Our mission is to provide Northwood students in grades 4 through 8 with an innovative, world-class learning experience based on Place, People, Projects, and Performance:
- Place. At NorthStar Community Charter School, we connect learning with our local history, culture, landscape, and natural resources. These place-based linkages make learning meaningful and relevant.
- People. The people in our community are an important resource, too. They’ll include a team of two to four collaborative teachers, adjunct faculty, community members and elders, content experts, and students’ parents and family members.
- Projects. Learning will involve courses, seminars, workshops, job-shadows, projects, inter-school research, symposia, and global connections. Although some learning will still take place in the classroom, the Charter School will emphasize field studies, research, and projects.
- Performance. Students must demonstrate what they’ve learned. One way they’ll sometimes do that is by presenting project results publicly—not just to other students, but to members of the community. Although most projects are based on teamwork and collaboration, NorthStar Community Charter School places a strong emphasis on hard work and individual accountability.
Throughout NorthStar’s school year, students will be working with one or more of four learning platforms:
- Energy Systems.
- Lakes and Rivers.
- Culture and Heritage.
No matter which learning platform they choose, students will apply and integrate skills in the following areas: science, social studies, math, English, writing, and information literacy. How will that work in practice? Here’s just one example of a student-designed project; it’s based on the Forests platform:
These students practice math skills when they learn how a forester estimates the “stumpage” value of standing timber; they don’t just read about it, they try it out. They learn about entomology when they research insects that threaten our local forests, ecology when they study relationships between the animals living there, and history when they they study our area’s rich logging heritage. When they write their report and illustrate it with photos, they practice their organizing,
writing, and information literacy skills.
Want to learn more about NorthStar Community Charter School? Click here for a NorthStar Brochure (3.75 MB), here for a NorthStar Overview Presentation, or here for a Typical NorthStar Schedule. For answers to some frequently asked questions, visit our FAQ page.
For more background, success stories, and research findings on the pedagogical principles underlying place-based and project-based learning, visit these websites:
- Wildlands School
- Fox River Academy Charter School
- Promise of Place
- The website of James Lewicki, the charter school consultant who’s helping us plan the Northstar Community Charter School
Finally, to see a YouTube video that explains in more detail what Wisconsin charter schools are all about, click here.