RESPONSE FOR NEW CHARTER SCHOOL EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS
RESPONSE FOR A NEW PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL WITH A FOCUS ON ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP HAS EXCEEDED THE EXPECTATIONS OF STAFF HEADING INTO ITS FIRST YEAR OF INSTRUCTION IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA.
JULY 24, 2015 BY KEVIN ALLENSPACH
St. Cloud Times
Organizers have met a goal of about 100 students in grades 6-12 registered to attend the Jane Goodall Environmental Sciences Academy, which will launch Sept. 1 at Camp Courage between Annandale and Maple Lake. Partly because of the positive response, the tuition-free school has expanded first-year capacity to 114 and will have an informational meeting Tuesday in St. Cloud in an effort to fill the few remaining spots and educate others who might enroll in the future.
“We’re going to talk about how our model is different and why parents might want to choose this for their child,” said Craig Wignes, a social studies teacher who also is board chair for the academy. “We’ve been fortunate that there’s been a lot of interest in our campaign to get going. We had to hold a lottery in March because there was more interest than we had openings.”
Tuesday’s meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library.
The school, which plans to expand enrollment to 150 within two years, has teachers in language arts, science, math and special education. The academy will lease building space from Camp Courage and offer transportation, including a route that will come through Clearwater to serve students in the St. Cloud area.
“It’s a lot to wrap your head around because it’s a really different model,” said Wignes, who spent 11 years teaching alternative learning in the St. Michael-Albertville school district. “But it’s not just science projects and environmental stuff. If a kid wants to learn Mandarin, or play the trombone, we’re going to pursue that with them.”
The academy has partnerships with The Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots Program, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota, among others.