The Alexandria area’s newest school – Kalon Prep Academy – is getting geared up for the new school year this fall.

On Tuesday, June 1, Kalon Prep Academy began the process of converting its location at 1877 Aga Drive in Alexandria, the former Fingerhut/American Spirit building, to its new 9th through 12th grade charter school.

As of press time, 65 students have enrolled, according to Chris Kragenbring, director of the academy.

“We are so excited to meet all the students and their families,” she said. “There is apparently some misinformation circulating that the school is full. Kalon has the capacity for 120 students so there’s still openings for several more. Those interested are encouraged to apply as soon as possible so we can be best prepared with staffing and technology purchases.”

Kragenbring said Kalon Prep Academy has hired the following staff members thus far: Carolyn Stoeckert – office manager, Mandy Kor – English teacher, Kim Wixon – math teacher, Rilee Wold – science teacher, Paul Ragan – social studies teacher, and Holly Wallerich and Analea Sheets – paraprofessionals.

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“This is a fabulous team who is eager to serve the students,” said Kragenbring.

Kalon Prep is using a variety of ways to get the word out about the school. It’s having question-and-answer sessions at the Andria Theatre on Thursday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Monday, June 14 at noon. Kragenbring will also answer questions during the Open Line program on KXRA Radio at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 9.

Information is also available on the website, kalonprep.org.

Building renovations will start soon, according to Kragenbring. This includes adding several windows, a gym, a restaurant style cafeteria, a science lab, an art center, and a culinary arts classroom. Area professionals will be hired to do this work.

Volunteers are needed to freshen up the existing classrooms with paint, to do some cleaning and small carpentry projects. Call Melody Warren at 320-766-9244 if you’d like to help.

As a charter school, Kalon Prep Academy can’t use state money for renovations, Kragenbring said.

“This means we must rely on the generosity of our community,” she said. “Our fundraising goal is $140,000. We are close to halfway there. One of our philosophies is that ‘Stories Matter.’ We want our students to know that the community they live in is filled with people who care about them. That’s why all donors and volunteers will be featured in a book titled, The School That Love Built.’”

Donations can be sent to PO Box 1196, Alexandria, MN, 56308. “We are extremely grateful for every financial donation and every minute worked to support our new school,” Kragenbring said.

More about Kalon Prep Academy

Kalon is for any student who feels the traditional model hasn’t been the best fit for their success, Kragenbring said. She described the school as a strengths based, whole student, college and career focused school.

Its mission statement is "to provide an exceptional campus culture that will foster strong academic achievement integrated with caring adults, relevant experiences and a commitment to fun.” The school strives to have a 15:1 student/teacher ratio designed to personalize each student’s experience as much as possible.

Call or email Chris Kragenbring at (320) 760-9519 or kalonprep@gmail.com for more information.