Partnership Academy first opened its doors in 2002, but the school truly began as a collaboration at another school, Edison PPL. Founded as a contract alternative school, the goal of Edison PPL was to provide a world-class education for low income students. It was supported by a partnership between the Minneapolis Public School District, a private management company called Edison Schools, and a non-profit organization, Project for Pride in Living (PPL).
In 1998, Edison PPL began its first year, serving about 200 elementary students with approximately 20 staff members. Over the next few years, the school experienced rapid growth and changes in leadership. By the fourth year, it was decided to close Edison PPL. However, a small and dedicated group of staff members remained committed to the vision of serving low income students, and they began to talk to PPL about starting a charter school. Although Edison opted out of participating in this vision due to a desire to manage larger schools, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools encouraged the group to proceed with the dream by opening a charter school.
With the dedication and hard work of the founders and interested families, Partnership Academy Charter School opened in Richfield. In its first year, 115 students in kindergarten through seventh grade were served by 12 staff members.
Partnership Academy’s positive reputation began to spread and their enrollment increased each year. The demographics of the school also changed significantly. While still serving students from low-income families, there was a shift from a majority of African-American students to a majority of Hispanic/Latino students. As a result, the English Learners program developed to eventually provide a designated language teacher at every grade level.
Partnership Academy is now in its fourteenth year of operation and continues to thrive and grow through a strong model for student success. Approximately 300 students and 50 staff members build a strong community that has been recognized with many accolades, including Celebration School status from the Minnesota Department of Education and the highest value-add score available through the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching. Partnership Academy continues to educate the whole child through partnerships with the families and community, using best teaching practices, having a commitment to data driven instruction, and facilitating extended learning opportunities. Most importantly, the staff work to make a lasting impact in the lives of children to prepare them for a successful future in the broader world.