Schoolcraft is “On Target”

Schoolcraft Learning Community was notified in February that we are meeting the expectations created by the Minnesota Department of Education to decrease the achievement gap that exists in many schools across the state. Only 39% of all school districts in the state are meeting this goal in Math and 43% are meeting these goals in Reading. The over all goal is part of the No Child Left Behind formula process that all school districts need to show progress in by the year 2017. The only other school districts to be “On Target” in our area were Trek North Junior/Senior High and Blackduck.

EdCamp comes to Bemidji

We are excited to announce the inaugural EdCamp Bemidji will be

held at Bemidji State University on March 1, 2014. This event will bring

together nearly 100 of northern Minnesota’s most innovative

educators for a day of passion-driven learning.

The EdCamp movement was started by educators with the purpose of

bringing teachers together to talk about the teaching and learning

that takes place in their classrooms. At EdCamp every participant is

free to facilitate a conversation, offer to teach other participants  or

request help with a particular topic or conversation.

When you sponsor EdCamp Bemidji, you help the education

community in a very direct and visible way. This entire event is run by

volunteers and funded by donations.  We invite all members of a school community

to join the fun by signing up on the link below. Those wishing to help sponsor this event by

sharing your product with those at EdCamp Bemidji may also sign up. Questions or

comments may be sent to edcampbemidji@gmail.com.

Charter Schools continue to grow

St. Paul and Minneapolis have joined a growing list of cities where at least one fifth of all public school students attend charters. Currently there are 44,000 students in Minnesota enrolled in Charter Schools which is up by roughly 3,000 more than last year.

Charter School growth as been associated with schools because of specialized programs such as Arts to Montessori to language immersion. What we hear from parents is that they are looking for something distinctive. While the majority of students still attend traditional school districts it seems apparent that communities that do offer several educational choices are finding success not only for themselves but mostly importantly their children.

Student led Conferences

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.

A Primer on Minnesota Charter Schools

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!

Fresh Faces and summer stories

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…….