New High School Proposed To Open This Fall

Contributed by Paul Morley

Arkose Ridge Leadership Academy (ARLA) is planning to launch this August as a school-within-a-school based at Palmer High. 
ARLA students will meet all district and state requirements for graduation, while completing courses such as Human Relations, Character Education, Freshman Transition, Personal Finance, Career Mentorship and a senior capstone project. Juniors and seniors will select a concentration area and take courses preparing them for emerging careers in renewable energy, Northern food production, community planning and boreal ecology. ARLA is a new approach in secondary education, one that incorporates internships, place-based learning and inclusion of community experts in instruction. These connections are part of the model to increase engagement, a sense of relevancy, and breadth and depth of knowledge.
ARLA will operate within the MSBSD school calendar divided into three 3-week intensives and two 60-day semesters. During intensives, students will spend considerable time outdoors engaged in hands-on projects for two integrated courses. Examples of place-based learning themes include trail design and construction, food production, GIS mapping, soil science and archeology. During semesters, students will similarly apply and integrate academics with physical activity and thematic projects.
ARLA students will have access to district transportation (if zoned for Palmer High), before and after-school activities, sports and clubs, PHS classes during periods 1, 2 and 3, the school nurse, guidance services and lunch.

ARLA’s core values are:
1. Academic/Intellectual Growth
2. Social Assets for Living
3. Community Stewardship

Highlights of the model include: 
• Intensives for integrated, relevant and high-engagement learning
• Daily teacher-student mentor time
• Community expert support in the classroom
• Emphasis on outdoor education and hands-on learning
• Community relevance of learning
• College credit options
• Small school family feel (up to fifty freshmen, fifty sophomores and two certified teachers)
• One-to-one computer access for all students
• Student access to Palmer High School before and after-school sports and activities
• Student access to Palmer High School for foreign language, arts, biology and music classes
• Professional preparation for emerging careers
• Career mentorship with local professionals

More information is available at

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The enrollment application and other links are on the MSBSD website under parent quick links and then clicking the Arkose Academy logo button, or at

Deadline for applying is Friday, April 7.