An email landed in our inbox this morning informing us about a new private school that is moving into the Portola. Alta Vista School, less than 2 years old, has outgrown its start-up environment and has decided to expand, making 450 Somerset Steet in the Portola, its new home. Going from an existing 3,500 square feet, they are moving into over 25,000 at the site of the old St. Elizabeths School. Speaking with head of school, Ed Walters, the Portola Planet has learned they are moving in August and intend to be ready for the new school year in September. Ed said,
We are very excited about moving into the neighborhood. The school currently has about 90 students (up to 2nd grade) but the new space will eventually allow us to teach through 8th grade with 300 students.
Proposed 3D render of the new Alta Vista classrooms in the Portola
Alta Vista School is a science and math technology focused school and teaches using methods of inquiry, hypothesis, experimentation, and discovery. They employ some top notch teachers. For example, 2nd grade lead teacher Erin Mahollitz runs her own blog, which publishes all sorts of information about teaching literacy, math and other subjects. Below is a video, partially taken by one of her students, which demonstrates her techniques of teaching structured inquiry.
The history of the school is quite unique. A former chief scientist at Twitter, Abdur Chowdhury, wanted to send his daughter to a school where she would be encouraged to learn about art, math and the sciences in a fun and hands on environment. Unable to find a solution, he simply created his own school, hired teachers and in less than two years they’ve grown so that they need the larger premises right here in the Portola.
We can’t wait to welcome the school to our community. I’ll be keeping you all updated on their move.