After a year delay, North Metro Flex Academy hopes to open in September

The North Metro Flex Academy is opening its doors this September for inaugural year. (file photo)
The North Metro Flex Academy is opening its doors this September for inaugural year. (file photo)

New charter school will be located in former Atrium building

This is National School Choice Week, and locally the new North Metro Flex Academy administrators are hoping parents of grade-schoolers will give their charter school a second look after the school failed to open as planned last September.

The grade school will be hosting an open house on Wednesday, Jan. 30, for families in the area to learn more about its teachers and programs. The new school will be located in the former Atrium building at 2350 Helen St. in North St. Paul.

Long time coming

The state-funded charter school was unable to open for the 2015-2016 academic year because the one-storey building needed some renovations. 

The board decided that instead of hurrying things, it would be wise to delay the opening and spend time "building relationships in the community and making sure the programming was in place and up to par," according to Sue Furick, the school's vice president of academic affairs.

The board members have been careful to take their time in making decisions. Furick explained that they looked at many areas across Minnesota for the school's location. 

According to Furick, there was a particularly strong reaction from North St. Paul residents in favor of the school, which was the deciding factor for the board. She also said that local businessman Gary Mulcahy, the building owner, was excited to work with them.

Additionally, the downtown location provided a proximity to businesses that seemed beneficial. "We are excited to be a close and an integral part in the community," Furick said.

As a charter school, North Metro Flex Academy is governed by an independent nonprofit board, currently comprised of five founding members. They applied for and were granted authorization through Novation Education Opportunities, as well as the Minnesota Department of Education.

Technology-infused learning

NMFA will have classes for grades K-4 starting in September. Currently, there are about 40 students who are fully registered and another 40 who are in the process of enrolling, according to Principal Terri Privette. She added that the school plans to expand to incorporate fifth grade by its second year.

Administrators hope to keep class sizes small, capping kindergarten clasrooms at 20 students and other grades at 25. Privette said they will have 10 to 12 teachers including specialists such as music, physical education and special education teachers.

Teachers will use technological programs to monitor students' testing data in order to decide how to best teach them. Interactive whiteboards with visual presentations will also be incorporated to try to bring concepts to life for children, according to Privette. 

Open house

From 2 to 5 p.m. Jan. 30, the school will be hosting an open  house with the theme "Cultures Around the World." 

There will be activities for kids, games, foods from local vendors, tours and information sessions for parents about the new charter school. 

Elizabeth Jaeger can be reached at ejaeger@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7814.

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