Mesquite residents gauging interest in starting private school

Local resident and businessman Jeff Bird is gauging community interest in beginning a private Christian school in Mesquite that teaches a classical education based on the Trivium curriculum. Photo by Barbara Ellestad

Jeff Bird is serving as the catalyst to gauge community interest in starting a private school in Mesquite that teaches a classical education based on the Trivium curriculum.

“We are exploring the idea at this point and would like to find out if there are other parents, students and teachers interested in joining the effort,” Bird said. “It will be a private, non-denominational Christian school that would offer a classical education much like what was offered for 2,000 years.”

Bird cites the Trivium curriculum that would serve as the basis for teaching students in a style that is different than what is offered in public schools and is based on grammar, logic, and rhetoric. “The Trivium curriculum teaches students how to think and produces a much more rounded individual,” he said.

If there is enough community interest and engagement, he says the school will begin with an enrollment of 10 to 12 students in each grade K-8 starting in the Fall of 2018. “If we’re successful, we will begin adding grades 9 through 12 as students progress through the classes, adding a year every year.”

At this point, Bird is hosting an informational meeting on Tuesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. in the Holiday Inn Express Falcon West meeting room. “We are looking for teachers, either active or retired, parents who have kids in school, and volunteers who are interested in helping us. We invite anyone in the community who is interested in this idea to attend the meeting.”

He also encourages parents and students who use home-school based education systems to attend the meeting. “We have a lot of home-schooled kids in the community. This gives them and their parents a great alternative, especially when interacting with others in the later grades becomes important.”

Bird has put together a tentative Board of Directors that includes Craig Janson, Claire Verway and Doug Morgan. The group is applying for an IRS non-profit 501(c)3 status. He says there will be three functional committees – educational, finance, and theological.

He and the others have a tentative location in a commercial business space, not a church.

“Several of us visited a school similar to what we’re proposing in Wickenburg, Arizona. It was well-run, well-organized and the students were succeeding past expectations,” Bird said. “You can’t argue with the statistical results of the successful Trivium curriculum.”

Bird says the cost of students attending the new school has not yet been determined. “It will depend on our overall funding mechanism including donations, scholarship programs that we can tap into and tuition rates,” he said.

“Trivium School’s course of studies is based on the classical understanding of the liberal arts: the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, which are the arts of the mind and language, and the quadrivium of sciences and mathematics, which are the arts of matter and quantity.

“In the fixed curriculum at Trivium School there is a unique emphasis on the intellectual skills and habits that prepare the student for life-long learning. The first two years concentrate on the grammar of the subjects: their structure and objective characteristics. The middle years emphasize the logic or relationships of these characteristics. The final two years bring out the student’s creative and synthetic capabilities through the art of rhetoric, leading him to master and communicate what he has learned.” (copied from http://triviumschool.com/academics/curriculum/)

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