Q: Who will work at the school? Certified staff? Education, background, experience and general qualifications for the educators. Other qualified staff on premises - nurse? school psychologist? guidance counselor? (if applicable)
Appropriately licensed teachers, who are committed to the success of every student and acknowledge the unique intelligence, capabilities, and learning style of each, will be hired. Bilingual teachers are preferred. Nasha Shkola will seek experienced teachers with a proven track record of closing the student achievement gap.
The primary focus of their job will be to subscribe to school’s vision and mission and to fully collaborate with all individuals in the school’s learning community to assist one another in assuring that every student learns and is successful.
Expectations of Teachers at Nasha Shkola:
• Must have high expectations for all students and help them learn.
• Must contribute to positive academic and social outcomes for students such as regular attendance, on-time promotion to the next grade and graduation, self-efficacy, and cooperative behavior.
• Must use diverse resources to plan and structure engaging learning opportunities; monitor student progress, adapt instruction as needed; and evaluate learning using multiple sources of evidence.
• Must contribute to the development of classrooms and school that value diversity and civic mindedness.
• Must collaborate with other teachers, administrators, parents, and education professionals to ensure all students’ success.
These expectations will be incorporated into specific job descriptions for each teacher in every discipline. The resulting job description document becomes the teacher’s continuous evaluation. All employees at NS will have an At Will, Performance-Based Employment Agreement.
NS will have a half-time Highly Qualified Educational Assistant in each classroom. In addition, members of the community that are bilingual will volunteer in the classroom so that each classroom will have a full time volunteer.
Other staff at Nasha Shkola such as a school nurse, counselor, etc.
All other positions will be determined based on student needs. Nursing services will be provided by a certified school nurse. Specialists needed for students with special needs are contracted and recommended by the school’s Special Education Director (TBD).
Q: Will parents be on the board? Will educators be on the board?
Per MN Charter School law (124D.10), all charter school boards must include at least one teacher currently employed at the school, one parent of a student currently enrolled in the school, and one community member who is neither employed by the school nor has a child enrolled at the school.
Nasha Shkola’s by-laws state that the board shall consist of at least five and not more than nine non-related members.
Currently, the board is comprised of six founding members including a teacher, a future parent and four community members. The first Annual Meeting in which new members will be voted on to the board must occur by the end of the 3rd year of operation.
The board meets on the 2nd Thursday of the month at JEM Properties in Plymouth at 6:30pm. Board meetings are public meetings and anyone may attend. Watch the website for updates.
Q: Will Nasha Shkola have all grades? elementary? middle school?
Nasha Shkola has been created to serve students in Pre-K through Grade 12. NS will open as a K-5 elementary school, it will add the Pre-K program by the third year and it will add one grade per year through grade twelve.
How will the school be able to offer smaller classes? Smaller class size is a great idea, but how will it be achieved?
The budget for Nasha Shkola supports two classes of each grade (K-5) averaging 23-24 students per class. If needed, additional classrooms will be added, but no classroom will be larger than 25 students.
Q: What will be the hours of the school day? Will there be before and/or after school daycare/activities available?
A “typical day” for students
A typical day for the elementary students will begin with breakfast from 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Academic classes will start at 9:00 a.m. and will run through to lunch time for students in fourth and fifth grade. Students in kindergarten through third grade will have a recess break from 10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Morning classes will be focused on fundamental academic skills. The mid-day break will consist of both lunch and recess. The afternoon schedule will consist of special classes such as music, art, technology, library and physical education.
Social studies and science projects will also be conducted during afternoon class time. All students will have an afternoon recess time. The basic school day will end at 3:30 p.m. At that time, students will enter into a rotating schedule of after school events, blending fundamental skills practice with academic enrichment activities.
Nasha Shkola hopes to have a before/after school childcare program available in the future. For our first year, we will utilize local day cares as our ‘safe’ transportation pick-up/drop-off locations which may also provide families with before/after school childcare.
Q: What will be the application progress? Do you anticipate waiting lists? If so, should we register our child in advance? How do I enroll my child at Nasha Shkola?
The first step in the enrollment process is to express your interest in enrolling your child(ren) by filling out the “Interest Questionnaire” on our website: nashashkolamn.org. After receiving this information, we will contact you and set up a time to meet to go through the application materials (student application, health forms, transportation forms, etc.)
Enrollment is on a first-come-first-serve basis until the class sizes are met. In the event that we have more students than spaces, we will hold a lottery to determine student admission. Students, who are not chosen in the lottery, are placed on a numbered waiting list. All students entering kindergarten must be five (5) years of age by September 1 of that school year.
Q: What will the curriculum look like at Nasha Shkola?
In an effort to educate students in a way that fosters cultural literacy and an understanding of the world around them, Nasha Shkola will implement the Core Knowledge curriculum.
The Core Knowledge Sequence supports every child’s ability to meet high academic standards. The Core Knowledge Sequence builds on prior knowledge, allowing the student to understand the introduction of new material because it is built on a solid foundation. Core Knowledge Sequence will be used in all grade levels and is aligned with Minnesota's Academic Standards.
Singapore Math – There are several key features of Singapore Math that sets it apart from other math curriculums. Because there are fewer topics introduced during the academic year, students develop a more thorough understanding of math concepts and are expected to master them. In line with the Core Knowledge philosophy, the knowledge that students gain each year builds on the knowledge gained in prior years. There is a lot of student discussion about solving math problems. Quick mental calculation is stressed. The Singapore approach teaches math concepts and encourages greater problem solving skills and creative thinking.
Language Arts – The Core Knowledge Sequence has a heavy emphasis on Language Arts. Nasha Shkola will use a Balanced Literacy model as its reading, writing and language arts program. Our Balanced Literacy approach will provide instruction in guided reading, phonics, large group reading, writing, and spelling and has many fiction and non-fiction books that have themes in social studies or science. Reading is divided into two areas –
the Core Knowledge content that all students will have which includes the pre-determined stories, books, and poems for each grade level; and guided reading, which is the selection of books for students at their reading level.
Social Studies – The Core Knowledge Sequence will be used as the basis for the Social Studies curriculum (History and Geography). The Core Knowledge Sequence provides rich content in both World and American history at each grade level. The History textbook series by Pearson was specifically developed to support the Core Knowledge Sequence for students in grades K-6. The Pearson texts are classical in approach and historical periods serve as the framework for discussions of art, science, literature, philosophy and politics. Key vocabulary is reinforced and students are encouraged to make connections across the disciplines using history as a starting point. Students will possess a solid base of knowledge of both American and World history,
understand and be able to discuss the cause and effect of historical events, and demonstrate an understanding of how historical events have influenced the world. The History and Geography content are aligned with the MN Academic Standards.
Science – The Core Knowledge Sequence aligned with the MN Academic Standards will form our Science program. Nasha Shkola will use FOSS kits (Full Option Science System) by Delta Education in a lab style that allows students access to scientific lab environments. Students take the role of the scientist as they observe the environment around them: asking questions; determining the important issues; and conducting experiments.
Delta Education has aligned the FOSS program to the Core Knowledge Sequence and to the MN Science Standards. Science skills and concepts will be taught using experiments, hands-on materials, surveys, research, and technology.
Music and Art – Music and art are prominently included in the Core Knowledge Sequence and integrated whenever possible with history and literature emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach. Students are expected to gain an appreciation for the interpretation of music and art, issues and viewpoints about music and art, understand the styles of music and art, influences and themes in art and music, and the historical and cultural contexts in which the music and art were generated.
Physical Education – The Physical Education program encourages personal fitness through individual activities with team games. Participation and good sportsmanship is emphasized. There will also be instruction on health and wellness.
Russian Language, Heritage and Culture Program – Studies have shown that the study of a second language promotes a better understanding of other cultures and a unique perspective on the world. Second language instruction has been shown to improve listening skills, enhance memory, and develop creativity, mental flexibility and higher order thinking. In addition, students who learn a foreign language in elementary school
demonstrate higher scores on standardized tests in language arts and math than those who do not. This Foreign Language program is for students to maintain and continue learning Russian or to begin learning Russian.
The Russian Language, Heritage and Culture Program will provide all students the opportunity to experience and learn about the rich culture of the Russian people. The goal of these intercultural classes is to preserve the Russian language, heritage and culture and help all students become bilingual - proficient in Russian and English.
Responsive Classroom – All staff will be trained in the Responsive Classroom approach that will enhance the overall climate of the school and give teachers/staff techniques to help students solve behavior problems (school-wide plan). Responsive Classroom is a way of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. This approach consists of practical strategies for helping
children build academic and social emotional competencies day in and day out. Using these strategies increase student engagement and academic progress, along with fewer discipline problems.
Q: Where will Nasha Shkola be located?
The facility committee has been working diligently with a qualified realtor to help Nasha Shkola find an appropriate facility. Nasha Shkola found home at 3500 Williston Rd, Minnetonka, MN 55345. Click here to view Google Map.
Q: What will attract non-Russian speaking families to send their kids to a Russian focused school?
The focus of Nasha Shkola, a free, choice public school, open to all MN students is to meet the unique educational needs of Slavic immigrant students, students of Russian descent, students interested in Russian language and culture and any other student choosing to enroll. This K-12 school (starting as K-5) will utilize the Core Knowledge Sequence as a solid foundational base for the educational curriculum and a program in Russian Language, Heritage and Culture where all students will become proficient in both Russian and English. These opportunities are both new and unique for the Russian speaking community and also a unique opportunity for non-Russian speakers. There are currently no other schools in the seven-county metropolitan with this focus.