Special-needs group to start charter school for all kids at Basilica

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July 12, 2004 // UPDATED 2:29 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Fraser Academy, a year-around, charter elementary school, will open this fall in Loring Park's Basilica of St. Mary's education building.

The school, 1601 Laurel Ave., will open for kindergarten through 2nd grade this year, and expects 116 students, said Chris Bentley, the school's startup director. It will expand to K-5 in three years, adding a grade each year.

Fraser Academy is a public school, but

operates independently of the Minneapolis School District under a charter with St. Cloud University.

The Fraser organization, a 70-year-old nonprofit, has focused on serving children with disabilities and other special needs.

Bentley said the elementary school won't specifically cater to students with disabilities but suspects it will attract several special-needs children based on Fraser's reputation.

The elementary school will teach children

of all abilities, including those with mild

to more serious learning disabilities, in the same classroom.

Four full-time teachers and one part-time instructor have been hired, along with three special education teachers.

The school plans to partner with the Basilica and the Walker Art Center, among other neighborhood institutions, on educational programs. St. Cloud University serves as the charter school's sponsor.

The school's new Director, Marcy Doud, praised the academy's site. "We are so thrilled with this location and the opportunities that it will provide to partner with families and the Downtown community," she said, in a prepared statement. "The existing education building is beautiful and is a wonderful fit for our program."

The school will offer a year-round curriculum, to reduce the need to repeat lessons in the fall. Classroom sizes will average around 18-20 students.

Bentley said lessons plans will focus on "core knowledge." The curriculum emphasizes basic skills and subjects, such as U.S. and European history, spelling and math.

The academy is accepting applications for the fall. As a charter school, Fraser Academy will not charge tuition.

Information sessions will be held Tuesday, July 13 and July 20, 7-8 p.m. at the school.

For more information, visit www.fraseracademy.org or call 798-8349.