River Grove: A Marine Area Community School, is among the Minnesota schools to receive grant money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

The Kindergarten to sixth grad, 200-student public charter school started the year using the in-person “Hybrid Model” while also offering a “Distance Learning Model” for the 25% of its families who opted for fully online classes. In the fall, relying on advice from healthcare professionals that outdoor spaces were safer than indoor ones, the school prioritized ways to get kids immersed in its unique forest campus, according to a press release from the school. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for the school, which already had plenty of experience of taking classes outside, and funds were allocated for things like outdoor classroom equipment and Wi-Fi capabilities extending to the outdoors. With local COVID-19 rates rising significantly, at its November meeting the board voted to move the school into full Distance Learning for all families starting Dec. 3.

Now in its fourth year in the 900-acre Wilder Forest location north of Stillwater,

“We are very fortunate to be in a healthy financial position to navigate the challenges created by the pandemic,” Drew Goodson, School Director said.

The school took many necessary steps in our first few years of operations to build a reserve fund that was significantly aided by generous community support and donations.

This fund, which is unusually strong for a charter school in its early years, along with sound financial management, will carry us through during this tough time. We cannot thank our families and community enough for their continued support.”

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