Teaching & Learning

Here within the Twin Cities suburbs we are replacing the factory model of education by asking the question, “what’s best for the academic and social growth of each learner?” Our students are given the power to shape their education, supported by high academic standards and guided by caring and knowledgeable staff. Personalized learning creates learners who are motivated and excited about coming to school. Students have opportunities to develop passion projects where they can make connections between school and topics that they care about. High achieving students are never held back, but are encouraged to go as far and as fast as they can. Students who need additional support can choose to learn in the ways that work best for them. We are student-centered with teaching practices that adept to the student. Eastern Carver County Schools is a model for a 21st century education. Visit us and see what’s possible.

Building & Grounds

Personalized Learning Advantage

Learning looks different in Eastern Carver County Schools, and it’s because we’re committed to meeting the needs of your student and constantly challenging him/her to go further. You could find caring, attentive teachers in any school, but none have the expectations we have in Eastern Carver County Schools. Personalized learning means that learning is tailored to the needs of your child. Artificial dividers of learning by age or grade level are not important. Classrooms look different because personalized learning requires flexibility to work in small groups, independently, or with the whole class. It is a more demanding style of learning compared to traditional lectures because it requires students to be accountable, responsible and resourceful – skills that are vital for future careers and life after high school.

For example, if your child is strong in math or reading, he/she will be challenged at exactly his or her level. In our schools, hundreds of students work ahead of their grade level every day, sometimes three or more grade levels, because we do not cap a student’s learning. The same goes for a student who needs to spend more time to learn and master a lesson. Time is variable, while learning is constant. The teacher and your child work together to understand how your child learns best, and lessons are designed to suit different styles of learning. This requires talented teachers who have skill sets unique to Eastern Carver County Schools. Learn more about Personalized Learning. 

Preschool & Early Childhood

Nurturing and stimulating programs for our youngest learners In classes designed especially for families with children from birth to age five, our highly-trained staff cover a range of parenting topics. The classrooms are designed to help young children thrive. The award-winning curriculum seamlessly prepares our youngest learners for kindergarten curriculum that incorporates authentic, personalized learning. Students love our caring staff and fun activities that challenge their developing brains. Parents appreciate an academic focus that makes learning enjoyable for young children.

• Full-day and half-day preschool (Parent Aware 4-Star Rated Program)

• Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)

• Spanish immersion preschool

• Family Literacy

• Early Intervention

Kinder Academy

Unsure whether your child is ready for kindergarten? Consider Kinder Academy. It is kindergarten for young five year-olds, such as those with summer birthdays. Kinder Academy allows children who are ready to progress to 1st grade after one year. Those who would benefit from additional time stay in Kinder Academy for a second year, with curriculum customized to their learning needs. They become the classroom leaders, helping the teacher and being role models for their younger peers. This program requires up to a two-year commitment by parents.

Visit tiny.cc/KinderPage for more information.

Early Childhood Screening

If your child is between three and five years of age and you are a resident of our district, we have caring staff who can help you with an early childhood screening free of cost. This is a simple screening that every child is required to complete before entering kindergarten.

Call us at 952-556-6407 or schedule an appointment online at tiny.cc/Screening.

Elementary School

• Art – featuring Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB)

• Music

• Physical education

• Media, including digital literacy

Offering these opportunities during the school day gives students variety in their schedules and allows more time to experience activities they might pursue later in life.

WHEN YOU VISIT US, ASK US ABOUT: The voice and choice students have with personalized learning; these are classrooms you have not experienced before.

ONLY IN EASTERN CARVER COUNTY SCHOOLS: Hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lessons are integrated into every classroom. All grades experience STEM lessons.

More than 900 elementary students districtwide work above grade level — because we challenge all students at their learning level, removing artificial barriers to authentic learning.

Middle School

Students are carefully guided as they explore their evolving interests and build independence. Our middle school staff are dedicated to fostering their learning and maturity. Award-winning teachers personalize lessons and learning experiences for each student, respecting the individuality of each learner.

Students meet daily in an advisory program that addresses the effective needs of young adolescents. The curriculum includes character education, academic skills for success, service learning, team building and post-secondary exploration. Advisors support each student in healthy development, smart choices in and out of the classroom, and academic success.

• Reading between the lines: Students are introduced to literature, different forms of writing and speaking, and critical thinking through our Language Arts program.

Adding it all up: In mathematics students can access high school curriculum (Algebra II and Geometry) when they are ready. Additional support is available to help students progress at the pace that is right for them.

• Taking a closer look: In science, we mirror the practices of professional scientists and engineers in fully equipped laboratory classrooms.

• Past, present and future: The social studies curriculum prepares students for research, documentation and analytical skills to think like a historian. Students go beyond the core curriculum with more choices to suit their individuality and their interests: • art • business • computer technology • family and consumer science • music • personal wellness • technology education • world language

WHEN YOU VISIT US, ASK US ABOUT: How middle school students can earn high school credit.

Middle school students have a range of choices for after-school activities:

• Sports (track & field, tennis, fencing, soccer, basketball and more)

• Robotics (FIRST Tech Challenge)

• Youth leadership and service learning

• Music academy (private lessons, marching band, garage band, country/bluegrass ensemble)

Visit www.ce4all.org to see a complete list of middle school athletics and activities.

High School

Our small schools allow each student to be in the limelight. While other high schools in our area have been expanding beyond 2,500 students, residents of Eastern Carver County Schools voted for smaller high schools — doubling the opportunities for your student while maintaining small-school environments!

Chaska High School opened in 1996, received an expansion in 2004, and completed $2.5 million in renovations in 2015, with more planned in following years. Chanhassen High School opened in 2009 and has maintained state-of-the-art facilities.

• More than 23 AP courses, including high-level options like Multivariable Calculus

• Exceptional ACT and Advanced Placement exam results

• Teachers and staff who are concerned about what’s truly best for your student – not just about their test scores

• State-winning athletics and competitions for speech, debate, Knowledge Bowl, and robotics

• High achieving arts, theater, musicals and one-act plays housed in world-class theaters

• Academic and extra-curricular opportunities are available between Chanhassen and Chaska High Schools, which is why we run shuttle buses between schools for shared classes and activities

Integrated Arts Academy (IAA) is the district’s arts-focused high school. It is designed for students who want something different from the traditional high school experience. Students earn their required graduation standards through hands-on projects in culinary arts, horticultural arts and visual arts. Integrated Arts Academy has partnerships with community organizations that provide unique experiences for students including the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and ProStart, the National Restaurant Association’s educational initiative. Schedule an interview to see if IAA is right for you: 952-556-6200


Capstone is a defining experience in Eastern Carver County Schools, unique to Chaska and Chanhassen High Schools. Capstone is not about filling in answers on standardized tests. It is about in-depth engagement with a topic or problem and connecting with the world outside of school. Students look to solve a real-world problem or, depending on their talents, present their artistic gifts to the public. All students in their junior or senior year complete a Capstone course. Students create a project that is developed over the course of the semester. The student conceives the idea, finds a mentor and develops the plan. The teacher provides support and guidance. Capstone is the third class in a course of study, a culmination of the student’s knowledge and experience. The course is designed to be a bridge between the learning in high school and the expectations of careers and college in the 21st century. When students graduate, their college professors or future employer will expect this kind of initiative — accountable people who can problem-solve and know how to accomplish long-term projects. Learn more at tiny.cc/Capstone.


Erin Rathke
Assistant Superintendent
(begins July 2020)
Chris Hentges
Leader of Personalized Learning: Digital Services
David Brecht
Student Services and Assessment Manager
Brian Beresford
Leader of Personalized Learning & Innovation: Elementary
Dan Cahill
Leader of Personalized Learning & Innovation: Secondary
Sara Skar
Administrative Assistant
Anne Wise
Teaching and Learning Support Staff
Becky Sutton
English Learner Specialist