After a late start to the school year, the Innovation Science and Technology Academy, is the latest public charter school to open its doors in Coon Rapids. In early September, the city council gave the four year old school, 'use flexibility' to operate in the strip mall of the Round Lake Shoppes. The school was previously located in Brooklyn Park.
A staff of eleven teachers and para educators serves 75 students from diverse backgrounds, in Pre-K through seventh grade. The school emphasizes STEM education, says its executive director and principal, Omotoke Olatoye, better known as Dr. O.
"The vision is to develop student innovators,” Dr. Olatoye said. “So what is so unique about this school is that it's a charter school, and elementary school with a middle school that has a lab."
And that has attracted some key partnerships like Target and St. Cloud State University.
In the innovation lab, fourth graders learned a lesson on how to test, if a substance is an acid or a base, from visiting St. Cloud State University assistant professor, Dr. Ramya Sivaraj. Dr. Olatoye said, "Every winter, spring, and the fall, so we have them come for a period of four weeks. So they come and then they do different labs with the students."
Fourth grader Yasmin Abdi is a new student to the school, and likes the hands on learning. "I love this school because the lab is the best part because it is really unique," Abdi said.
If you want to learn more about the Innovation Science and Technology Academy, check out their website at Innovationsta.org