Out of the classroom, into the world.
WE ARE A FREE MINNESOTA PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS IN GRADES 6 – 12
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.
Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy (JGESA) is changing its name to Outward Academy Charter School (OACS) beginning with the 2023/24 school year. Along with a new name, we hope to move to a new location at 1705 MN-25, Buffalo, MN 55313. This location brings us closer to the majority of our student body without extending bus route times for others. It also puts us near Highways 25 and 55 and Interstate 94 for ease of transportation.
JGESA has entered into a purchase agreement for the Buffalo property and is undergoing a due diligence period to study the feasibility of the move and campus renovation. We intend to be official owners of this property in the Fall of 2022, with renovations completed and ready to open the campus for the 23/24 school year.
The JGESA community knows that education isn’t contained within walls and we are grateful for the beautiful space we rent from True Fiends. However, continually moving in and out of cabins and changing our spaces creates a feeling of transience and instability. A move to our new Buffalo location will give us a permanent space that we control and is specifically designed for our students, our approach to learning, and our community.
Outward Academy Charter School (OACS) better reflects who we are while still maintaining our mission statement of “Out of the Classroom, Into the World.” The word OUTWARD was carefully selected as it was a versatile word that reflected the core values of our school. Directing students outward into the world as they grow and mature into young adults, looking outside yourself into the greater community, and of course retaining our emphasis on environmental education.
We have exciting plans for the new Outward Academy campus with benefits and opportunities for all of our learners. We will deliver the same award-winning, innovative, educational programs in a new, custom-renovated, and environmentally friendly building. New features include an 18-acre campus with outdoor learning spaces, trails, and areas designed to specifically promote project-based-learning. Plans for a state-of-the-art science lab and native prairie are also in the works. We plan on coordinating with the DNR to have our wooded acreage designated as a School Forest. In partnership with the city, county, and state recreational and natural resource organizations, the school will be a valuable resource and site for students, community engagements, and public educational use.
In addition, the new campus is in close proximity to several local parks and lakes. We will continue our partnerships with Wright County Parks and Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Trout in the Classroom, Conservation Minnesota, and the Department of Natural Resources to advance our out-of-the-classroom learning activities in off-campus locations.
OACS will continue to be a free, public charter school serving grades 6-12, just as we have since our inception as Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy in 2015. Students currently enrolled at JGESA will continue to be enrolled; no action is required for current students.
JGESA is proud to have been recognized as the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools winner in the Category: Creating Different and Innovative Forms of Measuring Outcomes. Additionally, we were selected from over 400 schools for the top honor in the Innovation in Education category at the Building Hope Impact Awards in Washington, D.C on June 22, 2022. We are excited to continue our innovation in a new location and with a new name in Fall 2023 while maintaining our successful, award-winning, and unique educational program.
Out of the Classroom, Into the World - Here’s to an exciting change for the 2023/24 school year!
JGESA Staff are excited start the ‘22/23 school year! To help families and students prepare to return or join our community, we have compiled a quick reference of everything you need to know in this document. We welcome you to review this and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Jackie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All families new or returning have received an email link to register or update your student’s information in our online student registration system, JMC. It is critical that you take the time to complete this information by August 10th. This is also where all required back to school forms will be completed electronically this year, making the process more streamlined for both families and JGESA. Students will not be able to start school till this process has been completed and all required documentation is on file.
Back to School:
- We are excited for new students to start school on Tuesday, Sept. 6th!
- Our returning students start school on Wednesday, Sept. 7th!
- Our school times are 8:15am - 3:05pm
- Please review our school calendar here.
- All students must have a transportation plan on file – this will have been entered when you did online registration in JMC as noted above.
- Parking pass information available here for student drivers
○ Here are the bus stops and times
- Be sure to come to school prepared, here is the School Supply List
- If you have questions or need assistance getting items, please contact Jackie (email@example.com).
- It is important to remember that learners need to bring lunch daily.
- Please contact Amanda (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or concerns
Advisor Meetings and Communication:
- Your learner’s Advisor will be contacting families via email to schedule Back-to-School Conferences.
- Staff are excited to offer in-person or virtual meetings on August 31st or September 1st. This is a great opportunity to discuss your learner’s needs and ask questions.
Out of the Classroom Friday’s
- Building off our success last school year we will continue to offer Out of the Classroom Fridays. Each Friday, learners will have a plan to either (a) work from home on existing projects/academics, (b) join staff and peers for a pre-arranged out-of-the-classroom experience, or (c) work-based learning (WBL) and/or Post-Secondary Education Option (PSEO). Additionally, learners are invited to collaborate with their Advisor to plan an independent learning experience, too. Watch for information to come on our planned offerings for this year.
JGESA Safe Learning Plan 2022-23 - Updated 7/22
Please note Covid presents us with a continually evolving situation and changes will be made as necessary.
- Click here for the full JGESA Safe Learning Plan
JGESA is in compliance with Federal government, Minnesota Rule, Local Public Health and universal business guidance requirements;
- It is required all people present in school buildings and district offices wear a face covering if using the shortened quarantine/isolation procedure. See full details in Safe Learning Plan.
- It is no longer required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order to wear face coverings on all public transportation conveyances including school buses and vans.
- All members of the school community, including staff, students, families, visitors, and others should continue to be vigilant in monitoring for symptoms of illness and protect others by staying home when they are feeling ill and following COVID-19 specific exclusion and self-quarantine guidance when appropriate. JGESA will continue to use the most current guidance from MDE/MDH to determine who should stay home and when staff or students may return.
- FULLY VACCINATED STAFF OR STUDENTS DO NOT NEED TO QUARANTINE based on exposure only - those will symptoms must remain at home. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
- Staff or students may use shortened quarantine based on 1/17/22 guidance - full details in plan.
- JGESA will continue to offer free take home Covid-19 tests to students and staff upon request.
- JGESA has partnered with Wright County Public Health and local health care providers to offer and promote testing and vaccination options to our school community. These opportunities will continue to be communicated to families via email and social media as they become available.
- JGESA has the unique advantage of a 300 acre outdoor campus, whenever possible we will utilize outdoor spaces for learning. Also, we have more than recommended square footage per student available for distancing student desk spacing.
- JGESA will continue to follow protocols around daily cleaning, handwashing, and respiratory etiquette in an effort to mitigate disease spread. Note should we experience an outbreak of Covid it is possible that JGESA would shift learning models as needed.
- JGESA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services that address students academic, social, emotional and mental health needs in a variety of ways including access to in-person and online resources, school Counselor, Meal Finder resource, and more. Advisor, Counselor and other staff will identify and follow-up with students experiencing lack of progress, frequent absences or other issues such as equitable access or barriers to participating in instruction can be identified and resolved.
- Digital Equity - JGESA will provide 1:1 chromebooks to each student. JGESA will also work with families to obtain free/low cost home internet access or provide school owned internet hotspots for use as needed.
- Appropriate Accommodations for Children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies will be provided
Please submit all attendance related communications to ATTENDANCE@JGESA.org
Building Hope IMPACT Award Winner - Supporting Innovation in Education
Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy was selected for the top honor in the Innovation in Education category at the Building Hope Impact Awards in Washington, D.C on June 22, 2022. We could not be more honored. Each and every school in this category are doing amazing things in education across the country!JGESA is incredibly excited and proud to announce that we have been selected as one of 3 national Building Home Impact Awards Education Innovation Finalists. "It’s time to celebrate the outstanding finalists in the 1st Annual Building Hope IMPACT Summit & Awards! Selected from nearly 400 charter school applicants stretching across 38 states, these nine finalists were selected for having an impact on student empowerment, community engagement, or educational innovation!Building Hope President Joe Bruno said, “I would like to congratulate every charter school that took the time to submit an application, and, of course, our nine outstanding finalists for their commitment to foster excellence, innovation, empowerment, and community for their students. These school finalists will surely inspire and influence the charter school community today and for years to come.”
JGESA - Award Winning Innovative School
JGESA is proud to have been recognized as the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools winner in the Category: Creating Different and Innovative Forms of Measuring OutcomesJane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy in Maple Lake has integrated their mission of “Out of the Classroom, Into the World” into every aspect of school design and culture. Instead of focusing student success on test scores and standards, they choose to emphasize the interconnectedness of living and learning with a “Skills Rubric” that promotes self-improvement, achieving happiness and self-defined personal success.
How do we facilitate the work of youth as self-directed producers and learners?
Allowing students to design learning experiences based on their own unique interests and passions encourages them to be self-motivated, independent thinkers who are capable of solving problems, thinking critically, and who are prepared for post-secondary options and the workforce. Personalized learning plans are designed for each student.
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 an interesting person or event in history.
- Video games 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
A School Like No Other
Free Learning Activities
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.
Tall Ships Experiential Learning Voyages
Out of the Classroom, Into the World - JGESA is excited to announce a partnership with Lake Superior Tall Ships that will allow us to offer our students an AMAZING learning opportunity with 3 day Experiential Learning Voyages. Watch for more details to come. These trips require teamwork which fosters acceptance of others, cultivates personal responsibility and builds leadership skills. Programs emphasize navigation, seamanship, environmental issues, S.T.E.M. and team building.
Youth Conservation Crew - Middle School Program
JGESA is excited to announce bringing the Youth Conservation Crew - Middle School Program to JGESA next year. Advisor Jess Paulson has been selected to lead the pilot program at JGESA where the program will roll-out along with a few other select MN schools and @ConservationMN . Watch for full details in the 2021 school year. Out of the Classroom, Into the World.Conservation Crew will instill leadership and real world experience in students and support them as they select, perform, and lead a hands-on conservation project in your school or community.