March 25, 2017
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Credo gets used to new digs at SMV

By: Dave Williams
March 17, 2017
Midyear move unusual but students, teachers make most of the situation

There’s plenty of work to be done before the Credo High School campus fulfills the visions of those who planned it from the start. But for now, Credo is simply happy to finally have a place to call home.

The students at Credo, on March 3, marched from their old campus on Southwest Boulevard –  which the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District is busy remodeling for the pending opening of Richard Crane – to their new campus located at Sonoma Mountain Village. The students were out of school from March 6-10 but resumed classes in their new home on March 13.

It’s rare that an entire school must pick up and move in the middle of a school year, but that’s the hand Credo was dealt.

“The timing of the move was hardly ideal, but our lease with the district (CRPUSD) at our old site was technically up June 30 of last year,” Credo High Director Chip Romer said. “This (SMV) wasn’t ready for us. We kept negotiating how long we could stay. We had last week as a professional development week for teachers, and the students were out of school, so it was optimal week to move. We knew the district couldn’t wait any longer because they have to convert that school. We had to get out of their way but they were generous to let us stay as long as we did.”

Romer said Credo students liked the old campus but in reality, it was still built for elementary school students with low counters and a small gymnasium. SMV, he said, is a little edgier and artier. The school took over a building that once housed a business incubator. Walls were knocked down to create space for hallways and classrooms.

“This is pretty much a stopgap to get us to the end of the school year,” Romer said.

Some of the construction plans include moving the main entrance to a different location and making the music rooms acoustically contained so those outside those rooms can’t hear the musicians practicing.

SMV and Credo are a good fit, Romer said, because both adhere to the One Planet Living concept. One Planet Living, based out of London, helps businesses and communities develop resources for sustainability. SMV uses solar panels to create its energy.

“Those One Planet values Sonoma Mountain Village is making its community around are exactly our values,” Romer said. “If we could locate a school in the center of those values, our students would own them and then take them forth into the world when they graduate.”

Credo is a Waldorf-inspired public high school that draws nearly 80 percent of its student body from kindergarten through eighth grade Waldorf schools from outside the CRPUSD, including Petaluma, Sonoma, Napa, Sebastopol and Novato.

In the past, Credo and the CRPUSD had been at odds over its charter as well as money owed to the district.

“We kind of made a handshake agreement to leave each other alone, and that’s worked really well,” Romer said. “We’ve kind of proved ourselves as a good neighbor and an asset to the community. We made an agreement we’re not to recruit kids away from their schools. If one or two come, we welcome them.”

Credo currently has an enrollment of 246 students and expects to be at 350 next year. Eventually, the enrollment is expected to climb to 600.