This school is an exceptional choice for preteens and teens as they attempt to navigate through their adolescent years. This school challenges students individually, prioritizes building community, and fosters a safe, kind environment. My daughter transferred into this school from another more traditional middle school and has begun to love school in a way she has never demonstrated before.
My students attend 6th and 8th grade at Open. They love their teachers, their classmates, and the work they are doing. They are doing meaningful work in a supportive environment. The school has found ways to challenge them - offering them opportunities to work above the grade level whenever they need it. They are happy and healthy and academically challenged- we couldn't ask for more. Yet Open offers more than that- the community involvement, the extracurricular activities, the unique opportunities to get involved in the community. We are so glad we found this fabulous school.
I would have definitely considered this school but for the location change. Professionals downtown and highly educated stable urban neighborhoods from University area in Saint Paul and East Bank (SE Minneapolis) and even area south of the lakes are not going to drive to challenged West Saint Paul. That's very different in feel and past experience tells me its going to change the school composition and learning focus significantly. Part of the vibrancy and student behavior was the vibrancy of the arts organizations downtown. It'll be beyond stress for everyone and foreseeable end up serving high needs in order to create a desired sense of community in the new location. Sad.
This greatschools site needs to get with the times: This school is a 6-12 (no k-5) school It is located on Kellogg across the river from Harriett Island and will move to the vacant Humbolt Jr space next fall into a newly renovated space tailored to the expeditionary curriculum model the school uses It was voted one of THE top schools in the state and the nation It's teachers are excellent, including last year's St. Paul teacher of the year and this year's MN teacher of the year (2 different people) It's the best-kept secret in the city Cannot imagine a better place to send my kids
I am a substitute teacher, so my perspective is "an inch deep and a mile wide," but Open World Learning was my favorite school to work at. As a sub, I can quickly tell which schools treat their students with respect and which schools don't: In so many schools, the students are suspicious and defensive, and I have a difficult time helping them with anything. Although Open World Learning is very diverse both culturally and in terms of learning styles and challenges, I always had very interesting, honest, challenging and intellectual conversations with students of all kinds. My impression is that of a community where students take responsibility for their own educational choices.
My child attends this 40 year old, small project-based school in St. Paul and it is a great fit. The staff is caring, models and expects quality work and makes an effort to get to know all students as unique individuals. They have a strong emphasis on social/emotional development and this creates a culture where everyone belongs. This school is very diverse both ethnically and economically and all kids seem to do well here -- there don't seem to be the cliques that other schools have. The Expeditionary Learning model (new within the last 3 years) is an excellent fit with the founding "open" philosophy. I guess the biggest plus for our family is that my child feels known, appreciated and is challenged to work at a high level.
Open World Learning Community (OWL) is a small school community where everyone is known and matters. Students work in multi-age classes rooms allowing them to move ahead in subjects in which they excel. By high school advanced students often attend post secondary schools for some of their classes. The environment is warm and welcoming with no cliques. It truly is an overlooked gem in the district.
Open school once was a place for my child. New policies restrict the freedom my child can not find in any other high school, but its outstanding diversity is just the type of community I want my child to be in.
My children love the playground, but the school community leaves a great deal to be desired. It sits in the middle of a residential area, yet there is no connection to the residents. I have chosen to send my children elsewhere.
My children have attended St. Paul Open for 2 years. This school is in a major transition. It has potential to be a good school...but I don't see it happening anytime soon. If you are looking for your child to be challenged, it won't happen here. There is very little parent involvement. If your child wishes to play sports he or she is bused to Central High to do so. The bar is set so low here that any student can succeed. If you are looking for a school that won't discipline your child and passing is good enough, then this is the school for you.