The school is made of grades 5th-8th and creates an alternative approach for high quality public education for the families of the Northland Pines School District and surrounding areas. We have a powerful integration of project-based learning with an individualized approach to skill acquisition and personal growth with an emphasis on 21st century learning skills. Mixed-age groupings and an approach to teaching centered on the student, rather than the teacher, allow students to move at their own pace, enabling students of all abilities and backgrounds to be successful. The School of Options and Applied Research (SOAR) delivers an engaging, rigorous, standards-based curriculum that prepares students to be successful in the 21st century. SOAR is located in a wing of an existing elementary school in Land O’Lakes and enrolls 60 students at full capacity.
SOAR helps each student reach his/her full potential so they become independent, lifelong learners who take responsibility for themselves, for their classmates and for their surrounding environment. During their educational journey, students will lay the foundation to become 21st century thinkers with higher-order critical thinking, analytical and collaborative learning skills. On this path of self-improvement and self-discovery, they learn that they are not alone and that encouraging, supporting and working together with other learners not only leads to success for themselves, but for their classmates and their society as well. As they grow to understand their connection to, and responsibility for, their world, their appreciation for the gifts others have to offer is increased. Our 21st century curriculum is interdisciplinary, project-based, connected to the community, and globally aware. The curriculum incorporates higher order thinking skills, multiple intelligences, technology and multimedia, the multiple literacies of the 21st century, and authentic assessments. Student-directed service learning is also an important component.