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Controversial Waldorf-Inspired Public Charter Finds New Location in Hailey

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The Syringa Mountain School—which ran into a buzz saw of opposition in its attempt to open a Waldorf-inspired public charter school in west Hailey—has reportedly found a new home, this time in southeast Hailey.

In January Boise Weekly reported how officials with the Syringa Mountain School faced vehement opposition to their plans of build a new campus near the Sherwood Forest and China Gardens subdivisions of Hailey. But neighbors, and ultimately Hailey city officials, balked at the plan, denying the school's application.

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports that Syringa officials now say they've have secured a new location—a four-year lease to rent a 17,600-square-foot, two-story building on Glenbrook Drive on the southeast side of Hailey—and will open as a public charter this fall for grades K-5.

But the school's announcement also cautioned that the Glenbrook Drive location is "only a temporary solution" while officials continue to search for a more permanent location.

As a public—albeit alternative—school, Syringa will introduce computer learning to students at age 9 so they can participate in statewide standardized testing, and other contentious aspects of the Waldorf method, like spiritual development, have been downplayed.

"We are still going to follow the Waldorf methodology," said Dr. Mary Gervase, Syringa administrator. "Kids use technology at home; we're just not choosing to use it as part of our curriculum at an early age."

Interest in the alternative teaching method has even reached Boise, where separate plans are under way to develop and open a "sister" public Waldorf-inspired school: the Dry Creek Farm and School. Application and fundraising processes for Dry Creek have already begun, and supporters are aiming for an opening date of fall 2015.


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