Details of New Marine Area Community School — Grove Elementary — Coming Into Focus

Details about the new Marine Area Community School (MACS) are starting to come into focus. The group starting the new K-6 charter school set to open next fall recently announced its name — Grove Elementary — rolled out a new logo, is starting the process of hiring teachers and will soon enter into lease negotiations for the school’s location.

“From nearly the start of our planning, we’ve been considering three locations: the current Marine Elementary building, the former Concordia Language Village buildings at Wilder and Christ Lutheran Church in Marine,” Marine Area Community School Board Chair Kristina Smitten said.

“Because District 834’s Board of Directors imposed a stay on itself due to the ongoing legal situation, District 834 leadership has felt unable to discuss the possible sale of the Marine building,” she continued. “We are proactively moving forward — we need to for our students and our community — and we are absolutely thrilled about the opportunities presented by the Wilder facilities.”

At the January business meeting, the MACS board unanimously decided to enter into lease negotiations with the owners of the Wilder Forest buildings, which are located in May Township on Norell Avenue about six miles southwest of Marine and about nine miles northwest of downtown Stillwater.

Meetings with May Township will also be scheduled in the near future.

To date, Grove Elementary has received more than 200 applications for enrollment.

Grove Elementary is going to be a “teacher-powered school,” meaning there won’t be a principal or executive director.

A team of teachers will be in charge of making curriculum and assessment decisions, set school-level policies, the budget, campus maintenance, and with help from the community, design and implement enrichment offerings such as art, field trips, music and languages.

Grove Elementary will be a place-based learning center, utilizing the natural resources, history and arts of the St. Croix River Valley as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education and other subjects, MACS Director Lisa White said.

“We are lucky that the greater Marine area offers so much in the way of natural resources, local and Minnesota history, arts and civic stewardship,” White said. “With its 900 acres of forests, lakes, wetlands, prairies, hiking and cross-country ski trails, and a wildlife sanctuary accessible by trail, Wilder provides a natural backdrop for the teaching team’s curriculum decisions. There is also a large grassed area and extensive wooded areas for exercise, exploration and play.”

According to Marine Area Community School’s January newsletter, Grove Elementary plans to hire seven elementary school teachers and one school administrator.

The teaching position descriptions will be posted on The hiring committee will begin reviewing resumes and setting interview dates this month.

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