Upper Mississippi Academy is a public charter school providing high-quality education for students in grades 6-12. UMA’s experiential, collaborative environment encourages dynamic teaching and learning through an interdisciplinary and multi-dimensional instructional approach.
At UMA, we understand that learning is a distinct, personal process for every student. As such, we encourage individual learning styles and natural abilities while moving toward academic and lifelong goals.
UMA — Diverse, Innovative, Inclusive, Supportive, Academic!
Fueled by curiosity, Upper Mississippi Academy serves our students and
staff by engaging in innovative, authentic, and challenging educational
These values guide our program design, inform academic experiences and provide significant and meaningful opportunities for collaboration with peers, teachers, and community experts in all content areas.
Together, we are more than the sum of our parts.
We achieve more by working together. Our Students, Parents, Faculty, Administration and Board nurture a collaborative environment to remove artificial barriers between subjects, grade levels, and our school and community. This collaborative spirit allows us to do more with less, develops important 21st-century skills, and produces a welcoming environment for all.
We learn best when exercising our creativity.
We recognize that all students are inherently unique and creative. Our focus on active learning and design-thinking requires our students and teachers to innovate throughout the learning process.
We engage our communities.
We are a presence in our dynamic community. Our students see academic content in real-world context, network with neighbors and local business leaders, exhibit their creations, and shape their current and future role in a global society.
We celebrate the freedom to discover.
We view failure, not as an end itself, but as a way to nurture learning, innovative thinking, and persistence.
Upper Mississippi Academy is located in Imníža Ská Othúŋwe (Village Along the White Cliffs, Saint Paul), Mnísota (Minnesota) the traditional lands of the Dakhóta (Dakota) people. Minnesota is also the ancestral home of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and Hoocągra (Ho-Chunk) people, as well as the contemporary homeland of many Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations people. Saint Paul is located on land ceded in the 1837 treaty with the Dakhóta.
Upper Mississippi Academy was originally located at Isáŋthaŋka Akíchita Thípi (Fort Snelling), on land ceded in the 1805 Treaty with the Dakhóta. Isáŋthaŋka Akíchita Thípi (Fort Snelling) is located at Bdote, the center of creation for the Dakhóta people. Fort Snelling was used as a prison and concentration camp for more than 1,600 Dakhóta non-combatants after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. An estimated 130-300 Dakhóta people died due to disease and harsh conditions during the winter of 1862-63 while imprisoned at Fort Snelling.
As a school Upper Mississippi Academy can not be separated from the legacy of the harms that educational institutions have caused Native American, Alaskan Native, and First Nations peoples. Education has been used as a tool of forced assimilation for Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations children, including the removal of children to boarding schools, 15 of which were located in Minnesota, where Native children suffered illness, abuse and death. This forced assimilation has led to a loss of culture, language and identity for Native peoples.
Upper Mississippi Academy is committed to supporting our Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations students, staff, families and community, as well as taking action to make amends for the harm caused to Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations peoples. In cooperation with the Upper Mississippi Academy Indigenous People Advisory Committee we will create an Action Plan to support Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations students, staff, families and community at Upper Mississippi Academy.
These actions will include, but are not limited to:
- Increasing the number of Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations staff
- Supports for Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations students, including a Native American Education Program
- A Native American Education for All model, with the inclusion of information regarding Native American, Alaskan Native and First Nations peoples, including language, history and culture incorporated into all classes taught at Upper Mississippi Academy, with a focus on the Dakhóta and Anishinaabe peoples
- Actively engage with the local Native American community
- Creation of policies to address Graduation, Smudging, Leave to Vote in Tribal Elections, Funeral Leave for Students and Staff
- Professional Development for all Upper Mississippi Academy staff
- Participate in a Truth & Reconciliation process regarding the impacts of education on Native people
*Approved by the Upper Mississippi Academy Board of Directors January 18, 2023
Our community is actively engaged in deconstructing systems of bias in all areas so that all our students can learn in an engaging environment to prepare them for being world citizens. We seek staff, students and community partnerships who enhance our representational diversity and whose teaching, learning, and community engagement efforts contribute to a diverse, equitable, and an inclusive environment for all of us.
UMA condemns racism and prejudice in all its forms and therefore promotes inclusion in all forms. This is evident in our ongoing organizational work that moves beyond mere statements to vetting its policies, procedures, and practices. As we recruit students and staff, we hope to identify people who will assist in our mission to dismantle all bias so that everyone has the opportunity to succeed at UMA.