CHOICE Technical Academy



Student/Parent Handbook


General Information………………………………………………………………….……..…….3


Off Site Work...……………………………………………….……………………………….......5

School Delays and Closings…………………………………………………………………….....5

Visitors/Volunteers/Deliveries for students/Off Campus Lunch………….…………….…............5

Health Services………………………………………………………………………………….5/6

Crisis Plan/Emergencies…………………………………………………………………………..6


        Policy of Academic Progression

        Academic Assistance

        Project Presentations and Exhibits

        Graduation Requirements

        General Credit Guidelines

        PSEO: Post Secondary Enrollment Options        

Community Expectations - Behavior………………………………………………….……….10+

        Phone Device Usage

        Food and Beverage

        Equipment Checkout

Clothing Standards

Choice Discipline Plan




        Drug Tobacco or Alcohol Use

        Code of Student Conduct

        Discrimination Policy

        Harassment and Violence Policy

        Cyber Bullying Policy

Hazing Prohibition Policy

Distribution/Display of Non-school-Sponsored Materials on School Premises by

Students and Employees

Complaint Policy

Protection and Privacy of Pupil Records        

        Crisis Plan Emergencies

        Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy

        Laptop Policy

“Where serious people go to broaden their minds and learn to live the rest of their lives.”

Congratulations on becoming a part of one of the most innovative learning opportunities available to students. We are excited to have you as part of CHOICE Technical Academy and Technical Academies of Minnesota, and are looking forward to observing you develop to your full potential. Your success at CHOICE will be in direct proportion to your effort, application, and participation.  CHOICE Technical Academy was designed to meet the needs of students, both for the present and for the future. We are an ever-changing school working in an ever-changing society. The intention of CHOICE Technical Academy is to give students a strong performance-based education closely related to real-life experiences.

General Information

School Hours



Contact Information

School Address:         315 South Grove Avenue, Owatonna, MN 55060

Main Office Phone:         (507) 400-4009

Attendance Phone:         (507) 400-4009

Attendance Email:



If a student will be absent from school, the parent/guardian must call the school at 507-400-4009 or email Please leave the absent student’s first name, last name, a reason for the absence, and a phone number where you can be reached.

An absence may be excused for the following reasons:

  1. illness/injury/surgery
  2. medical/dental appointment (must provide a note from the doctor verifying time/date of the appointment)
  3. religious activities
  4. family emergencies/funerals
  5. pre-planned approved family vacations
  6. suspensions
  7. court appearances

Absences considered unexcused are:

  1. truancy
  2. failure to receive an advisor’s approval for off-site work
  3. being out of the building without signing out or leaving early
  4. excessive and unapproved family vacations
  5. illnesses without a doctor's note
  6. any other absence not included in the excused section of this policy


All students are expected to be at school by 8:00 a.m., and will be considered tardy if they arrive after.  Tardies for the following reasons are excused and the student will be marked present upon arrival:

  1. Illness/Injury/Surgery
  2. Medical/Dental Appointments
  3. Religious Activities
  4. Family Emergencies/Funerals
  5. Court Appearances

Three (3) unexcused tardies are equivalent to one unexcused absence.

Staff will make an effort to notify parents of all unexcused absences as soon as possible.  If a student should accumulate:

        The ARB is part of Steele County’s three tiered student accountability system, and is coupled with Steele county human services and the Steele County Attorney's office. The county attorney's office’ staff works with parents, teachers, counselors and students to understand and improve attendance, and ultimately, academic performance.  

Student Permission to Leave the Building

Students may not leave school grounds during regular school hours without written parent/guardian permission. Students who leave the building during the school day must be picked up and signed out by a parent/guardian immediately. (For off campus lunch see below)


CHOICE Technical Academy understands that at times it is advantageous to have students work on a project outside of school.  Students planning to work off site must have their parent/guardian arrange the work with their advisor prior to it occurring.

Requirements include:

Students failing to meet these requirements will incur unexcused absences.


CHOICE Technical Academy’s school closings due to weather are dependent upon the Owatonna Public School District.


We welcome visitors and volunteers at CHOICE.  To ensure that student learning remains a priority we ask that the following is followed.


Health Services

CHOICE does not have a school nurse on site. Medication and basic first aid are administered by school office staff.  Students who need to take medication during the school day must complete a Medication Administration form and have the form signed by a doctor. All medications will be administered in the Main Office and must be brought to school by parents/guardians.  Students may not carry medication at school.

If your child has a potentially life threatening health concern (i.e. allergies, diabetes, asthma or seizures), proper paperwork  needs to be completed and signed by both a parent and physician.

If a student’s health requires him/her to be sent home from school, a parent/guardian will be notified and will need to pick up the student from school. Please do not send your student to school with conditions that will prevent him/her from learning or spread conditions to other students.

State law requires certain immunizations for students in order to attend school. For information about which immunizations are required for each grade, please contact the Main Office. Parents must provide documentation that immunizations have been completed or medical/conscientious exemption of these immunizations.


The CHOICE Technical Academy School Board adopted a Crisis Plan, which is on file at CHOICE Technical Academy.  If a crisis should occur, the advisors as soon as feasibly possible will contact parents.  If students are evacuated from the building, they will meet with advisors at the Pillsbury Campus Gym and attendance will be taken. All students will be expected to stay with the group for safety and security purposes. CHOICE Technical Academy will run regular fire and safety drills.



Students of the CHOICE Technical Academy are required to progress through the school’s curriculum in the following manner:

  1. Students are expected to complete 10 (ten) project credits per year to advance to the next grade level.
  2. All students must make one presentation of a project and one exhibit of a project at a Presentation Night or other public venue (with advisor approval), per grade (10 credits) in order to graduate.
  3. Students will complete a weekly or daily planner to develop their time management skills.
  4. Students must attend their assigned math class, unless other arrangements are made by the advisor.

  1. Project credits may be awarded based on an agreed upon rubric and goal by advisors(s) and student. All credit should be based on product completion, defined tasks, a definite product, deadlines that are met with evidence of progress, and the rubric.
  2. To get credit for any project/activity/class, it must be proposed and signed by the advisor and the project proposal team.  Credit will be in jeopardy if not proposed prior to the activity/project/class.
  3. Summer projects/ prior year projects must be validated by the end of September or no credit may be issued.
  4. PSEO students must receive advisor approval prior to enrolling (see PSEO section for more information).


CHOICE Technical Academy is a place offering limitless learning opportunities.  It is the responsibility of the student to take learning seriously and to apply themselves to get their work completed.  Minimum standards of achievement include a student completing 10 project credits per year. In an effort to make sure that all students make adequate progress, advisors will calculate at the beginning of each block credits earned for the year. Advisors will determine if the student is making adequate progress earning credit through projects, math, reading and writing plans. If the student is not on track for the year, he or she may be placed on an Academic Assistance Plan.

Academic Assistance Plan means that the following procedures will be set in motion until adequate progress is being made:

  1. Meetings with their advisor and other staff to discuss interventions, goals, and plans for achieving those goals.
  2. If a student is still not making progress, as determined by the student assistance team and advisor, the parents will be contacted to set up a meeting with the advisor and the student assistance team.
  3. If adequate progress is still not being made, the student assistance team and the advisor will recommend the matter for referral for assessment to the CHOICE Technical Academy Staff.  The student and parent may make a presentation to the staff.  The staff may recommend the student find another educational setting.

*If at any point in the academic assistance process the academic team and advisor determine the student is meeting adequate academic progress over a sustained period of time, the student may be taken off academic assistance.


CHOICE Technical Academy guides students to learn presentation skills throughout their time here.  Presentation will be a part of every project a student completes. Students must present a well done and rehearsed presentation one time each year to their advisory, school, public meeting, and presentation night. While only one presentation is required we expect presentation to become a regular part of learning with students making multiple presentations and improving each year.    



Credits Needed


  • Algebra (1)
  • Geometry (1)
  • Algebra II (1)
  • Class of Choice (1) :recommended


Language Arts

  • One credit each year


Social Studies

  • Geography (.5)
  • Economics (.5)
  • Government (.5)
  • World History (1)
  • US History (1)



  • Biology (1)
  • Chemistry (1)
  • Physics (1)



  • Visual
  • Music


Independent Reading


(4 Max)

Health/Phy Ed


Senior Project


Electives of your choice

Determined by Personal Learning Plan

  • Technology
  • Art
  • Shop
  • Career
  • Internships
  • Workstudy





Some projects have a maximum yearly credit for completed projects. These projects need to be approved and finalized by the student’s proposal team.


Students may wish to participate in the PSEO program in which a student would attend a post-secondary institution and take college credit.  We recommend that students consider this option only if they are highly motivated, are self-paced, and demonstrate appropriate social skills.

In order to participate in PSEO it is the student’s responsibility to:

NOTE: Registration and payment for these tests are the responsibility of the student/parent. CHOICE Technical Academy will provide transcripts upon request.

Community Expectations- Behavior


School Phone

Phones are to be used for emergency and educational purposes only.

Messages will be taken for incoming calls and students may return calls during lunch or after school. Students wishing to use the phone need to receive staff permission.

Cell Phone/Device

Cell phones and devices are to be used to enhance the learning experience only. If staff/parents determine that device use is detracting from learning or causing a disruption in our community the following guidelines will be followed on request of student congress.


We take pride in our learning community and desire a clean and healthy facility to support learning.  The following guidelines are developed to support this clean and healthy environment.


Students wishing to check out equipment for use in completion of projects are required to use the checkout form provided by the Technology Team.  Students will be required to have a signed parent permission form (included in the admission packet) in order to check materials out. Students and parents will be liable for damage to any equipment in their possession.  Some equipment will need advisor approval prior to checkout.


CHOICE Technical Academy encourages students to dress appropriately for school activities and in keeping with community standards and academic priorities. As we prepare students for careers we ask that students and parents reflect on the image a student wishes to project.  

We bring the community into our school and encourage students to make connections.  You never know when a simple day of school can become a job or internship interview.  Students at CHOICE ask that students represent our community well in your clothing. When clothing has a negative impact on our community students will be asked to cover the clothing up.  

Inappropriate clothing includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Clothing which bears a message that is lewd, vulgar, or obscene.
  2. Apparel promoting products or activities that are illegal for use by minors.
  3. Objectionable emblems, signs, words, objects, or pictures on clothing communicating a message that may be interpreted as racist, sexist, or otherwise derogatory, or which connotes gang membership.
  4. Clothing that does not adequately fit or cover the body, such a excessive midriff, excessive cleavage, lack of coverage on legs or sagging pants, shorts, dresses and skirts.

It is not the intention of this policy to abridge the rights of students to express political, religious, philosophical, or similar opinions by wearing apparel on which such

messages are stated.  Such messages are acceptable as long as they are not lewd, vulgar, obscene, defamatory, profane or distracting to the academic environment as determined by CHOICE staff.

Field Trip Dress Code:

While our dress code is flexible within our school walls we do expect students to dress within the following guidelines when we are participating in the community.  We expect students to dress according to standards developed by the field trip leader so that dress is appropriate to the activity.  The following are general expectations for field trips:


Student congress requests that students do not wear excessive fragrance to school nor apply products (lotion, sprays) containing fragrance during the school day. Students may be asked to work away from the student body if fragrance is disruptive to students or staff.

CHOICE Discipline Plan

CHOICE uses a restorative approach to discipline.  Staff and students are responsible for developing a positive learning environment and student infractions are met with correction, education, and an opportunity to restore the harm that happened due to student decisions and behavior. As in any discipline plan, responses are determined by the specific behavior and circumstances. In all disciplinary decisions, CHOICE Culture and Discipline Committee will determine the best plan based on the circumstances of the situation and the student.

Restorative Practices

CHOICE Technical Academy utilizes Restorative Practices to ensure proper resolution between students, staff, and the community. In a restorative practices setting, those involved in an issue will meet to discuss what had happened, why it happened, and how the community can move forward. Staff and student support of restorative practices is vital to the future of a respectful, peaceful, and supportive environment at CHOICE. result for restorative practice continuum

The Restorative Practice continuum provides examples of responses to various scenarios.


Incident Reports:

An incident report is sent home in order to have parents/guardians view and sign documentation so staff can recognize any patterns with student behavior.

(ie. Student has had phone taken away two times that week. Staff contacts parents, writes incident report, meets with student, and sends documentation home. Incident report needs to be signed and returned the next day. Social worker keeps track of incident reports and will contact advisor and parents if any patterns develop. A parent, student, and advisor conference may take place if pattern develops.)

Culture and Discipline will determine which response is appropriate based on the circumstance.


A conference is attended by parents/guardians, representative from Culture and Discipline, student, and advisor. If a staff is involved in the incident, that staff will also be present. This is a conference to repair harm and come to a resolution.

Culture and Discipline will determine which response is appropriate based on the circumstance.

Behavior Plan: 

A behavior plan is a contract that outlines the supports staff and student will utilize for student success. The plan will be written by the Culture and Discipline committee with input from student and parent/guardian. The student and parent/guardian will be able to look over the document before signing the contract with the committee.

Culture and Discipline will determine which response is appropriate based on the circumstance.


When behaviors seriously affect the culture and safety of our school, it can result in suspension, expulsion, and involvement of Law Enforcement.

The following behaviors will result in immediate removal from school:

This list is non-exhaustive.

Culture and Discipline will determine which response is appropriate based on the circumstance.



use is capable of threatening or producing bodily harm or which may be used to inflict self-injury.

  1.  Immediate out-of-school suspension;
  2.  Confiscation of the weapon;
  3. Immediate notification of police;
  4. Parent or guardian notification; and
  5. Recommendation to the Board Chairperson of dismissal.

Pursuant to Minnesota law, a student who brings a firearm, as defined by federal law, to school will be expelled for at least one year.  The school board may modify this requirement on a case-by-case basis


Pursuant to Minnesota statutes, school lockers, desks, and storage units are the property of the school.  At no time does the school relinquish its exclusive control of lockers, desks and storage units provided for the convenience of students.  Staff members for any reason may conduct inspection of the interior of these items at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant.

authorities must provide notice of the search to students whose items were searched unless disclosure would impede an ongoing investigation by police or staff members.

Student Discipline Policy, which may include suspension, exclusion, or expulsion, and the student may, when appropriate, be referred to legal authorities.


Drug, tobacco (including smokeless/chew and electronic devices) and alcohol use are prohibited in all CHOICE Technical Academy buildings, grounds and transportation. If a staff member should have reasonable suspicion of use or possession of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs:

  1. the student will be communicated with
  2. the parents/ guardians will be notified requesting that the student be removed


  1. law enforcement may be notified
  2. a ten-day suspension may be administered with the recommendation that a drug test (urine analysis) be administered (at the school’s expense).  A negative test would allow the student to return to school immediately.  A positive test would result in a recommendation that the student undergo an assessment, and to follow the recommendations of that assessment


from Minnesota School Boards Association

The staff at CHOICE Technical Academy believes that all students have the right to discuss infractions related to their conduct.  Students will have the option to participate in restorative/peace keeping circles to seek solutions through dialogue and discussion

or resort to the following traditional methods.

A student causing a rule infraction may be disciplined or dismissed on any of the following grounds:

  1. Willful violation of any reasonable school board regulation
  2. Willful conduct that significantly disrupts the rights of others to an education
  3. Willful conduct that endangers the pupil or other pupils, or surrounding persons, or the property of the school.

Student discipline problems will be dealt with on a case by case basis.  Student discipline procedures may include but are not limited to: restorative circles, conferencing,

removal from class/setting, police contact, suspension, exclusion, or expulsion. Notification of any violation of this policy and resulting disciplinary action shall be as

provided by the Fair Pupil Dismissal Act or other applicable law.

Students may be disciplined for off campus conduct which disrupts, interferes, or

otherwise affects the environment, activities, or operation of the school.

Eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities may be limited by academic

standing, disciplinary matters, or enrollment status.  If you have questions about eligibility for participation contact an advisor.  The bottom line is if you are not performing as a responsible young adult, you may lose privileges.

Teachers/staff may use reasonable force to restrain or correct a student.

Students may be referred by any staff member for rule infractions involving health, education, safety and respect.


It is the policy of the School Board of Independent District No. 4217 to comply with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination to the end that no person protected by such law shall, on the grounds of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, familial status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any educational program; or in employment or recruitment, consideration, or selection, thereof, whether full time or part- time, under any education program or activity operated by the district for which it received federal financial assistance.

Any student of Independent District No. 4217 who feels he/she has been discriminated against in violation of the District’s non-discrimination policy may avail himself/herself of filing the grievance with a Staff member or the Human Rights Officer appointed by the TAM School Board.


It is the policy of the Independent School District No. 4217 Board of Education to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from harassment or violence including but not limited to: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, familial status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or disability. It shall be a violation for any student or staff member of the District to harass or inflict violence upon a student or staff member through conduct or communication as defined by this policy.

Harassment constitutes any action that makes another person uncomfortable.  A student will be warned to discontinue behaviors that cause another discomfort; if they should choose to continue they may face suspension.  Vagrant harassment may result in immediate suspension.

CHOICE Technical Academy will act to investigate all complaints, formal or informal, verbal or written, of harassment and to discipline any student or staff member who harasses a student or staff member of Independent School District No. 4217. Complaints should be addressed in oral or written form to any staff member or the School District’s Human Rights Officer.  A complete copy of Policy 413, Harassment and Violence is on file on Technical Academies of Minnesota Website.



“Hazing” means committing an act against a student, or coercing a student to commit an act, that creates a substantial risk of harm to a person, in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization, or for any other purpose.

The term hazing includes, but is not limited to:

Upon receipt of a complaint or report of hazing, ISD 4217 shall investigate the report and take proper action.  Such action may include, but is not limited to, warning, suspension, exclusion, expulsion, transfer, remediation, or discharge.  Disciplinary consequences will be sufficiently severe to deter violations and to appropriately discipline prohibited behavior.  School district action taken for violation of this policy will be consistent with the requirements of applicable statutory authority, including the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, school district policies and regulations.

ISD 4217 will discipline or take appropriate action against any student,teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor, or any other employee who retaliates against any person who makes a report of alleged hazing or testifies, assists, or participates in an investigation or hearing related to such hazing.


The purpose of this policy is to protect the exercise of students' and employees' free speech rights, taking into consideration the educational objectives and responsibilities of the school.  The school recognizes that students and employees have the right to express themselves on school property.  This protection includes the right to distribute, at a reasonable time and place and in a reasonable manner, nonschool-sponsored material.

  1. Students and staff have the right to distribute, at reasonable times and places as set forth in this policy, and in a reasonable manner, nonschool-sponsored material.
  2.  Requests for distribution of nonschool-sponsored material will be reviewed by the staff on a case-by-case basis.  Material that is determined to not represent the students’ best educational interests will be denied.  Refer to the full TAM School Board Policy # 502.


CHOICE Technical Academy supports the state policy of reciting the pledge of allegiance.  Students are able to recite the pledge on Monday for the first five minutes of Advisory. Anyone who does not wish to participate in reciting the pledge of allegiance for any personal reasons may elect not to do so, and students must respect another person’s right to make either choice.


The purpose of this policy is to protect students' rights to free speech in production of official school publications while at the same time balancing the school's role in supervising student publications and the operation of public schools.

Expression in an official school publication is prohibited when the material:

Students who violate the provisions of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action as appropriate.


The school takes seriously all concerns or complaints by students, staff, parents or other persons. The following procedure may be used.

  1. Students, parents, staff or other persons, may report concerns or complaints to the school.  While written reports are encouraged, a complaint may be made orally.  Any staff member receiving a complaint shall advise the appropriate staff team (Personnel, Transportation, Special Education, Technology, Finance, Assessment) of the receipt of the complaint.  The staff team shall make an initial determination as to the seriousness of the complaint and whether the matter should be referred to the Board Chairperson.  A person may file a complaint at any level of the school; i.e. staff, staff team, or the School Board.  However, persons are encouraged to file a complaint at the building level when appropriate.
  2. Depending on the nature or the seriousness of the complaint, the staff team member receiving the complaint shall determine the nature and scope of the investigation or follow up procedures.  If the complaint involves serious allegations, the matter shall promptly be referred to the Board Chairperson who shall determine the nature and the scope of the investigation and designate the person responsible for the investigation or follow up relating to the complaint.  The designated investigator shall ascertain details concerning the status or outcome of the matter.
  3. The appropriate Board Chairperson shall respond in writing to the complaining party concerning the outcome of the investigation or follow up, including any action appropriate or corrective measure that was taken. The Board Chairperson shall be notified on the correspondence and consulted in advance of the written response when appropriate.  The response to the complaining party shall be consistent with the rights of others pursuant to the applicable provisions of Minn, Stat. Ch. 13 or other law.


Independent School District No. 4217 gives notice to parents of students currently in attendance in CHOICE Technical Academy, of their rights regarding pupil records.

Parents and eligible students are hereby informed that they have the following rights:

personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that federal and state law and the regulations promulgated there under authorized disclosures without consent;

Department of Education regarding an alleged failure by the school district to comply with the requirements of 20 U.S.C.1232g, and the rules promulgated there under;

Independent School District No. 4217 has adopted a school board policy in order to comply with state and federal laws regarding education records.  The policy does the following:

"Directory information" may be included in a student directory and may include the following information relating to a student: the student's name; address; telephone number; date and place of birth; major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance; degrees and awards received; the most recent educational agency or institution attended by the student; and other similar information.  "Directory information" does not include identifying information on a student's religion, race, color, social position or nationality.

The information listed above shall be public information that the school may disclose from the education records of a student.  Should the parent of a student or the student so desire, any or all of the listed information will not be disclosed without the parent's or eligible student's prior written consent, except to school officials as provided under federal law.  In order to make any or all of the directory information listed above “private,” the parent or eligible student must make a written request to the student’s advisor within thirty (30) days of receiving this information.


The CHOICE Technical Academy School Board adopted a Crisis Plan, which is on file at CHOICE Technical Academy.  If a crisis should occur, the advisors as soon as feasibly possible will contact parents.  If students are evacuated from the building, they will meet with advisors at the Pillsbury Campus Gym and attendance will be taken. . All students will be expected to stay with the group for safety and security purposes.