Academic excellence is at the heart of the SPA experience. In our accountable classrooms, students in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools are challenged by what we believe is the best academic curriculum in Minnesota. They are supported by the individual attention that is made possible by the lowest average class size of comparable independent schools in the state: Lower School classes average 13 students; Middle School classes average 15 students; and Upper School classes average 14 students.
The classroom experience is complemented by a expansive program of academic support across all three divisions. SPA's two libraries (one on the Goodrich Campus and one on the Randolph Campus) function as information centers for the school, providing research tools and support for the effective use of academic technology. The Center for Learning and Teaching is an academic resource available to all students and teachers. The CLT provides support for students with documented learning differences, academic tutoring for any student needing extra help, and professional development for teachers in instructional best practices. Explore academic life in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.
DR. Cindy richter, ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL,
As the Assistant Head of School for Academic Programs, Dr. Cindy Richter '78 oversees the K-12 academic program, working to ensure the continuity of content and development of skills as a student moves through the curriculum. Working with the Head of School, Principals, and Department Chairs, Richter examines each step of a student’s academic journey, making sure that each grade builds appropriately upon the previous one. Richter chairs two academic decision-making groups, the K-12 Academic Council and the Lower School Academic Committee, both of which serve as essential forums for thoughtful discussion of the academic program.
Richter also works closely with Dr. Jill Romans, the Assistant Head of School for Student Development and Community Engagement, and with SPA's admissions, diversity initiatives, academic and technology integration, and summer programs. She oversees faculty professional development resources through the Lilly Faculty Development Fund, which supports opportunities for teachers to attend conferences, workshops, and graduate classes, and the Wark and Stringer Curriculum Development Grants, which support summer curriculum development.
Richter’s work at SPA is influenced by her love of learning. “I am inspired by great teachers I've had in my own education,” she says, “the first of them here at SPA when I was a student.” Her current position as Assistant Head of School grew out of her previous position as K-12 Academic Dean, which she held since 2001. Prior to that, Richter taught history and English in the Middle and Upper schools since 1996. She earned a B.A. in history from Swarthmore College, an M. Arch. from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is a member of SPA's Class of 1978. Email Dr. Richter.