Is there tuition to attend? No, as a public school any appropriately-aged Minnesota student can attend for free.
What is the class size? The maximum number of students in a class is 15 with the staff-to-student ratio being 9:1.
Is there technology? All students have a Chromebook 2-in-1 touchscreen tablet. Each classroom has SMART board technology to enhance the learning and collaboration.
What about food? Is there breakfast and lunch? Yes! Breakfast and lunch are both available. Families can qualify for free or reduced meals. We are partnering with Appetite for Change for lunch.
How does transportation work? Transportation cannot be a barrier to attending. We recognize public transit is not always the best and safest option for families and are in the process of finalizing transportation for the fall. The options include a combination of bus shuttle service, family carpool, public transit, and self-driving. There is also an on-site parking lot for students to drive themselves and easy access from I-94 for parents to drop off students.Contact us if you have concerns, and let's find a solution that works for your family!
What are the school hours? Classes are 9:00am - 3:45pm, except Wednesdays is an earlier release of 2:45pm. The building doors open at 8:00am and close at 5:00pm.
When will Exploration High School open, and what grades will it serve? Exploration opened in September 2021 with 9th and 10th grade students. Each subsequent year will add one grade level until we serve roughly 225 students in grades 9-12.
What extra-curricular activities are available? We want to hear from you! Based on student interest, we will develop programming before, during, and after the school day which will include student clubs, athletics, and the arts. We are talking with the MN High School Sports League and local organizations to provide fun opportunities to explore your interests. As of now, basketball is most popular.
Do you have a special education team? Yes! We are thrilled to partner with Creatively Focused, who will provide a Director and Assistant Director of Special Education for Exploration High School. Creatively Focused empowers educators with innovative and intentional strategies and skills to do the meaningful and critical work of improving outcomes for students. Their vision is for every special educator to feel like an expert, understand their value, and know they are not alone in the work they do. We will have special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and specialists as determined by student needs.
Will this prepare my child for college? Yes! If college is a pathway your child wants to pursue, our teachers will work with your child to ensure they are doing whatever they can to not only get into college, but to be successful once they are there. Learn more in our virtual video interview with University of Minnesota Admissions Counselor, Ali Oosterhuis, below.
Our flexible use of time and space creates opportunities for students to develop essential skills through active problem solving. College admissions across the country are demanding to see authentic demonstrations of learning, which all students will show through a multi-dimensional project portfolio.
What if I don't want to go to college? Great! We will support your dreams and provide you the experience to pursue them. You'll work closely with your advisor through the years to reach the goals you set. There will be work-based learning opportunities as well as PSEO offered during the high school years.
Does the school have financial viability? Yes! After Exploration High School received approval for 501(c)3 nonprofit status from the IRS in December 2018, the school received $100,000 from the Bush Foundation as part of their School Designs for Individualized Learning initiative.
In fall 2019, Exploration High School received a Charter School Program sub-grant from Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). This ensures $200,000 for our pre-operational year and $175,000 for each of the first two years of operation.
Like all public schools in Minnesota, we receive per pupil funding from the state's general education fund.
Is there evidence that Exploration's model works? There is a mountain of evidence that developing learner agency through deep relationships is the best way to support individual students, regardless of age. One hundred years ago, Maria Montessori and John Dewey published their findings on cultivating independent learners and using public education as a way to contribute to a healthier society. More recently, examples of schools similar to Exploration show the power of repurposing Montessori and Dewey's findings in the 21st Century. Iowa BIG, One Stone, Crosstown High, Latitude High School, and High Tech High are some examples of schools pushing the boundaries of how we can empower individual learners and work towards a better society. A wonderful repository for research on equitable learning practices can be found at https://schoolretool.org/big-ideas#