+ What is a Charter School

Minnesota charter schools are tuition-free, independent public schools that are open to and welcome all students, no matter ability or need, and are governed and operated jointly by licensed teachers, parents and community members. Ref: "A Primer on Minnesota Charter Schools." http://www.mncharterschools.org/_uls/resources/A_Primer_on_Minnesota_Charter_Schools.pdf

Charter schools are schools of choice. No child is alike and charter schools provide additional opportunities to find the right fit for your student.

+ Where are you located?

LJA is located at 1550 Summit Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55105. Our main entrance is on the south alley side of the building.

+ What are the school hours?

The school hours are 9:10 AM to 4:10 PM.

+ When will enrollment begin? How do I enroll my student?

We encourage you to go to Enrollment for information about the enrollment process. Students will be considered for enrollment based on the capacity of the school at each grade level.

+ How do I sign up for a school tour?

Answer: Tours for parents and prospective students are offered on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM, Thursdays at 3:00 PM,or by appointment, and last approximately one hour. Click here to request a tour.

+ Who is Laura Jeffrey?

LJA is named after Laura Jeffrey, a long-time Minnesota resident whose life exemplified the love of learning and service to community that are the goals of our school. Ms. Jeffrey built a life that exemplified personal strength, intelligence and a passion for her beliefs. For more information about Laura Jeffrey, click here.

+ Why should I send my student to LJA?

LJA is founded on the pillars of success: A sound learning and teaching plan, seasoned management, and solid financial footings. Based on extensive research, LJA's School Framework is designed to produce high scores in reading, math, language and writing. A low teacher-to-student ratio ensures that students receive the individualized attention they require at this pivotal time in their lives. LJA offers many of the benefits of a private school within the public school system.

+ What is LJA’s educational philosophy?

Laura Jeffrey Academy’s School Framework is based on a holistic approach to education, addressing teaching and learning, students' resiliency, school climate and organizational effectiveness. We provide a stimulating learning environment with clear expectations and opportunities to celebrate student learning. LJA’s Interdisciplinary Power Standards and assessment process ensure that personal, school, state and federal standards are achieved.

+ Is there a school calendar?

Yes, it may be viewed here.

+ My other children go to a traditional school with summers off. How will we plan family vacations?

LJA’s extended-year calendar includes several breaks including six weeks off in July and August, and approximately two weeks (one week of optional programming is provided during this time) off in the fall, winter and spring. Many of our breaks align with neighboring school districts.

+ Will we have to pay for intersession experiences?

There is a cost for intersession participation which varies depending on the program offered. Partial and full scholarships are available based on need.

+ Does LJA provide student transportation?

Laura Jeffrey Academy provides bus transportation to and from school for:

  • Students living within Saint Paul proper and reside one or more miles from the school.
  • Students coming from or going to a licensed day care facility, a relative, the residence of a person chosen by the pupil's parent or guardian, if that facility or residence is within the transportation area of the school.
  • During the 2016-17 school year, we will offer busing to a community stop in Minneapolis.

+ Does LJA provide food service?

LJA offers a cold-breakfast each morning and a nutritious salad bar and hot entree at lunch time with food items prepared by Done Right Foods. (Students may also request a sandwich as an alternate option for lunch.) Cartons of milk are available for those that bring their own lunch. Cost for breakfast is $1.50, lunch is $3.75 and milk is .50¢. Meal service is offered at no cost or at a reduced cost for families that qualify.

+ Why start in the 5th grade

One of the many ways Laura Jeffrey Academy is unique is that most students start our middle school in 5th grade, rather than 6th or 7th grade. LJA’s founders created our school “from scratch” and did so by taking into account what works best for kids, rather than simply replicating the traditional model.

When students begin at Laura Jeffrey Academy in their fifth grade year, they enter developmentally as children, and when they graduate after the 8th grade, they leave as teenagers. The early adolescent (sometimes called “tween”) years, ages 10 to 14, are a time of major changes. These changes require all children to learn new ways of relating to peers and adults, and adapt to a continuously changing self concept. Bodies and brains are developing at a rapid pace and peer relationships generally become highly influential. Sometimes academic focus can be overshadowed as students become focused on who they are and how they fit in the world.

In a traditional co-ed school setting, early adolescents can lose interest in academics, particularly in math, science, technology and physical activity. Research shows that this loss of interest begins right around the age of nine, and this is what compelled the school’s founders to begin our middle school in 5th grade. Starting in fifth grade ensures time for staff to get to know each individual scholar and their family before the rate of developmental change and challenge increases in sixth grade. Learning about every student's unique interests, strengths, hopes, and dreams beginning in fifth grade creates an enhanced opportunity to develop authentic relationships and assess each individual student’s needs and interests as they move through their middle school years. In fifth grade, your child is developing a sense of belonging to a larger community and opportunities for contributing at Laura Jeffrey Academy begin as students create their social contract together. Teacher Emily Barnes comments, “Each year I see students come from all around the city, from a wide variety of prior learning experiences, to create a new and outstanding fifth grade class. Students quickly form friendships, and I hear them say over and over again that they’ve found their people here.’ Students and parents tell me that they see a new sense of confidence in their child, as well as a new or increased love of learning. ‘My child is actually excited to go to school now!’ is a common report from parents of fifth graders over the years. This positivity and energy is carried into our classrooms and enhances the learning experience for the entire class.”

Sixth grade is a challenging year for most students, as they begin to mature physically and gain an emerging sense of sexuality, at the same time the role of friends becomes increasingly more important as they figure out their interests and their own sense of agency and power as an adolescent. Even the most resilient child may struggle with this time in their educational experience. Although this can be a challenging time for both caregivers and student, starting 5th grade with a supportive learning environment can help your child move through this critical phase of development -- as they explore their potential, develop their intellect and discover their brilliance.

We are now able to look back at years of quantitative and qualitative data and conclude that students who begin Laura Jeffrey Academy in 5th grade and graduate in 8th grade make significant gains in academic, social and emotional development. When comparing students who have been with LJA since 5th grade and graduate in 8th grade to others in local urban districts, LJA students outperform in math, reading and science. Teachers who teach LJA alum, as well as LJA alum caregivers, and alumnae themselves share stories describing LJA graduates as articulate, thoughtful, and critical thinkers, conscientious citizens, and eager participants in their own learning and growth.

+ How can I get a hold of my student's teachers?

You can contact staff and teachers through email. Click here for a list of staff emails or visit the classroom pages for contact information.

+ What about extra-curricular activities like sports, music, debate, etc.?

LJA believes in providing a rich variety of experiences. During the school day students will experience music, art, or physical education every day. All students will have enrichment opportunities and interventions or acceleration each day during our midday programming. Access to after-school sports are coordinated through the Parks and Recreation programs.

+ How do you accommodate learning differences, i.e., the academically gifted and the educationally challenged?

Our curriculum is designed so that all students accelerate their learning, regardless of developmental levels. Students meet performance indicators based on rigorous academic expectations.

Courses are created to accelerate interdisciplinary learning, rather than on a single class experience designed to meet the needs of the lowest achieving student. Students that need extra help will receive the support of special education and English Language Learning services, as well as sustained midday interventions.

Seventy-five minute teaching blocks provide a low student to teacher ratio which allows for maximum attention for all students in the areas of math, science, language arts and social studies.

+ How does LJA prepare students for success in high school?

LJA’s Interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students meet academic and non-academic goals. The curriculum is based on rigorous goals that align to national and state standards.

Many LJA alum have reported how impactful LJA was in helping develop their confidence, enabling them to smoothly transition into the High School setting.

Families of eighth graders will receive attention in choosing the best fit in their choice of high schools. This includes a plan for exploring a number of schools, the application process, and selecting an academic and non-academic environment that promotes a similar holistic learning approach to that of Laura Jeffrey Academy.

+ Is LJA considering adding elementary or grades nine through twelve?

At this time LJA is focused on providing the best learning environment for girls in grades five through eight – a pivotal time in preparing them for future personal and academic success.

+ Will it be hard on my child to switch schools at this age?

LJA’s approach supports fifth grade placement. Research shows that a multi-grade experience for fifth and sixth graders helps the fifth grader achieve academic success. While change is challenging, a change for the better is desirable and results in long term benefits for your child.

+ What qualities do you value in teachers?

Teachers will be hired based on their expertise and interest in working in an experience-based, interdisciplinary, multi-grade learning environment. Teachers will be licensed experts in their discipline of study, dedicated to an interdisciplinary team-teaching model, eager to teach in a social-justice minded environment and possess an appreciation and love for children and learning.

+ What is LJA’s policy on drugs and alcohol?

Issues of substance abuse affect individuals, families and communities and therefore are part of LJA’s overall health and wellness standards. LJA will have a social worker on staff. Any substance abuse issues will be dealt with immediately, and a plan of action will be formulated with the family, student and school.

+ What policies will LJA follow to ensure that the school is safe and secure?

Safety and security at LJA are taken seriously as part of LJA’s overall learning environment. LJA's climate committee is working on a comprehensive plan to address students' physical and emotional safety. All visitors will be greeted at the front desk and checked in.

+ Our family’s culture requires that our child dress modestly in traditional clothes. Will my student be required to wear a school uniform?

LJA does require uniforms. Uniforms can accommodate a diversity of cultural and religious values. For more information about uniform policy, click here.