It has been a bumpy road for Dane County school districts this year as COVID-19 school closures swept through the state and many faced uncertainty over plans to safely reopen.
While the fate of what is left of this school year still hangs in the balance for several districts, the 21st Century Monona Grove Liberal Arts Charter School (MG21) looks to the future.
Applications for the 2021-22 school year at MG21 should open the first week of January.
Although the priority deadline for applications is not before April 5, MG21 staff recommend getting a head start on the registration process before the deadline set next spring.
From January 5, families can access the six-page app through a link on the MG21 website, mg21.org. In addition to the application package, students in Grades 9 to 12 will also be required to submit a writing sample.
Once the application documents are submitted, prospective students will be invited for an interview with the school staff.
MG21 opened in 2010 in hopes of providing a smaller, community-oriented school setting for local students. MG21 Executive Director Rebecca Fox-Blair said the charter school has a strong focus on social and emotional growth, community service and 21st century skills.
Initially a school for grades 10-12 students only, MG21 began accepting ninth graders in 2015 and opened its doors to grades 6-8 last year.
The school is currently operating on a virtual basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neither students nor staff are expected to close just a year after opening for middle schoolers, but MG21 staff plan to reopen for in-person learning in 2021.
“We will all be back in the building [next year]”Fox-Blair said.” Our focus on community and relationship building is more natural in a face-to-face setting. We will be able to take class trips, experience the outdoors and most of all, we will be together again.
Stacy Levin, administrative assistant at MG21, said students who do well at the charter school level as opposed to the standard public school are generally those who are curious and more independent learners.
“The students who thrive here enjoy inquiry-based learning in a smaller educational community,” said Levin. “MG21’s mission is to provide a student-centered educational community for independent learners, which is designed to equip students with the skills they need to move forward in life.”
Levin and Fox-Blair also said that while students living outside of Monona or Cottage Grove are welcome to apply, the process is different for out-of-district families.
Those interested in enrolling in MG21 who live outside the boundaries of the Monona Grove School District will need to file the necessary open enrollment documents provided by the state Department of Education.