We were so excited when our child won the lottery for this school for seventh grade, as we had heard so many wonderful things about the school. We were stunned, then, to be told, "We're really not very good with special needs kids. Maybe you should consider sending your child somewhere else." Sorry, but I can't give a good rating to any school that cherry picks its students in this way. Fifty years ago, maybe, but today, "for shame, Great River, for shame."
This school works with each child to help them reach academic excellence. They help them get ready for ther future as great citizens.
It is the perfect school for my son. Community learning environment, small classes, and personal and continous support from teachers and staff, are wonderful.
My son graduated from Great River School where he attended from 7th grade on. He is now entering his junior year in an academically challenging college program. He has excelled in college and credits much of this to his Montessori education that taught him to be a self-directed learner. The trips and other non-traditional high school activities were also great learning experiences. He still talks about some of the things he learned from those trips. Montessori education isn't for everyone, but it works well for motivated, self-directed learners. We are happy Great River was an option for him.
We considered Great River for our child. We attended an open house and, on a separate occasion, received a tour. We found the teachers at the open house to be very impressive, and their academic program seems like an excellent option for some kids. We have been extremely unimpressed with the administrative members with whom we have had contact. They were unprofessional, and when we went on the tour, we had the distinct feeling that we were wasting their time. The person who gave the tour showed absolutely no interest in our child and was extremely slow to respond to our follow-up emails, etc. They acted like they are a private school, not the public school that they are, and they make it difficult to find enrollment targets by grade level for the upcoming year. The appearance is that they hold the information and don't want to share with people outside of the school. Board meeting minutes are vague and don't provide much information about what was actually discussed at the meetings.
I am former student of GRS. It has not prepared me for college or life beyond high school. It is a horrible investment and a great waste of time. I regret going to GRS. I did not have to pay much to attend the school, but I would pay thousands to of not had the awful experience I had there.
I am a PSEO student at Great River. They are super disorganized and judgmental. I showed up for orientation last week to find that I did not have a folder prepared with my MCA score and other information that a student would need. Being a PSEO student, I still need to go on the key experience trips and do CAS. I was surprised to receive no information on how to work CAS in the A3. I am very disappointed and I wish that I had gone to a real high school.
I have four daughters who have attended GRS. We are grateful for the community of parents, students and teachers. The school s emphasis on acceptance and respect for all is a welcome change from other schools my daughters have attended. Junior and Senior High students, girls in particular, can treat each other disrespectfully. The GRS staff and teachers work hard to prevent this from happening. The high school program, and the IB program in particular, prepared my oldest daughter well for a challenging four year liberal arts college. She is now a college junior and has remained friends with her GRS classmates and teachers. The special ed department is well staff and caring. The individual attention given each student is a gift. My daughters have thrived socially and academically. Lastly, the Montessori junior and senior high school education model places an emphasis on student driven learning. GRS s strengths include small, multiage classes, integrated subjects, focus on mastery bench marks, and NAMTA trained teacher guides. This is a unique public junior and senior high school that has served my daughters very well and I recommended it highly.
We had two children who began at GRS in 7th grade. The oldest left GRS because she was interested in the arts, the second stayed and has enjoyed and has benefit from the school in many ways. That say, I think this school is not for all students and families. it requires a self motivated student, values leadership, service, and critical thinking rather than areas of traditional schools, and a family that is open to the key experience (fall odyssey, j-term, bike trip, spring intesnsives) and is interested in being part of the GRS community. We can only say good things about the support that teachers and the community, (students, parents, staff) have given our son to make him an engaged citizen of the world. As many charters, GRS has limited resources for after school activities, but the drive the teachers give to those that exists is far beyond anyone expectation.
We have two children who began at Great River School in 7th grade and will be graduating in 2013. We could not be happier with the school. As a small school with a philosophy that relies on self motivated students it is not for everyone. No school is. Our kids each learn differently and yet the school has been excellent for them both. The teachers are very caring and capable and we have had excellent support through the years in working out problems, both academically and socially. The emphasis is on community and they continually strive to strengthen and support the community in as many ways as possible. We have no doubt our kids have a suburb education and will prosper in college because of the great foundation they have received from Great River School.
My son was in the second graduating class at Great River School, having moved from large to small school. He played basketball during his years there, and was in PSEO at the University of Minnesota (from which he just graduated) too. As a musician, he participated in small ensembles, as well as studied music theory for credit. He made wonderful friends who are still close friends, traveled with his class, and graduated knowing that he was part of a unique community of folks. Unlike the large urban high school, teachers knew just who he was and shared that knowledge in college recommendation letters. Also, my daughter came from our urban school district as a 7th grader, leaving behind long-time friends, but never looked back, instead focusing on the many opportunities for leadership (Student Council, guiding trips in high school), scholarship (creative, fun projects showcasing her learning), and friendships that formed, deepened, and remain even now. She traveled with her class every year, broadening the scope of learning beyond the school walls. And she applied to colleges that had just this same sense of community she had come to cherish from her years at Great River School.
Great River is a school of choice. We chose Great River for our son because of the non-traditional aspects. We feel there is way too much emphasis on sports at other schools and are happy to see those dollars being channeled into academic areas. There is a culture of cooperation over competition which is very appealing to our family and our values. We feel very strongly about academics and wanted the focus of our son's education on his intellectual and character development. Great River has a diverse student population representing a multi-cultural and socioeconomic spectrum. The school strives to not only teach subjects but to also teach social and environmental responsibility with a variety of unique learning opportunities from travel, farming, biking and more. Tolerance and accepting others differences is a keystone of the GRS community. Class sizes are small and students are not lost in the crowd. Our son can't wait for school to begin this fall. How many parents of a 15 year old can say that? We attribute the involved and caring staff to that.
I am a current PSEO, 3.0 plus student at Great River School with several major University acceptances. Don t let that fool you; none of this is to be accredited to Great River. It is absolutely horrible. I have had to seek outside sources for education at my own expense. It is a constant nightmare of unprofessionalism, bias and poor teaching. It is not concerned about teaching its students, but buy its teachers need to act in a punitive manner against students in order to massage their own egos. There are a few bright stars at Great River but they are overshadowed by their egotistical faculty. Plus, if you want any extra circular activates; you can just forget it! I have also been the object of ridicule because of my interest of being in the Armed Forces. Surprisingly, I am being ridiculed by the teachers and not by the students. In closing, although Great River has a few amazing teachers, it is a pathetic excuse for a place learning. The only thing I learned from Great River is the meaning of unprofessionalism.
i came to this school from Crosswinds arts and science school because cw only goes till 10th grade and i came because of there comunity claims and the IB but the ib isnt one but challenging the teachers play favorites and dont appear to care and the admin plays favorites and the school is extreamly unproffessional i thought it looked like a great school on paper but then i actually went here and quickly learned this is not the case i also learned that these teachers loose your stuff all the time
Very frustrated parent at this school. My son has attended for two years. Teachers are EXTREMELY incommunicative. We cannot afford the near constant donation requests. Well meaning but misdirected. Built a huge addition to the school last year, but did not bother to even allow for a gym or exercise room. NO COUNSELORS, NO NURSE, NO LUNCH PROGRAM, NO JANITOR, NO DETENTION, NO SPORTS, NO PHY ED, NO WHEELCHAIR-BOUND, AND ALMOST NO PERSONS OF COLOR. Staff are either dismissive, lazy, or both. Don't even bother expecting a email response from a teacher. Principal doing a good job at weeding out the "hangers-on" from the school's startup period. Now has more order and focus. Could be five star, but instead gets low marks because it consistently misses the point: Teach my kid to read, write, and count. Teach him to exercise his mind AND his body. Make accountable for his choices--good and bad. Don't substitute glamourous academic aspirations, with confusing pseudo-Montessori doublespeak lingo, for genuine pedagogy and results. The sooner it gets over its narcissistic fascination with its own self-proclaimed charter school exceptionalism, and instead starts teaching my kid, the better.
We are high school seniors at great river school, and have been attending since 7th grade. Throughout the years we have seen the school grow in amazing and sometimes, although very rarely disappointing ways. The school is split up into 3 different levels (A1, A2, and A3) the first is the junior high (7th and 8th grade), the second being the lower class men (9th and 10th grade) while the third and the best is the upper class men (11th and 12th grade). Each level has a very different structure based on the needs of said level. In the A3, we get to create our own schedule, meaning we have certain classes we have to take, but we are in charge of what day and time we attend them. This is good practice for college, because much like college no one is forcing us to go to class, but if you don't you will become behind. A very big plus to this schedule, is that we have at least one hour of open work a day where teachers are available and willing to help you with whatever you need.It has a real community and it goes out of its way to make everyone feel accepted and comfortable! We would have not become the students let alone the people we are today without this amazing school!
What makes this school different than most? Camping trips for starters. To kick off the fall, while the 11th graders visit colleges around the midwest, the 12th graders kayaked around the Apostle Islands, and the 7-10th graders are on different camping trips. The 9-10th graders are harvesting pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, and squash that were planted the Spring before in Western Wisconsin. I have never worked or been in a school that contributes and uses it s community like this one. Great River collaborates with local businesses and uses/helps maintain local parks. In the current dire situation of public education funding, GRS is doing everything it can to earn grants, and fund raise to make these critical experiences possible. The young adults at this school are learning the invaluable skills of questioning, having a sense of place, how to work with others, and how to lead and be active members of their community. I have worked in many school districts in this state and have never found a more dedicated group of teachers and administrator. If I had children and lived in the metro area, they would be going here. Zach Schultz, former Math Teacher at GRS
Very disappointed in every aspect of this school. The most troublesome factors are inconsistency, poor communication and persistent lack of organization by administration.
A school in which students have tons of options and have teachers that are committed to teaching them to think, to lead, to be curious and to explore. Montessori based, each students developmental needs are important.
A very creative school with positive learning experiences and great teachers. Our granddaughter loves it!
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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