Articles about Great River

School Hours

Great River School School Day runs from 8:30 AM - 3:10 PM

Front Desk is staffed from 8:20 AM until 4: 00 PM


Transportation is available for most students. Read all about it at the Transportation Page.

Before & After Care

Before and After Care is available on campus by Big Canoe Kids Club.

School Fees

Great River School is a public, tuition-free charter school.  Therefore by state law, GRS cannot charge any fees.  We do ask for donations to support the school!  Read about all the ways to support Great River School.

Great River School Mission

Great River School, an urban Montessori learning environment, prepares students for their unique roles as responsible and engaged citizens of the world.

Test Scores/Demographics/Staffing Profile

Use the Minnesota Department of Education's (MDE)  website to review information on Great River School. 

Recess & Lunch at Great River

Time to eat and time to move and play are valued at Great River:

  • Elementary Students (Grades 1-6) have a minimum 25 minute cooperative lunch to eat in community each day, and an additional minimum 35 minute outdoor recess every day.
  • A1 Students (Grades 7 & 8) have a combined 45 minute lunch and recess every day.
  • A2&A3 students (Grades 9-12) have 25 minute combined lunch with freedom to go outside each day. 

Great River School Vision

Great River School integrates academic and social experiences in an environment of civility and trust. The Montessori philosophy and the International Baccalaureate diploma program inform the curriculum and pedagogy, inspiring deep questioning and peaceful action.

Great River School fosters self-expression in a supportive environment that values critical thinking and the richness and strength of a diverse community.

Great River School encourages students to seek new challenges and explore their abilities. Instruction through travel, practical learning, the arts, and micro-economic ventures provide relevant skills to meet the world with compassion and a sense of responsibility.

Authorizer Contact Information

Novation Education Opportunities ( NEO)
3432 Denmark Ave, Ste 130
Eagan, MN 55123

Wendy Swanson-Choi, Executive Director  


GRS is located in St. Paul on Energy Park Drive between Lexington and Snelling Avenues.  Map on our Contact Us page.

Great River School Accreditation

GRS' authorization by the State of Minnesota as a public charter school and Novation Education Opportunities (NEO), GRS' authorizer, gives GRS credentials to grant a Minnesota high school diploma.  As a charter school, GRS is a school district.  GRS is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Program as a World School for the 11th and 12th grade program. There is no accreditation process for Montessori Secondary schools.

Faculty Licensure & Accreditation

All GRS faculty are state licensed.  All elementary faculty are trained Montessori teachers. The majority of adolescent faculty have attended a 5-week adolescent orientation program with the North American Montessori Teaching Association in Ohio. Others have taken courses with the MN Montessori Training Center or in Bergamo, Italy.  International Baccalaureate teachers are IB trained.

Postsecondary Enrollment Options

Adolescent Students at Great River may take courses for Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO).  To learn more about this option, please visit this page or contact Dean of Students, Matt McElrath at

Standardized Testing

Great River School is a public school and as a public school is required to administer standardized testing.  We administer the following tests:

  • MCA math, reading, & science in Grades 3-11
  • ACCESS for ELL (English Language Learners)
  • ACT plus writing for Grade 11

The testing schedule can be found here.

Peacemaker MN Partner School

Great River School is a partner in the PeaceMaker Minnesota network of schools dedicated to the reduction of bullying and the teaching of social emotional skills.