History of NMU Charter Schools
In 1995, Northern Michigan University determined it would authorize public school academies (PSA). At one time, NMU contracted with six PSAs. Currently, there are five charters, following the closure of the Oasis Academy in 2002. It must be noted that it is not the responsibility of the university to administer the schools, but instead to contract with the PSA for oversight purposes per Public Act 362 of 1993. The university appoints a charter schools officer to perform the oversight functions as needed. NMU is not seeking any additional charter applications at this time. The State of Michigan determines the number of charter schools allowed to operate.
Each PSA has its own unique history, geography and demographics in order to prosper as a charter school of NMU. A very brief history of each school follows. More information about each PSA can be found on each school's Web site.
- The Bahweting Anishnabe School, located in Sault Ste. Marie, opened as a K-6 tribal school in 1994, under the sponsorship of Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians. In 1995 NMU chartered the Bahweting Anishnabe School as the Bahweting Anishnabe Public School Academy, with grades K-7, grade 8 was added in 1996. The school was renamed the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe PSA in 1998 in honor of the former tribal leader. The school has dual status as a PSA and a Bureau of Indian Education school. The enrollment has continued to increase yearly with additional facility expansion. The enrollment is approximately 400 students.
- Northern Michigan University’s Board of Trustees approved Burton Glen Charter School as a Public School Academy in 1999. It is one of two NMU PSAs managed by the National Heritage Academies for the general operations, curriculum, marketing, human resources and site development. Burton Glen Charter Academy is located in Burton. The school opened at its current location in a new building in October 1999 as a K-5 building. The school has expanded to a Y5-8 building in subsequent years with an enrollment of approximately 690 students.
- The Hannahville Potawatomi Reservation is located approximately 15 miles west of Escanaba near Wilson. The Hannahville Indian School was first established on the reservation in 1975 for Native Americans in the area. In 1995, the school became NMU’S first charter school and was named the Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy. The school has dual status as a Michigan PSA and a Bureau of Indian Education School with grades K-12 on site. The enrollment is approximately 180 students. Its facilities have expanded throughout the years.
- In 1994, Tri-High School was established as an alternative high school in a consortium agreement between three public schools. The purpose was to provide an environment that would best meet the needs of at-risk youth between the ages of 15 and 19. NMU approved the Tri-High School as a charter school in 1997 and the name subsequently changed to North Star Academy in 1998. North Star Academy moved from Ishpeming to Marquette in 2005 and added Polaris Middle School to the charter as a 7-8 middle school. In 2007, sixth grade was added to Polaris. The enrollment is approximately 95 students.
- Northern Michigan University Trustees approved Walton Charter Academy as a public school academy in 1999. It is the second school that is managed by National Heritage Academies, which provides general operations, curriculum, marketing, human resources services and site development. Walton Charter Academy is located in Pontiac. The school opened with a new building in 1999 as a K-5 elementary. The school has continued to expand its population and is now a K-8 facility with approximately 700 students.