We have received the state-issued charter grant for our new charter school. The school will be grades 5th-7th and eventually 8th grade and will create an alternative approach for high quality public education for the families of the Northland Pines School District and surrounding areas. We propose 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, will 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) will deliver an engaging, rigorous, standards-based curriculum that prepares students to be successful in the 21st century. SOAR will be located in a wing of an existing elementary school in Land O’Lakes and will enroll 60 students at full capacity.
SOAR intends to help each student reach his/her full potential so that 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 will be interdisciplinary, project-based, connected to the community, and globally aware. The curriculum will incorporate higher order thinking skills, multiple intelligences, technology and multimedia, the multiple literacies of the 21st century, and authentic assessments. Student-directed service learning will also be an important component.
SOAR’s vision, mission, and guiding principles listed above paint a vivid picture of the learning environment and culture that will be embraced at the school.