Maximizing People and Facilities

Minnehaha Academy library as seen from the river

Facilities Master Plan

With Minnehaha Academy’s newly rebuilt and award-winning facility, the Upper School is once again at home nestled near the picturesque banks of the Mississippi River. The learning space is responsive to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and the student-centered design is rooted in best practice research that suggests students best learn and teachers best teach in spaces that are multi-use, welcoming, dynamic, and flexible. Minnehaha Academy’s foundation of Christian faith played an important role in the design and underscores the joy, beauty, and grace of God.

The Upper School design has set the bar for all educational spaces at Minnehaha; therefore, our facilities master plan will showcase the opportunities for indoor and outdoor learning spaces, including the Ice Arena, collaboratively discern facility programming needs, and ensure a comparable high-quality technology infrastructure exists throughout. An essential element of our strategic vision is the return to Minnehaha’s historic Middle-Upper School configuration, which holds many academic, instructional, and collaborative benefits. The move of Middle School to the Upper School site will provide opportunities to re-envision the elementary school learning spaces to better accommodate growth in compressed grades, increase the scope of programming, and expand the size of the student body at all grade levels.

Minnehaha will develop an aspirational Master Facilities Plan for all divisions at both campuses that leverages and re‑imagines how Minnehaha’s buildings and grounds can support all activities of the school and its evolving future needs.

Minnehaha will:

  • Identify the process and metrics to determine the best optimization of the current facilities.

  • Envision desired facility enhancements or developments to meet programming needs with desired timelines and funding sources, including a new Middle School and significant renovations at the Lower School.

  • Develop a robust plan and implementation steps to ensure the highest-quality maintenance of Minnehaha’s facilities.

  • Determine viability of maintaining the Ice Arena space as a hockey venue and analyze other potential programming uses to support the needs of students.

Dynamic Professional Culture

Research suggests that the most important factor in student success is committed and dynamic teachers.  When it comes to student performance on reading and math tests, teachers are estimated to have two to three times the effect of any other school factor, including services, facilities, and leadership. (Rand) Further, we know that good teachers play an important role in the overall well-being of students (Northwestern University). In a recent survey of “traits of a life-changing teacher” on Edutopia, test scores and grades were rarely mentioned, but respondents agreed that great teachers make their students feel safe and loved, believe in their students, model patience, and help their students reach their full potential. Alumni of Minnehaha Academy regularly credit faculty and staff with having significant, even life-changing, impact.

As a result, we aim to hire and retain content experts who are also servant leaders, modeling faith-filled lives to all our students. We desire to provide a positive and affirming environment that encourages spiritual growth, competitive compensation, and robust professional development opportunities. When faculty and staff are performing at their highest potential, the School will be known for future-focused decision making, creative problem-solving, and inspired leadership that results in continuous improvement and innovation.

Minnehaha Academy will optimize employee performance through the creation of a plan to attract, retain and develop excellent employees.

Minnehaha will:

  • Enhance the evaluation system to facilitate consistent professional growth and provide supervisors with appropriate tools and metrics to support their teams.  

  • Formalize a leadership development program for faculty and staff, integrating Christian faith and principles of effective leadership, that increases knowledge and self-awareness and develops new leadership skills.  

  • Attract and retain the best faculty and staff with a competitive salary and benefits program along with further enhancing the intangible benefits unique to Minnehaha Academy.

  • Attract multicultural employees who will see Minnehaha Academy as a place to work, grow professionally, and find community.

Strategic Plan Focus Areas

Explore these focus areas to learn more about our Strategic Plan.