"Training began with children who were taught to sit still and enjoy it. They were taught to use their organs of smell, to look when there was apparently nothing to see, and to listen internally when all seemingly was quiet." – Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux
A first-in-the-nation educational opportunity is coming to the Twin Cities in the form of Continuum Academy, which will open this September as a tuition-free, fully accredited public secondary school – integrating new scientific paradigms, current consciousness research and recent discoveries in mind and brain functioning directly into its educational program. Starting this fall with grades 6 and 7, it will expand one grade per year through grade 12. Currently negotiating for a metro area site, the Academy intends to bus its students from a wide number of local communities and also anticipates that car pools will form from many others. Students from any public, private, or home school are eligible to attend, free of charge.
As a new model for public education, the Academy’s founders envision a 21st century working laboratory that can implement innovative ideas in education that may eventually impact schools on a national and even international scale. The Academy is now recruiting outstanding licensed teachers from across the nation who are fully committed to implementing its approach. It will also partner with leading research institutions, non-profits and universities to bring emerging scientific discoveries directly into the classroom, incorporating effective teaching and learning strategies from innovative programs around the world.
"We’ve seen dramatic discoveries about the mind and brain that greatly expand our understanding of how learning takes place," says start-up coordinator John Miller, a longtime Twin Cities educator and currently an external fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing. "Now we need to apply them in the classroom, particularly by integrating the functions of the brain related to movement, emotions, and higher order thinking."
Thus, students will start their day with activities such as yoga, aikido or tai chi, becoming calm and centered in their bodies, as well as mentally alert. New scientific paradigms (such as quantum, complexity, symbiosis and emergence) will also be interwoven into the curriculum, finding real-world applications as students engage with social and environmental issues in the community.
"We want to foster a wide-ranging inquiry that embodies a truly open mind," Miller says. "Our students will feel free to come to their own conclusions and be capable of exploring the world for themselves."
As a new charter school, the Academy is fully independent of any traditional school district and is governed by its own board of directors. As a charter school open to all secondary students, it has the freedom to choose its own program, culture, leadership and staff. A longer school day will permit its students to incorporate learning in subjects such as the new physics, mind-body interaction, peace studies, integrative healing and meditation. These will be embedded within a rigorous and comprehensive college-prep curriculum featuring math, language arts, world language, social studies, the sciences, and the visual and performing arts, helping students thoroughly master knowledge and assimilate information while also learning to think outside the box.
With its smaller enrollment, the Academy will function like a village, seeking to engage families in their children’s learning and to create a community that supports their personal growth to shape serious scholars who are also mature, self-aware and caring. Its governance policies and structure will embody and exemplify the practices that students learn in the classroom. Both parents and students will be engaged in various aspects of school development and operations.
The Academy was initially inspired by the Continuum Center, a 26-year-old non-profit that has brought nationally known speakers to the Twin Cities. These have included leading quantum theorists and astrophysicists, Gandhi’s grandson, the astronaut Edgar Mitchell, health researchers, brain scientists, authors, educators, creativity experts and innovative corporate leaders. Future presenters may be available to spend time with, motivate, and mentor Academy students throughout the academic year – to be joined by local Minnesotans who will offer their expertise to support and supplement teaching in a wide range of subjects.
Continuum Academy is now holding a series of open houses for area residents and others to fully introduce its program and enroll students. Parents and students, prospective partners, licensed teachers, volunteers, donors and others are invited to call John Miller at 952.797.2302 or to visit the Academy website at www.continuumacademy.org for further information.