STRIDE (Students and Teachers Reaching Individual Dreams through Education) Academy began over a decade ago as a thought written on a napkin in the basement of Amy Dvorak (former board member). Countless planning meetings took place with Dale and Dory Beutel (founders and former director) Liz Bergan (former board member) and Rassier’s. Eventually a building was secured and recruitment started.
When I was hired, in the summer of 2005, STRIDE was located in an office in Waite Park. Staff was hired and asked to start right away with registering students and testing them in reading and math there. We patiently waited for our building to be completed while training as a team on the campus of SCSU. We started the 2005-2006 school year with students in grades K-5. We originally planned to house only
K-4, but had many parents requesting fifth grade. So at the very last minute the decision to add fifth grade was made. We were full to capacity and even had waiting lists for most grades.
STRIDE Academy Charter School was started by the Beutel’s, and a few others an educational option for our community. I believe STRIDE was, and still is, the best school option around. At STRIDE we level in math and reading, and we cap our enrollment so as not to overpopulate the classrooms. We require a dress code, and participate in community service learning projects by grade level. We learn and live The 7 Habits, require families to volunteer 30 hours a year, and we operate on a year round schedule. For these reasons and many more STRIDE Academy is THE best option for children in Central Minnesota.
At STRIDE our mission is to provide educational experiences for all children, promoting a strong foundation in all core academic areas. Using researched based curriculum, students will excel academically through real-life educational experiences in a challenging, caring, and student-centered environment. By meeting each student’s unique educational, emotional and social needs, students will be empowered to become responsible life-long learners and leaders.
In the last decade I’ve been able to see STRIDE grow from a K-5 school to K-8. We now have 95 staff members, 700 students, and we recently became one campus again after having an elementary and middle school for the last few years. It feels good to be back together in one place. We have also been chosen as an official Leader in Me School, which allows for the integration of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into our daily routine. We are the only Leader In Me school in Central Minnesota. This is truly an honor and one we plan to uphold proudly.
Since STRIDE Academy is its own district our school board ultimately makes the decisions, along with our sponsor (Friends of Education). We at STRIDE are held to the same standards as the public schools so parents can feel good about choosing STRIDE over the neighboring community schools.
I am proud to be a teacher at STRIDE Academy, proud my own children do or
gone to STRIDE and extremely proud to have helped shape some of the best individuals while teaching here. We have a motto we like to say and that is “Live, Love, Learn, Leave a Legacy”. STRIDE has left a lasting legacy on students here in Central Minnesota.
Teacher and Parent