Recently, our middle school students put on a short musical titled: "Pirates!" There were a number of things I noted about the performance that were impactful to me. The first was the surprise vocals from some of our soloists who I didn't know were singers. The second was the fact that every one of our middle school students was part of the production, which is no easy feat for our teachers who led the production.
Established in 1999, Crosslake Community School (CCS) has served students and families in a small, personalized atmosphere. In its first year, the school had 30 students in grades K-6 and was located at Camp Knutson. Fast forward 16 years to today and you will see significant change. CCS currently is home to 180 students in grades K-12.
As I write I am sitting in our high school learning lab, working alongside a handful of students currently enrolled in our online program for grades 9-12. As of this writing, we have 30 students earning high school credit, up from the 19 who originally started in the program a year ago. What strikes me as an educator of 32 years is the wide range of students whose educational needs we are able to meet through this personalized online environment. We have students who desire a small setting and they are drawn to our school for that reason.
So goes the mission statement of the Crosslake Community School. But what does it actually mean to be environmentally aware and community conscious? These are topics that we will be tackling during the 2015-16 school year. In order to better explain, I need to back up and give some information as to how we arrived at this mission statement. Charter Public Schools share many characteristics of all other public school systems in the state of Minnesota.
"... No more pencils no more books ..." So go the lyrics to a popular children's song or Alice Cooper if you are a fan. So, what does it really mean that school is "out"? One thing it doesn't have to mean is that learning stops when the school bell rings for the last time at the end of the year. There are many opportunities to continue to enrich our children's learning when school is not in session. Consider some of the following for our students this summer: • Library. Whether it is a rainy day or not, spending time with a good book is a great way to keep our brains engaged.
Spring is here and with it comes the promise of warmer weather. For the first time in a long time, our students are able to get out and engage in some outdoor learning opportunities after having been stuck indoors for what seems like an eternity for some, I am sure. In addition to warmer weather, April brings with it a flurry of activity from standardized testing, to field trips, to concerts and other special events. On April 17, we were fortunate to have Sen. Carrie Ruud pay us a visit. Sen.
Patience. We expect it from others, yet can find it difficult to demonstrate it ourselves at times. We wait. To open our Christmas presents, until we are old enough to drive a car or sit at the "big kid" table at Thanksgiving. We have to stand in line, the person in front of us is taking too long at the ATM, the website is not loading fast enough and the list goes on. In all cases, it takes patience. We expect people to have it or to "be" it as in: "Be patient, the food will be ready when it is ready." "Be patient.
Welcome to 2015 with all of its hopes, challenges, victories and, unfortunately, defeats that may come our way. One of the fun things about working in public education is that we have the opportunity to get "fresh starts" at different times of the year. The start of school in the fall brings a great deal of excitement and promise and it always brings with it a great deal of energy. Right around mid-year, we experience what in many ways amounts to a "halftime" with our holiday break.
As I write this article I have the Radiothon to End Child Abuse on the radio and I am reminded that the holiday season may not mean the same thing to everyone I have the privilege of working with on a daily basis. I know there are families who struggle financially, those who are dealing with crises, addictions, abuse, neglect, and the list goes on. For whatever reason, the frustrations and challenges many of us face become magnified during the holidays, and at times we see the results in negative student behavior and acting out at school that we may not see at other times during the year. I
On a fairly regular basis, I provide information to our public on events and happenings at the Crosslake Community School, hoping to keep the area we serve informed of our student activities and the learning experiences here at Crosslake. It has occurred to me of late, however, that many of you who read these articles may not fully understand what a charter school really is or how we relate to the other public schools in the state and in our area. By Minnesota statute, the purpose of charter schools is to "improve pupil learning and student achievement." At Crosslake Community School, we end