Faribault Educational History is Unique
There probably are not too many communities the size of Faribault that can boast of the variety of schools providing education in the city. There's a little history here and some photos of many of the institutions of learning.
Shattuck -St. Mary's on Faribault's east side actually started in a rented building in downtown Faribault on June 3, 1858. The school moved to their present site when Seabury Hall was completed in 1864. Bishop Henry Whipple was key in getting it and the St. Mary's school for girls established.
In a July 27, 1913 Star Tribune article written by Walter West Faribault was applauded for it's educational opportunities, architectural marvels and beauty. In the article West asserts many visitors to the community had named it "The Athens of the West."
West says, "The city is famed as the location of three great state institutional schools, and three famous schools under the management of (the) Episcopal Church." He goes on to state the city of Faribault, "Is one of the state's oldest known far and wide as one of the most beautiful small cities."
On September 9, 1863 five students attended the first classes held at the Minnesota School for the Deaf in Faribault. In January 1858 the Minnesota Legislature established a residential school for indigent "deaf and dumb" children in Faribault contingent upon receiving 40 acres of land from the city.
In 1863, $1,500 was appropriated to enable the "Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb" to admit deaf children who were wards of the state. The school was granted permanent status in 1864 and the name changed to the "Minnesota Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind." Due to insufficient funding according to their Board of Directors the Blind Department did not open until 1866.
In 1870 the school taught 53 deaf and 14 blind students. It was determined a separation needed to be made so the blind students could receive the attention they deserved.
By 1873 the State Legislature appropriated funds to establish a separate site for the Blind Department. Overall administration would be combined for the schools. In August of that year administrators purchased 97 acres of Alexander Faribault property for $8,500. In the fall of 1874 the separate site was completed.
The Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and the Blind opened in distance learning August 24, 2020 and are scheduled to be in that model through September 18, 2020.
Faribault Bethlehem Academy was started in the fall of 1865 thanks in part to a dying wish of a devoted Catholic mother who wanted her children to receive a Catholic education. The first school building was constructed in 1872 where the present parking lot is located for Bethlehem Academy.
By 1876 the main building was ready with additions to the north in 1899 and south in 1908. In 1885 the school was charted by the State of Minnesota. The first diplomas from the school were handed out that year to five students.
Ground was broken for the new B.A. in 1948 (the present building) it opened in 1949.
School began last week for Faribault Bethlehem Academy and Divine Mercy Catholic School students. They are both conducting in-person learning with an online option available for all students.
The first graduating class of Faribault HIgh School was in 1878. The current building was renovated in 1997. The Junior High sat where the current Rice County Government Services Building is located. It was razed in 1989 and contained a beautiful auditorium.
Faribault Public Schools open in a hybrid model for the Middle and High School students. They each are going to school 2 days and conducting distance learning 3 days each week. In-person everyday learning for K-5 elementary students. Distance learning is also being offered to all students as required by the state.
Sixth graders go to the Middle School 4 days and have a distance learning day each Wednesday.
Discovery Public School in Faribault will be open in a hybrid model with half of students in the grades 6-12 school in the building Monday and Tuesday, half Wednesday and Thursday. Those students in distance learning the other three days of the week.
The Discovery School has been around since 2006 and is a free alternative for families operating separately from the Faribault Public Schools.
South Central College in Faribault offers area students the ability to take college courses while still in high school. The Fall Semester the school has these plans surrounding COVID-19.
- Classes with hands-on components will be able to be held completely on campus or with a combination of on campus and online instruction (hybrid).
- Classes without hands-on components will be held online.