MN Academic Standards
Big Lake Schools uses the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards as a framework for its curriculum and instruction. The standards supply definitions for educational achievement of students in public school systems.
According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the standards specifically:
- Identify the knowledge and skills that all students must achieve by the end of a grade level
- Help define the course credit requirements for graduation
- Serve as a guide for the local adoption and design of curricula
Minnesota's Academic Standards encompass the areas below:
- English Language Arts
- Health & Physical Ed
- Social Studies
- World Language
Click on each subject area to be brought to the MN Dept. of Education's website where you can learn more about each subject's standards.
Big Lake Schools strongly believes in hands-on, project-based learning that highly engages students by focusing on real world applications. This is STEM Education. It is an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learners will find STEM Education embedded throughout their entire academic life at Big Lake Schools.
- Grades K-2: learners are introducted to STEM through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) days held throughout the school year. Second graders also get immersed in STEM Education through Project Lead the Way's elementary program, Launch.
- Grades 3-5: students in these grades attend Independence Elementary STEM School, which means STEM is part of learning in all aspects of their daily lives. Students experience STEM Education in core classes along with supplementary classes where STEM takes centerstage.
- Grades 6-8: middle school students attend, depending on grade level, either Project Lead the Way's computer science, design and modeling, or automation and robotics class. Project Lead the Way is the United State's industry leader in providing STEM curricula to school districts.
- Grades 9-12: our high school students are no stranger to STEM Education with the option to choose from four different Project Lead the Way classes including Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Computer Science Principles, and its newest course, Engineering Design and Development. Our high school also offers an award-winning apprenticeship program where students are matched with local businesses where they learn while working on the job.
Earning College Credit While in High School
Students at Big Lake High School have several opportunities to earn college credits while still in high school. This ultimately saves thousands of dollars of college tuition and shortens the amount of time spent in college. While earning college credits, students also earn high school credit.
Available programs include:
- AP (Advanced Placement) - these courses are rigorous and are designed to mimic college-level coursework. Students attend classes at the high school and must take an exam after the course is complete in order to receive college credit.
College in the Classroom (CIC) - available to qualified juniors and seniors who may not be ready for the college environment but are ready for the challenge of college classes. Students taking CIC courses will study the same curriculum as college freshmen, but will do so in the comfort of a familiar environment at the high school and during the regular school day.
- Post Secondary Education Option (PSEO) - is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. Eleventh and 12th-grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th graders may initially take one Career and Technical Education (CTE) PSEO course. If 10th graders taking a CTE PSEO course earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional CTE PSEO courses. Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. If a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may continue to participate in PSEO.
There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course. Enrolling in a PSEO course does not prohibit a student from participating in activities sponsored by the high school. Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses.
Award-winning Apprenticeship Program
Big Lake High School is home to the district's nationally-acclaimed apprenticeship program. Interested students apply for and interview with a local employer they would like to work for, and if hired by the company, they start an apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship, students go to work and get paid while earning high school credit. From working in airplane mechanics to mortuary science - our students have tried it all! Many of our students get hired on fulltime after graduating high school, and some even work out deals to earn college tuition money to go to college with a promise the student will return as an employee later.