Assignment: Education – La Crosse Charter High School

The School District of La Crosse to add new school next fall

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Behind the walls of Logan High School are the makings of something new.

“There’s a niche out there that’s not being filled,” said Colin Klos, president of the governance council that oversees La Crosse’s newest charter high school.

And this man is hoping a new charter high school to be housed at Logan High next fall will change that.

“Everybody go to college,” said Klos. “You’re starting to see the backlash of that… is how expensive that is. There are no jobs for them. And what are they trained to do?”

Klos is the Vice President at MBA architects in Holmen. He is also one of several area business leaders that serves on the governance council which oversees the new charter high school in La Crosse.

“What we want is a responsible citizen,” said Klos. “A responsible employee that can think on their feet. From the time they walk out of high school, whether they go on or not. And it’s great if they do. But there are quality careers and quality jobs that don’t require university or sometimes even technical school, and we want to form that group of responsible citizens.”

The La Crosse School Board approved this concept last week. Now the district will begin creating the curriculum.

“We will be posting internally first for two positions that will help design and implement the new high school,” said Annette O’Hern, supervisor for career and choice education for the La Crosse School District.

The concept of the new high school will be much like the La Crosse Design Institute. LDI is a charter middle school which began three years ago at Longfellow.

“I think that a similarity will be that it’s project based,” said O’Hern. “I think a similarity will be that it’s student led inquiry. Students will have… not necessarily control… but ownership of what they want to learn and how they will learn it. We will still have to maintain that the students are able to take the same assessments as our Logan and Central students.”

But there are still a lot of unknowns, and anything is possible.

“Think with no limits,” said O’Hern. “What could be? To me that’s so exciting. To be able to say to two teachers, who are going to design an implement the school, what could it be?

The new high school’s governance council wants to see a program that not only prepares students for post-secondary education, but also prepares them to start their career immediately after high school graduation.

“Some of the people on the board… their businesses… there are a couple of strong defenders out there that don’t hire university grads,” said Klos. “But they have multi-million dollar machines that need to be run by somebody who’s responsible, that can problem solve, and think on their feet.”

So as the district moves forward with designing the new curriculum, the creators of this charter are confident they are preparing students for the demands of the 21st century workforce.

“We feel that this is going to be extremely responsible education,” said Klos, “and the students are going to be accountable for themselves.”

Something new is being created behind these walls. And it could fill a niche for students looking for a different way to learn and prepare for life after high school.