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Sun sets on Sunrise School

KINGSTON — Though the 4-year old non-profit elementary Sunrise School has ceased operations midway through the school year, its owners aren’t going to be riding off into the sunset any time soon.

Sunrise teachers Sue Dazey and Annette Spaulding-Convy finished their final semester with full-time elementary students Dec. 17 but come January, they’ll be starting up a new elementary support and enrichment programs center in the same building.

Dazey said the school’s mission will be changing to better meet the needs of North End parents and their children. And while it appears there are plenty of full-time elementary options out there, providing supplemental programs for those same students will be more germane for the Kingston area, she added.

“It’s questionable if there’s enough (demand) here to have a school,” she said. “But we’re seeing that if we could be more flexible, it could benefit everyone — ourselves and the community.”

At its peak, the school had up to 20 full-time students. Enrollment this year had dipped to about 13 students and the Sunrise School board decided that simply wasn’t enough to continue operating.

In lieu of the full-time school, Sunrise will offer four types of new services — core and enrichment classes for home-schooled students, after-school enrichment classes for all students and tutoring services.

Core classes, such as language arts, math and science, will be offered at the school for homeschooled students whose parents would like outside help in teaching. Arts type enrichment classes, such as poetry, will also be offered to homeschooled students during the day, and after school. All students will have an opportunity to attend them. Private tutoring with both Dazey and Spaulding-Convy will also be available.

Dazey said prices will be determined by enrollment and the school will endeavor to keep costs as low as possible.

The goal is to provide specific areas of education for kids on a per need basis, Dazey said, noting that the offerings are not limited to homeschoolers.

“We want to complement what the public schools are doing,” said Dazey, a former Gordon Options’ program teacher.

The school was located on two floors but Sue and her husband Joe Dazey will now live out of the upper portion while the newly announced support center will be located in the building’s lower level.

The Sunrise teachers believe that there has been a major shift in what the North End community needs in terms of elementary education — and their plan is to adapt to that transformation.

“The demographics in Kingston and North Kitsap are changing,” Spaulding-Convy said. “I don’t think anything exists like this in the area and we can fill that (need).”

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