Baytown Township: St. Croix Preparato...

Baytown Township: St. Croix Preparatory Academy moves into its ...

There are 73 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Sep 5, 2009, titled Baytown Township: St. Croix Preparatory Academy moves into its .... In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

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Good Example

Stillwater, MN

#1 Sep 6, 2009
St Croix Prep is a great example of how the Charter program can work. Some will lead you to believe Charters are not transparent or regulated. That is an out and out lie. Their financials are inspected by the very same state regulators as Independent School Districts ISDs (SCPA has earned high marks in this area.) The curriculum is approved by the MN Department of Education. The students take the same tests as their counterparts in ISDs. As a matter of fact, Charters are public schools that are held to the same standards as ISDs. The only difference is that they are not beholdened to the Teacher's Union. This very fact has irked a number of parties who, on a regular basis, tell lies about Charters. The most recent is that SCPAs building site is somehow dangerous. They leave out the fact that MULTIPLE agencies have done tests on that site and found it completely safe. They leave out the fact that a public school (Andersen Elementary) is built in the same area and several housing developments are within a stones throw of the site. This is how far these individuals will go to protect their little nests. We can and should expect more from our ISDs. Maybe they can take an example from the Charters.
OLD DOG

United States

#2 Sep 6, 2009
This is what schools used to be like in St. Paul. I attended Van Buran And Sibley schools on St. Pauls east side 63-65 years ago . The emphysis was on Reading Writing and Arithmatic, with lots of History and Geography thrown in. There was no sports, other than playing kick ball at recess. There was no gym. Yes, there was a present day, politically incorrect, dunce hat. When we messed up, we had to wear the hat and sit in the corner facing the wall. The boys took this opportunity to chew paper and make spitballs for future use. Did it work ? I believe so. I earned several graduate degrees in different fields, as did several of my classmates. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmum attended Van Buran School. Chief Justice Burgers college major was law and Justice Blackmums college major was math. Years later, while working in Wash. D. C., our paths crossed again and provided me with a trip down memory lane. These parents need to be congratulated on their efforts. They are on the right track and their children will benefit greatly from their efforts.
bellisle

Lakeville, MN

#3 Sep 6, 2009
Van Buren
arithmetic
Stillwater resident

Minneapolis, MN

#4 Sep 6, 2009
Anyone who suggests extra curriculars such as athletics, clubs and other activities are simply uniformed if they think those things aren't of great value and importance. My college rommate was a book worm who never learned things like teamwork and leadership and he has succeeded at nothing beyond receiving good grades. Focusing more on athletics, at less than one percent of District 834's budget, there is no better bang for its buck than what the district spends on these programs. I find it hilarious that St. Croix Prep touts its lack of athletics programs as plus to the school. I got news for you, life is competitive so you'd better learn how to deal with those stresses. For those who pay attention, you'll notice the top schools in the state as far as test scores are also successful in athletics.
What

Stillwater, MN

#6 Sep 6, 2009
Billy Bob, you are a completely uniformed idiot. Okay, let's play your game. Tell me why there have been so many pedophiles allowed to teach in public schools. Boy, I sure want to send my child to a place that harbors pedophiles. Granted, that statement was a pretty big overstatement just like yours was idiotic. By the way, school bus behavior and discipline is a function of the ISD St. Croix Prep pays a fee to for busing. But why wouldn't you bring that up? And it's interesting that you label the school hippie, since everyone that opposes it in Stillwater says it all Republican conservatives. And the students aren't hand picked you moron, but why stick to facts when you can hide behind a screen name and throw out any lie you want. I am sure the public school lobby is proud of you. Forget the fact they have the same percentage of special ed students as the local district.
Billy Bob

Stillwater, MN

#7 Sep 6, 2009
No, the pedophiles are all at the private high schools, like Hill-Murray. Way to pass the buck on the student who committed that disgusting act. Apparently you want to blame the bus that he rides 30 minutes a day rather than the teachers and school entrusted with his care for seven hours or so each day. Please show me where to find the percentage of special ed kids at St. Croix Prep compared to District 834 because nobody's buying that blatant lie. You might suggest that you don't deny any students, but what parent in their right mind with a special ed child would enroll them at St. Croix Prep? Of course they won't because you don't have any of the resources to deal with those kids. Knock off your apples to oranges comparisons and instead why don't you defend your complete lack of qualified and competant teachers and administrators.
Joe

United States

#8 Sep 6, 2009
Just keep teaching more diversity classes forget about everything else.
Betsy

Stillwater, MN

#9 Sep 7, 2009
No one mentions that St. Croix Prep parents have pressured Stillwater Public Schools (including the threat of legal action) so that their children can play on the public schools' sports teams. I would imagine Drama and other extracurricular activities will follow. So the Stillwater School District still ends up providing support for this charter school.
To Betsy

Stillwater, MN

#10 Sep 7, 2009
The facts are that Stillwater Public schools does not allow St. Croix Prep students to participate in their sports programs or any other extra curricular programs. They do let other non public schools and other charters participate, but not St. Croix Prep students.

Stump Mitchell

Minneapolis, MN

#11 Sep 7, 2009
Get your facts right, To Betsy. St. Croix Prep did not request to be included in the District 834 sports programs last spring when St. Croix Catholic did. I'm not sure why St. Croix Prep would deny their students the opportunity to participate in all of the wonderful experiences that it can't possibly provide, but they never submitted a proposal (thus the board never voted on it) to continue participating as its students have in the past. I happen to believe the district is well within its rights to exclude charter school students, but they have allowed it in the past at the pre-high school level so please stop spreading false information on forums like this because some people are less able to distinguish the facts from the misinformation you have provided.
schillit

United States

#12 Sep 7, 2009
Being a taxpayer in 834, with 2 young kids in the district, I have done some research. The prep school beats out only half of the public schools in stillwater in terms of test scores. Both Marine and Withrow beat it in both reading and math, and a few other do in one of the categories. It appears that results decline pretty rapidly after the 3rd grade at the prep school. Now, obviously test scores aren't everything, but I am not overly impressed with the results. Also, not having sports and other activities is a vital part of a child's development.
Not surprised

Stillwater, MN

#13 Sep 7, 2009
St. Croix Prep's test scores have largely mirrored District 834, although despite what they would have you believe they have a much lower percentage of special ed/free and reduced lunch students, which as we all know has a huge impact on test scores. I think the biggest area the charter school(s) can't come close to measuring up is with regards to its teachers. District 834 teachers are well paid, but they also get the best and the brightest. St. Croix Prep primarily gets teachers that can't get jobs elsewhere.
Deb from Stillwater

Saint Paul, MN

#14 Sep 7, 2009
Not surprised wrote:
St. Croix Prep's test scores have largely mirrored District 834, although despite what they would have you believe they have a much lower percentage of special ed/free and reduced lunch students, which as we all know has a huge impact on test scores. I think the biggest area the charter school(s) can't come close to measuring up is with regards to its teachers. District 834 teachers are well paid, but they also get the best and the brightest. St. Croix Prep primarily gets teachers that can't get jobs elsewhere.
Where did you get your statistics for that last comment? Are you a fly on the wall during the interview process?
schillit

United States

#15 Sep 8, 2009
probably a teacher in 834...
What

Stillwater, MN

#16 Sep 8, 2009
Betsy wrote:
No one mentions that St. Croix Prep parents have pressured Stillwater Public Schools (including the threat of legal action) so that their children can play on the public schools' sports teams. I would imagine Drama and other extracurricular activities will follow. So the Stillwater School District still ends up providing support for this charter school.
Interesting Betsy since they didn't even ask to be a part of the programs this year. And the pressure was no different than St Croix Catholic, Salem Lutheran & New Heights Academy (Charter School Sponsored by the District). And that pressure...an application. And again, they didn't even submit an application this year. How's that pressure? You are full of crappola!
What

Stillwater, MN

#17 Sep 8, 2009
Stump Mitchell wrote:
Get your facts right, To Betsy. St. Croix Prep did not request to be included in the District 834 sports programs last spring when St. Croix Catholic did. I'm not sure why St. Croix Prep would deny their students the opportunity to participate in all of the wonderful experiences that it can't possibly provide, but they never submitted a proposal (thus the board never voted on it) to continue participating as its students have in the past. I happen to believe the district is well within its rights to exclude charter school students, but they have allowed it in the past at the pre-high school level so please stop spreading false information on forums like this because some people are less able to distinguish the facts from the misinformation you have provided.
They didn't submit a request because Keith Ryskoski told SCPA he polled the board and the vote would be against inclusion. Why ask when you know the outcome. Turns out it was better for them in the long run.
What

Stillwater, MN

#18 Sep 8, 2009
Not surprised wrote:
St. Croix Prep's test scores have largely mirrored District 834, although despite what they would have you believe they have a much lower percentage of special ed/free and reduced lunch students, which as we all know has a huge impact on test scores. I think the biggest area the charter school(s) can't come close to measuring up is with regards to its teachers. District 834 teachers are well paid, but they also get the best and the brightest. St. Croix Prep primarily gets teachers that can't get jobs elsewhere.
Again, complete BS. Check the stats. SCPA has the same percentage (within .05) of the district. And the reason they don't have free or reduced lunch....because they don't have a lunch program so those stats are not compiled by the state. They do have students who qualify, but since everyone brown bags it, you see a zero on the scorecard. If you are going to play the statistics game, please be smart enough to understand the data. You're a district schill.
Wait a minute

Eau Claire, WI

#19 Sep 8, 2009
Test scores:
If you take out the at risk populations and compare demographic to demographic, ISD834 and SCPA are about the same in MCA test scores. However, SCPA's numbers are trending down strongly while the district's are going up strongly. SCPA's scores come out in the middle of the district's test scores and the district has some schools that dramatically exceed SCPA - Withrow, Marine, Afton Lakeland come to mind. SCPA's hype on being "one of the best schools in the state" comes true only when you draw the line pretty low on the list. If you separate the marketing from the actual results, things are not what they appear on the website.

Teachers:
The average teacher at SCPA has less than 5 years experience and most have way less than that. The district has teachers with far more experience on average than SCPA. The difference is striking.

Class Sizes:
Look at ISD834's class sizes in the lower grades of 18-20. SCPA is at 28 or higher.

Sports:
SCPA did not request to participate in ISD834 sports. The year before they did and something like 10 kids participated. Totally not worth the argument. Question: If SCPA could participate in ISD834 activities, could ISD834 kids take Latin or other courses at SCPA?

Notice that SCPA did not tell you that they built their building on a contaminated Superfund site. They will tell you the drinking water is safe but they won't tell you about any efforts at TCE Vapor mitigation (because they didn't do it). There is no way in the world that voters would allow a district school to be built on this site. Go to the MPCA website and search for Baytown township. SCPA is build right in the middle of the plume. Whether this is safe now is one issue and whether it stays safe for the life of the building is another. Either why can they gamble with the taxpayer dollars they are given in this way? They will tell you that this building was not built with taxpayer dollars which is technically true however it will be completely paid for with public money and when it is all paid for, the public won't own it and they can keep charging the state rent. How do you feel about that?
What

Stillwater, MN

#20 Sep 8, 2009
You sir, or madam, are a bold faced liar!!!!
If the test scores are so good at ISD 834, why was it just published that 5, up from 3 last year, of the ISD 834 schools did not meet their AYP. The statistical analysis you refer to on the test score comparison is so incredibly flawed you insult all people who took a 3rd grade level math class. Those numbers were so manipulated I am surprised they didn't sell them as taffy. To your point about sports: why is it that the only Charter School that would have been denied access to sports was SCPA. New Heights was allowed. Oh, that's right New Heights. "Wait a Minute" forgot to mention that ISD 834 sponsors it's own Charter School. This school is 70% NON PROFICIENT in virtually every measurable testing area. "Wait a Minute" also fails to tell you that this is where ISD 834 hides it's problem children, both emotionally and test score wise. Why is SCPA treated differently than this Charter School.
Let's look at building sites. First, this land has passed multiple independent test by the state and other agencies and is NOT a toxic site. Why was this site picked. Well the first two sites were in Stillwater and ISD 834 supporters, and board members, formed organizations that protested both sites. So, those were out. "Wait a Minute" also fails to tell you that there are two new housing developments within 100 yards of SCPAs site and that the same "toxic superfund area" contains Andersen Elementary (an ISD 834 school).. Once again, a different standard. The problem here is that those entrusted with the education of our youth in the ISD 834 system, and their supporters, have some ethical questions they need to be asked. Why have you set up a double standard and why do you continue to propagate lies? Maybe that's the key to the reason that ISD schools are failing and using more money to do so. And don't even try to use taxpayer input. The ISDs have a sneaky new ability to levy taxpayers without vote. Oh, and by the way, ISDs still get all the levy money from SCPA families and SCPA pays the ISD fee for every child in the school to ride their buses even though only 50% use that service. Go soak your head.
What

Stillwater, MN

#21 Sep 8, 2009
Oh I forgot. "Wait a Minute", didn't SCPA several years ago offer to rent space from ISD 834? Yes, I believe they did. They where told an emphatic NO! This was about the same time some emails went out from the Admin at ISD 834 about employees being told not to help SCPA in any way. So, If that HAD happened, wouldn't the money be going back to ISD 834? Can't cry over your mistake now. And how is SCPA paying rent to a private group any different to the county paying rent to a private building owner? Or haven't you been to the licensing office in the mall on 36? Humm, there isn't. The county's rent is going towards the equity of the private owner. In fact there are thousands of similar agreements all over the state. And it was so sneaky how you quietly admitted to the lies being told about SCPA when idiots like you have been ranting for months about public money being used to BUILD the building. Now you speak in technicalities. Your are a snake!

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