Aztec charter school celebrates 10 years

Joshua Kellogg The Daily Times
The Daily Times

AZTEC — The staff at the Mosaic Academy is celebrating the school's 10th anniversary by incorporating the milestone into the charter school's foundation's efforts to raise money for a permanent facility.

The Friends of Mosaic Academy Foundation and members of the 10-year celebration committee are planning several fundraisers this school year to raise $60,000 to pay for pre-construction costs as the school faces a 2019 deadline to establish a permanent home.

Vice Principal Amanda Knight said the school needs to start construction on a new building at the permanent location by the 2019-2020 school year. If the school does not relocate by that time, she said the school would have to remain at its current location.

The school is chartered through the Aztec Municipal School District, and its charter was approved in December 2013 by the Aztec school board for 2014-2019.

"If we don't start construction by this point, this becomes our permanent facility," Knight said. "For us, it's a very difficult pill to swallow. We really want more space."

Knight said the $60,000 would go toward developing architecture plans and helping locate a permanent site.

The 180 students are housed in nine classrooms in six double portable buildings that also house a resource room, a multiuse room, an office and storage on two acres of land along Llano Street near the Aztec Boys & Girls Clubs and the Aztec Library.

"It would be wonderful to be able to design a space where it fits what our needs are and what we try to do," Knight said. "We're such a community, and each of the kids belong to each of the teachers."

Knight and Melissa Nakai, a third- through fifth-grade teacher, both said they would love to a see a new facility hat allowed more interaction between teachers.

Nakai said the teachers feel kind of isolated in their classrooms and are constantly dealing with storage issues. What Nakai enjoys about teaching at Mosaic is the freedom to teach to a student's ability and not be constricted by grade level.

"I think just being able to not be so stuck on making sure everybody is on the same level, doing the same thing," Nakai said. "If they are ready to move on, I can move them on."

Nakai has been teaching at the school since it opened and said having a permanent facility would provide a level of validation, jokingly calling the Mosaic Academy "the school on wheels."

Friends of Mosaic Academy, a nonprofit foundation founded to raise money for a new facility, has raised about $6,000, and the members hope to raise the entire $60,000 for pre-construction costs by the end of the year, according to Chair Coila King.

King said the foundation is planning several fundraisers, including a softball tournament, a banquet, a carnival and a golf tournament in October set for the Aztec Municipal Golf Course at Hidden Valley.

"The school emphasizes the educational goal of helping each child develop to their full capacity," King said.

King said once the $60,000 is raised, the foundation and school will start working on financing options to pay for design and construction costs for the new facility.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.