Lake Superior Academy

Authorizer

Bay Mills Community College is committed to providing a quality education for urban, minority, and poor children by using innovative oversight methods to ensure students attending our academies are prepared to be career and college ready.

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They began with the realization that incoming college students were unable to graduate from high school ready for the challenges of either entering the work force or pursuing higher education. The educational system was unable to meet the needs of not only Native American students, but non-Native students alike. Bay Mills Community College decided that innovation would be key in meeting its vision; to assure a meaningful high school diploma for historically underrepresented children in Michigan.

Bay Mills Community College has a unique role in the charter schools movement. They are the only minority controlled statewide charter authorizers in the United States, and one of two tribally accredited community colleges in the state of Michigan. They understand the great responsibility that comes with this role. It is with great pride that the Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools Office (BMCSO), the Bay Mills Community College, and the Bay Mills Indian Community have taken on the responsibility to improve and expand the educational opportunities for at-risk children in Michigan. Seventy percent of students that attend academies authorized by Bay Mills are minority students, and most students also qualify for free and reduced lunch. Clearly, they have continued their initial focus of serving the underserved.

Currently, Bay Mills Community College authorizes forty-three (43) academies throughout Michigan providing a quality education for approximately 19,000 students. As a charter school authorizer, they are responsible for issuing charter contracts and providing the necessary oversight to ensure compliance with authorizer, state, and federal requirements. They recognize their academies for innovation in academics, finance, compliance and governance.

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Bay Mills Community College (BMCC) first became interested in the charter school movement when it realized that college students were ill prepared for basic college courses and felt that the system was unable to meet the needs of not only Native students but non-Native students alike.

Since the beginning, BMCC has held a very unique position as the only minority college authorizer in the United States and as the only authorizer not subject to the charter school cap. BMCC has endured many biased obstacles and bureaucratic hurdles.

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Lake Superior Academy is a tuition-free public school serving children in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade.

WE ARE COMMITTED TO THE MONTESSORI EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY.

The Montessori curriculum itself is a proven method of instruction designed for all types of learners, and has been an established model of education for over 100 years. Many parents around the world seek out Montessori education for their children because of its ability to create life-long learners who are confident, self-directed and well-respected. Lake Superior Academy brings together a true community of learners which embraces Maria Montessori’s teachings and her ideals of diversity, peace education and individualized learning. At Lake Superior Academy, we serve the Chippewa County community.

History of Lake Superior Academy

Lake Superior Academy opened its doors in September 2016, but the development of the idea for the school started many years ago.

Roger and Susie Schlehuber

Roger and Susie Schlehuber

In 2004, Roger and Susie Schlehuber founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to provide after-school academic support to students in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The EUP Learning Center started with one small classroom serving five students per week and grew to have three campuses serving more than 90 students per week.

From 2004 to 2015, the EUP Learning Center offered after-school support for students who struggled to meet the academic requirements of their schools. During those eleven years, it was demonstrated and well-documented that more than 80 percent of students who needed the extra support flourished when the instructor used a hands-on, movement-based approach to presenting the material. Students who initially came in the door saying they felt “stupid” because they just couldn’t get it, left with confidence in themselves and the ability to understand and retain new concepts.

Parents repeatedly asked, “Why can’t this type of teaching be used in the regular classroom?”

Roger and Susie knew that Montessori schools do just that – teach the same academic concepts using a completely hands-on, concrete approach to instruction. Students with any learning style can flourish in this environment, and this style of instruction allows students who cannot learn and retain without movement the opportunity to keep up and maintain academic progress with traditional learners.

Montessori schools are traditionally offered in the tuition-based, private sector of education. Roger and Susie wanted to offer Montessori education as a tuition-free alternative for all families in the EUP.

These convictions and events led them to pursue a charter school option and to open Lake Superior Academy.