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Four Proven Tactics Fuel COVID Recovery at Hope Academy

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Good things take time.”  

At Hope Academy, we’ve seen this play out in thousands of lives and families over 23 years.

On average, our students spend six hours a day, five days a week, for 175 days with their teachers. Many attend Hope Academy for 10+ years! Throughout this time, children are deeply impacted by caring mentors, high expectations, and classical instruction with Christ at the center. We also experience the joy of seeing students overcome profound challenges, find hope in God, and become all He made them to be.  

Though Minneapolis families have long been impacted by devastating graduation gaps, poverty, and violence, Hope Academy students are proving that a different story is possible for youth in the city. Our seniors are graduating at remarkable rates (97% across all classes), completing higher education (together with millions of dollars in scholarships), and investing in meaningful careers, their families, and our community.

We thank God for these successes, while also recognizing that students today will need more time and support to recover from the effects of the COVID learning years. "Unfinished learning continues to weigh on students across all grades and subjects,” explained Denise Forte, President and CEO of The Education Trust, “and this is especially true for Black and Latino students, English learners, and students from low-income backgrounds who experienced the brunt of pandemic-related upheaval and uncertainties.” According to a Harvard research study published in May 2023, large disruptions to learning, such as a severe flu season, continued to impact student outcomes for up to 4-5 years.  

In Minneapolis, families also faced high amounts of trauma due to the tragic events and unrest in 2020, longer periods of isolation during community shutdowns, and a surge in violent crime throughout our city. It’s likely that the disruptions of the past few years will have a profound and prolonged impact. 

Following national trends, Hope Academy is continuing to see higher academic and emotional needs among our students. However, we’re also seeing students make great strides with the help of four proven tactics:

  • Discipleship: Through a classical, Christ-centered approach to education, we seek to help children know that God loves them beyond their wildest imaginations, and that He has a good plan for their lives. Hope Academy students learn to recognize His goodness, truth, and beauty in all subjects, and to respect one another because of our God-given worth. Teachers and staff read Scripture and pray with their students daily, give extra time to connect with students outside of class, coach athletic teams, and lead student mentor groups and mission trips.  

Every time our Upper School students (6-12th) get a report card, they rate themselves on the HOPE values of Honor for God & others, Optimism for the future, Perseverance through adversity, and Excellence in all things. Each ranking is discussed with parents, students, and teachers to help encourage reflection and growth throughout the year. 

These connections are so important for building trust and authentic relationships, understanding needs, and pointing each child to the love and character of Jesus. Again and again, we hear students (and parents) say: “The staff at Hope are like family,” and, “I know I am loved and cared about at this school.”  In surveys this spring, 89% of our Upper School students said their faith is important to them, and 96% of seniors said, “Hope Academy has helped me grow in my love and service to others.”  

  • Parent Involvement: Believing that parents are the most influential teachers in their children’s lives, we go to great lengths to equip, support, and engage more than 300 families at Hope Academy. Each fall over the Minnesota Education Association break, teachers and staff visit each student at home to build deep and authentic relationships with our families. Parents are required to come to school with their children on a Saturday every year to experience time in the classroom and participate in a workshop on important parenting topics. Families are required to attend two parent-teacher conferences, to volunteer at the school, and to invest financially in their child’s education through paying monthly tuition based on ability. Families also build community through parenting groups, Bible studies, and events at Hope Academy throughout the year.

  • High Expectations: We believe that every child is made in God’s image and capable of achieving great things. This enables us to fight what’s been called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”  In small classes, Hope Academy students are loved, supported, and held to high standards. Children start writing five-paragraph essays in 2nd grade, learn algebraic concepts beginning in 3rd grade, study Latin in 4th through 8th grade, and read the Great Books—The Odyssey, The Iliad, and many others. Students learn to discuss, debate, and think critically in Socratic Seminars, Writing & Rhetoric, Ethics, and Humane Letters classes. All of our seniors write and defend a ten-page thesis on a topic of their choice.   

Teachers and staff go above and beyond to help each child achieve his or her best, and we see Hope Academy students rise to meet these high standards.  

  • Summer Support and Enrichment: Nationwide, low-income youth typically score proficient at much lower rates than their affluent peers. Statistically speaking, these students also suffer greater learning loss during summer—which contributes to a widening achievement gap from year to year.  

Hope Academy’s annual summer support and enrichment program is playing a key role in helping hundreds of youth combat the ‘summer slide’ and continue their growth. From June to July each year, hundreds of K-8 students experience focused time in daily math and reading instruction, while also enjoying fun, enriching opportunities to grow in faith, character, and academics. With support from this program in 2022, Hope Academy students retained more learnings from the previous school year and even eliminated summer learning loss from spring to fall. This summer, one of our 2nd grade teachers shared: 

“I had several students who seemed to ‘turn a corner’ in some academic areas during summer school”—students who, without this support, are likely to lose critical progress. “I'm so thankful for the extra time with the students after ‘regular school’ got out.”   

Hope Academy is so thankful for the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Junior Achievement, createMPLS, Inverted Arts, and all of our partners and volunteers who help to make this unique program possible for the students at Hope Academy every summer.  

Despite profound challenges and setbacks during the pandemic years, Hope Academy students are continuing to find life-changing hope in Christ, grow in faith and resilience, and pursue excellence, year after year.

All of this is possible because of financial partners who together provide 90% of the cost to educate our students—nearly 600 K-12. Learn how you can partner with Hope Academy to help more children access a remarkable, Christ-centered education in Minneapolis.

If you are looking for a high-quality K-12 education in Minneapolis, at a price your family can afford, the Hope Academy Admissions Team would love to connect with you!  

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