School Profile

Spectrum High School

Spectrum High School is a tuition-free, public charter school, located in Elk River, Minnesota, in its 14th year of operation. This comprehensive high school, authorized by Volunteers of America, enrolls approximately 425 students in grades 9-12.
US News and World Report recognized Spectrum High School in its Best High School rankings, awarding a silver medal. Spectrum was the 5th highest ranking out of Minnesota’s 164 charter schools. Spectrum also received recognition as a High Quality Charter School by the Minnesota Dept. of Education for 2017-18.

Mission Statement

The mission of Spectrum High School is to encourage students in attaining their maximum potential through a 3-dimensional strategy emphasizing:

  • College preparatorycurriculum;
  • A technology integrated environment;and
  • Community-based outreach.

Vision Statement

The vision of Spectrum High School is to be a leader in fostering academic and personal excellence through programs emphasizing high academic standards in a small–school setting.


When students choose Spectrum, they accept the challenge of rigorous college-level coursework (see Concurrent Enrollment at Spectrum High School). They engage in the educational process through classroom activities that effectively integrate one-to-one technology. Students also participate in service learning that benefits the student, the school, and the larger community. Additionally, Spectrum High School utilizes the AVID college preparatory program and strategies.


Spectrum’s faculty and administration are committed to excellence, as they prepare our students to achieve their future educational and career goals. Of the 39 members, 51% hold a Master’s degree. All SHS courses are taught by teachers certified in the subject area by the MN Professional Educators Licensing & Standards Board. SHS faculty are committed to a growth mindset, seeking ways to continually improve instruction and meet students’ needs.

Graduation Requirements



English (Language Arts) - one credit each year plus
0.5 credit Composition


Social Studies
Geography, US History, World History,
American Government, & Economics


Mathematics (all students must complete Algebra 2)


Physical Science C, Physical Science P, Biology, & Chemistry or Physics


Foreign Language


Arts and Fine Arts


SHS Requirements
21st Century Skills, College Readiness I, College Readiness II, College Readiness III, Intro to Speech Communications or Public Speaking, & Senior




Physical Education


Electives (including service learning)


Total Requirements


ACT Test Score Results
Spectrum’s 2018 graduates’ average composite score exceeded Minnesota and National Averages. As per MN state requirement, all 2018 seniors were provided the option to take the ACT on a state test date. In 2016, seniors were required to take the ACT test on a state test date. Prior years the test was optional.

Grad Year




2019 23.7 21.4 20.7









Concurrent Enrollment at Spectrum High School

Spectrum High School offers college courses allowing students to earn college credit while staying on campus.  College at Spectrum High School (C@SH) is a partnership with the following colleges: Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Central Lakes College, Pine Technical and Community College, and the University of Minnesota– Twin Cities.

C@SH and Advanced Placement Classes at Spectrum High School



  • College Writing and Critical Reading
  • Introduction to Speech Communications
  • Intro to Study of Literature
  • Multicultural Literature
  • WritingStudio

Health/Physical Education

  • Wellness for Life Lecture and Lab


  • Calculus I
  • College Algebra I
  • College Algebra II & Trig
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Mathematical Thinking


  • AP Biology
  • Environmental Science Lecture
  • Environmental Science Lab

Social Studies

  • AP Human Geography
  • American Government and Politics
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Modern World Civiliza- tions I(1500-1870)

Social Studies (cont’d)

  • Modern World Civiliza- tions II (1870 to present)
  • Principles of Micro Economics
  • US History I (to 1876)
  • US History since1877


  • Introductory Spanish II
  • Intermediate Spanish I
  • Intermediate Spanish II

Class of 2019 Successes

  • Spectrum High School’s class of 2019 earned 3,248 college credits. This represents an approximate cost savings of over $1,000,000, based on the avg. tuition cost per credit at a four-year public college in the United States.
  • 89% of students graduated with at least some college credit.
  • Twenty students completed an Associate of Arts Degree through Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
  • One senior completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  • Twenty additional students completed 40 college credits or more.

Spectrum Class of 2019 Post Secondary Plans

Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Arizona State University
Augsberg University
Bemidji State University
Bethel University
Carroll University
College of Saint Benedict
Concordia College - Moorhead
Concordia University - St. Paul

DigiPen Institute of Technology
Drake University
Dunwoody College of Technology
Hennepin Technical College
Iowa State University
Michigan Technological University
Minneapolis College of Art & Design
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, 
North Dakota State University

PCI Academy
Saint John’s University
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
St. Cloud State University
United States Marine Corps.
University of Minnesota - Duluth
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
University of North Dakora
University of Northwestern - St.Paul
University of Sioux Falls
University of South Dakota
University of Wisconsin - River Falls