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 honor all languages of our students through culturally relevant teaching and language learning. As the school continued to grow, a need arose for a new space to expand program offerings and support student learning. For many years, Partnership Academy's leadership team worked to find a space that would work for our community. Many barriers arose and it was not an easy path.
Fast forward many years to 2018, when Partnership Academy's dream to build a new school started to come to reality. The Executive Leadership Team worked tirelessly with city officials and developers to secure land at 6500 Nicollet Avenue. Construction began in 2019. The school adopted the tagline "Luchando por Nuestro Sueno" which means "pressing on toward our dream" for the 2018-2019 building year. Along the way, there were many challenges, but the Executive Leadership Team and staff worked tirelessly to overcome obstacles and press on to our dream! Students, staff and families were overjoyed to start the 2019-2020 school year on September 3rd, 2019 at our new home at 6500 Nicollet Avenue in Richfield.
Partnership Academy is now in its seventeenth year of operation and continues to thrive and grow through a strong model for student success. Approximately 430 students and 80 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.