As we prepare for the opening of the Learning Bridge the staff became certified in First Aid and CPR. Jennifer Hollingsworth and April Bath both EMTs instructed the entire staff on correct procedures and protocol in case of an emergency. Introducing the Learning Bridge Staff: Administrator Mary Flanagan, Assistant Administrator Heather McIntosh, Kindergarten Billie Coleman. 1st grade Julie Krch, 2nd grade Heidi Tokerud, 3rd grade Gina Kelly, 4th grade/6th grade Dave Guthrie, 5th grade Linda Montgomery, 4th/6th Dianne Wagers. (Courtesy photo)

As we prepare for the opening of the Learning Bridge the staff became certified in First Aid and CPR. Jennifer Hollingsworth and April Bath both EMTs instructed the entire staff on correct procedures and protocol in case of an emergency.
Introducing the Learning Bridge Staff: Administrator Mary Flanagan, Assistant Administrator Heather McIntosh, Kindergarten Billie Coleman. 1st grade Julie Krch, 2nd grade Heidi Tokerud, 3rd grade Gina Kelly, 4th grade/6th grade Dave Guthrie, 5th grade Linda Montgomery, 4th/6th Dianne Wagers. (Courtesy photo)

It’s been a long path, but for Ely’s Learning Bridge Charter School, the first day of classes will finally arrive. Sept. 3 The State Fire Marshal is scheduled to inspect the school on Aug. 30 with classes beginning the following Tuesday.

The school is located at 505 S. Great Basin Blvd. The Shoshone Tribal Council leased the building to the school.

“We are very excited that we have reached another goal towards opening a school of choice,” founder and committee member Julie Krch said. “The board has worked together as a team. The staff plans to model this teamwork concept at the school to teach our scholars that teamwork does pay off.”

The path to opening saw its share of twists and turns. The school was scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. But complications in finding an adequate building push the opening date back to 2013.

“We have had our ups and downs this past year,” Krch said. “Our largest was obtaining a facility. It was very difficult to find a building that could be retrofitted to become the safest building in White Pine County. The Methodist Church, USDA, Dru Damico and Mt. Wheeler Power all tried very hard to help us. We really appreciate all they did to keep our spirits high.”

Despite the long road to its opening day, Learning Bridge saw strong support from families around the community.

“The response from families has been tremendous,” Krch said. “We have found that many of our parents would like to see their scholars in a five-day setting. They feel that it is better for their child’s modality of learning. The parents are very supportive of our integrated curriculum and the way it naturally follows Common Core State Standards.”

Krch said the school’s staff has also shown strong support. The staff was involved in numerous activities from participating in community events, fundraising, attending board meetings, helping to organize classrooms and offices and assisting in keeping parents informed of the school’s progress.

“The administrator, administrative assistant and teachers who have joined us are extremely dedicated to the children of White Pine County,” Krch said. “Their commitment surpasses setting up their offices or classrooms the last week before school starts.”

Though this may be the school’s first year of operation, the staff is expecting the school to hit the ground running. That means providing activities beyond the classroom that appeal to a variety of interests.

“This year I see the implementation of an instrumental music program, after school activities such as 4-H, book clubs, chess clubs, arts and crafts, dance, Lego building and tutoring,” Krch said. “All will be available at different times throughout the year.”

Learning Bridge will also have active recess and physical education time. The school’s playground will feature activities like jump ropes, foursquare and more to work on students’ motor skills. Krch said the school is hoping to raise $25,000 for the equipment Future years will see the addition of seventh and eighth grades with a cap of 20 students per grade.

As Learning Bridge is set to open its doors to its students for the first time next week, the staff hopes the school can provide a quality alternative for families for years to come.

“Our hopes and expectations are to provide excellent educational opportunities for the students enrolled at Learning Bridge,” Krch said. “The Learning Bridge will cultivate a culture in the school to encourage learning and self-worth. The legislative intent is to encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods. Our goal is to teach each child the way they learn best. Learning Bridge will be a community school. We are encouraging different entities to become involved in the enrichment of our students.”