The Seaside neighborhood is expanding.
Seaside Neighborhood School and Alys Beach developer Jason Comer have partnered to add a Kindergarten through fifth grade school under the SNS name. The campus will be in nearby Alys Beach.
“Jason Comer … came to us to try and get advice,” said Cathy Brubaker, former principal and current director of strategic program development and evaluation for the sixth through ninth grade school.
Comer initially wanted some information about starting an independent school at Alys Beach, but the conversations prompted the two parties to enter a partnership.
“He came in just asking us questions about the school and what makes us successful,” said Brubaker. “It led to him wanting to work with us.”
Brubaker said that rather than starting from scratch, Comer saw the value of pairing with a school that has “a proven record.”
Comer has donated a parcel of land on which to build the school, which is set to open its doors to the first students within two years.
“We’re hoping to open fall of 2014,” said Brubaker. “They’re just now beginning a capital campaign to raise money for the building.”
The new campus of Seaside Neighborhood School will offer students the same curriculum that has made SNS a world-class educational center. The main difference will be the age of the students.
“We will be including a lot of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program; that’s going to be a major focus,” said Brubaker. She then added that students will be able to take part in a notable part of the SNS STEM program: “They’ll have a robotics program beginning in elementary.”
Brubaker said the program will be adapted for the younger set with the use of Legos for robot construction.
Enrichment will extend past science and technology, however, with a foreign language curriculum that will begin in kindergarten. The hope, said Brubaker, is that the students will leave the school with the ability to travel and speak another language.
Each grade level will be composed of a single class, much like the original campus, to ensure each student receives personal attention.
“We’ll keep it small, just like Seaside,” said Brubaker. The sixth through ninth grades are 133 students, and the student body of the K-5 school will stay around 116 students.
Enrollment will be determined by a lottery system, with drawings held concurrent with the sixth through ninth grade lotteries, around April or May.
Local parents and community members are invited to learn more at a community forum to be held Oct. 9, 5 to 6:30 p.m., at Seaside School in the Lyceum Room above the third building.
An announcement for the event said this will be the first of multiple forums to discuss the project.
“A lot of people have questions; we’re doing this to make sure everyone knows about the project,” said Brubaker. She added that like the rest of the community, “We’re really excited about it.”