School Profile

Spectrum High School

Spectrum High School is a tuition-free, public charter school, located in Elk River, Minnesota, in its 17th year of operation. This comprehensive high school, authorized by Volunteers of America, enrolls approximately 900 students in grades 6-12.
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. 

Mission Statement

Spectrum’s mission is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and attributes to successfully navigate the college and career of their choice and positively impact the world around them.

Vision Statement

Spectrum’s vision is to be a leading college preparatory school of choice committed to high standards and exceptional programming.

Curriculum & Instruction

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 52 teachers, 40% 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
1.0 credit of Composition, 0.5 in 9th grade and 0.5 in 10th grade


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


Mathematics (all students must complete Algebra 2)


Physical Science, Biology, & Chemistry or Physics


Foreign Language


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 2020 graduates’ average composite score exceeded Minnesota and National Averages. As per MN state requirement, all 2020 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




2020 22.7 21.3 20.8
2019 23.7 21.4 20.7





Concurrent Enrollment at Spectrum High School

Spectrum High School offers college courses taught by Spectrum faculty allowing students to earn college credit while staying on Spectrum’s 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


  • Intro to Digital Photography


  • College Critical Writing & Reading 
  • Introduction to Communication
  • Intro to Literary Studies
  • Multicultural Literature
  • Writing Studio

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 and Lab

Social Studies

  • AP Human Geography
  • American Government and Politics
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Modern World Civilizations I  (1500-1870)
  • Modern World Civilizations II (1870 to present)
  • Principles of Microeconomics 
  • US History I 
  • US History II 


  • Intermediate Spanish I
  • Intermediate Spanish II


  • AP Computer Science   Principles    
  • Intro to Information Technology
  • Client Operating Systems

Class of 2023 Successes

  • Spectrum High School’s class of 2023 earned 3,445 college credits. This represents an approximate cost savings of over $1,543,360, based on the avg. tuition cost per credit at a four-year public college in the United States.
  • 84.5% of students graduated with at least one college credit.
  • 24 students completed an Associate of Arts Degree.
  • 9 seniors completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  • 12 additional students earned 40 college credits or more.

Spectrum Class of 2023 Post Secondary Plans

Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Anoka Technical College
Arizona State University
Augsburg University
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Bethany Lutheran College
Bethel University
Briar Cliff University
Cedarville University
Central Lakes College
Century College
Charleston Southern University
College of St. Scholastica
Concordia University- St. Paul
Crown College
Florida Atlantic University
Gonzaga University
Grand Canyon University
Gustavus Adolphus College

Hamline University
Hennepin Technical College
Kansas State University
Lake Superior Community College
Lawrence Technological University
Liberty University
Minneapolis College of Art & Design
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Missouri University of Science and Technology
North Central University
North Dakota State University
Northern Illinois University
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Savannah Collage of Art and Design
South Dakota State University
Southwest Minnesota State University
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud Technical College
University of Jamestown

University of Minnesota - Duluth
University of Minnesota - Morris
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
University of Northwestern - St. Paul
University of South Dakota
University of St. Thomas
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin - Stout
Winona State University