Our Story

 Unfolding Daily —  Chapter by Chapter, Page by Page

New Emerson began in 1995 as a K-2 primary school with a focus on literacy. Inspired by the New Zealand method of reading, we still hold on to many of those practices with our daily "Early Bird Reading" time — where parents are welcomed inside the building to sit and listen to their children read out loud the first 30 minutes of the school day.

(On a non-Covid year, that is.)


We have grown through the years to become a K-5 public, magnet school with a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) curricular focus. Our new STEAM Lab/Makerspace was designed by our K-5 learners in 2018 and was funded by local donors and the kindness of the Grand Junction community in 2019. While other D51 elementary campuses have followed suit in the last few years by incorporating STEAM into their learning practices, it was New Emerson who was the trailblazer for a STEAM program, and was the first to create an accompanying STEAM lab known as the Libratory.

As a demonstration school, NE has also piloted and incorporated the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method and performance or competency-based learning into everyday practices — both key components

of the  D51 learning model. We were also one of the first 1:1 campuses in the district with a Chromebook for each learner. And we use this technology in our teaching and learning daily at all grade levels.

Students come to NE from all over the Grand Valley. We are not a school for the gifted. We are not a charter or private school. We are a public, magnet school with a STEAM focus at this time. All subject areas are taught just like other D51 elementary schools; however, our campus provides opportunities for learners to incorporate more STEAM elements into their overall learning experience.


Students are selected at random through an annual application and lottery process each February. It is not first come, first served. It is a lottery where names are randomly drawn after applications have been received. 

Our campus schedule is a little different in other ways as well. Student contact is four days a week from 7:45am to 4pm. Fridays are non-student contact days and are instead reserved for teacher planning and staff learning community time. Most students are dropped off and picked up outside of their classrooms (Again, on a non-Covid year). However, there is a bus option for those parents who cannot do pick up and drop off on campus. There are five "bus hubs" in town at other elementary schools, and parents can drop off children at one of the hubs to catch the bus to New Emerson. The bus schedule is made available every August. There is also an after-school program at Pomona, one of our bus hubs, for those learners who need somewhere to go after school until 5:30-6pm.

And because of our small size, there is no traditional cafeteria service on campus. Learners bring lunches, or order from the D51 "Lunch Lizard" food truck daily.

We have 144 students, one classroom per grade level, with 24 kids maximum in each classroom. In addition to all of the core subject areas, NE learners have PE, Art, Technology, Music and Libratory classes twice a week, and a special weekly Science class with staff from the Eureka! McConnell Science Museum, thanks to the generosity of Eureka! and D51. (Fun fact: John McConnell and the Science Center used to be located for many years where our current Libratory is today!) We do offer other extracurricular activities including a Lego League and Math Club, and have had Drama Club, Handwriting Club and Newspaper Club in years past. On non-Covid years, we also have the "Curiosity Shoppe" open after school — a student-run school store with snacks and STEM items.

New Emerson is an award-winning school. Our students consistently achieve at high levels on state assessments and we have received the John Irwin Award for Academic Excellence from the Colorado Department of Education a total of eight times. 

So what makes New Emerson so special?

The answer is no one thing.


Our size, our dedicated and experienced staff, and supportive parent community no doubt contribute to what sets us apart. Our community partnerships are also a huge part of our success, as is our continued commitment to current teaching and learning research as a guide for our instructional practices.

But it's more than that.


While we are a small school, we have a big heart, and we would love to have your child join the New Emerson family.