A School Built On A Commitment To A Globally Minded Education
In the early 2000s, a small group of parents from the Forest Lake area began discussions about creating an elementary school that could contribute to the world community with bilingual graduates worthy of the International Baccalaureate credentials. A lofty goal? Perhaps. But not unattainable for these determined, frugal, and visionary individuals. They formed an Interim Board of Directors that founded Lakes International Language Academy as a public charter school, specifically choosing not to identify “Spanish” in the school name so that perhaps one day we might include another language of study.
Today, we're so much closer to the dream than we ever could have imagined in 2004, when Lakes International Language Academy first opened. We've added a preschool, Kinder Prep, with a language-infused curriculum for ages 3 and 4. In 2015, we opened our Upper School and expanded to include grades 7 and 8. Grades 9-12 followed the next year school year. We received the International Baccalaureate accreditation for the Middle Years Programme (grades 6-10) in 2018 and soon followed with IB authorization for the prestigious Diploma Programme for grades 11 and 12 as well. Now we're one of fewer than five schools in the entire upper Midwest to offer IB from preschool through high school!
Today, LILA operates two spectacular campuses: the Main Campus, which houses the Lower School and features a full-size gymnasium and stage as well as a stunning library and computer lab paid for with grant monies. The Annex at the Main Campus is across the street. The Headwaters Campus, near the Forest Lake library and YMCA, houses the Upper School and features flexible performance and study spaces as well as upgraded WiFi. We offer both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language immersion for PreK-5. At the Upper School, students can choose immersion Spanish and Mandarin Chinese courses or try Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and French (great for students joining LILA from other districts with no previous second-language experience).
In 2015, we introduced our first-ever mascot. Look for LILA Dragons representing our school's after-school clubs, sports, and academic activities here and around the world. LILA encourages travel abroad, and many of our Upper School students have participated in study-abroad opportunities. For example, we have a student exchange program with CASVI International School in Madrid, Spain, and Spring Break trips to other nations. We also provide a scrip-based personal fund-raising program to help families begin saving for travel experiences as early as kindergarten!
LILA's progress continues with steady leadership, parent and teacher support, student enthusiasm, and big dreams!