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Board votes to buy ‘yurt’

BEAR CREEK TWP. -- A classroom space crunch led the Bear Creek Community Charter School board of trustees to approve a unique solution: a yurt.

The board on Thursday night unanimously approved the purchase of the yurt – a movable structure based on the dwellings used for centuries by nomadic people in Asia – to be used by the environmental education classes. Teacher Paulo Longo said she carries multiple bags of materials between classrooms to teach because there is no open room to be used strictly for environmental education, which led her to research options.

The yurt will provide a dedicated spot for instruction at least in the warmer months, she said, and will be set up much like a nature center. In addition to more long-term projects and experiments, Longo said using the yurt classroom will allow her to expand the curriculum to integrate more reading, writing and math activities into the environmental education curriculum.

Depending on the options chosen before the final order, Longo estimated the yurt will cost about $17,000, which will be paid by the school and reimbursed by donations through the Bear Creek Foundation.

The school was founded on an environmental charter and emphasizes education on the environment, including sustainability, recycling and other “green” concepts.

In other business, the board approved a revised severance agreement with Margaret Foster and eliminated the position of director of student intervention.

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