South Central College President Keith Stover said he hadn’t yet heard of the schools but was interested in learning more. Kathy Sanger, Mankato campus director of Rasmussen College, said she also hadn’t heard about the schools.
The schools’ experience-based curriculum will include accounting, agriculture, bookkeeping, information technology programs, poly-engineering and truck driving and others.
“You create your learning plan so you become more engaged and more involved,” Little said.
At the same time, as a public school, Technical Academies’ curriculum will be aligned with state standards, and students will learn all the required skills in all subjects as outlined by the Department of Education, Little said.
Traynor Trucking of Waldorf is a donor to Technical Academies, and owner Tom Traynor said he’s looking forward to seeing the Waldorf school building put to use again.
A formal Waldorf City Council member, Traynor said the building was up to code and had a new roof, among other improvements, before it was closed. He thinks Waldorf Technical Academy will be a good fit in the building and the community.
“Not everybody can afford to go to college and spend $75,000 on an education,” Traynor said, referring to the school’s emphasis on preparing students for technical fields and trades.
Riebel said the academies’ learning model is beneficial to students and employers. Students will be taught the skills they need to find jobs and perform well, he said.
“Now we have workers, students coming into the work force, that are well prepared,” Riebel said. “It helps the southern Minnesota economy. It bridges the gap ... . I truly believe in it and do see it as a wave of the future.”
Wedl said the schools serve as examples of how chartering is remodeling public schools.
“Here’s a charter that’s really redesigning high school/college and making it a lot easier for kids to complete their post-secondary or a large chunk of it at no added cost,” he said.