Three years ago, Caurus Academy struggled to fill classrooms. Now as enrollment grows, with students from Anthem and the North Phoenix area, the charter school plans to lease additional space for an expanded middle-school program this fall and a high school the following year.
Five new middle school teachers have been hired, said Principal Dameon Blair.
Caurus aims to lease space soon to be vacated by North Valley Christian Academy in the building now owned by Crossroads Church in Anthem Commerce Park west of I-17. (NVCA is moving to a new building on North Valley Parkway in the Tramonto area.)
Caurus’ future 14,000-square-foot space on 41st Drive, less than a quarter mile from its current campus on 42nd Avenue, will house the middle school and accommodate an additional section per grade level in grades 6–8 when the 2017–18 school year begins.
Blair said enrollment is at its highest level since the school’s inception, following a controversy involving claims of misuse of funds by the charter’s former governing board, which led to an exodus of students at the end of the 2013–2014 school year and the departure of the principal and a few staff members. The 2014–15 school year ended with 190 students, but after three years of Blair’s leadership, enrollment is at 330.
A parent survey helped solidify the decision to move forward with expansion plans, Blair said.
“With Boulder Creek bursting at the seams… we felt this would be a natural transition,” he said, adding that the expansion is in response to the community need. Caurus has signed a three-year lease agreement with Crossroads, with the option to renew annually.
In 2018–2019, Blair said Caurus will begin offering a high school curriculum, serving students in grades 9 and 10, offering an additional grade level each year. By 2020–2021 school year, the high school should accommodate students in grades 9–12. He anticipates that the high school could serve 600 students.
The Crossroads building had been approved for use as a religious facility. At its April meeting, Anthem Community Council approved the church’s request to lease the building to a school.