St. Cloud Charter Schools to see Increased Enrollment Following Stride Academy Closure
ST. CLOUD -- Athlos Academy and Math & Science Academy are gearing up for the next school year with both expecting to see enrollment increases.
Since the announcement of Stride Academy closing at the end of this school year, both charter schools say the closure will impact their upcoming school years.
Dr. Kathleen Mortensen is the Executive Director for Athlos Academy she says Stride parents have some difficult decisions to make but Athlos Academy is an option they should consider.
"We did get a significant influx as soon as that announcement was made [Stride closing], I think that was early April. Our hearts do go out to not only the families and students but the staff members there. We want to provide them a quality option, it's just a real tough deal they are going through."
The 2016-2017 school year was Athlos Academy's first year as a charter school in St. Cloud. Currently the school is kindergarten through 6th grade. For this upcoming school year, 2017-2018, the school will add 7th grade to their curriculum followed by adding 8th grade for the 2018-2019 school year.
484 students are enrolled in Athlos Academy, Mortensen says so far they have had about 750 students apply for next school year.
The academy is hosting two open house nights for parents and students interested in the school. The first will be this Thursday and the second May 18th, both will begin at 5:45 p.m. Each open house will include a tour of the school and the chance to get any questions answered about the school or enrollment process. Mortensen says parents can also schedule a private tour and register their student online if they can't make it to an open house.
With plans on adding 7th grade and 8th grade to the school in the coming years, Athlos Academy is looking for more staff. Mortensen says they are currently hiring for several positions and those who have worked at Stride are applying.
"We're getting a lot of quality candidates not only from Stride but from other area schools. We're looking at not just teachers but paraprofessionals. We're expanding our kitchen program, we're going to move from catered lunches next year to meals we actually prepare and serve here. So we need kitchen help, administrative help, so we are fully hiring up right now."
Math & Science Academy is also going through their own changes for the next school year. Executive Director, Tammy Bengtson says the school will be moving to a larger facility over the summer.
"Our address is 1025 18th Street North in St. Cloud. It's over by Whitney Park and the new YMCA that they are building. We plan to be in the building by July 1st and opening September 5th."
Bengtson says with Stride Academy closing along with moving to a new building, enrollment at Math & Science Academy is expected to increase for the next school year.
"Right now we have 175 students and we'd like to increase to 220 before the school year starts. We do plan on getting more students from Stride and some other students that live close to the new school."
Bengtson says the school board is in no rush to expand the school too quickly. Instead it is focusing on being a small community and getting settled into its new building.
With moving into a larger building the academy is looking for more staff. Bengtson says the school does have opportunities for Stride staff looking for a new job.
"We still have one classroom teacher position open. We are also hiring a reading interventionist this year, we have a position open for an ELL teacher and also another special education teacher position is open at our school as well. We do also believe we'll have some positions open for special education paraprofessionals and title paraprofessionals."
For enrollment information for Math & Science Academy visit their website by clicking here.
Both Athlos Academy and Math & Science Academy are urging parents to register their children for school sooner rather than later, as spots do fill up quickly.