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School bus transformed into roaming classroom

A school bus has been transformed into a mobile classroom for summer school students at Tavelli Elementary School in Fort Collins.

FORT COLLINS — Tavelli Elementary School in Fort Collins is wrapping up its first year of a new approach to summer school where it transformed a school bus into a Mobile Academic Classroom or MAC.

“It seems like it just comes alive when the kids get on board,” Principal Christine Hendricks told 9NEWS.

The MAC bus, as it’s known, has 30 laptops, a smart TV, retractable whiteboards and plenty of seating. The goal is to reach kids within the Poudre School District who live farther away from their home schools, making summer school a difficult option.

“It’s just something different and they seem to be having a delightful time.”

The three-hour program is free for parents. There are multiple educators on board, teaching 10 to 20 students. The first half of the day focuses on the basics, while the second half is more centered around a STEAM curriculum.

“Our goal really would be, if they can maintain where they left off in the spring, that’s a win.”

“You know how you forget your math facts or your reading,” soon-to-be 5th grader Chai Henkelman asked. “The MAC bus is sorta something that is fun but it helps you remember it very easily.”

The project cost about $90,000, but no taxpayer money was used to build the bus, thanks to help from the community.

The laptops were donated, the carpets were free too, and the whole concept was even designed by a school parent, Casey Adler. The company he works for, RB+B Architects, helped the dream come to life.

“This community just kind of embraced us and supported us,” Principal Hendricks said. “They really stepped up to make this happen.”

Although they only have one bus now, the goal is to eventually have a fleet that can go to multiple neighborhoods during the summer.

The leftover donation money will be able to help that happen, but in the meantime, the MAC Bus will continue to roll on in summer 2019.

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