Kim Ellison

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North Mpls targeted for new early learning center

Partnerships formed to better prepare more kids for kindergarten 

By Charles Hallman 
Staff Writer 
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and University of Minnesota officials point out that additional slots for early childhood learning, especially on Minneapolis’ North Side, are needed more than ever because the number of children and families are increasing. U of M Educational Psychology Professor Scott McConnell told the MSR last week that last year, after the state legislature allocated funds for early children education and “promised to focus on high-poverty communities,” he and another faculty member looked into North Minneapolis. “Literally on the back of an envelope, we pulled together Census information and information from the State licensing board on early childhood and calculated roughly how many kids live in [zip codes] 55411 and 55412 and how many spaces there are,” he recalled. “We found that they are about 1,000 [preschool] spots short. There’s a gap between what we think is the number of children that might be eligible for high-quality early childhood education and those who might [attend these programs].”
Minneapolis School Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson added that her district and the university long have worked together on improving public education. Continue Reading →

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Black Minnesotans lobby at the State Capitol

 
Can the new ‘Black agenda’ move the community forward? 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

There was nothing new revealed last week during the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Lobby Day at the State Capitol presenting their Black agenda to this year’s Minnesota Legislature. Billed as “Black Minnesotans Helping Move Minnesota Forward,” around 50 people listened on March 19 at the Capitol Rotunda to over 20 scheduled speakers before many of them visited legislators’ offices. “The last two years there was a collective group that sat on this African American lobby day, and this place was filled,” noted Rev. Jerry McAfee, who added that the COBM “didn’t reach out to anybody else. If this is about Black Minnesotans, why are you leaving Black folk out?”

Although McAfee didn’t blame the council’s new executive director, Edward McDonald, for the seemingly solo effort in planning last week’s event, the longtime pastor nonetheless added, “Some of the people around him on the council knew about it, and they should’ve said, ‘We will be stronger if we put everybody in together.’”

McDonald was hired and assumed the COBM executive duties last October. “Whether we like them [organizations that represent Blacks] or don’t like them, every African American group should have been a part of this, and there should have been meetings prior to this so that there could [be] one agenda. Continue Reading →

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Racial Equity Report Card and legislative agenda announced

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) called January 30 for a statewide racial equity agenda. It was introduced along with the organization’s seventh annual Racial Equity Report Card during a rally at the State Capitol. “This agenda is not controversial but rather a multiracial and multi-issue group of community leaders working for racial, cultural and economic justice,“ said Phyllis Hill of ISAIAH, one of the 50-plus organizations that support the OAP’s plan. “I think we can turn our state around,” she believes, if more attention is given to such important issues as health care, education, economic opportunities, housing and justice issues as they affect Blacks and other people of color. Such an agenda is important now more than ever, noted Minneapolis School Board Member Kim Ellison. Continue Reading →

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School board member commits to focusing on achievement gap

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

 
Second priority: effective school leadership

 

After years of being an advocate for her own children as well as the children of others, Kim Ellison took “the next step” earlier this year when she applied and later was named a Minneapolis School Board member to finish up former board member Lydia Lee’s remaining term. “It gave me the opportunity to sit in the position where I could…listen to how are we affecting [parents and children],” recalls Ellison, who ran unopposed and was elected to her first official term in the November general elections. On being a first-time elected official, “I am looking forward to it,” continues Ellison. She doesn’t see herself as an incumbent despite having been a board member since January of this year. As a result, she is eager to participate in the new-member orientation this coming January. Continue Reading →

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Women ADVANCE to take the lead

 

 
A primarily Black Urban Women’s Movement is officially launched
 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Contributing Writer

 

On Saturday, January 21, approximately 200 people — overwhelmingly women, predominantly African American, with a sprinkling of men such as U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison — met for the Urban Women’s Movement kickoff. Leadership in the Twin Cities, even within communities of color, has been predominantly male. The Urban Women’s Movement seeks to change that dynamic. The movement came about after a discussion between the president of the movement, Lissa Jones, host of KMOJ’s “Urban Agenda,” and Trayshana Thomas, co-chair of the event and formerly of Rep. Keith Ellison’s office, about the fact that there are no local or state-level politicians who are addressing issues of urban communities. The mission of the Urban Women’s Movement is to begin engaging women in the political process well before entering a voting booth, “so that we are shaping the ballot rather than responding to it,” Jones said. Continue Reading →

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Educators urged to partner with families

  

North High hosted top national expert on
community engagement
   
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A productive school involves effective family and community partnerships, a leading community engagement expert said last week at North High School. Although there was little family involvement in this event, some hope the educators present will spread the word that such partnerships are essential to student success. “She is the number-one reference” in the nation for community involvement research, said Center for School Change Director Joe Nathan of Dr. Joyce Epstein, the director of the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. A program of Macalester College, the Center for School Change and Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) co-sponsored a November 10 two-hour evening event attended by nearly 300 educators and other professionals. Family involvement is important “for students to do better in school,” said Epstein. Continue Reading →

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