TCFD Partners with Homestead School to Bring High School to Hurleyville
by John Conway
HURLEYVILLE—The Center for Discovery has been instrumental in bringing numerous improvements to Main Street in Hurleyville over the past ten years, and this year will bring about what might well be the most significant addition yet.
As announced in December, TCFD and SUNY Sullivan are partnering with the Homestead School, a private Montessori school based in Glen Spey, to bring a high school program to Hurleyville.
The Collaborative College High School will be based at the Technology Hub and Incubator (THIN) at 202 Main Street and will also feature programs at SUNY Sullivan’s Loch Sheldrake campus, enabling students to earn an Associate’s Degree along with their high school diploma.
“I can’t imagine a more ideal location for the Homestead School’s expansion into the high school grades,” said Jack Comstock, the high school’s Director. “Adding grades 9-12 to our Glen Spey campus was never a feasible option. The original Homestead campus, nestled in the quiet, wooded hills above the Delaware, is an ideal place for 3 – 12 year-olds to be nurtured during their foundational years. By 7th grade, students are feeling ready to take a hearty step out into the world. Main Street offers a safe and incredibly enriching setting for students to expand their learning environment. “
The Homestead School is now accepting applications for pre-K through ninth grade for the September, 2021 school year. The school will add an additional grade in each of the next three years, eventually headquartering about 130 students and eight or nine full-time teachers in Hurleyville and on the SUNY Sullivan campus.
“Homestead Collaborative College High School takes the mission and values of Homestead School to the level of depth and application appropriate for secondary school students,” Mr. Comstock writes on the school’s website. “As our students begin the incredible transformation of adolescence they are welcomed on to a new campus that speaks to the potential, the desire to explore new things, and the opportunity for new levels of independence. The Collaborative College High School welcomes each new class of seventh grade students to a place of joyful and dedicated academic, creative, and personal study and growth.”
“The Collaborative College High School maintains the low student to teacher ratio that has helped make the Homestead such a caring and nurturing place,” he adds. “CCHS, true to the Montessori approach, continues to provide individualized academic guidance in order to offer the appropriate amount of academic challenge and direction to the needs of a wide range of individuals. In tandem, the staff of the Homestead, SUNY Sullivan, and The Center for Discovery provide opportunities for mentorship and counseling that supports student growth beyond academics.”
While based at the THINC building, it is envisioned that students who are interested will have access to hands-on programming at several other locations along Main Street, including the Fiber-on-Main store, and The Hurleyville Sentinel.
“With the Hurleyville Performing Arts Center across the street, led by a talented and inspired team of artists who are as exhilarated by the opportunities for collaboration as we are and with the proximity to SUNY Sullivan, it couldn’t get any better!” Mr. Comstock told the Sentinel. “We are also thrilled to have a northern location in the county to provide a Homestead experience to students and families that found Glen Spey too far to travel for primary school or who are looking for an alternative secondary and early college experience.”
He says students will also have access to TCFD’s regenerative agriculture experts and the 300 acres of Organic and Biodynamic certified farms, orchards, livestock, and medicinal and culinary herbs they cultivate every day.
In addition, students will be dually enrolled at SUNY Sullivan, and will receive the full host of college services including access to the SUNY Sullivan library, sports facilities, technology, and academic support system.
“Homestead, SUNY Sullivan, and The Center for Discovery are an incredible synergistic partnership,” Mr. Comstock said. “The commitment to a more just, inclusive, and environmentally responsible future, paired with decades of experience in the field of education is a fundamental alignment of mission from which this collaborative venture can build something that has never been done before.
“Hurleyville will be a place where, not too long from now, a diverse student body will find learning pathways that connect with each individual and provide rich opportunities for authentic learning, exploration, acquisition of skill, and the opportunity to have a real-world impact through service to the community.
“The Center for Discovery is already a world pioneer in what I have just described when it comes to individuals with complex conditions, and through our partnership, we will have the support and expertise to build learning environments and courses of study that open doorways for an even greater diversity of learners.”
Mr. Comstock was quick to point out that while the hamlet of Hurleyville is the ideal setting for the new school’s headquarters, SUNY Sullivan is key to the project, and having its campus just a mile from Main Street is a major plus.
“My intention is that the Homestead Collaborative College High School will offer a world-class and world-changing learning experience that allows families that are committed to the best education for their children to remain in Sullivan County and draws new families to settle here,” he said. “Our hope is that the two Homestead campuses will help form a bridge for families between the two ends of the county inspiring a greater degree of cohesiveness, commerce, and creative interplay. It is also our ambition that our partnership with SUNY Sullivan under Jay Quaintance’s visionary leadership will help New York State and the country reimagine what a community college can be.”
The Homestead school was founded in 1978 by Marsha and Peter Comstock. It has most recently had an enrollment of about 200 students from Sullivan and Orange Counties in New York, Pike and Wayne Counties in Pennsylvania, and Sussex County, New Jersey. Originally serving students through grade three, the school added fourth through sixth grades in 2005 and seventh and eighth grades in 2015.