More growth is on the horizon for Minneapolis charter school network Hiawatha Academies. It opened its first brand-new two-floor high school near Lake Hiawatha this week.
The schools' mission has been closing the achievement gap in Minneapolis. After starting with a school in a wing of a church in 2007, it's expanded to serve approximately 1,000 students in two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.
The high school, called Hiawatha Collegiate High School, has 22 classrooms, includes a gymnasium, science labs and a media lab, said Sean Elder, the charter's chief operating officer.
Approximately 100 ninth-graders were temporarily attending classes in one of the elementary school buildings for the first part of the 2015-2016 school year while the new campus was under construction.
"To have a brand-new building is exciting both for our staff, our students, our families, and really positions them well to continue on their path to and through college," Elder said.
Classes began there this week. A ribbon-cutting Thursday featured speakers including community organizer and activist Rosa Clemente, who gave the keynote address.
The maximum high school enrollment is 777, which the network expects it will reach in 2026. In that year, it projects it will enroll more than 2,200 students.
Break means second job for some teachers
Some teachers back in school this week might not have gotten much of a winter break.
Instead of lounging in their pajamas, teachers who already work part-time jobs may have logged extra hours at retail stores and restaurants during the two-week holiday break, while others took a seasonal job.
The practice of working a part-time job to earn extra cash is nothing new for teachers and other educators, said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.
"What we're finding is education jobs don't necessarily pay the bills, especially for teachers who are new to the profession with student loan debt," Specht said.
A 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey on multiple job holding over the last two decades indicates that "a considerable portion of workers" employed in professional services, a category that includes K-12 teachers, hold more than one job. The survey notes that previous studies have shown that at least 13 percent of teachers hold multiple jobs, a high rate compared to other fields.
According to the National Education Association, the average teacher's salary in Minnesota is $56,670, about $700 less than the national average.
Kira Johanson, a first-year special education teacher in the Shakopee district, works from 15 to 30 hours a week at the Valley Diner in Apple Valley.
"It's just to pick up extra money because your first years teaching you don't make very much," Johanson said.
First-year teachers aren't the only ones looking for a little extra income. Deneen Coats, who teaches music part time at Christian Life Academy in Farmington, works a second job to supplement her $26,000 salary. "Because I am only part time and I'm at a private school, I don't get paid as much," she said.
During the holidays and the summer, she clocks up to 25 hours a week at Lifeway, a Burnsville Christian bookstore.