Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) Schools Consolidation
Update: May 20, 2019
After 65 years of service to military families on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Mt. Spurr Elementary students and staff celebrated the school’s history during a bittersweet ceremony on Monday, May 20.
The Anchorage School District (ASD) is consolidating schools located on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) beginning with the 2019-20 school year. The goal of the consolidation is to maximize the quality of educational opportunities while reducing annual costs.
- February 28, 2019, there will be an informational evening event for JBER families at Mt. Spurr Elementary
- Current Mt. Spurr families will use the ASD online lottery process to indicate their attendance choice between Aurora and Orion elementary schools for the 2019-20 school year. Bus transportation will be available for current families to either site
- Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, families assigned to housing located east of Vandenberg Ave will be bussed to Aurora and families assigned to housing located west of Vandenberg Ave will be bussed to Orion
- Families joining the JBER community after the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year will attend the elementary school assigned to their housing area
- Mt. Spurr will close at the end of the 2018-19 school year
Maximizing Educational Opportunities and Academic Benefits
Schools with a minimum membership of 350 students can offer more options. After the consolidation students will:
- Receive full-time music, art, and health teachers;
- Experience more learning and well-being support from an instructional coach, nurse, and other resources;
- Have the multiple classroom teacher options at most grade levels;
- Participate in diverse teaching and learning styles;
- Experience less likelihood of being in combo-classrooms; and
- Have increased potential access to before- and after-school programs.
Continuity for Mount Spurr staff and students is a primary goal. There will be opportunities for most staff to transition with their students to the new schools. Additionally, Mount Spurr students will be transferred to another school on base with teachers and staff familiar with the needs of military children and their families. Students will still be attending school with their neighborhood friends at a school with other students who are from military families.
About the Receiving Schools
Aurora and Orion Elementary Schools are similar types of neighborhood schools on base. In 2013, Aurora had a substantial building renewal with the addition of a $5.75 million dollar gym facility, which added increased learning spaces.
The principals and staff at Aurora and Orion are be pleased to be welcoming students and families from Mount Spurr. Aurora and Orion are both recipients of the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award – a prestigious award for high academics.
JBER boundary map for 2019-2020 school year
Conclusion: Decision to Close Mount Spurr
The motion before the Anchorage School Board on the Agenda Monday, November 19, 2018, “To approve the closure of Mount Spurr Elementary School, and the subsequent transfer of building title and management control of the grounds, through the Municipality of Anchorage, to Headquarter, Department of the Air Force upon the completion of the 2018-19 academic year. Further, that transportation will be provided to students within Mount Spurr’s existing boundaries to Orion and Aurora elementary schools.”
Motion by Deena Mitchell, second by Andy Holleman.
Final Resolution: Motion Passes
Yea: Andy Holleman, Mark A. Foster, Elisa Snelling, Alisha Hilde, Deena Mitchell
Nay: Starr Marsett, Dave Donley
A decision to close a school is never an easy one to make. The School Board and Administration are committed to our military families and to making this transition smooth and positive. The staff and families at Orion and Aurora are ready to welcome more families into their communities and build strong relationships for our children.
Opportunities for Input
February 28, 5 to 7 p.m.
Family information night at Mt. Spurr
March 5, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Aurora Elementary Open House for Mt. Spurr families
March 7, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Orion Elementary Open House for Mt. Spurr families
ASD lottery system closes
Last day for students during the 2018-19 school year