Great River Ranked #5 High School in the State! Top 1% Statewide & Top 0.1% Nationally!

This past month, Great River School was named the #5 High School in the state of Minnesota. This accomplishment of our students indicates successes in the academic study and high standards of our High School program. Our students are being recognized for their high engagement with college-level curriculum through our IB program. Students are also being recognized for their growth-mindset approach to persisting in challenging coursework, supporting each other, and demonstrating preparedness for life after High School. 

This ranking places Great Below, we are re-posting my essay from May 2015, when we were named the #1 High School in Minnesota. These ratings at the very top of MN High School programs speak volumes about the way our students are preparing for their unique roles as responsible and engaged citizens of the world. 

May all be well and may summer shine upon your child and family! 

~Sam O'Brien, Head of School

First published Friday, May 15, 2015 - Aiming for more than our #1 rating on from US News and World Report

What a week for Great River School. In case you didn't see the many social media shares this past week, Great River has been rated as the #1 high school in the state of Minnesota.

I am proud of this rating, but it doesn't speak to all our school does or to our true mission in education.  It does indicate the hard work of our students in preparing for academic success. Strictly based on college preparedness and standardized test scores among IB High Schools in the state of Minnesota, our results are the best in the state. 81st in the country for charter schools, and in the top 1% of all schools in the country. 
That is a serious accomplishment, and we should share it with everyone. In the same breath, we should all also be able to speak to the responsibility for self, others, and the community that our students learn through real life experience!



Celebrating team work - unmeasured by test scores!

 Our students leave Great River ready for the world, and the data supports what we've seen for many years - students who experience independence and personal responsibility have great outcomes. Let's celebrate our students for their work succeeding in their coursework and preparing for college and careers. In fact, let's celebrate them for having a top rank among all IB high schools in the state of Minnesota. However, I have to acknowledge that the #1 US News rank does not satisfy our mission as a school. Top academic outcomes on a narrow measurement like standardized tests

I want to celebrate our school for aiming for more than academic success. Our #1 in MN rating is based solely on test scores and raw data on academic student capacity for standardized and summative tests. I want every one in the community to recognize that our students, in addition to academic outcomes,  demonstrate much more important learning.



Installing a Zen Garden - project unmeasured by ratings!

Responsibility for social relationships, for justice, and for I would love a US News & World report award for schools that change our cultural approach to education. I'm preparing a longer blog post for early next week on what our mission really is, and the mistake to look only at academic outcomes for a school. The mission of Great River is to prepare students for their unique role as citizens of the world. Our mission is global citizenship, not solely first-rate test scores. In fact, I believe our first rate test scores are a result of the way we support students emotional, ethical, and interpersonal abilities. Our students engage in caring for each other and responding to adversity with creativity.

 Sir Ken Robinson has the most watched ted talk of all time.  He talks about changing educational paradigms.  The need is for schools that approach education with a bigger world view than test scores. I invite you to watch the illustrated version of one talk given by Ken Robinson below. I think the reason his TED talks are so popular result from our shared hunger for hope and inspiration in education. Something more than test results - a human, connected, and holistic desire to support each person in dignity and development. The way we create a more peaceful society for the future is by creating a more peaceful society for our children to live and learn in today. Our school has that vision, and though we rank #1 in the state for tested outcomes in High School and college preparedness, I hope we can use every opportunity to open the conversation about the role of education to create a more peaceful and humane global society. Thanks for being our ambassadors!