Minnesota Independent School District 196

Ten years ago Minnesota Independent School District 196 (District 196) was faced with poor academic performance and declining enrollment at Cedar Park Elementary School in Apple Valley. In an effort to improve performance, leaders of District 196 converted Cedar Park into a magnet school focused on engagement and skills in STEM.

After the transition, opportunities for students grew along with the number of parents eager for their children to attend an award-winning STEM school. The district decided to convert neighboring Valley Middle School and Apple Valley High School to create a K-12 path for STEM opportunities available to all students in the district.


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Makerspace at Cedar Park Elementary School

Makerspace at Cedar Park Elementary School.

“We’ve had kids that were barely hanging in there in school and 3D printing is what really lit them up and got them to the point where they were on the path to a high-paying career.”

Jim Lynch, Apple Valley High School