From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Alejandra Matos, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Hiawatha Academies to open first high school next year

Posted by: Kim McGuire Updated: August 27, 2014 - 1:13 PM

Hiawatha Academies, a network of top-performing charter schools in the Twin Cities, is set to open its first high school next year.

Originally, Hiawatha Collegiate High School, was slated to open in 2019. However, school officials say parent and student demand has spurred them to fast track plans.

The school is slated to open next August with just over 100 freshmen expected to attend. It will add one grade each year until it is built out.

Minnesota charter school advocates have long championed the need for successful local charter schools to expand. And Hiawatha is widely considered one of the best.

The Minneapolis schools consistently make the Star Tribune's annual "beating the odds" list, a compilation of high-poverty schools in Minnesota that have the highest standardized test scores.

For example, students at Hiawatha's Morris Park campus were 68 percent proficient in math on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments this year. The statewide average in math was 61 percent.

The high school will be led by Nicole Cooley, who currently serves as Hiawatha's director of teaching and learning.

"In a city where about half of all students graduate from high school, I feel amazingly grateful to be part of a network wherein one hundred percent of students will not only graduate, but will be academically and personally prepared to experience both the success and challenge that will exist for them in college," Cooley said.

She began her career in education teaching middle school in St. Louis through Teach for America. Before joining Hiawatha, she was a teacher and administrator at Gary Comer Prep in Chicago.

Hiawatha will be accepting applications for the new high school next year beginning Oct. 1. For more information, go to


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