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On May 1, 2020 the families of Natural Science Academy (NSA) were notified that Audubon Center of the Northwoods (ACNW), the Authorizer of the school, had made the decision to not continue the contract for the 2020/2021 school year.

The primary purpose of charter to schools is to improve all student learning and is meant to be the most important factor in the decision to renew a school.

This is not about academics: For our authorizer to renew the school we had to earn a minimum of 50% of points on their academic evaluation. NSA surpassed that and earned 60.7%.

Through some research has been determined that ACNW wishes to reduce its portfolio and we believe as a small school we have been caught up on that political situation.

NSA requested ACNW release the school to find a new authorizer but that request was denied.

The staff, students, and families that are a part of Natural Science Academy are a committed, close-knit family that is focused on the common purpose of fostering academic achievement and the social/emotional well-being of the children in our school.

ACNW was not justified in making this decision based on academics. Making it for any other reason, in light of the trauma our kids have already experienced because of the pandemic, is inhumane and unconscionable.

Like all students right now, the children who attend NSA are going through a once in a lifetime experience, and are leaning on our staff now more than ever. They will not get closure for the end of this year, please do not allow ACNW to take away their ability to come back next year. Our students need us now more than ever, and we need them just as much.


Natural Science Academy is a Nature Immersion Elementary School which serves students in kindergarten through fifth grades. NSA is located in St. Paul Park next to Cottage Grove and Newport, but only minutes from Saint Paul. Natural Science Academy (NSA) students experience a nature immersion curriculum while learning the same comprehensive curriculum as traditional elementary schools in the state of Minnesota. Students learn about the natural world through their indoor and outdoor classroom instruction.

Learning in science begins in early childhood. This is a time when young minds are curious about science and ready to engage in the practices and language of science that form a foundation to be built upon and strengthened throughout a student’s K-12 education.

Young children bring to science views of the natural world and ways of thinking that have a major impact on their learning as they progress from one grade level to the next.

Ignoring these ideas and delaying the development of science language and practices until students formally encounter science in middle school certainly violates what we know about systems: If one part is missing, it affects the other parts of the system.  

NSA is a public tuition free charter school. Transportation is available to NSA for those families located within the South Washington County School District 833 boundary. Please visit to see if you live inside the District 833 boundary.

Natural Science Academy (NSA) elementary school welcomes community involvement and hosts several community events during the year. The school also has an active and welcoming parent group called the Parent Action Committee (PAC).

NSA News

Science from the Start

At an early age, all children have the capacity and propensity to observe, explore, and discover the world around them (NRC 2012). These are basic abilities for science learning that can and should be encouraged and supported among children in the earliest years of their lives.

Natural Science Academy Mission & Vision

NSA Mission:

Academic achievement through study and exploration of the natural world.

NSA Vision:

Through its “Nature Immersion” curriculum, the Natural Science Academy will:  

  • Provide an exemplary elementary science program.

  • Cultivate and grow each student’s connection to the natural world. 

  • Foster creative and critical thinking. 

  • Create and sustain a safe, supportive, nurturing community in which to learn, explore, and grow.

"Humans are natural born scientists. When we're born, we want to know why the stars shine. We want to know why the sun rises."

Michio Kaku

Contact Us

920 Holley Ave. Ste. 3

St. Paul Park, MN 55071

(651) 925-5050

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