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Former Stuart Hall Teachers Open New School In Staunton

Anna's House

Stuart Hall School in Staunton is phasing out its elementary grades, but a group of teachers has joined together to open their own school to fill the need.  WMRA’s Mike Tripp reports.

STUDENTS: Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez ...

Students at Anna’s House in Staunton practice counting in Spanish.

Credit Anna's House
Kindergarten teacher Carolyn Holland and executive director Christi Crittenden of Anna's House.

CHRISTI CRITTENDEN: Anna’s House is an early elementary program that includes ages two and a half through third grade.

Executive director Christi Crittenden sees their private school as an essential service.

CRITTENDEN: We have gotten our childcare license from the department of social services. So that when children attend here if the governor has to limit things, we can stay open as a childcare program. But at the same time, we are an elementary school.

Credit Anna's House
First graders participate in in an outdoor physical education class.

Carolyn Holland teaches kindergarten at the school. She remembers when Stuart Hall Lower School closed dur to COVID back in May.

CAROLYN HOLLAND: Several of us teachers got together. And we decided that we would like to open our own school. We just knew that this was not the time to drop the ball on our students -- that they need us now more than ever.

Enrollment is currently 26 with as many as 45 expected this year.

Credit Anna's House
Pre-K and Kindergarteners enjoy guitar music.

CRITTENDEN: We have also committed to adding a grade up every year. So next year, we’ll be expanding to fourth grade and then the following year to fifth grade.

Mike Tripp is a freelance reporter based in Staunton. He has worked as as a photojournalist in the Shenandoah Valley for more than 25 years.