The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2015, May 2-3

Avalon School

Avalon School is a free, public charter school that serves students in grades 6-12. Avalon prides itself on small class sizes, self-directed learning through projects, a student body that is actively involved in its community, and a safe and nurturing learning environment for all.

At Avalon, middle school and high school are viewed not just as a time for preparing for college or a vocation, but as a vital and important component in each student’s life. Students must be meaningfully engaged in every class, project, and endeavor in a quality way. Finally, Avalon School is run by its teachers, empowering those who work directly with students to lead.

What new functionality we are looking for

We would love a website that is as dynamic as we are: it should reflect the energy, creativity, and passion of the school. Additionally, we need a site that can serve a diverse audience (including current families, current students, prospective families, and other teachers/administrators who would like to learn about our unique and powerful model).

For our prospective families, we’d love a site that highlights our school. Families should be able to learn about project-based learning, see how student interest drives everything we do, and understand our commitment to community. We would love to have the functionality that would allow prospective families to schedule tours, set up shadow experiences, and even submit enrollment paperwork digitally. Because Avalon operates through a teacher-led model, automating these tasks allows staff to spend more time doing what they love: working directly with students.

For our current families, we’d love a site that effectively communicates all that is happening around the school. It should clearly display school calendars; provide important updates like newsletters, student opportunities, and upcoming events; and showcase outstanding student achievement. Since these are constantly changing, we’d love a site that is easily updated and maintained.

For our current students, we’d love a site that serves as a resource hub as they progress toward graduation. This would include resources for student research, college and career planning, school counseling services, and project management applications.

Finally, as leaders in the field of teacher-powered schools, our website should serve as an educational hub for other administrators, teachers, and policy makers to learn about this powerful model.

How the new functionality will help

Everything we do at Avalon School is with the students in mind. Above all else, a new website will serve them.

A new website will help automate many tasks that currently – and unnecessarily – require valuable staff time: enrollment paperwork, prospective family inquiries, and general school-wide communication. Because teachers run Avalon School, any time saved is simply more time teachers can spend working directly with students.

Additionally, we strongly believe that our program provides a high quality education for all students, and a new website will help us continue to reach underserved students. While our most valued recognition comes from the students and families that attend (or graduating from) our school, we are consistently flattered by the recognition we’ve received from voices outside our community. In recent years, we’ve been listed among Minnesota’s top high schools by US News & World Report, have received consecutive National Promising Practice Awards for our commitment to character education, and have recently been featured in several publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and a recently published book titled Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the Twenty-First Century. A website that better reflects all that we do will only help further our mission to provide a high-quality education for all.

Finally, we believe that our model – a school run by its teachers – is an important voice in the world of public education and can serve as a vital solution to many of the issues facing public education. As an established school with invaluable experience with teacher-led models (our teacher retention is over 95%), a new website can help us share our expertise with the profession and empower other teachers as they work to transform their own practices.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

49 Messages from Supporters

2015-04-01 15:47:04 UTC
Lynette Lamb

Avalon School has made all the difference to our daughter Julia, a ninth grader. She spent the previous five years at Groves Academy, a private school for kids with learning disabilities, and came to Avalon knowing no one and nervous about attending a new school.

Within days she had made great friends and was happily planning multiple projects to aid her learning. A month later, to our astonishment, she had joined the Academic Decathlon team and was doing her homework independently for the first time.

Avalon encourages kids to learn at their own pace and through projects that interest them and allow them to use multiple forms of intelligence.

The teachers are warm, smart, and supportive and the kids are diverse, fun, and accepting of differences.

Their website should reflect what a wonderful place Avalon is, and should help prospective students/families learn about it and current students/families navigate their time there. I can think of no place more deserving of a website reboot than Avalon School.

2015-04-01 19:29:35 UTC
John Ordoyne

I graduated from Avalon in 2011. If not for the staff and students, I may not have graduated at all.

It's hard to put into words just how powerful the Avalon community is. I recieved personal, individualized support there that is rarely found anywhere else. Teachers respect the students, giving them freedom and autonomy which helps them grow as learners, and mature as people.

The students are incredibly diverse and welcoming. No one is too different to fit in at Avalon.

Since Avalon runs on an alternative model of curriculum, their website serves many important functions: For many, it's their first introduction to the school, and it leaves an important impression on their decision to attend the school. It has to represent the school, and help people understand how the school's structure works. For staff, students, and family, the website is the central information hub: housing necessary documents, forms, and files; the school's main calendar; and the showcase for student's works.

At least, it *could* be all of those things--when I attended, we couldn't always rely on our website to be updated with correct information, so we usually asked a teacher or student for what we needed. Please, give Avalon the website it deserves!

2015-04-02 00:14:15 UTC
A fun site

Avalon is a super=fun place to be for students, and the staff are inspiring. Aside from being a parent of an alum (now a college junior), I have also been a web designer and I think it would be a fun site to work on for the volunteers in the Overnight Website Challenge.

2015-04-02 15:19:28 UTC
Anna Morse

I am a Senior at Avalon and my experience there has been even better than I had hoped. I transferred from South as a junior because the traditional public schooling just wasn't working for me. I needed to be able to take my education into my own hands, and Avalon proved to be the perfect place to do that! The students are kind and accepting and the staff will do everything they can to help you reach your goals. I never would have discovered all the amazing opportunities I was missing out on in traditional public schooling if I hadn't transferred. My parents have actually taken to calling my school "The Happy Place" because of the noticeable behavioral changes after I started attending Avalon.

2015-04-02 15:25:46 UTC

Avalon is a gem of a school. There is no other like it. The staff are skilled and caring! Avalon provides a whole person education, preparing students for real world experiences. Students and staff together have created a community of caring, creative, responsible, active, inclusive citizens. We are so grateful for our Avalon experience!

2015-04-02 14:52:43 UTC
A great learning school !

Our son has been at Avalon for 2years and has enjoyed it as his best school experience so far. Avalon gives him freedom to be himself and focus his learning on the areas that interest him. Avalon is based on values like respect, exploration, and creativity instead of rules that everyone must conform to. Teachers ask students questions instead of telling them what to do. I appreciate that my son's advisor knows him as an individual and honestly encourages him toward accomplishment for himself.

Avalon gives so much to each student and thus in turn to every family involved in this community. I would love to see this website project benefit this school and teachers as the daily pour into others.

2015-04-02 15:18:55 UTC
Jason Kallsen

My son graduated from Avalon last year. It was far and away the best place for a hyper creative soul such as him. Avalon is unlike other schools. There is a true community feeling of support. The students all come from diverse backgrounds and interests that would be squashed in a 'normal' school setting. The tech kids work alongside the theatre kids who are best friends with the science kids who in turn kick back with the art kids.

On top of that, their use of the 'senior project' idea where each senior spends a majority of their final year working on one project that is then presented to the school is simply revolutionary.

I encourage you to work with Avalon. They are on in a million.

PS: Tell Kai and Bob I say hi.

2015-04-02 15:25:48 UTC
Kathryn Forss

Both of my sons attend Avalon -- this is their second year. It's been a wonderful experience for them -- they've learned so much academically, and, even more importantly, they're learning to think and do for themselves -- to be self-directed learners. To me, tapping into that curiosity and that drive is the best part of all the wonderful things Avalon does. I'm so grateful to the students and staff who comprise this wonderful school.

2015-04-02 15:32:54 UTC
Rebecca Kuykendall

As the parent of a senior at Avalon, I can tell you that this school has been a lifesaver for our family. The support we have received from the staff these past four years has allowed our daughter to become a strong, independent learner...something that was a struggle in the past. Avalon allows students to be who they are in order to become who they wish to be. This freedom allows them to focus on learning, and learning in a way that is comfortable to them. I would love for others who are struggling with the constraints of the traditional school model to find out how great Avalon School truly is. Here's hoping for a spiffy new website to get the message out...Avalon School is awesome!!

2015-04-02 15:42:06 UTC

Avalon is an amazing school but there website is in serious need of a redesign!

Because the school is project based the site is used no only by prospective parents or staff, there are quite a few resources on the site that the students use regularly. Unfortunately the current site is a maze. I'm pretty sure I have found three different versions of the same calendar for this school year, but I would have no idea how to find any of them again.

That said, Avalon totally deserves this website challenge. Every year a good chunk of the graduating class includes students that never would have graduated without having attended Avalon. This school acknowledges that everyone learns differently and provides the resources to make the best of their middle school and high school years.

2015-04-02 15:49:28 UTC
Michelle VanKeulen

Our daughter joined the Avalon community this year as a 7th grader and is absolutely She is engaged in her own learning, managing her time and tracking her own progress in her classes. And best of all, she is positively talking at home about what she is learning at school. All we wanted for her was to like learning, we knew the grades would improve once she was in an environment that fit her needs and style.

During a recent cold spell in Minnesota when the temp/wind chill was very cold, we gave our daughter the option to stay home (we live 4 blocks away and we couldn't drive her that morning). She chose to walk because she wanted to continue to work on her project and didn't want to fall behind. This was definitely a "who are you and what have you done to our daughter" moment.

We knew she had it in her and just needed the right school and teaching staff to bring it out! We are so grateful!

Best of luck to Avalon on the website contest - they deserve to win!

2015-04-02 15:52:51 UTC
Alison Yocom

In January, my son transferred to Avalon from a typical, overcrowded public school. George is in 6th grade and happens to be transgender. He wanted a community where he would be accepted for who he is, and that is exactly what Avalon has been for him. We have known several other trans youth who have attended Avalon, so we were not surprised that George would fit in. What was a true revelation for us was how different George’s attitude towards school would be. Previously, George would always tell us how much he hated going to school. Now, he looks forward to it, and to my amazement, he says that school is “awesome.” Part of this is that sense of belonging, but a larger piece is that he feels empowered in his learning. He comes home and tells me about the current project he’s working on, chosen by him because of an interest in the subject.

Regarding Avalon’s website, it would be fantastic to have a functional space for this small community to interact. Having a portal for parents and students to collaborate with teachers would take the Avalon experience to the next level. And our teachers work hard. Giving them some automation to free up their time would benefit them and the school.

Thanks for considering Avalon. I’m putting a personal plug in to have a space for the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) on the site. I know how hard folks work during the Overnight Website Challenge. You are appreciated!

2015-04-02 16:51:09 UTC
Dr. Daniel Holland

The Avalon School and the Nerdery are visionary groups that share a great deal in common, so it makes sense that the two should be joined in a collaborative effort to create a great website. We are in an era where creative thought and creative enterprise require learning and work environments that make space for unique individuals. The greatest productivity is no longer achieved by adhering to one-size-fits-all standards. Design, whether of the learning environment or the workplace, must allow for creativity and flexibility if the highest goals for each person are to be achieved. The Avalon School is one of the very few schools in the nation where this is recognized: Project-based Learning allows each student to pursue a passion for learning by using personally-designed and interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship. This creative approach to learning occurs within a democratic, horizontal organizational environment where teachers collaboratively run the school. Fittingly, the Nerdery is also one of the most innovative and creative workplaces in the country, where often eccentrically brilliant individuals are encouraged to use their own unique talents, style, and passion in order to create what is needed. A better pairing of two organizations could not be made: These are where today's and tomorrow's visionaries are found. Bring them together!

2015-04-02 17:35:44 UTC
Paul Jongeward

This state needs schools like Avalon! My sixth grade son needed a different approach to schooling, and we found it at Avalon. He's thriving in the independent study model, which Avalon has pioneered in MN. As a publicly funded charter school, it's incredibly difficult to meet the demands, while holding true to their original vision. A new website will be a tremendous boost for the administrators, the students, and our entire education system in Minnesota. Whether you have kids in this school or not, Avalon is a huge benefit to our community, and education is important to all of us. Please help our school!

2015-04-03 03:08:18 UTC
Sonja M

Avalon is a truly revolutionary environment. After multiple "traditional" schools and some homeschooling, my son is now in his second year at Avalon and is thriving! I had almost given up on getting my bright kid to actually like learning and school before we found Avalon.

I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the creative talents offered by the Nerdery. The teachers give so much to their students -- they could use a little help. And the world deserves to know what a fabulous place Avalon is.

2015-04-03 03:16:42 UTC
Anne Taylor

I echo much of what has been written above/before me. I will add that from day one in seventh grade (a vulnerable, scary transition) my son felt safe at Avalon, and still does almost 3 years later. The staff focus so well and so much on the students (our children) that a new website should serve all the communications functions mentioned above AND be easy to maintain for the staff who must divide their attention between the website and the students. Avalon needs an elegant website, with style, substance and function. The current one is easy enough to navigate, but it's slow to download and there are only a few areas of it that are/can be maintained with current information.

Given how innovative Avalon is in their methods, the Nerdery's challenge would be to create an elegant website that covers all the communication functions (attract prospects, keep current students AND parents AND teachers on the same page AND is easy to maintain.

I would be happy to volunteer to help The Nerdery's support of Avalon's website re-do!

2015-04-06 20:44:14 UTC
Kevin Ward

I have worked at Avalon since 2002, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community. Part of what makes Avalon outstanding is its welcoming spirit. We could benefit from a new website that would tell our story simply and clearly to people looking for something different.

We are so lucky to have the website we have -- donated by a web designer many years ago -- and we are looking for a new donation now to update our site and spread our message.

2015-04-06 19:42:24 UTC
Gretchen Sage-Martinson

I have worked at Avalon since the day we started (when I don't even think we had a website!). I love this community and the unique school environment we provide for students. I wish our website was more functional- it is the major way people learn about us, and I often have to help people navigate around it as it is a 'maze' as someone earlier wrote.

As a public charter school that runs as a teacher cooperative, we pride ourselves in funneling the vast majority of our funding right to the classroom. This doesn't leave us enough time or money to get our website up to the level we need to be to remain competitive in this field. We could really use the help of the Nerdery. I recently heard a profile of the Nerdery on the radio and it struck me that our two organizations are really quite alike. I think it would be a great collaboration!

2015-04-06 22:09:57 UTC
Claire Buchwald

Our three children have been at nine schools. Avalon is one of the very best. A great joy for me as a parent who drives a carpool of three ninth-graders, all new to Avalon this year, has been to see their eagerness to arrive at school early each day. An even greater surprise is to see the relaxed and happy students who exit Avalon at the end of the day, not with the look of released prisoners I see at many other middle and high schools, but with a look of satisfied community members engaged in conversations they will resume the next day.

Avalon is a place where students can find challenge without pressure, where they are given both choice and guidance.Students here are not siloed, funneled, or molded; they are not acted-upon, processed widgets. Instead, students are given the opportunity to become the prime actors and decision-makers in their own lives, with skilled advising, teaching, and support throughout that process.

Avalon does not spend money on promotion, sports teams, or anything flashy. Any money there is goes directly to benefitting students. Those benefits are academic, and also social. For any students who need it, they also take the form of food, clothes, and school supplies. A revamped website would enhance this richly deserving community of people learning, doing, and becoming. Thank you for considering helping Avalon by providing that update.

2015-04-07 16:30:00 UTC
Nikki Havens

I am the mother of a 9th grade student at Avalon School, which is a small Charter School in St. Paul, MN. My son has a medical illness and struggles with a learning disability. He began 9th grade at Avalon High School and due to the design of the curriculum has dramatically reduced his need for adult intervention in his day to day learning. Avalon has been a life line for him, as it has for so many students.
Avalon runs on a shoe string budget, because they focus on having small classrooms and many teachers. They believe in putting more teachers in classrooms, rather than in offices, so they don’t have a principal, secretary or any administrative staff. The teachers, students and parents that step up to the plate to keep the school running and the doors open.
Avalon depends upon community partners and events like this to keep the school running, they don’t have a huge IT department, they have Chris, one of the biology teachers. So this is much of a plea for Avalon as it is for Chris to get some much needed help.

2015-04-07 18:26:48 UTC
Carrie Bakken

I am fortunate that the majority of my teaching career has been at Avalon where teachers and staff collaboratively run the school. Although this is an important model, one of the most rewarding pieces of teaching at Avalon is personalizing learning for our students.

Many educators acknowledge students should graduate with 21st-century skills like perseverance, self-direction, planning, self-discipline, adaptability, and initiative. However, in many schools, students are not empowered to practice these skills. This is not the case at Avalon! With support from their teachers, students determine their curriculum and decide how they will meet their graduation standards through seminars or independent projects. With an improved website, students and staff will have a better format to showcase amazing student work!

2015-04-08 13:08:14 UTC
Andrea W.

As a teacher at Avalon School, it is important to me that we operate as a teacher-led coop. We are all personally invested in the nurturing and the success of our school community and possess the agency to help make it happen. The Nerdery seems to share those same values with their "co-president" philosophy. Very cool! Viable and effective means of communication is an essential part of that nurturing and success, and a re-booted website would be an awesome way to better our communication with parents, students, and people interested in knowing more about Avalon School and Project-Based Learning.

From what I know about the folks at Nerdery, I know that a website designed by them would be both customized and fresh, and user-friendly and smart. We love collaborating with folks in the community, and the website would be a great way to do that and to re-engage our students and families with our website.

Thanks, and we hope we get to work with you!

2015-04-09 19:23:03 UTC

Both my daughters attend Avalon and love it. Even with some pretty high social anxiety, my oldest daughter has found great friends and mentors there.

2015-04-09 20:51:38 UTC
Rev. Russell Rathbun

Everyone wants to do what is right for their kids, to balance what they want with what you think they need. Finding the right school is a huge dilemma. We kept our son Joe at a school that was not a right fit for him for way too long. When we finally smartened up and listened to him we visited Avalon and immediately we all know it was a fit--not just for Joe but for the whole family. Avalon challenges and values Joe. His teacher "get" him. The things that he got him in trouble at his last school are celebrated at Avalon. His is an amazing, social, creative, super smart and curious kid--and Avalon is full of staff and students just like him.
It is time we get an amazing, social, creative, super smart and curiosity inspiring web site to match!

2015-04-09 21:20:38 UTC

While Avalon is well-known as a fantastic place for kids whose needs were not met by traditional schools, it is also a great place of learning and community for kids without those needs who are just looking for a great learning experience. Avalon celebrates each student's individual talents and works with them to build on those gifts. The students are encouraged to be self-directed and to challenge themselves, no matter their skill level. This prepares them well for college, for work, and for life. The kids in this school apprecieate each other and friends are made across the entire social, economic, and scholastic spectrum. Avalon's website should reflect the energy and commitment of its students, teachers, and parents.

2015-04-10 01:55:16 UTC
Bill Jaap

I love Avalon because they get my Kid. There is a great support system.
They care and it shows. Please get them a new website or I'll hold my breath.

2015-04-10 14:34:01 UTC
Sara Cadiz

Avalon is an amazing school. My son is allowed the freedom to learn in his own style of learning. The teachers truly care about the kids. I would love an updated website to let everyone else in on this wonderful place.

2015-04-10 14:46:03 UTC
Robyn L.

After homeschooling for 16 years, Avalon was absolutely the right choice for our daughter. It has proven over and over again that it is the right environment for our self-directed and somewhat driven student. At Avalon, she is free to develop and direct her own education without missing out on important standards required by our education system. Avalon has struck a good balance between self-study and institutional requirements and that, I think, better prepares students for work and or higher education.

Students are supported, recognized, challenged and honored at Avalon. More importantly, they are taught the importance of work-life balance. Achievement is not arbitrarily measured, but rather, based on the whole person, including abilities, goals and passions.

Finally, I am very impressed with faculty and staff commitment to the student body. Funding, gifts and other donations are not squandered, but directly improve services to students.

This school is one of the hidden gems of the Twin Cities. It deserves attention from local business and community organizations. This is a groundbreaking school that changes peoples lives.

2015-04-10 11:31:25 UTC
Michelle Porath

As the parent of a current 10th grade Avalon student, I am amazed at how she has blossomed at this school. It has truly changed her life - she went from being a shy and bullied girl to a strong, independent leader. Avalon meets students where they are and let's them express who they want to be in a safe, nurturing environment. As you indicate "Behind Innovation, There's a Nerd"...guess what? They're coming from Avalon!! Please help this worthy school that is truly transforming lives and depends on donations to keep moving forward in an innovative and creative way.

2015-04-10 12:13:45 UTC
Galina R

I don't like Avalon. I love Avalon! My daughter has made such significant strides in her outlook on school itself, but also on achievements. She's so happy with her teachers/advisers. I can honestly say that I couldn't have chosen a better school to send her to.

As any school knows, they already have to stretch their dollar as much as possible. The donations they receive always go to better the students and community. A website overhaul would make communication with the outside world much friendlier and helpful to the students and parents.

2015-04-10 19:04:44 UTC
Nora Whalen

I have spent almost 14 wonderful years teaching at Avalon School. It is a community like none other and it warms my heart to read some of these testimonies from current and formers families.

Our community, both teachers and students, welcomes each person who walks in the door and works as hard as we can to meet educational, social and emotional needs of learners. I would love to see a website that would reflect a piece of this and help us develop our community in innovative ways. As a teacher who has had to use our current website to post notices, attract perspective families, and provide details on our programs, our current website can't meet our needs and makes me a little more nutty in the process. Collaborating with community experts and organizations is what we do well and I can't imagine a better collaboration than with The Nerdery. This is an exciting opportunity! Thank you for the chance!

2015-04-10 19:21:49 UTC

I attended Avalon School from 2006 until I graduated in 2009. The teachers, administrators and students put so much into this school and create an environment where everyone feels safe to learn in a way that works for each student, not just academically but emotionally as well. They truly prepare students for college and life beyond school. They are absolutely deserving of this opportunity!

2015-04-10 19:44:18 UTC

My son has struggled in school his whole life. Both academically and socially. Since staring school at avalon not only has he had improvements in grades, but actually gets excited about a lot of the assignments. Their program allows students to learn in the ways that suit their individual needs.
I think avalon deserves the website overhaul because they are making differences in the lives of children who struggle and setting an example of what school should be like. In addition to that, the current website is a little difficult to navigate and is no where near as amazing as they are.

2015-04-10 20:16:26 UTC
Avalom Mom

Avalon has allowed my daughter to learn in a environment that is kinder, with less stress or pressure and fewer classroom distractions. She has learned to be responsible for her own success. At Avalon, one size does not fit all and that's the way we like it!

2015-04-10 19:16:51 UTC
Elana S.

I am neither an Avalon parent or teacher, but I have been familiar with the school through the community and its reputation. I love that it is teacher-run, which also speaks to their need for help with their website. The devoted teachers running the school are busy educating students and shouldn't have to fumble and be frustrated with an outdated site. Their current homepage is just a spinning circle where a slideshow should be! Give them this opportunity!

2015-04-10 20:05:20 UTC
Lauren Leith

Avalon is a great school to work at. Students are able to write novels, write and produce plays,, dig deep into topics and build robots. Students learn to organize their time and take an active role in the community.

2015-04-10 20:05:20 UTC
Lauren Leith

Avalon is a great school to work at. Students are able to write novels, write and produce plays,, dig deep into topics and build robots. Students learn to organize their time and take an active role in the community.

2015-04-10 20:36:46 UTC
Michelle schutt

Project based learning is the most respectful way to teach young people. Avalon does it well. The students have a chance to be taken seriously, treated respectfully, learn responsibility and grow socially in a small population environment. It has been a wonderful place for my granddaughter to do high school. Their web site could better showcase the wonderful place that Avalon is with a little bit of help.

2015-04-10 20:49:12 UTC
Kristen LaFavor

My son is a senior this year at Avalon, and I'm going through serious grief, knowing that our family's time with Avalon and ALL THE AMAZING and dedicated teachers and staff there is close to ending.

My son has ADD, and Avalon has been a miracle school for him. His grades are now at a B average, and he's found direction, purpose, and acceptance at Avalon.

Love the teacher run concept, and it's working. The vibe is happy.

The website is currently not.

Oh ye Nerds: Please give this school (recently written up in the Washington Post as a charter that is doing great stuff) a refresh.

2015-04-10 21:57:39 UTC
Janet Berryhill

My son started at Avalon School this fall in 6th grade. He was very bored in elementary school, and had unusual interests for a 10 year old (chemistry) which he wouldn't be allowed to study until 11th grade at a regular school. The independent project curriculum has worked so well for him -- he can pick something that he would like to study, and be inspired by the other students' topics too. And OMG I think of how well prepared he will be to do presentations when he grows up. He has done at least 6 of them so far, and the year is not over yet. This is a lot of good practice for an introvert. He has met like-minded kids, and made good friends. He never really liked fiction before, only comics, but now that he has friends who read good books, he wants to too. It is a wonderful place for him. I feel like the social studies and English classes are way beyond the regular school that my daughter attends -- there is much more challenging and thought provoking material that they study to broaden their horizons. I have been so impressed with his mentor's work with him. I cannot think of a more caring place for a kid like him. The individual attention is dynamite! This fabulous place deserves a fabulous website.

2015-04-11 13:45:23 UTC
Jean Anderson

Avalon school is as close to a perfect school as I have found in the twin cities. I am a great believer in learning being driven from a student's innate curiosity and personal passions. At Avalon students are encouraged to map their own journey through the current curriculum in ways in which suit them and empower them in the process.

Teachers are supportive and act as mentors to the student's rather than authority figures. This principal of equality runs throughout the school and creates a very different atmosphere to that in traditional top-down, authoritarian models. Here, students are valued for their individuality and encouraged to find their identities. I believe that it is this emphasis on equality and mutual respect which helps to effectively combat bullying, which is so prevalent in more traditional types of school. All students and all families are accepted and welcomed at Avalon.

My daughter has been supported to fully embrace her schooling and make this journey her own. She has thrived academically and emotionally at Avalon and for this I am most grateful. I am humbled by their excellence.

I would appreciate any support which you may want to offer this school to effectively communicate it's excellence to the greater community.

2015-04-11 20:31:45 UTC

Over the last 7 years Avalon has been amazing. My daughter graduated from Avalon. This school changed her high school life. She was welcomed, supported, encouraged and nurtured both academically and personally. She was accepted for who she was and for what she could be. As her father, it warmed my heart. I too grew to love Avalon. I could see what a special place it is. Now I see daily how wonderful Avolon is. I am finishing my second year as an EA. This school rocks! Magic happens here! Join us!

2015-04-11 17:17:55 UTC
Anna Joles

Our family, like many others, had been let down continually by the large public school system in our city. We were so tired of fighting to get our kids what they needed. One of my neighbors had mentioned Avalon and what an amazing and life-changing experience their daughter had there. I was really skeptical about charter schools, because like religions and political systems, they sound great in theory or on paper but reality is another story...
I visited Avalon and was immediately impressed, I had a school crush. Our 3 kids visited, grades 11, 7, and 5 at that time and to my surprise, they all wanted to go.
The support and obvious caring by teachers has been immeasurably helpful. The communication is open and responsive, the atmosphere is inclusive. They have worked so hard for our kids, after we had pretty much lost hope that our kids could get what they need from an educational setting.

I can't say enough great things about the teachers and what they have created at Avalon! An updated website would be fantastic!!

2015-04-12 12:31:31 UTC
walter enloe

I've been associated with Avalon School since its inception in 2000 because it is a dynamic learning community concerned for the welfare of all of its participant stakeholders- students, parents, staff. It is a wonderful "holding environment" nurturing the development of each member, honoring creativity, inquiry, self-initiative and collaboration. A good school is a place where people are excited to come and somewhat reluctant to leave at the end of the day. Avalon is such a place. I recommend it most highly.

2015-04-12 12:37:13 UTC
Thomas Boatman

I am a parent to a new Avalon student this year, and it has been amazing to see the growth and development in my child during these past months. Avalon has built confidence and self-reliance in my student, and I am grateful to the staff and community. More people need to know about this special place. The Nerdery should be proud to be associated with this unique learning community.

2015-04-13 15:55:22 UTC
Amanda O'Brien

I have two students at Avalon and only wish we had found the school sooner! Avalon has changed the way my kids interact with their education. My 11th grader was able to turn a 2.1 GPA into a 3.5 in a years time. My 8th grader has made great friends that support each other in their education and are proud to be smart!I think Avalon deserves this price so much. With a new website Avalon can attract a greater verity of students to enrich the already diverse student population.

2015-04-13 19:45:44 UTC
Rob Ramer

One semester at Avalon turned my seventh grader from a student who saw himself as "not a smart kid" to one who saw himself as a really good student. It challenged his creativity and initiative and gave him the tools to meet those challenges.

At the same time Avalon could use a website that is easy to navigate and acts as a learning portal for the students. I'd also like to see resources that would help students learn computer technology themselves, perhaps a design your own web page for students and staff.

2015-04-13 15:08:30 UTC
Avalon parent

My son has Asperger's and spent sixth grade at a regular public school out in the hall in the fetal position, when he wasn't running away. Then he came to Avalon and the teachers and staff have worked so hard with him! He doesn't fight going to school, he has a group of friends and says there is no other school to go to. I totally agree.

2015-04-14 16:00:42 UTC
Jill S-Z

The 45 testimonials above make it very clear how unique Avalon School is and the tremendous impact it has on students, staff and families (including mine). While improving the marketing and communications functionality is critical, the Nerdery could really advance Avalon's educational processes by implementing the kind of "resource hub" functionality and collaboration tools that Avalon students and staff would really run with. The Nerdery seems to be the kind of place that would support, and advance, Avalon's creative thinking in this area. I assure you that if you choose us, you will achieve your goals for high impact!

Our Mission

Our mission: Avalon School prepares students for college and life in a strong, nurturing community that inspires active learning, engaged citizenship, and hope for the future.