“La Jolla needs another option for middle school,” said Huffman. “Our families are excited that we will now be able to provide them with that option.”
A donation made by The Nelson Family Foundation helped the Children’s School over the halfway mark of the $2 million necessary to complete the Nelson Middle Years Program.
Because the school is classified as a non-profit organization, they will be able to raise the rest of the money necessary through a capital campaign.
“It’s exciting to start out so far ahead in the game,” said Tammy Black, director of communications. “To have this much raised already makes the rest of the project seem more feasible.”
The addition of a middle school program has been in the school’s master plan since 2000, but it wasn’t until the donation by the Nelson family that the plan was put into action. Since then, a task force has been created to handle developmental plans and will be visiting local schools with similar programs to see how they have made this same transition.
Faculty, staff and parents are joining together in this beginning stage of development to help create a program tailored to the school’s specific needs.
Terri Nelson of the Nelson Family Foundation said they were glad to make the contribution to the school, a place that is close to the family’s heart. Nelson’s daughter, Tatiana, is in fourth grade, the first class that will graduate from the Nelson Middle Years Program.
“The Children’s School has such a unique leaning environment,” said Nelson. “We’re fortunate to be in an area that has a lot of great schools, but there is none truly like The Children’s School.”
Terri Nelson said the foundation hopes the donation will enhance the quality academic environment at The Children’s School.
“I think it will add to the great things that are already going on,” said Nelson. “The school is great as it is. I think this will just be the cherry on top.”
For the families at the Children’s School, the addition of the Nelson Middle Years Program has been an answer to many concerns.
“Before they announced it, we were starting to worry about where we would send our kids to middle school,” said Kira Lynn of Mission Hills who has two children at the school. Son Charlie is a fourth-grader, and daughter Ruby is a third-grader.
“There are not a whole lot of options in San Diego,” she said, “and definitely no options that are comparable to the education that they are getting at this elementary school.”
The Children’s School is on 6 acres, which will be more than enough room for the addition, Huffman said. The school is working with an architect to build the seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms as well as a new science facility that will better fit the needs for the new grade levels.
The recent addition of Kelly Field was named after the family who made the donation to fund its construction. Huffman believes the field will benefit not only the school, but the community as well. The Children’s School has partnered with La Jolla Youth Soccer, and the under-6 teams will be holding practices and games on the field each weekend and will also be contributing to the development of the area around the field.
“I really think the school is going to grow,” said Nelson, “both physically and academically, and it’s great to get to be a part of that.”