After a year of renovations to its building, Boulware Springs Charter School will open its doors to Alachua County students July 21.
Mother-daughter team Kay Abbitt and Megan Lane originally planned to open the school last summer. But the old McGurn Family YMCA building at 1303 NE 23rd Ave. needed extensive work, so the women used the first year of their charter as a planning year.
Lane, who has taught at Buchholz High as well as schools in Namibia and Spain, said she and her mother have had opportunities over their careers to see what does and doesn’t work in education.
“I like looking at things from a policy perspective, and opening a school was appealing because you can set your own policy,” she said.
Abbitt is also an educator, having logged a few decades of experience in Alachua County’s public elementary schools.
Boulware Springs is a year-round school, serving kindergarten through fifth grade.
Abbitt said classes are in session for 10 weeks at a time, followed by a two-week break, throughout the year. There’s a four-week break beginning in June.
The school day lasts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., two hours longer than Alachua County’s standard for elementary schools. Students who are struggling with math or reading will attend tutoring from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The extra time allows for one hour of Spanish language every day, plus art, music and physical education on a rotating schedule.
Abbitt said she saw a need for those subjects while teaching in public schools, but due to the heavy focus on math and reading for standardized tests, students often missed out on other subjects.
“You just can’t get to these things that are considered extras now,” she said.
Another hallmark of the curriculum is daily instruction in “character education.”
“We’re focusing on what it means to be a good person,” including manners, how to present yourself in public and how to give back to the community, Lane said.
Each month focuses on a trait like respect or caring, and incorporates character lessons across the curriculum.
For example, she said, manners will be reinforced during lunchtime.
Abbitt and Lane are interviewing teachers this week, and taking student applications for enrollment through April 30.
Boulware Springs will have one class per grade level in its first year and could increase after that, Abbitt said.
Enrollment is open to all Alachua County students, but transportation will not be provided.
For more information, call 352-215-2175 or visit www.boulwarecharter.com.
The Boulware Springs Charter School is open for the new school year! eda was privileged to assist in making this project a success by rezoning the property and securing the development entitlements from the City of Gainesville and Gainesville Regional Utilities. The school was recently highlighted in this article in The Gainesville Sun.