Okay, mamas, listen up. You have already waded through a plethora of literature regarding breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. You have made decisions about how, when, and where your child will sleep. Whether your child used a pacifier, sucked a thumb, or had a “lovey,”presumably your child has achieved some degree of self-soothing that is agreeable to both you and your child. You have set “screen time” limits and determined the boundaries that are acceptable in your household. You’ve considered whether or not to send your child to preschool or nursery school. Remember that each of these decisions felt enormous and life-altering at the time. Mama, you have already sifted through plenty of conflicting information and received more opinions than you asked for.
If you are reading this, guess what? You are probably ready for your next seemingly-life-or-death parenting decision. Your child is approaching school age! Or, maybe your child has already started an academic journey, but his or her educational setting is no longer working for your family.
Again, you will likely encounter a fair amount of conflicting information and more opinions than you asked for. Rochester Moms Blog is here for you! Below is a list of educational resources available in Rochester. We suggest asking questions of your local friends, families, and neighbors, as you will hear real experiences straight from other moms. Of course, we always recommend researching the schools that you are interested in. Talk with staff, attend an open house, arrange a tour, and talk with other families who attend.
Rochester Public School District 535 offers both 25 public schools, comprised of neighborhood schools and district-wide schools. Neighborhood schools are assigned, based on where you live. They require only registration with the school district. District-wide schools require an application for each child. Registration for public school students is found in Room 124 of the Edison Building (615 7th Street SW.)
The application period for incoming kindergarteners and sixth-graders begins each November for the following school year. Applications are accepted through approximately the first week of January. Applications are then entered into a lottery, and selected families are notified by phone during the second week of January. Though parents may apply for district wide schools for their first-through-fifth graders, these grades are dependent upon space available. There is no tuition cost associated with district-wide schools, and transportation is provided for eligible students. Siblings of current district-wide attendees are given preference in lottery selections. District-wide schools are listed below. Elementary schools house grades K-5, and Friedell Middle School houses grades 6-8.
Gage Elementary School- Gage Elementary School’s hallmark is a Spanish-immersion program, with 90% of a student’s day spoken in Spanish. Students may be either first or second language English speakers. Coursework covers the same curriculum as the traditional program.
Longfellow Elementary School-Longfellow’s calendar follows Rochester’s only 45/15 schedule, which means that roughly 45 days of classroom instruction are followed by roughly 15 days of vacation. There is a six-week vacation in the summer. Longfellow promotes research-based teaching models that are able to meet the needs of various learning styles. It is a one-to-one technology school, and each student has an iPad for their use.
Lincoln K-8-Lincoln houses grades K-8. Its stated mission is to “empower and educate children in a family-oriented and creative community.” The school offers integrated technology classes, innovative science curriculum, and Spanish classes for all grades.
Franklin-Franklin uses a Montessori approach to education, including individualized instruction, mixed-age groupings, structured curriculum, and a prepared environment. Because Montessori is based on the internal motivation of a child, teachers are skilled at harnessing that motivation to enhance the child’s learning.
Washington Core Knowledge-Washington uses a curriculum based on the Core Knowledge Sequence. It is described as “a rich and rigorous body of information in American and World history, geography, science, literature, music, and art.” Teachers utilize a variety of instructional methods, and a “character education” program is incorporated into each school day.
Friedell Middle School-Friedell provides a smaller middle school environment than Rochester’s three neighborhood public schools. Friedell also offers a program for highly gifted students, in addition to the traditional school program.
The Alternative Learning Center in Rochester provides a setting for high school education if a student has not been successful in another high school environment. The ALC offers varying programs and resources to meet the needs of any learner.
Apex Recovery Program–This is a program for students in grades 9-12 who are committed to sobriety, and have either recently completed addiction treatment or have been sober for at least 20 days. Classes are held Monday-Friday from 9:40-3:35, year-round.
Bridge–Bridge is the 9th grade program of the RALC. Students are typically referred by their home school.
Day High School–This is the 10th-12th grade program of the RALC. Students are either referred by their home school, or come directly from the 9th grade Bridge program. The program offers a vocational and career emphasis, as well as independent study options for students over the age of 16. The day school also supports parenting students, and there is a licensed child care facility on site.
Night School–Night School is for students in grades 10-12. Classes are held at the RALC from 4-7 pm Monday-Thursday. Students must be at least 16 years old, work a minimum of 20 hours per week, and have successfully completed all 9th grade coursework.
Rosa Parks Charter High School–Rosa Parks (formerly Rochester Off-Campus) is a charter high school. There is no tuition cost associated with charter schools. To enroll, students must submit an application and schedule an interview with an administrator. ROC is considered a project-based learning environment, in which students pursue their own interests and demonstrate their learning through projects. Students are still responsible for fulfilling all of the Minnesota Academic Standards, but do so in a way that best supports their own learning styles. ROC follows a schedule similar to that of Rochester Public Schools.
Rochester Math and Science Academy–RMSA is for students in grades K-8. Like other charter schools, there is no tuition cost for RMSA, and is approved by the Minnesota Department of Education. RMSA has a specific vision to meet the needs of students who have newly arrived to the United States, and promotes a diverse, respectful environment.
Rochester Beacon Academy–RBA is open to students in grades 7-12 for the 2017-2018 school year. The school provides general education, while providing necessary supports to transition students to young adulthood. RBA includes students with executive functioning challenges such as organization, socialization, and sensory differences.
Rochester Stem Academy – Located in a city known for its medical and technology industries, RSA is among the very first STEM high schools in Minnesota. RSA creates multiple community partnerships to expose its students to STEM through internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, field trips, specialized programming, enrichment, and by continually bringing specialists working in STEM fields into its classrooms.
Homeschooling gives parents the ability to choose the curriculum they feel is the best fit for their child, as well as the ability to set their own schedule. Although parents choose their own curriculum, there are homeschooling groups and co-ops in Rochester to provide social outings and additional education opportunities. Some of these resources are listed here.
Christ Community Church Homeschool Co-op–This co-op offers 6-week course sessions, taught by individuals in the community, for children in preschool through 8th grade. Courses include art, science, public speaking, history, and more. Fees for the courses vary, depending on age of the child. Members of the co-op may also participate in a parent support group and field trip opportunities.
Learning Together Rochester–Learning Together Rochester is a secular, liberal homeschool group that holds monthly parent meetings, weekly play dates (often on Thursday afternoons), and a variety of other activities and field trips. Interested parents can search for our Facebook group to learn more.
Classical Conversations–There are 4 Classical Conversations communities in Rochester. These communities are for parents who utilize the Classical Conversations homeschool curriculum, and meet weekly at various local churches. The Classical Conversations mission is to “Know God and make Him known”. During weekly sessions, trained parent-tutors model skills and facilitate activities. Students are given an opportunity to complete academic work with others, and the group also provides support to parents. Fees are associated.
RAACHE– Rochester Area Association of Christian Home Educators is a group of about 200 home educating families working together as a Minnesota non-profit corporation. They offer a choir, homeschool graduation ceremonies, science fairs and many other cooperative learning experiences.
Ambassador Academy–Non-denominational Christian education for grades K-6.
Faith Christian School-Small, non-denominational Christian education for grades K-12.
Rochester Arts and Sciences Academy–Grades PK-5.
Rochester Catholic Schools–Rochester Catholic Schools includes 4 elementary/middle schools (grades PreK-8) and 1 high school (grades 9-12). These include Holy Spirit Catholic School, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John, St. Pius X, and Lourdes High School.
Rochester Central Lutheran School–Grades PK-8.
Resurrection Lutheran School–Grades PK-8.
Rochester Montessori School–Rochester Montessori School provides a Montessori education for ages Toddler (18 months) through 8th grade. The Middle Years Program (grades 6-8) is an authorized International Baccalaureate World School, which means it has passed the authorization process and meets the high standards of the International Baccalaureate Association.
Schaeffer Academy–Non-denominational Christian education for grades K-12.
Seeds of Wisdom–Non-denominational Christian education for grades K-6. Also offers daycare and preschool programs.
Victory Christian Academy–Baptist education for grades K-12.
As always, please let Rochester Moms Blog know if you have additional educational resources to add to this list by emailing us at [email protected] Although decisions about your children’s education feel overwhelming, remember that you know your child best. Research, listen to others, and then make the best decision you can with the information you have. You can do it!