing educational options, the school looks very different from most traditional schools. Its highly personalized approach to education eschews traditional classroom lectures and grades in favor of meeting students where they are academically. A heavy focus on relationships and individualized support helps Crossroads students persevere and achieve success in the face of academic, behavioral, and family-related hurdles.

Crossroads’ small size and dedication to serving children regardless of income—it charges only $100 per month in tuition—have required its leadership team to overcome a variety of obstacles. The school’s leaders have displayed remarkable ingenuity in solving these problems, often with the help of the community they serve. The result is a home for at-risk students that can provide the services and support those students need through a variety of strong community partnerships.

If you like stories and educational choice, I think you’re going to love “Altering Courses.” It’s sort of like mixing your two favorite foods (chocolate? bacon?) into one delicious treat. I hope you’ll check out the full profile.

If you’re not the reading type (in which case I must wonder why you are reading this blog post), you can also watch Ross’s Freedom Minute on the school below. Either way, I hope Crossroads’ story will inspire and empower you to spread the good of choice in education.

Have a great weekend!