Mighty River School

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Autumn Bach


Mighty River Charter School flowing strong in second year

By Ted Pennekamp


The Mighty River Charter School, an online school in its second school year in the Prairie du Chien School District, has become quite successful. 

“We started with a handful of students looking for alternatives and we grew into our own opportunity,” said Mighty River Administrator Jennifer Gallagher, in noting that Mighty River has been great for students as well as the school district because it provides an alternative for students who don’t wish to be in a traditional “brick and mortar” setting while also allowing the district to gain students through open enrollment, which in turn means more state aid money for the district.

“It’s been good all the way around,” said Gallagher, who is also Prairie du Chien High School’s assistant principal and counselor. “We’re very excited about it.” Gallagher said that Mighty River now has 26 full-time students. The enrollment increases to 41 when factoring in the part-time students.

Gallagher noted that the grading system is a little different in grades kindergarten through eighth grade in the Mighty River School because students have to reach a certain level of proficiency before they can move on to the next topic. The high school students in Mighty River follow a traditional grading system.

There are multiple vendors for the courses such as the University of Nebraska, Brigham Young University and a company called K12. Gallagher noted that 125 courses are offered for high school students. Some of the more fun ones may include sports and entertainment marketing, veterinary science, digital photography, and computer programming. Six foreign language courses are offered including various levels of French, German, Latin, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. Of course, numerous math courses, science courses such as biology and chemistry, English, creative writing, art courses, geography, astronomy, numerous history courses, and many others are offered as well. 

Students at Mighty River work from their homes and their coursework can be tailored to their interests a bit more than in a traditional school setting. 

Gallagher said that Mighty River students are each given a laptop computer to use for their studies. Not all of the students’ work is done online, however, and materials such as text books, microscopes or other school-related materials are sent to each students’ home via United Parcel Service. “There is a hands-on component, and in a way it’s similar to home schooling,” said Gallagher. 

Gallagher noted that charter schools such as Mighty River provide a third option to traditional schools or home schooling. A number of students who are not as comfortable in a traditional school flourish while learning at home, she said. 

Mighty River students undergo all of the mandatory state testing that traditional students do. Advanced placement courses and advanced placement tests, as well as MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) tests are also given. 

“We hope to keep growing and providing opportunities for our area students,” said Gallagher, who noted that this school year is the first in which Mighty River has accepted students from other school districts.

One of Mighty River’s success stories is Autumn Bach who is student this school year. “Autumn has had great success in the virtual school, often scoring perfect scores in content area and is currently taking a high school level Algebra I course,” noted Gallagher. 

Mighty River is for students and parents who desire an online, independent and personalized education with personalized support. Students can be enrolled full-time with all their studies occurring outside of the traditional brick and mortar school, or students and their families can elect a hybrid environment with some studies done online with some enrichment in the traditional setting, or Mighty River could simply be utilized as an enhancement to provide curriculum options to full-time, on campus students to meet their individual educational needs. 

Parents and students interested in finding out more about Mighty River Charter School can contact Gallagher at (608) 326-3703 or Mighty River Assistant Administrator Nicole Reger at (608) 326-3712.

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