Research indicates that students learn best when material is presented within a thematic construct so students and teachers frequently connect ideas and skills among A3 courses.
After the first week of classes, all students take a break from the classroom to immerse themselves in the out of doors and experiential learning. 11th and 12th graders have different focuses to their last years in high school, so will experience two unique weeks. While both experiences will include some academic focused work, each will challenge students in different ways.
On the Northstar Quest, 11th grade students will visit a combination of private and public colleges in the Duluth area as well as have some challenging outdoor activities.
12th grade students will participate in a 4-day canoe adventure that challenges them to consider their life path after high school. Students will paddle the Namekagon River as they consider their future. The fall experience for both grades includes an opportunity to travel, camp, live, work and study together.
Spring Intensives revolve around the interests of students with faculty direction during the last days of school in June. Activities may be based in the Twin Cities, a music or art intensive with some time here and some on the road, or a backpacking or bicycle trip where students are gone the entire time. Working together as a group here or on the road will strengthen the community that has been forming all year long. Students are welcome to suggest topics for these experiences.
Course Offerings: Core classes, English, math, science and history, will be taken by all students. Most core classes are offered by grade level as they often cover a two-year curriculum.
Core Classes include IB English, science (IB environmental systems and societies or IB physics), history and math. Math classes offered: Algebra II, IB Math SL and IB Math HL. 11th Grade history is IB history of the Americas; 12th grade history is IB 20th century world history.
Students also choose at least 2 electives. IB courses might be a one or two year course depending on their level.
Each morning for the first 15 minutes of the day students meet in small groups with their advisor. They usually have the same advisor for both years in A3. For the first two hours of the morning, Adolescent 3 students attend two electives, often including Spanish and/or art or music. At 10:45, students begin core lessons, largely developing their own weekly schedule. Each week, students sign up for their required core classes offered from 10:45 am to 3:10 pm with lunch between 12:45 and 1:10 pm. During this core time, they will either attend lessons or work individually or in small groups during independent work time. If students need some extra help, have a group class project or want an extended time period to work on a paper, they can arrange their schedule to have time to do it during this time.
Creativity, Action and Service (CAS)
All GRS students participate in CAS which originally comes from the International Baccalaureate Program. Consistent with Great River School’s core value of learning in the broadest sense, CAS activities allow students to nurture opportunities for self-expression including artistic and imaginative activities, physical activity and service to their community. Whether or not students are pursuing the IB Diploma, all students are required to participate in CAS.
Each Wednesday afternoon, many A3 students leave school for a CAS activity they have set up. It might be to go paint a mural or work with an artist (creativity), work out at the local Y or gym or practice for a sports team (action) or go to their regular volunteer job in a local organization (service) – an internship or volunteer commitment. While organizing their CAS activities is ultimately the student’s job, advisors and teachers are available to help students come up with ideas and contacts. Each A3 student must complete 3 – 4 hours of CAS each week after setting goals and finishing with a reflection about their experience. There are some opportunities available at school for doing service but students are encouraged to seek out activities for which they are passionate in the wider community.
Each student is assigned an advisor for the two years they are in A3. This teacher is the first point of contact for any issues, academic or social, students or parents/guardians might have. To identify the advisor for your student, please go to Power School and find the teacher assignment under the Advisory Class period on their Bell schedule.
Teacher emails: For individual teacher’s emails, please refer to the Faculty Directory to the right.
A3 course websites: Each of the A3 faculty has a website with assignments and information relevant to their courses on ManageBac. Students can use this website to find resources and information to keep them on top of each class. The ManageBac website requires student log in at https://grs.managebac.com/login