Rohnert Park Waldorf-style charter school seeks accreditation

A Waldorf-inspired charter school in Rohnert Park will apply for accreditation this spring, part of its plan to address concerns over lower-than-expected enrollment and its impact on the school's finances.

Credo High School, located on the former Richard Crane Elementary School site on Southwest Boulevard in Rohnert Park, will submit its application for accreditation in April, said Chip Romer, director of the school.

The lack of accreditation has hurt enrollment at the 2-year-old school, according to the Cotati-Rohnert Park School District, which is charged with providing oversight for the independent charter school.

"We still have grave concerns about the financial viability given the number of students they have enrolled," Cotati-Rohnert Park Superintendent Robert Haley said. "They have some significant issues to overcome."

The school opened in 2011 with 39 students, far short of the 100 expected during its inaugural year.

Eighty students — 45 freshman and 35 sophomores — currently are enrolled in the school's second year of operation.

As many as 60 students have expressed interest in enrolling as freshmen in the fall, Romer said.

The Waldorf curriculum promotes a low-technology approach to education that focuses on the arts and individualized curriculum in the early grades. At the high school level, the curriculum focuses on investigative projects as well as an emphasis on music, foreign language and throwback skills such as blacksmithing and black-and-white print-making.

So far, the school stands out academically. Credo students posted an 822 on the State Academic Performance Index last year, well above the goal of 800 out of 1,000.

Backers have said Credo could blossom into a school serving as many as 600 students, largely because the North Bay is home to seven Waldorf-inspired kindergarten through eighth grade campuses that graduate about 160 eighth graders every year.

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