Minnesota has a variety of educational options available to students. This year, National School Choice Week is Jan. 26 through Feb. 1. The week will spotlight the many options available to families to help parents find the best fit for their child.

Educational options in Minnesota include traditional public schools, private schools, charter schools, online academies, magnet schools and homeschooling. Each offer their own benefits to students.

“The benefits are that students can have an educational experience customized to their own learning styles,” said Mike Hamernick, Director of Northern Lights Community School in Warba, Minn. “We’ve known for a long time that no two students think and learn alike. Yet large education systems tend to treat them as if they do. The cookie-cutter/assembly-line approach works for many students - but not all of them.”

For parents who are starting to look at the options available to their student, Hamernick suggest simply looking online to begin. After this, talk to those with experience.

“I recommend speaking with students who have attended other schools and their parents to gather some real-world insight. Lastly, schedule a tour and meet the admin and staff. I give tours every week to prospective students and their families,” Hamernick said. “There’s no better way to get a feel for how a school operates than to take a look around while classes are in session. You’ll know pretty quickly if the vibe is for you or not.”

Throughout the state, many schools organizations and individuals are hosting events and activities to celebrate National School Choice Week. The National School Choice Week organization reported that this year’s celebration is expected to be the largest in U.S. history with 13.7 million Americans predicted to participate.

“Minnesota offers a variety of unique education options for families, and has long been considered a school choice pioneer,” said Andrew Campanella. Campanella is the president of National School Choice Week. He continued, “We encourage Minnesota families to discover their educational options during National School ChoiceWeek, while bringing positive attention to schools and learning environments that are helping students thrive.”

Hamernick commented that the students of NLCS will be discussing Nation School Choice Week during their Town Hall weekly meeting. The school will also have information on their scrolling electronic sign near the highway and will be posting about it on their social media accounts.

“The world offers a lot of ways to customize your life—cars, phones, hair, clothing—but historically there have not been a whole lot of options when it came to customizing your education. Now you can,” Hamernick added.

For more information on the variety of schooling options in Minnesota and about National School Choice Week, visit https://schoolchoiceweek.com/.

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