Below are the answers to some common questions.
How will you protect students from the coronavirus when schools open in the fall?
All schools in Minnesota are waiting for guidelines on what will be required to keep our students safe in the fall when schools reopen. At Discovery we are developing plans for three possible scenarios that will be adapted to meet all of the required safety guidelines.
Option 1: All students back in school
If we are allowed to open our doors to all students, we will be sure to follow all of the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and MDE. Students will be seated as far apart as possible, and may be required to wear masks. We will implement multiple lunch times to minimize the size of the groups eating at one time. Desks and tables will be disinfected frequently.
Option 2: Hybrid Learning Model
In the event that all of our students are not allowed to occupy the building at the same time, we have developed a hybrid model where students will attend school for partial days or alternating days, with online learning during the time spent at home.
Option 3: Distance Learning Continues
In the event that we must begin the school year with distance learning, we will be using a plan similar to our spring Distance Learning Plan. Students will be required to check in every day, but will also be expected at a weekly video meeting. Offline alternatives will be provided.
What is a Charter School?
A charter school is a public school that is distinct from the local school district. We are funded the same as any other public school in Minnesota, and are required to meet the same standards. We have our own, independent school board that consists of community members, family members, and teachers.
All charter schools must be authorized by an independent organization. Most charter schools are authorized by a local school district, and higher learning institution, or a non-profit organization. Discovery Public School is authorized by the Osprey Wilds Environmental Center. Charter school authorizers sign a contract, or “charter,” with the school. They are responsible for overseeing the charter school to ensure the requirements of the Minnesota Department of Education are met.
Who can enroll at Discovery Public School?
Discovery Public School of Faribault is a public school serving grades 6 through 12, which means any student in those grades may attend. We are a small school, with a limited number of available seats. We conduct a lottery every spring to determine which applicants we will accept for the following school year. We also accept applications throughout the year when we have available seats.
How big is Discovery? How many students and teachers do you have?
Discovery is a small school. We currently have 13 staff members (including 5 general education teachers and 2 special education teachers). Our enrollment is currently around 60 students in grades 6 through 12.
Because of our small size, teachers get to know all of the students in the school. Each teacher teaches all of the classes in his/her subject area for all ages. This way students will have the same teachers each year, a concept called “looping” in larger districts. When teachers have the same student year after year, they really get to know the students and their individual strengths. This also allows teachers to build stronger connections with their students.
What classes do you offer? Can students choose the classes they take?
At DPS, our primary focus is on meeting graduation standards as set out by the State of Minnesota. If a student begins at Discovery behind in their credits, we have the capability to develop a specialized learning plan for each student to meet the requirements to graduate. We meet with students individually to determine what classes they need to take.
Because we are a small school, with a small staff, we do not have the facilities to offer electives outside the current licensure of our staff. We do offer electives within our core subjects, and we adjust the schedules of students when possible to meet their individual needs. Depending on individual circumstances, there is the possibility of working with the Faribault school district in regards to some specific electives or sports.
What SPED services do you offer?
As a public school in Minnesota, we are required to meet the individual needs of any SPED students enrolled at our school.
How does Food Service work?
DPS serves both breakfast and lunch to our students. Food is catered into our facility and offered on a daily basis. Because of this, we have one hot lunch offered daily and do not offer any ala carte options. Specific dietary needs can be met upon request.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Do you have a Parent Portal? Can parents view students’ grades online?
We do not currently provide an online Parent Portal to view student progress. Parents are encouraged to contact their teachers about individual students, or contact our director for an update.