Upper Adolescent (10-12) Family Resources


Upper adolescent students continue to build knowledge and skills through core classes in preparation for the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Spanish language study and fine arts electives also help students study subject areas for the IB program. Students have the option to pursue the IB diploma during their junior and senior years. 

For general upper adolescent program questions, contact Andrea Christensen Zdenek, Upper Adolescent Program Director, at achristensen@greatriverschool.org. 

Upper Adolescent F.A.Q. 

Q. What are the school day hours? How does attendance work?
School begins at 8:30am and is released at 3:10pm. If students arrive late at school before 8:45am, they will be marked tardy. Arrivals after 8:45am count as an absence for the class period and require a late pass from the office. If the office hasn't heard by 9am to expect your student's absence , all listed parents in Powerschool will receive an automated attendance call. To report an absent or late student, call 651-305-2780 or email attendance@greatriverschool.org. 

Q. What are key experiences? What key experiences will my student go on?
A. Key experiences are a *key* part of the Great River experience! All students, 4th grade and up, go on overnight camping trips with their peers and teachers. These trips are level-specific and frequently, the students' highlight of the year. Your 10th grader will have the opportunity to learn about the Four Directions Development at Red Lake, and we are humbled and honored by the invitation. Our 10th year students will be visiting to learn about the projects underway by the nation’s farmers, entrepreneurs, businesses and attend the first day of the Food Summit in Red Lake, MN. Your 11th grader will embark on the North Star Quest, a four night camping trip to the North Shore. Students get the opportunity to visit different colleges and take classes at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. Your 12th grade student will canoe their way down the Namekagon river with their classmates and guides in the traditional four-night Senior Canoe Trip. All packing lists can be found in the Quick Links section at the top of this page. 

Q. What does Great River's International Baccalaureate program look like?
A. The International Baccalaureate Program is well-known around the world for providing a rigorous, globally focused curriculum for college-bound students. At Great River, our focus on meaningful and challenging work means that every student attends classes organized around this curriculum. We are unusual among IB schools because here completing the curriculum is not an honors program but an expectation and goal for every student. We take a collaborative, supportive approach to helping every student reach graduation through this rewarding and rigorous work. While every student will take IB classes in 11th and 12th grade, some students also choose to pursue the IB diploma. This adds the extra challenge of more coursework and an extended essay as well as exams in chosen subjects. In 2015-16, 35% of GRS seniors pursued the IB diploma with 75% of those succeeding in earning it. Many other students opted to take IB exams in at least one subject. For more information on IB at GRS, click here.

Q. What college guidance is available for upper adolescents? 
A. Our Director of College Access, Teresa Hichens-Olsen, is available for college counseling, scholarship assistance, and resource gathering. She can be contacted at thichensolson@greatriverschool.org 

Q. I need to drop my student off late or pick them up early. How do I communicate this?
To inform us of a late arrival or early departure, please use this form. All changes must be finalized no later than 2:15pm. After this time, staff are attending to students for end-of-day procedures and are unavailable to deliver messages to students and guides. Any permanent or recurring changes should be sent to attendance@greatriverschool.org.

Q. How can I get more involved with the school and meet other GRS families?
A. Our Parent Engagement Group was made just for that! Your upper adolescent PEG ambassadors are Laurie Sovell, Rena Dehler, and Heidi Grayden-Kangas. Ambassadors can be reached at peg@greatriverschool.org.

Q. How do I stay up-to-date with Great River news?
A. We send out a monthly school-wide newsletter (usually on the first Monday of the month), occasional lower adolescent-specific communications via email, and urgent communications via text message and phone calls. In order to effectively communication with you, we need your current contact information! Here's a video showing you how to update your contact information in Powerschool.

Q. I have a question and I don't know who to contact. Help!
A. Check out this "Who-To-Call" chart  or email office@greatriverschool.org. We'll try our best to help you!

Q. Do you offer school meals?
We sure do! In our recent construction, we built a brand-spanking-new commercial kitchen and are excited to offer nutritious, locally-sourced, hot meals, starting Fall 2018. We are also starting our brand new coffee shop —- feel free to come eat, drink, & enjoy! For more information on our lunch program and how to order food, click here!

Q. How do I check my student's grades, attendance, and progress?
A. Great River uses Powerschool software to track students' grades and attendance. You can click here for a video on gaining Powerschool access.


Q. Do you provide transportation for students?
A. Yes! Beginning in 7th grade, Great River provides 10-ride Metro Transit passes for students at no cost. When the passes are empty, students may turn them in at the front office and receive a new pass. Unlimited passes are given out on a case-by-case basis. To read more about transportation, click here.

Q. How can I contact my student's guides?
A. Email is our preferred mode of communication (click here for the staff directory). Guides do not have classroom phones and typically cannot be reached during the day. If you have an immediate need, contact the Front Office at office@greatriverschool.org or 651-305-2780.