Out of the classroom, into the world.


    At the Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy, students will foster their knowledge, love and respect for the environment while promoting sustainability for future generations. This teacher-led school is located near Maple Lake, Minnesota in the heart of Wright County.

  • Enroll Now image

    Accepting applications now for the '20/21 school year.

    Openings for current school year offered first come, first served in order applied as openings become available. 

Free Meals for Kids

    Free Meals for Kids app helps families and kids locate free healthy meals across Minnesota during the pandemic. Let's work together to ensure hungry kids don't miss a meal during the summer. The app is powered by GPS and shows locations of schools and other sites that are providing meals and meal packs, with days and hours for distribution. It also shows the distance and directions to the nearest site from your location. The app is updated daily. The app is free at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store
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  • JGESA is striving to provide students and families with as many resources as possible during this time. Click here for a links to many educational and community resources. 

    We are doing our best to make the return to school this Fall as transparent as possible. Due to the variety of factors involved in implementing the Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 school year, and the fact that many of the state timelines are tied to a traditional school opening date of Sept. 8th, JGESA has decided to move our opening date to Tuesday, Sept. 8th for new students and Wednesday, Sept. 9th for all students.  You can find our updated school calendar here. We understand that our families have different situations. Your student’s Advisor will be in contact via email to schedule virtual back-to-school conferences prior to the start of school. This will be a great time to discuss your student’s needs and ask questions.


    Following the guidelines set by the Minnesota Dept. of Education (MDE) and Minnesota Dept. of Health (MDH), JGESA anticipates starting the school year in a hybrid model. All of us want nothing more than to be back in school face-to-face in the wonderful JGESA community we have built, but we know that for now, the daily experience at JGESA will look and feel different. While we absolutely understand the importance of building relationships and community in-person, we must also prioritize everyone’s safety. JGESA will continue to live our mission of “Out of the Classroom, Into the World.” We are primed for continuing our innovative approach to learning using our 300 acre campus. 


    To start, have a serious discussion with your student(s) so they understand that due to health and safety requirements, returning to school in-person does not mean returning to school "as normal." Also, remember that any family may choose the distance learning model. Parents, once you have read the information provided below, we need you to click here to select your choice for back to school by August 12th.  Students, we are asking for your input/questions here.

    Please understand that by participating in any in-person or hybrid learning, students and families are agreeing to the following guidelines and requirements:





      • School Calendar - Note all new students (and those that joined JGESA in March of 2020 during Distance Learning) will start Tuesday, Sept. 8th for our New Student Orientation. Returning students begin on Sept. 9th or 10th depending on grade level.
      • Tentatively, Grades 6-8 will attend in-person each Tuesday/Thursday. Grades 10-12 will attend in-person each Monday/Wednesday. We will confirm which days 9th grade will attend once we have received responses on who is planning to distance learn. This is to ensure that we maintain the appropriate capacity guidelines each day.
      • All students will participate in distance learning each Friday. Students who have chosen full-time distance learning will have scheduled weekly meetings with their Advisor. 
      • When in-person/hybrid learning, we will follow our typical school day schedule of 8:20am-3:00pm. On the days that students are distance learning, we will utilize essentially the same distance learning plan from last Spring. Students are expected to engage with their Advisor virtually and complete work to be considered in attendance. 
      • If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home and notify the office.
      • If you are quarantining for a period of time, but are still able to complete work, you may participate in distance learning and be considered in attendance.





      • Parents are responsible for monitoring their student for any symptoms. If they are experiencing symptoms, the must stay home and notify the office. Full CDC guidance on monitoring symptoms available here. Any student showing symptoms at school must be picked-up within 90 minutes of parent notification. If parents are unavailable, emergency contacts will be notified. 
      • Transportation Plan - Every student needs a transportation plan on file. 
        • JGESA is waiving parking fees due to Covid-19 in an effort to reduce bus ridership. 
        • When riding the bus, students must load the bus and fill the rear seats first and sit one student per seat (every other seat) and stay in that seat. 
      • Students will enter the cabins through their assigned door and are expected to social distance throughout the day and in all spaces. JGESA has access to a wide variety of learning spaces indoors and outside and will be using them to our advantage. 
      • School Supply List - Please note that in years past, many students shared items or used JGESA supplies. Due to health and safety guidelines, no sharing of school supplies will be allowed making it especially important that your student comes to school fully prepared each day. 



    • Students will remain with their Advisory throughout the day, including lunch & activity time.


        • Each student will be provided a reusable cloth mask and disposables will be available as needed.  Face coverings must be worn when inside school buildings or on school transportation as dictated by MN Safe Learning Plan
        • 6-foot social distancing will be enforced.
        • Handwashing hygiene will be taught and expected.
        • Lunch will be at the student’s desk or outside.
        • No large group activities and no mingling between cabins/Advisories.
        • Activity times will not include large group/gym type games and will be focused more on outdoor and/or individual activities such as hiking or yoga. 
        • We will be outside as much as possible.
        • Students will be assigned workspaces.
        • No bean bags or couches will be available for student use (soft surfaces).
        • Kitchen access will be limited to project needs by reservation and sanitized between uses - no food will be prepared on site.  
        • Use of special spaces and technology, such as the sound studio, VR, etc. must be scheduled and will be sanitized before and after each use.
        • No students will be allowed in the Library. Books will be checked out by staff members.
        • Chromebooks will be provided to all students for use on campus and at home.
        • Cleaning will be conducted twice daily in all spaces and as needed. 
        • Students are expected to minimize unnecessary movement throughout workspaces and all buildings on campus.





      • Students receiving specialized services will be in contact with their Case Manager. 


    While we will begin the year in a hybrid model, please be aware that we will likely shift between scenarios as the situation warrants based on factors including but not limited to, available staffing, building space, and MDE/MDH Guidance. We will communicate any changes in the learning model via email, our website, and social media. Please be aware that JGESA has students from 18 local communities across 5 counties. As such, the decision made by your resident district may not reflect the decision that is made at JGESA.


    Below is a summary that highlights how JGESA will address the three scenarios. Please note, we have provided space on the document so your family can begin planning for all learning scenarios that we may encounter during the upcoming year.

     JGESA is consistently adding additional resources to our website that will assist students and parents during this time. We have also crafted a JGESA Full Distance Learning Plan for use if/when we need to implement Distance Learning.

    Link to MDE Safe Learning Plan for Families

    Letter from the Counselor Amanda with suggestions for staying connected and healthy.

    Plans for three scenarios are required for all Minnesota schools - In-person, Distance Learning and hybrid of both. Schools may be required to transition between all three scenarios based on circumstances throughout the year. Families need to prepare to move in and out of these three scenarios depending upon circumstances throughout the year. See JGESA's full Safe Learning Plan HERE

    1.      Q&A for frequently asked questions.

    2.      Parents Guide to accessing Headrush and/or Khan Academy

    3.      Distance Learning Norms

    4.      Letter for families with children receiving special education services. 


    JGESA has posted our full Distance Learning Plan to our site as per Minnesota Dept. of Education instructions. 
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Back to School 2020

  • back to school


    The Minnesota Dept. Of Education has created a guide MDE created a guide to give families a quick overview of the education and health guidance that schools are using to plan for the 2020-21 school year. This document is intended to help families know what information they should expect from their child’s school. The guide is available in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish.
    JGESA is in the process of finalizing our plans in accordance with MDE guidelines and expect to share those with families next week and to be ready for back to school. MDE has stated they will announce a decision by 7/27/20 regarding which plan they will be using for the start of the school year.



    Back to School Resources:

    School Supply List - Please note that in years past many students shared items, or used JGESA supplies. Due to CoVid-19 no sharing of school supplies will be allowed, making it especially important that your student comes to school fully prepared. 


    School Calendar - Note new students only start August 25th. Returning students begin on August 26th.


    Transportation Plan - Every student needs a transportation plan on file. JGESA is waiving parking fees due to Covid in an effort to reduce bus ridership. 


    Letter from the Coucelor Amanda -  suggestions for staying connected and healthy.

Summer Office Hours

  • JGESA will have limited office hours over the summer - please email jlonghenry@jgesa.org ahead if you plan to come to the office to make an appointment.

A School Like No Other

  • What is Project-Based Learning?

    Project-Based Learning (PBL) gets kids excited about learning by tailoring learning opportunities to match their interests. Students pursue their passions and academics at the same time by earning credit for projects they design.

    - Love to draw? Create a comic book about about an interesting person or event in history.
    - Video gaming more your speed? Learn about an ancient civilization and build a game.
    - Like to hunt or fish? Turn your trophy into an anatomy lesson.
    - You like to cook - bake a cake that represents the layers of the earth's crust.
    - Want to take a hike? Photograph and identify wildlife along the way.

    Click here for answers to more Frequently Asked Questions

    Click here for a Showcase of Student Projects

    Click here to see a List of Project Ideas


    Why this learning model makes a difference for students and families?

    Students don't have to be taught, they need to learn. This is a distinction. Student-Driven Project Based Learning allows students to take initiative and be responsible for their learning. When a student is interested and actively engaged in their own education they feel empowered, confident, and it builds the foundation for further successes - in and outside of the classroom.  JGESA parents say it best...


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    Out of the Classroom, Into the World


    Learning can not be contained to a classroom.  Set on 300+ acres JGESA's campus is a living classroom for environmental education. Being surrounded by nature has amazing effects on the body and mind. When your school is in the woods daily hikes become a part of life. Canoeing on the lake builds teamwork and monitoring nesting bird populations ties learning to living things. 

    We also encourage students to develop real world skills through experience - Out of the Classroom, Into the World.  

    JGESA hosts experts in a wide variety of fields to work with students here on campus. Frequent field trips to any number of local locations - most free or low cost- expose students to all sorts of hands-on learning. Older students also have opportunities at more robust trips such as Sea Horse Key Marine Biology Lab in Florida, a Jr/Sr wilderness trip to Lake of the Woods and more. 

    During 4x yearly Experience Days students must complete an off-campus activity such as a job shadow, trip to a museum, or visit to a park, and then share what they have learned.  But, this type of learning is not limited to Experience Days.  Students are also encouraged to seek outside learning opportunities on their own. Turn a family vacation into a history of your destination, volunteer at an organization that matters to you and create a fundraising campaign for them, interview a family member that has a unique life experience and turn it into a short film.

Experience Day
  • In keeping with our mission of "Out of the classroom, into the World" students participate four times annually in Experience Day. This is an amazing opportunity for students to experience off-campus learning opportunities. 




Free Learning Activities

  • Out of the classroom, into the world

    There are countless ways for your student to explore and learn outside of the classroom. Click for a list of free or low cost ideas, any of which could be turned into a fascinating JGESA school project. If you know of other ideas please share so we can expand the list.

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