FAQs About MACS

Grove Elementary
Will the school be located at the current Marine Elementary location?

Grove Elementary: Questions WelcomeWe are considering three facility locations: the current Marine Elementary building, the former Concordia Language Villages buildings in Wilder Forest, and the local Christ Lutheran Church. As these sites are reviewed, we will be considering the basic functionality and suitability of the buildings, fire safety, code requirements, and accessibility, as well as the important question of how the buildings fit into the vision and mission of our school. We plan to make the decision on the location of the school soon after the start of the new year. The City of Marine has appointed a committee that is studying the land and building use of the current elementary school. This committee is not part of the charter school operations.

Will the actions of District 834 and/or the pending lawsuits affect the location decision?

Not directly. We are very confident of excellent facility options should the current Marine school building be unavailable when we make our location decision.

Will the charter school process be affected if the lawsuits overturn the school closures?

Sensing the growing demand for an alternate education model, Marine community members began earnestly discussing a charter in the spring of 2015. The idea for a charter school in Marine was not in response to school closings, and the results of the lawsuits will not affect our progress or decision making.

Can I still apply? Can I apply to both the charter and our neighborhood district school?

Short answer: Yes!
Medium answer: Applications are still accepted. We welcome and are open to all! Students will be enrolled on a first-come first-served basis after the lottery until classrooms are full. To apply, please go to the Enrollment page for introductory information, and the Enrollment Application.
Long answer: Charter school enrollment is somewhat complicated. All students who submitted an application during the open enrollment period (which ended August 25, 2016) will be enrolled unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity* of a class, grade level, or school. A lottery was held on August 29; the results will be used to determine final class placement. Factors affecting ranked enrollment include application receipt date, siblings at the school, and whether charter employees have students in the school. As the many variables of the charter school and District 834 schools are finalized, and parents are better able to make informed choices, we expect a lot of movement on the application list and final enrollment.**
*Because we have not chosen our facility, we cannot finalize class sizes or school capacity.
**Application does not equal enrollment. After critical decisions about location and key hiring are made, we will send out official enrollment forms and ask for things like immunization records, etc.

Will some of our schools’ traditions continue?

The school will be what we make it! Marine’s sixth-grade play, 6-K buddy system, the school forest — these and treasured traditions brought from other schools and their families are options for MACS. Or, as a school community, we can create an entirely new culture and set of traditions.

Will some of District 834 teachers become part of the new charter school?

Grove Elementary: A Marine Area Community School is a completely new school; teacher and school administrator hiring will begin in early February 2017. As such, all interested in working at the school will need to apply. Recruitment and hiring will be conducted using a fair and open process that follows all pertinent federal and Minnesota laws.

What is the curriculum philosophy of the school? What are some of the guiding principles the board is following as the curriculum is developed?

The learning and assessment program at Grove/MACS will be teacher-powered, with the teaching team making the ultimate curriculum decisions. Our guiding principles include place-based education, in which students are immersed in the natural resources, history, arts, and civic stewardship of the community.  The curriculum at MACS will align with the Minnesota State Standards; those standards will be used as a basis for instruction while adding depth and complexity to meet the needs of our student population. Our foundational curriculum will be consistent with District 834 to allow for a smooth transition of our students to 834 schools after sixth grade. MACS initially chose to model itself after two schools: Watershed (Fairbanks, AK) and Marine Elementary. As part of the federal Charter School Program start-up grant process, MACS will study three more successful, local charter schools: New Country (Henderson); Nerstrand Elementary (Faribault, Northfield, and Kenyon); and Prairie Creek Community (Castle Rock). MACS has also been looking closely at the teacher-powered, consensus decision-making model at Avalon Charter School in St. Paul.

Will busing to and from school be offered?

MACS must arrange for transportation for all pupils living two or more miles from the school, provided those students live within District 834’s boundaries. However, specific decisions about transportation have not yet been made. If requested to do so by a charter, districts are required to transport all resident students attending charters within the district’s boundaries, provided the charter students live an eligible distance from the schools. Districts may transport non-resident students attending charters within their boundaries, but are not required to do so.

How can I support MACS financially or otherwise?

Thank you! Because of your financial and volunteer support, we are well on our way, and are working on our 501(c)3 nonprofit status. To contribute money now, please send your check to: Marine Area Community School, PO Box 178, Marine on St Croix, MN 55047.

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