The High School Student Engagement Survey* reports that 65 percent of students admit being bored at least every day in class’ and one in six students say they are bored in EVERY class.
We’ve been waiting for you for years – four years actually. This fall Northeast Art and Science Polytechnic (NE Polytech) will open to serve 9th grade students in our first year. As I recall, the inspiration for this endeavor came out of a conversation with Clark Bremer, who now serves as our board chair. I met Clark at the North House Folk School in 2008; he was teaching a timber framing class and I was one of eight fortunate students. Fast forward to 2014. Those six years were replete with conversations about teaching and learning, timber framing, and the dire need for a premier high school in Northeast.
In 2014, we were enjoying lunch at Black Sheep Pizza and refusing to admire the problem of how bored high school students seemed to be, and thus we conceived the idea for NE Polytech. The idea made sense at many levels: as a resident and business owner in Northeast, Clark was committed to the effort. And as a software engineer, his optic was creating pathways for students, learning opportunities that would be relevant and savvy. From my vantage, the idea felt very Northeast.
My years with GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science) and GISE (Guys in Science and Engineering) had prepared me to engage many stakeholders, including students with exceptional (but often untapped) potential, families, community members, and higher education. And the non-districted public school (otherwise known as a chartered school) space afforded us the opportunity to disrupt, to innovate.
On 9 July 2016, the Minnesota Department of Education issued NE Polytech a School District number – 4252. Since that day, we have had one focus: to solicit interest from students, families and teachers who, like us, have been waiting. Polytech is an opportunity to engage teachers and young people in meaningful and relevant learning and, at the same time, contribute to a vibrant community.
Having met many of the enrolled students and their families, NE Polytech has been worth the wait. Welcome to our school, and thank you for coming this way.
I look forward to meeting you very soon!
Dr. Brad Blue