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North Branch Schools

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March 28, 2020

2/20/2020 2:20:00 PM
Phoenix Academy gauging interest in two-grade expansion

The next school year might bring growth to the Phoenix Academy charter school, housed in Trinity Church, North Branch.  The school has started the wheels turning on adding grades 7 and 8 to the elementary facility of 116 pupils.  If you have new middle schoolers who might benefit from the charter school program; staff and administration encourage you to look into Phoenix Academy.  The phone number is 651-237-0656.

Principal James Gagner tells the Press the school board will decide exactly how to proceed on a grades 7 and 8  program after assessing the level of interest in tentative registrations.  

The deadline to register for grades 7 and 8 is March 5.

Existing academy younger grades of course, are open for families looking into enrollment.  Closing of final elementary sign-up hasn’t been set.   

Phoenix Academy is considering both an on-line format for grades 7 and 8 and within-the-building classes.  

Gagner explained “...our first choice is in the building,” but either way, the school would also provide on-site music and art components to on-line pupils.

This is Gagner’s first year heading up the school.  His main responsibility was  to resolve issues the charter school was having in complying with Minnesota shool district fiscal operations. The yung facility had been placed in statutory operating debt “SOD” which is sort of a financial management alarm that brings in state assistance and oversight.  

This year, however, the board made what the principal called some smart staffing choices and put together some large group classes reducing staff demands still meeting state instructional standards at the same time.

“We think enrollment will continue to grow,” Gagner added, reporting the enrollment numbers of incoming youngsters is out-pacing the pupils lost after grade 6.  He said the objective is to develop a good place to land, for these older pupils.  

The school’s original state approved charter accommodates grades K-8, so the paperwork is prepared for Phoenix Academy to initiate an expansion,  if the student numbers are there.

Tours can be arranged by appointment and the website is at www.phxacademycharterschool.com.  There is  a spot on the home page to click on for registering (enrollment.)

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North Branch Schools

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