Augsburg News

News Archives - 2003

Augsburg, Fairview To Sponsor New Public Charter School Focusing on Health Care Careers

Jun. 26, 2003

A new public charter high school focusing on medical issues and health care careers has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Education to open in September, 2004.

The new school, to be known as the Augsburg Academy for Health Care Careers, will be co-sponsored by Augsburg College and Fairview Health Services in collaboration with the Lutheran-based partnership known as Faith in the City.

Startup funding for the school will come from a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the University of Minnesota's Center for School Change at the Humphrey Institute, and from funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The Academy will offer students from diverse communities a window to health career possibilities through the curriculum design and oversight expertise of Augsburg and the workplace setting and learning laboratory of Fairview, including individual mentors for each student. The program will prepare young people for a vocation in health care, for postsecondary studies leading to a health care career, or for advanced studies in any program that has high standards for student academics.

Augsburg President William V. Frame said that the idea for this new school arose from Augsburg's commitment to accessibility for traditionally underserved urban students. "This has called us to even greater attention to the health sciences and, ultimately, to the disciplines of mathematics and the sciences," Frame said. "Those are the fields in which competence is demanded by the Minnesota economy of the 21st Century. And, those are also the fields in which interest among underserved communities is actually falling rather than rising."

The Academy will be one of four new charter schools to be located in St. Paul as part of the St. Paul Star High School Project. Three other approved schools include: The Conservatory for Performing Arts, the North Star Academy and Great River School.
A great deal of technical assistance in opening the new school will come from the Center for School Change. Augsburg will be the sponsor for the school, as well as being involved in design, oversight and engaged in other ways. Fairview will have a primary role in mentoring students and giving them a first- hand view of the vocation of health careers. Students also will have access to a clinical setting through Fairview's facilities.

Faith in the City is a partnership of seven Lutheran-based organizations in the Twin Cities committed to working together and with others of good will to contribute to the well being of our cities and our citizens, according to Jeri Nelsen, Faith in the City's executive director. The partnership has identified a number of possibilities for involvement by the Faith in the City organizations as a model for educating youth and giving them an opportunity to use the community as part of their learning environment. In addition to Augsburg and Fairview, other Faith in the City organizations are Central Lutheran Church, Luther Seminary, Augsburg Fortress, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Kathleen Shea has been hired as project director for the Augsburg Academy charter school and will guide it through the formative stages.