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Jewish school in Bricelyn set to open once more

By Staff | Nov 21, 2010

After being in the works for some time, a school for at-risk teen-age girls is set to open its doors in Bricelyn soon.

United South Central School Board members got an update on the Minnesota Girls Academy at its Tuesday meeting.

“We’re zoning in on the date. It sounds like it could be Dec. 20,” Superintendent Jerry Jensen told the board. “The maximum number of students they can have is six.”

In April 2009, Kimberly Testa was hired as the school’s director and the licensing process with the state’s education and human services departments began in August.

Testa says the school’s plan for educational programming was approved last month.

“We’re thankful for the response we’ve gotten from the community and the support they have given us,” Testa says.

Minnesota Girls Academy will provide its students with online courses through Minnesota Online High School.

Classes will be held in offices at City Hall and the students will stay at a house that has been purchased.

Although academy officials bought the old Bricelyn school from the USC District, don’t expect the building to be put to use anytime soon.

Funding and donations must be obtained to remodel the facility to meet code standards and that could take one to two years.

The academy is for females ages 13 to 17 and who have not been adjudicated or have exhibited violent behavior. Eight full-time staff have been hired, which includes a therapist and nurse.

Testa says most of the students applying for admittance have been from the Midwest and East Coast.

“We have had applications from California, Illinois, New York and Florida. Most of our students likely will be Jewish, but it is open to all denominations. As long as they meet our other requirements,” she says.

In other business, Jensen was excited about an emergency announcement notification system the district installed and tested on Tuesday.

By telephone, school officials will be able to notify parents if school is being dismissed early, canceled or any other situations in which parents should be contacted.

“There were a couple of glitches. Once we get the kinks worked out it will be great,” Jensen says.

To read more of this story, see this week’s Faribault County Register.