History of EOC
EdVisions Off Campus opened its doors in September of 2005 to 29 seventh through twelfth grade students. Of course those doors were the doors of home offices, living rooms, and bedrooms of advisors and students spread out across the state of Minnesota.
The idea for the school began with four educators committed to student-directed, project-based learning: Keven Kroehler, Gigi Dobosenski, and Karen Locke—all advisors at Minnesota New Country School, the original EdVisions school—and Cathy Diaz, an advisor at El Colegio, an EdVisions project-based school in Minneapolis. These four founders designed the school program, worked with Volunteers of America, the authorizer of the new charter school, implemented the technology, and recruited the first students.
Over the next few years EOC staff and students broke new ground in education. They tested new technology solutions, found best practices for student-directed learning, and explored the world through experiential education trips to places like Isle Royale, the California redwoods, and New Zealand. In 2008 EOC was one of only two schools in the nation using synchronous online interaction as its primary method of education—and the only online project-based school in existence.
The staff and students of EOC worked hard to create a community of learners that stretched from one end of the state to the other. Advisory groups gathered face-to-face each month for activities like pottery making, glass blowing, museums, plays, the Renaissance Festival, amusement parks, and volunteer work in their communities. Multiple day experiential education opportunities continued with trips to places like the Grand Canyon, the Badlands of South Dakota, New Mexico, and Seattle. At the same time the staff reached out to the broader education community to share their growing expertise. Advisors from EOC worked as coaches and consultants on project-based learning with schools in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, and Japan.
The school grew slowly and steadily. By 2007 enrollment had grown from 29 to 70 students and the staff increased from four to eight. By 2012 the enrollment at EOC was close to 100 with a staff of eleven. By 2015, enrollment reached 115 with a staff of fourteen. Each year our proud graduates don caps and gowns and marched to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance”–happy to be graduating from a school that was different, a school where they could set their own course. The staff and students of EOC look forward to many more years of breaking new ground and pushing the boundaries of student-directed, project-based, online learning.