FEATURED IN TIME MAGAZINE: Northwest Angle One-Room Public School

Northwest AngleMinn., is a community that defies the odds. It is the only place in the United States besides Alaska that sits north of the 49th parallel, the geographic border which divides the U.S. from Canada. The land includes several islands, and residents must travel by boat in the summer, or by snowmobiles or cars on ice in the winter.

The area is also home to the last one-room public school in Minnesota—The Angle Inlet School, which enrolls nine children who commute there by boat, ATV, sled or car from across the community’s islands and the mainland.

Linda LaMie, a former customs official, has taught at the school for more than 30 years. When traveling is too difficult, she says, she sometimes sleeps at the school. She once lived in the building for nearly a month.

“In the winter the commute is actually the easiest – I go by snowmobile,” says LaMie. “It just gets cold. Minus 20 isn’t uncommon. In the spring though, everything melts and this is marshland. The commute gets much harder during those times of the year.”

The education at the schoolhouse is more independent and self-directed than at other public schools, says LaMie. Students are given all their assignments at the beginning of the day, which they can work on in any order. Students of all different ages share the same space, and older students help the younger children.

Tyson McKeever, a 9-year-old third grader, attends the school with his sister, 7-year-old first grader Andie McKeever.

“Of course I like my school, it’s unique. You don’t get lost in the shuffle,” Tyson McKeever says.

His mother, Lisa McKeever, says that she appreciates that the school has a low student-to-teacher ratio. She points out that there is another school two hours away, but she is concerned that the long commute wouldn’t give them enough time to participate in activities, or to make friends.

“It’s a great place to raise kids, but you always worry — are they missing out?” says McKeever.

 

 

the goulet family

he Goulet family dresses in warm winter clothes before heading outside to play. The Goulet family has eight children, and operate the Angle Outpost Resort in Angle Inlet, offering lodges and outdoor activities such as ice fishing and hunting. They all have attended or are attending the Angle Inlet School. Sarah Blesener for TIME

students-at-the-angle-inlet-school

Students at the Angle Inlet School take a break after sledding outside. Sarah Blesener for TIME

 

Angle Ladies Adventure Society

Ava McKeever, Andie McKeever, Iris Knight, Adley Goulet and Emma Goulet stand for a portrait during a weekly “Angle Ladies Adventure Society” in the workshop outside of Sara McGoon, the group leader’s home. Sarah Blesener for TIME

 

Students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the Angle Inlet School

Students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the Angle Inlet School. The school offers personalized studies for the students, allowing the students to structure their own schedule and studies for the day. The Angle Inlet School teaches grades 1-6 for the 100-or so population of the area. Sarah Blesener for TIME

 

The Goulet children

LEFT-Adley Goulet climbs a tree while placing bird feeders around the neighborhood as part of a weekly “Angle Ladies Adventure Society” meeting. Sarah Blesener for TIME RIGHT-The Goulet children play outside in their backyard, which is currently a frozen-over marina. The Goulet family has eight children, and operate the Angle Outpost Resort in Angle Inlet. Sarah Blesener for TIME

 

 

Linda LaMie

Linda LaMie commutes to school at 6:30 in the morning, in -20 degree weather, and has been the teacher at the one room schoolhouse in Angle Inlet for over thirty years. Sarah Blesener for TIME

 

Want to visit the Northwest Angle for yourself get more info here.

 

 

The story originated in TIME.By Tara Law | Photographs by Sarah Blesener for TIME

March 14, 2019

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