Director Update: September 2018

October 1st, 2018
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Parents & Families of New Century Academy,

New Century Academy has kicked off its seventeenth school year in Hutchinson with great anticipation. Located at 950 School Road SW in Hutchinson, New Century Academy is a PUBLIC-TUITION FREE Charter School serving grades 7-12. In 2002 the school was opened on the Hutchinson Technology campus and completed its first five years of education in the Learning Center building located on Bluff Street. In 2008 the school moved to 5th Avenue into a new building built by local investors. Last June (2017) the School Board was presented with an opportunity to move into a larger space on School Road. This opportunity included a remodel plan for a full gymnasium, upgraded kitchen, an improved science lab and several creative learning spaces. The New Century Academy School Board was in full support of the move and students, families and staff have all worked tirelessly to create a collaborative and creative learning space. We completed a full year of education in our new home, amidst construction and at times confusion, the students and staff did an amazing job adapting to our ever-changing environment. As a PUBLIC-TUITION FREE Charter School, our world is always changing and adapting. The very nature of our efforts is to adjust to the changes that take place amongst our students and families. As an educational institution, we believe that it is our duty to meet the students where they are at, rather than always expecting them to conform to an educational system that hasn’t truly changed in 100 years. This is a culture that we have fostered from our beginning and continue to construct as we move into the future. After all, you can change the outside appearance of the package but if the present inside is the same, it may not excite you!

Students and families who choose New Century Academy have much to look forward to in this new school year. We continue to expand our extra-curricular activity offerings and are excited about these opportunities for our students. Our goal is to learn, compete and most of all, have fun together! Our fall activities include Cross Country, 6-man Football and Volleyball. Our winter activities include Boys and Girls Basketball and Archery. Spring activities include Archery and Trap Shooting. With the construction of a regulation gymnasium this last school year, students can enjoy the indoor space during practices and competitions.

Along with our extra-curricular activities we continue to work to develop unique and creative clubs that students can participate in. Students will again provide a Gaming Club, Photography Club, Yearbook, Student Council, Reading Club and Art Club. Our hope is that more students will show interest in Speech, Knowledge Bowl, Math League and a Rock Climbing Club. We have completed the construction of one of the two rock walls within the gymnasium. Students, families, staff and community can look forward to challenging themselves on the only rock wall available in this community and surrounding communities.

Students can also look forward to the continued development of our Work Study program where students can enroll in an elective course that will teach them hands-on employability skills. Students may select from the Food Service, Office-Clerical, Maintenance and our very own Coffee Shop! Students will work along with a staff member to develop essential skills needed for the work environment. The Coffee Shop is a unique experience in which students develop menu items, the associated costs and marketing techniques to conduct their business. All of the profit goes back to the shop and to student activities. Our goal is to have this Coffee Shop open to the public!

In addition to our Work Study program, we will continue to provide the same required course work that all public schools must offer as well as electives like trigonometry, calculus, STEM, Careers, Fitness and Activity classes, Band & Choir and various levels of Art. At New Century Academy, students have the option to enroll in online elective courses through Edynamic Learning. The program offers over 50 online elective courses. Our Band program, directed by a St. Paul Orchestra Director, will be in its second year of development. The first year of Band saw great improvement and tons of excitement. We look forward to expanding our Band program and attracting new, talented musicians! In addition to a typical Band program we will continue the development of our Music and Video Production program. Students will have the opportunity to explore these artistic areas through blogs, podcasts, mixing and recording music and much more! Students will also have the opportunity to explore college courses through our PSEO program.

As a PUBLIC-TUITION FREE Charter School, we continue to provide our Project Based Learning program. This program allows students to obtain elective and core credit through the development of independent projects. These projects are chosen by the students and can be developed around any passion or interest they have. Once the idea is in place, student embark on a project development process with an advisor and other students. Students learn project management skills, resource development in both community and print, collaboration and teamwork as well as refining their skills in evidence based research and presentation skills. Through the recent remodel construction, we have created two unique Project Based Learning Spaces on either wing of the school building. These spaces allow for students to spread out and get to work whether it be by themselves, in partner groups or small groups.

One of many great things about our staff is that many of them have worked in other professional capacities before coming to education. For example, we have employees on staff who have worked as an EMT, Orchestra Director, Athletic Trainer, Apparel Business Owner, Cable/Satellite Installer, Lawyer, Parks and Recreation, Early Childhood, Nursing Home Worker, Childcare, Military Personnel, Restaurant and Food Service Worker and many more! All of these employees share these experiences with students and use their past skill development to help students discover their potential career interests. Our staff knows that education is more than just teaching and learning, it’s about connecting with students and families and connecting them to the community.

It is our job as public education to serve our students and families, not the other way around. This has often been lost in many traditional public schools as they continue to meet the needs of a certain type of student. While this might be an easier approach when attempting to educate a larger number of students in a big school, it may not meet the needs of students who are less traditional and maybe non-conforming. What if you don’t fit into that traditional mold? What if you’re looking for something different? Something that meets your needs as an individual. This is the advantage a small PUBLIC-TUITION FREE Charter School can offer. We have a better staff to student ratio on purpose. Our class sizes are designed to be small on purpose. We believe we can help those students who need to reconnect to their education. We also believe we can help those students who need more or who believe in having more control over their education. If you are a student who needs a place you can feel that you belong, are wanted and can find empowerment, then New Century Academy is the school for you! If you are a parent who wants their child to find excitement and curiosity again in their education, then New Century Academy is the school for you!

Jason Becker, Director

New Century Academy


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