The month of November finds many schools holding the first of several parent/teacher conferences. Parents attend to find out how their child is doing in school and have a chance to visit with the teacher. Many times the process is rushed and parents leave feeling dissatisfied.
A growing trend in education is the student led conference. Preparation is the key to the success of these conferences as students take responsibility for their own learning. At Schoolcraft Learning Community, even Kindergarten students are preparing for the soon to be held conferences. As an Expeditionary school, these conferences are an important part of our curricular model. Students share their successes, reflect on their challenges and are given an opportunity for feedback. Student led conferences build connections, confidence and relationships.
Minnesota Charter Schools are tuition-free, independent public schools that are open and welcome all students, no matter ability or need, and are governed and operated jointly by licensed teachers, parents and community members.
As of Sept 2013, there are 150 Charter Schools operating in the state of Minnesota serving roughly 41,000 students (about 5% of the states’ K-12 enrollment population).
In Bemidji, 3 Charter schools are providing services to roughly 475 students. When you add up all the educational options available for K-12 education (private, tribal, open enrollment and home schooled) roughly 1 out of every 6 kids does not attend ISD 31. Outside of the metro area, Bemidji has one of the largest Charter School enrollments. School choice does matter in our area to many. We attract students and their families from other parts of the state who want to be part of one of our many educational options. The addition of Charter Schools has added greatly to an already rich aspect of our community. No school can meet the needs of every student. Having options means more kids can be successful. Kids win, Schools win and the community wins. Seems like a blueprint for greatness!
I’m sure many kids in the area took the traditional way to school this morning, that being the bus. Many are dropped off by their parents and some are close enough to walk. Older kids might drive themselves. How many can say this?
We are back! For some, they say it feels like we never left. Many others return giving hugs and saying “We missed you”. “How was your summer?” “Did you travel?” “How is your family?” were part of the many conversations heard this first day. A surprise event had been planned for this day and the masses were only told of the meeting time and the items they needed to have for a successful day. A large bus pulled up and they entered with nervous excitement. Someone guessed “We’re going to Valley Fair” while another guessed “Mall of America”. Both were not even close. After a short ride we pulled into the Character Challenge course down by Park Rapids. The day was spent climbing on ropes, leaping from the tops of telephone poles while shouting out personal goals. We helped, we trusted and shared with each other in order to succeed and accomplish much. When was the last time you gave all your trust to another? I know of a very tall pole a few miles from here that has barely enough room at the top to stand on that is waiting…….
Did you remember what it smells like when you stick your nose into a box of new crayons? When you sharpen that first pencil really sharp…..can you imagine anything sharper? Clothes shopping with mom was fun…as long as you got to have your own space when you were doing it (It’s a guy thing when you’re growing up). Did you ever lay out what outfit you were going to wear that first day back to school? Was there a buzz through the neighborhood when you got in the mail the classroom assignments and you wondered who was in your class and you got “her” for a teacher? If you’re not in school now…..but still feel the urge…..pick up a box of new crayons and take a deep breath……see what memories appear!
Schoolcraft Learning Community is a public Charter School serving students in grades K-8 here in the Bemidji area. We will be starting our 14th year of operation and during the school year we are housed at the French Village at the Concordia Language Villages.
We will use this post to keep our community up to date on issues that pertain to public education in our area as well as events regarding our school. We would welcome any comments or questions you have regarding educational trends or Charter Schools.
Schoolcraft is an award winning Charter School that uses the curriculum model of Expeditionary Learning which is a project-based, hands on process. Check out our website at www.Schoolcraft.org for further information.
Our next entry will provide you with the history of Schoolcraft, how we got started and our impact on the Bemidji area.