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640 Humboldt Avenue
St. Paul


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Open World Learning Community

Senior Calendar 2022-23

Senior Pictures

National College Fair

FAFSA/College Financial Aid Night

College Application Deadline

College Application March to the Mailbox

Final Senior Portfolios Due

FAFSA (Financial Aid Application) Due

Senior Meeting must be scheduled

Senior Meetings Held

Graduation Rehearsal

Class of 2023 Graduation Ceremony

PM Graduates Arrive

Graduation Ceremony

O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University

2004 Randolph Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105


This document is meant to offer seniors and their families information critical to a successful year.

Senior Pictures:  

National College Fair: This event with booths from hundreds of colleges at the Minneapolis Convention Center is a great source of information for families.  The National College Fair does a great job of gathering reps and providing breakout sessions on numerous topics. 

Graduation Portfolio: The Graduation Portfolio is a collection of a student’s important learning experiences from secondary school that serves as an invaluable record of their time at OWL. To be eligible for graduation from Open World Learning Community, students must complete and present a graduation portfolio. This is a document that consists of 7 letters of reflection, at least 3 letters of recommendation, samples of work (papers, projects, art, history day projects, etc.), and awards and certificates.

 Students must have a reflection letter in each of the following areas:

  • Coherent Communication (English (required), World Language, Art, Music, Theater (optional))
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • Service-Learning
  • Personal Development
  • Post-High School Plans

Reflection letters, typically 1-2 pages each, are meant to summarize the student’s learning in each area, highlighting experiences, challenges and reflecting on their growth. Letters of Recommendation are formally submitted to staff in writing, using a request form with a copy of the reflection letter attached. Portfolios are to be completed during the first semester of Senior Seminar. If students do not have Senior Seminar, they should be working with their Crew Leaders to complete a portfolio during first semester. Samples of past portfolios are available for you to review in Katie’s room or Tim’s office. Students requesting an extension must communicate with Katie and Dave in writing and have a meeting to discuss the matter before the January 24 deadline. Each senior will present their Graduation Portfolio at the Graduation Meeting in the spring.

College Application Process: The Class of 2023 will be the 13th consecutive OWL class to have a 100% College Acceptance Rate. This is a hallmark of EL Education Schools and sets OWL apart among Minnesota schools. To be eligible for graduation from Open World Learning Community, students must be accepted by at least one institution of higher learning. This can be a 4-year college or university, or 2-year community or technical college. To help with this huge task, the counseling staff and school administration will each work with a small cohort of students to ensure that their plans are progressing. Students will also receive support from their Crew Leaders and, of course, their families. Much of the work on applications will happen during Senior Seminar. 

College March: The College March event has two purposes: to celebrate the achievements of our seniors early in the year (not just at graduation) and to energize our younger students to see themselves as future college graduates. . All seniors are REQUIRED to attend.  All senior families (including extended families) are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend. Please plan ahead. If students have a PSEO class or other obligation, they must make prior arrangements to be at OWL for the College March.

You may be wondering who still sends in their applications via U.S. Mail. The answer is that we will submit applications online, but the symbolism of this event is so strong that we will still mail something that day—transcripts, thank you notes to College Admissions Counselors, family members, teachers, etc. Here is a working timeline for the event:

Financial Aid for College: College tuition prices continue to rise each year, but there is a great deal of financial aid available to students that can make paying for college much more affordable. All families must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid) to be eligible for financial aid. This application takes less than an hour to complete and can result in thousands of dollars in aid.  Families can choose whichever option is best for them. You should pick the year in which your family had the lowest income. If both years are the same, it could be best to apply in the fall, as the earlier you apply, the better. 

Scholarships: Applying for scholarships, if done in a focused and diligent manner, can be one of the best paying jobs you will ever have. Students are encouraged to research and apply for as many scholarships as they can. Through Naviance (a college and career platform used by all SPPS students) our counseling staff will provide students and families with lists of possible scholarships throughout the year. They will also suggest specific scholarships for students and help them with the completion of the applications.

Service-Learning Hours: The Service-Learning requirement, a key feature of OWL since 1971, sets our graduates apart from their peers. Students must complete 150 hours of service to the school and 150 hours of service to the community to be eligible for graduation. If a student has joined OWL after 7th grade, the total number of hours required is modified by 50 hours per year (25 less school service hours/25 less community service hours). If students have not yet completed the minimum number of hours, they should make a plan IMMEDIATELY to complete them in a timely manner. School service hours can usually be added to the student’s daily schedule as a teacher’s aid. Community Service hours can be set up at any number of local organizations. Talk to your Crew leader or Tim if you need help setting something up.

To log in your hours, go to Under the Our Program tab, there is a section on Service-Learning. On the right hand side of this page, there is a form to fill out for each experience. Be sure to log in all you have done NOW: Audubon, Du Nord, Outward Bound, OWL Against Hunger, etc. .

Senior Project: In the second semester of Senior Seminar, students will design, research, complete and present a Senior Project. Also referred to as a personal learning expedition, this project is intended to be a showcase of students’ achievements in an EL Education School, bringing together the skills and knowledge acquired to produce a meaningful product for an authentic audience. The topic of this project is chosen entirely by the student, and should be of great interest to them. Some possible topic ideas are: Adolescent Obesity, Organic Farming, Diabetes, Racial Profiling, Music Education. After having the project approved, students will research their topic through reading and interviews. They will then write a paper explaining their topic and what they hope to accomplish. The best projects will involve a service component. All projects will have a product and be presented to their graduation committee at their Graduation Meeting. We will begin working on topic selection in mid-December (after the College March). 

Graduation Meeting: While the Graduation Ceremony in June is the public celebration where diplomas are awarded, the Graduation Meeting in the spring is the official moment that students become eligible for graduation. Students invite their families, Crew leader, teachers, counselors, administrators, friends (including at least one junior) and any other significant person or community member they would like. The agenda at the Graduation Meeting is to present the Graduation Portfolio and Senior Project. After the student’s presentation, each attendee talks about the student and their readiness for graduation. These meetings are powerful and often emotional experiences that serve as a capstone to a student’s time at OWL. 

State Seal of Biliteracy and Bilingualism

Graduation Ceremony

Speakers Wanted: Parents are invited to speak at the College March  and the Graduation Ceremony). Please let Jolene know if you are interested.

Questions or concerns? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Katie Craven          Senior Seminar Teacher

Jolene Yang           Counselor                

Dave Gundale         Principal                 

Ma'lene Walker     Assistant Principal              ma'

Tim Leone-Getten    Program Coordinator