Seven new chartered schools will open in Minnesota this fall as three chartered schools close. Four of the new charters will be STEM-focused; all will start as elementary schools, with five planning on eventually growing to be K-12.
Chartered schools opening in the fall of 2016
Athlos Academy of St. Cloud, authorized by the Volunteers of America – MN (VOA-MN), will serve grades K-6 during its first year. According to the application for charter authorization, the school will be student-centered and focused on creating “independent, self-motivated learners,” while also emphasizing physical activity and health education.
The school will be part of Athlos Academies, a charter management organization that has opened or plans to open chartered schools in Minnesota, Utah, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana. Athlos Academy of St. Cloud will be the second Athlos Academy in Minnesota. The first was Athlos Leadership Academy, which opened in 2014 in Brooklyn Park.
New Summit School, also authorized by VOA-MN, will serve grades K-5 during its first year and be located in St.Paul. The school will utilize a “well-rounded STEM curriculum with an multi-disciplinary instructional approach” that includes inquiry-based and blended learning, extended day programs, language support, and computational thinking.
Discovery Charter School, authorized by Novation Education Opportunities (NEO), will serve approximately 150 students in grades K-5 in its first year and will be located in Inver Grove Heights. According to Executive Director, Dan Hurley, the school will be one of the first STEM Fuse schools in the state, meaning science, technology, engineering and math will be incorporated into each lesson. Curricula will be integrated so all subjects—math, language arts, science, music, physical education, social studies, and art—will be interconnected.
After a year-long delay, North Metro Flex Academy, also authorized by NEO, will serve approximately 150 students in grades K-4 in its first year and will be located in St. Paul. According to the website, the school is an “innovative design of traditional public education” that will use technologically-based curriculum and data collection in order to individualize learning. Principal Therese Privette, said that the school “will be a place where all students will have access to exceptional curriculum, tools and instruction to maximize their success in life.”
T.R.U.T.H Preparatory Academy, authorized by the Minnesota Guild of Public Charter Schools, will serve a maximum of 240 students in grades K-5 in its first year and will be located in St. Paul. T.R.U.T.H will initially be STEM-focused with the goal to eventually add arts and transition to a STEM institution.
Executive Director, Jermain Cooper, said the school also wants students to realize their cultural identities and history, “We want to make sure students are immersed in their respective cultures and know who they really are. For example, with African-Americans, we’re more than just the Atlantic Slave Trade. We’re more than just Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. We want to teach beyond the current textbooks.”
Sankofa Underground North Academy (S.U.N. Academy), authorized by The University of St. Thomas, will serve 100 students in grades K-1 in its first year and will be located in North Minneapolis. S.U.N. Academy will be African-centered, with the students split into different tribes. Academically, the school will mirror the best practices from the Betty Shabazz International Charter School in Chicago and the Uncommon Schools Network.
After a year-long delay, Summit Charter School, authorized by Innovative Quality Schools, will serve grades K-5 in Minneapolis. The school will utilize blended curriculum, traditional classroom and digital, with an emphasis on STEM.
2016 Chartered School Closures
This summer West Concord Public Charter School, Minneapolis Academy, and Paideia Academy (all authorized by Friends of Education) closed due to insufficient enrollment. Minneapolis Academy and Paideia Academy had previously been recognized by MDE as Reward Schools.
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Correction: Athlos Leadership Academy did not open in 1994. Rather, New Visions Academy, which opened in 1994, joined with Athlos Academies and the combined school opened in 2014 as Athlos Leadership Academy. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.