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And the winner is… Nebula! Accelerated learning program gets a new name

(02/19/2021) What was once called the School Within a School at Eisenhower Elementary has a new name: Nebula. The name was chosen by the high-achieving students currently enrolled in the Talent Development program.

three students in masks “It’s fitting,” said fourth grader Patrick Navratil. “We worked really hard to try to find a lot of ideas and pick the best choice that really fit us.” 

Nebula is a term referring to a giant cloud of dust and gas in space where new stars begin to form. Similarly, students travel from across the district to participate in the accelerated learning program and see themselves as progressing like stars.

Formed in 2019, Nebula is housed within the Eisenhower Elementary School community for extremely high performing third through fifth grade students who need a more challenging education. Anoka-Hennepin invites students to enroll based on test scores. Families can also apply to have their student considered for admission.

“Honestly, I feel really challenged and it’s a good challenge and I love it,” said Michael Jones, a fourth grader in his second year at Nebula. 

teacher instructing a student while holding an iPad For many students, the fast pace is their favorite part of the program. Because the lessons move quickly, Principal Lillian DeRung said more in-depth learning follows.

“The students accelerate beyond state grade level standards and have more time to explore and pursue passion projects.”

“Once I learn something and I learn how to do it, I’m like, ‘Boom. Learned. Do the next thing,’” explained Lexie Scheper, a fifth grade student at Nebula. “I like being in the fast lane!”

Fourth grader Mila Larson helped brainstorm names for the school. She said students created a Google Form to gather several options and vote on their favorite. Larson likes the new name and loves coming to school each day. “I look forward to coming here because I have an actual challenge,” she said. “We progress further and we get more challenged so that we are able to push our brains to the limit to learn the most.”

Apply to Nebula at Eisenhower Elementary School

Anoka-Hennepin students who met the criteria were directly contacted in early January 2021 to inform them of this programming option for the 2021-22 school year. If your student did not meet the criteria or lives outside the district, you may provide additional information and data for consideration. Complete an application by Feb. 26. 

Admission status will be shared in spring 2021. Students accepted into the program are not provided transportation to Eisenhower.