Community, Excellence, and a Dash of Sisu

Improving educational opportunities with a model tailored to each student.

Copper Island Academy is a recently authorized charter school in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan.

About the initiative

In August of 2020, many families in the local community expressed interest in revisiting the frequently mentioned idea of opening a charter school in the local community. With a desire to improve educational opportunities for their children and grandchildren, many community members met to discuss the viability of a charter school.

After finding sufficient interest within the local community, a group of investors donated money to initiate the development of a charter application. This website was developed to inform families and interested individuals about the proposed educational model and request feedback and involvement from those interested.

Tuition-free public school

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that must follow the same rules and regulations as regular public schools.

Finnish model of academic excellence

We build upon the successes of the Finnish model of education, incorporating key components to maximize student learning.

Student-centered education

Our goal is to develop well-rounded, empowered students in a collaborative, community-like environment.

Must be authorized

All charter schools must be authorized by a state university, local community college, and ISD, or school district in which the charter school is located.


Copper Island Academy prepares all students for college, work, and life success through the implementation of highly effective Finnish education practices while embracing traditional American ideals.


We will cultivate exceptional lifelong skills, knowledge, and attitudes among all learners. ​

Our Values

At Copper Island Academy, we:

  • Believe that all students can achieve at high levels and ensure that students receive supports and challenges that promote personal and academic growth.

  • Value the strength of our collective community and provide opportunities for teachers, learners, and community members to learn with and from each other.
  • Prioritize the “basics” as a foundation for deeper learning, ensuring that students develop a solid understanding of fundamental concepts from which they can then complete increasingly complex tasks.
  • Promote many different pathways to life success and provide early opportunities for students to learn about and be immersed in these pathways.
  • Provide frequent periods of unstructured play to improve students’ cognitive, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
  • Establish informed, critically evaluative, and engaged citizens with a deep understanding of the foundational values and aspirations of their forefathers.

We embrace the Finnish education model

The Finnish education system is well-known in education. Despite spending far less time in classrooms, Finnish students consistently outperform US students on global assessments.

The Key Tenets of Finnish Education

At Copper Island Academy, we recognize and embrace many of the key tenets of the Finnish education model. Our educational ideals reflect a deep commitment to the excellence and fortitude that are central to Finland’s education system today. The key tenets of Finnish education include:

  • Education is tailored for students with different abilities and experiences. 
  • Student support needs are identified and addressed in early grades.
  • Creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork are prioritized. 
  • Teachers receive 5 years of postsecondary education that involves hands-on experience and educational research. 
  • Professional staff meets twice a month to discuss students, struggles, and develop strategies for moving forward.
  • Professional staff works together to make sure that students’ educational and non-educational needs are met. 
  • With a focus on routine formative assessments at the classroom level, data shared within teams drives instructional strategies and student learning.
  • Higher standards of education allow teachers to have more control over their curriculum and build more individualized learning experiences.
  • Students are given opportunities to take an active role in their learning experiences.