My name is Marie —–, and I live in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). I have had children enrolled in this district for five years, and currently have three children at ——–.  I was greatly disappointed that BVSD voted to deny Ascent Classical Academy of Flatiron’s application.

I am bilingual in Spanish, and taught a free, grassroots ELL class for local Latino adults many years ago. I am also a nurse who works with many non-native English speaking patients when they are at their most vulnerable, and I understand their dilemma, both with language barriers and navigating various cultural and social systems. Also, two of my children recently won ‘PRIDE’ awards at their elementary school, one for helping a Muslim friend navigate some difficulties in school, and the other for going above and beyond to assist a student with autism. I say these things to emphasize that we who support this classical school also support our fellow humans who may seem different from us on the surface. We are not hostile, we are understanding. We welcome students and families of every creed, ethnicity, and life circumstance.

My spouse and I have attended several BVSD board meetings regarding Ascent, and left confused and dismayed by what transpired between the board and those who support the new charter school.  At the meetings, the word “diversity” was thrown around many times by the board as a reason to reject the charter application. On Jan 22nd, it was ironic that, other than one transgender student, the only minority representation to publicly comment spoke in support of Ascent!  One after another person of color approached the podium to speak for Ascent, yet the board members continued to object to the school, citing concerns of discrimination and lack of diversity. We felt unheard and invalidated.

My spouse and I have done extensive research on classical curriculum, and since 2009 have desired this curriculum choice in our home district.  Every year, we know of one or more families who have pulled their children out of our district to either commute elsewhere, or homeschool to give their children a classical education. When I observe their children, I know why. These kids are bright, their hunger for learning is robust, and they know more about historical leaders and philosophers at age six than I do in my forties!  My spouse and I wonder, “Is it too late for our children?” We hope not.

Recently, I received an email from BVSD assistant superintendent Dr. Margaret Crespo.  She invited me to attend “input sessions to gauge parent interest in what a classical school might look like within BVSD”.  She stated that the board heard loud and clear what a segment of our population desires for school choice. What a joke! I am saddened and upset that the board had my choice for a charter school RIGHT at their fingertips, bending over backwards to supply every piece of information the board requested, and they shot it down before negotiations could even begin! I don’t want BVSD’s version of a classical school. I want MY version.

Please, for the sake of school choice for ALL, help us bring Ascent Classical Academy back into the conversation.