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Crook County Schools plan K-4 ‘theme school’ for this fall

Update: Adding video and more info

Focus at Pioneer South Building will be on art, tech and 'adventure learning'

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- In response to continued growth, Crook County School District administrators said Tuesday they are developing plans to open a theme elementary school centered on art, technology and adventure learning in September of this year.

The school will open in the Pioneer South building on East First Street in Prineville. It will be the first non-charter public theme school. Principal Jim Bates, the current Barnes Butte Elementary administrator, has been selected as the principal to open the new school.

“Barnes Butte Elementary and Crooked River Elementary have continued to enroll new students throughout the school year,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson, noting that enrollment increased 5% across the district.

“We need a long-term plan, and a theme school will provide an opportunity for families to choose to have their children attend a small, very special and unique elementary school and will reduce enrollment at our other elementary schools.”

The theme-based school will likely enroll 240 kindergarten through fourth-grade students the first year.

In early spring, the planning committee will provide applications to families who are interested in having their children attend the new school.

“I believe it is in the best interest of the children and schools in CCSD to assign Jim Bates as the planner and principal of the new theme school,” Johnson said. “The district invested in Mr. Bates throughout the opening of Barnes Butte Elementary, and he did a great job.”

She noted that Bates learned all of the details of opening a school, and people have high trust in him.

“He has strong people skills as well as top-notch managerial capabilities,” Johnson said of Bates. “He will be a great asset as we move forward with the Pioneer plan.”

Bates calls it a privilege to have served Crook County students, families and staff for the last 25 years and is glad to be a part of these next steps.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to put my experience to work as we create new opportunities together,” he said. “The families of Crook County mean the world to me. To be able to help at a unique time is a privilege.”

The planning committee will share their theme school proposal during the CCSD Board meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. next Monday at the district office.

Central Oregon / Crook County / Education / Prineville / Top Stories

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