Today leaders of James Irwin Charter Schools broke ground on a new elementary school and high school fieldhouse. These additional buildings will be on the secondary school campus near the Colorado Springs airport.
JICS opened in 2000 with a high school. They added a single-sex middle school and then an elementary school. The school uses Core Knowledge in grades K-8. In the middle school, students have the same teachers, but single-sex classrooms. There are currently 1080 students enrolled K-12. When the facility is complete it will be able to house up to 1400 students.
The school is named after Jim Irwin, an Apollo astronaut and director of a nonprofit, the High Flight Foundation. I knew Jim before he died of a heart attack in the mid-1990s. I've also been friends with his daughter, Jill, for many years. Needless to say, naming a charter school after Jim Irwin is a perfect way to commerate Jim's life. In fact, when the charter school was initially approved in 2000, the swing vote on the Harrison 2 school board came from someone who also knew Jim Irwin and voted for the charter simply because of the man Jim was.
During today's groundbreaking ceremony many of the school's original founders returned to celebrate, including Stan Lightfoot, Jonathan Berg, Elizabeth Berg, Dawn Batteinger, and Jane Olk. These folks plus Diane Borre and Skip Rice were on the original charter school board. It's no wonder the charter school has developed into one with high academic performance and character development because the school's origins were under the leadership of top-quality people dedicated to seeing students succeed in life.