Spectrum High School to celebrate opening with U of M jazz band performance

by Jim Boyle


Spectrum High School, a publicly funded charter school in Elk River, will graduate to a permanent facility when school starts on Sept. 19 this month.

But first the school plans to host an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony from 2:30 to 3 p.m.  Sunday, Sept. 18, at the school located at 17796 Industrial Circle.

The event will be complete with a new school song that will be publicly performed for the first time. Members of the University of Minnesota Jazz Band will be there to perform “Let’s Go Spectrum.”

It was written and composed by Dean Sorenson, the associate professor and director of jazz studies at the University of Minnesota.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Sorenson, whose wife, Dawn Sorenson, works in the office at the school. “This is one small thing I can contribute.”

The school opened in modular buildings six years ago.

“It worked, but this is home,” said Rick Peterson, the school activities director and director of facilities.

The new facility is a two-story building in an Elk River industrial park.  The first floor will be complete upon the start of school, but not all of the second floor will be completed until the next school year.

Classrooms at Spectrum High School are being tiled with school colors in preparation for the school year.

In addition to a new facility, Spectrum is also expanding its program to include 125 middle school students this year.

Fourteen new teachers were hired to accommodate the program’s expansion.

The school will max out at 525 students in sixth through 12th grade.

“We’re committed to offering parents the choice of smaller class sizes,” Peterson said. “It has been a distinction of ours and we intend to keep that.”

Spectrum prides itself on being a college preparatory high school that emphasizes technology in its classroom experience and involves students in service learning. It also offers varsity sports, band, choir and fine arts.

Spectrum has quickly assimilated into the community, with service learning projects that put students out in the community working for its betterment.

“We want students to understand the importance of community,” Peterson said. “We’re excited to become even more a part of the community.”