Recently I was at Arlington National Cemetery and looked up the grave of James Irwin, the Apollo 15 astronaut and eighth person to walk on the moon. I had spoken with Jim Irwin a few times before he died and have been friends with his daughter, Jill, for many years. I was excited to hear founders of a Colorado Springs charter school were going to name their school after Jim Irwin back in 1999. The vote before the Harrison 2 School District Board of Education was evenly split and the vote that eventually approved the school was because the board member knew James Irwin personally and couldn't vote against a man with such integrity. The charter school, James Irwin Charter Schools, has been an honor to Jim Irwin.
JICS started as a high school, but leaders quickly acknowledged students were coming in so low in math skills that they needed to open a junior high. The vision of creating students prepared to attend the best colleges and universities couldn't be accomplished when so much remediation was being done before students could take grade-level classes. Later, school leaders recognized the importance of having a K-12 student population and an elementary school was added. After the completion of a new elementary school wing last year, all students are one campus north of the airport in the southeast corner of Colorado Springs.