Tower, Minnesota

       

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools just like any other district in MN. These schools have an authorizing organization that applies to the State for approval. Charters are typically started by parent/guardians, teachers, non-profit groups, or even for-profit companies.
Who authorizes VCS?
Audubon Center of the North Woods. ACNW is an organization that promotes environmental learning. They have a large environmental learning center in Sandstone, MN.
What grades, number of students does VCS cover?
Grades 7 - 12 with a maximum of 75 students. 15-22 students per advisor.
Where is the school located?
1 Enterprise Drive, Tower, MN.
Is there transportation?
Yes. VCS will make every effort to transport students. We are running vans to Ely, Virginia, Bois Forte and other surrounding areas.
My child has special needs. Are there services?
Yes. VCS must comply with all state and federal requirements. All students will have an Individualized Learning Plan.
Is there a calendar? What hours are the school open?
The calendar is posted under the area labeled calendar. The school day is 8:30am - 3:30pm, except Wednesday which runs from 8:30am - 2:00pm. Many days include field trips, so students may be out of the building.
What is the curriculum?
VCS adopts a blended model of curriculum to meet the needs of as many students as possible in a small setting. This includes core classes and electives for the majority of the MN graduation requirements while also including additional experiences in community service, environmental learning, college and career readiness, and student crafted projects.
Is there State testing?
Yes. Like all public schools, VCS is required to have to MN state testing in the form of the MCAs. We also offer ACT once a year and use NWEA-MAP as our formative assessment to track progress in the fall, winter, and spring. We also use a school climate survey twice a year to gauge student responses to school climate programs.
What is a project?
Student led projects are for the students who wish to accelerate beyond the core classes or are interested in earning credit in an area where there currently isn't a class being offered. By sitting down with an advisor, they can propose a .25 (quarter) or .5 (semester) project that they want to take on. The student would help design the product/assessment of that project and once approved would have a period assigned so it would show up on their JMC schedule. This is the part that truly allows students to make the most of their school experience if they choose to put in the effort. Students usually end up learning how in depth their own projects can be.
Is there tuition?
No. The school is funded in part with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education using federal funding, CFDA 84.282A, Minnesota's Federal Charter Schools Program Grant Project. In addition, we receive additional state and federal funding. The process is very similar to how regular public school operate based on enrollment.
Is breakfast and lunch served?
Yes. VCS has its own kitchen which serves healthy food. We follow the federal guidelines for healthy school lunches which includes minimum numbers of fruits/vegetables with every lunch and restrictions on sodium and fat content. We have a salad bar every day and try to avoid prepackaged foods as much as possible.
What about technology?
Students have access to laptops and other technology throughout the school. The building is wired with full internet access.
Who runs the school?
The school is a non-profit organization operated by a board. Day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the Teaching Team with assistance from the school administrator. The school board is comprised of elected members - parent/guardians of students, teachers, and community members.
Will students get a diploma?
Yes. Graduates get a regular high school diploma.
Are teachers licensed?
Just as with any public school, VCS must hire licensed teachers.
Do students earn credits, grades, and a GPA?
Yes. All VCS students must meet minimum state course requirements. There are a variety of ways that students can earn credit, much of it depends on how invested they want to be. At the most basic level, the core classes and elective offerings work much like a normal class with seat time, activities, quizzes, etc. Grades are issued for performance and GPA is calculated in much the same way as other schools. The additional component is students taking on projects for which credit amounts will be determined based on the scope of the project and grade will be determined based on quality of the project upon completion. On the transcript it will look much the same as a regular class.
Is PSEO available?
Yes. Qualified students may take part in Post-Secondary Enrollment Options. Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college-level, nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. Eleventh and 12th-grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th graders may take one career/technical PSEO course. If they earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional PSEO courses. There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course. Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses. Schools must provide information to all students in grades 8-11 and their families by March 1, every year. Students must notify their school by May 30 if they want to participate in PSEO for the following school year. For current information about the PSEO program, visit the Minnesota Department of Education's Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) webpage. http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/CollReadi/PSEO/index.html
How do I enroll my student at VCS?
We suggest to have the student and parent come to the school first for a tour of the facility and a run down of how our program works. If the fit sounds good, we would at that point have the parent start the enrollment process by filling out some of the initial paperwork. After obtaining initial paperwork, the advisors would meet and determine which advisory would work best for the student (taking into account student preference as well). A start date would be decided upon and transportation (if needed) would be arranged.

 Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. 

- Ernest Dimnet

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