Minneapolis Public Schools

Recent Articles

MPS settles lawsuit, establishes fund to compensate students

Classes taught by unlicensed teachers led some to lose required credits
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) will establish a compensatory fund for former Broadway High School students to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against the district in 2012. The Minneapolis School Board voted to approve the settlement during its September 10 meeting. Broadway is a Minneapolis alternative high school that serves pregnant and parenting teens, and also provides free child care and other support services. In an exclusive interview with the MSR last week at the

Davis Center, MPS officials said that ongoing discussions between the district and the plaintiffs began last November, and in July they reached a preliminary settlement agreement. “The district always had the position that we wanted to do what was best for the students, and we wanted to make sure that we could provide the opportunity that was in the best interest of these students,” explained MPS Assistant General Counsel Cedrick Frazier. Continue Reading →

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Mpls. Board of Education Director Hussein Samatar dies at age 45

 

 

 

On Sunday, August 25, influential Somali business leader and groundbreaking Minneapolis Board of Education Director Hussein Samatar died of complications from leukemia. He was 45. In 2010, Samatar became the first Somali-American ever elected to public office in Minnesota when he won a seat on the Minneapolis Board of Education. Samatar served on the audit, finance and teaching and learning committees. A native of Somalia, Samatar provided a strong voice for all MPS students, especially immigrant students and children of immigrant parents. Continue Reading →

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Run & Shoot League ‘catches’ kids to grow future leaders

 

 

 

The idea for the Run & Shoot High School Basketball League came about three years ago, says its founder-director. He didn’t know at the time where it would lead. When Dunwoody Academy moved into North High’s building in 2010, Minneapolis Public Schools ruled that two high school sports programs couldn’t run out of the same location. “But we still had a lot of kids at the school who wanted to play [basketball],” recalls Jamil Jackson, then the school’s boys’ JV coach. As a result, he assembled a traveling team to play in local and regional AAU and youth basketball tournaments. Continue Reading →

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MPS Black student suspensions twice state average

 

 

The district aims for more consistent discipline among schools, teachers
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) data from the last two school years, the suspension rates of Black students in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) are twice that of Black students suspended statewide. Additionally, more Black students were suspended in 2011-12 (4,336) than in 2010-11 (4,305). However, a Minneapolis teacher who spoke on the condition of anonymity believes that the district suspension numbers at some schools are “deliberately manipulated. “They will have an all-out bloody fight between a first grader and a third grader, and [school officials] don’t want the kids suspended,” observed the teacher. “What I’m seeing is there is no black-or-white spelled-out policy for infractions that leads to suspensions. Continue Reading →

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Hiring, retaining more teachers of color urged by MPS superintendent

 

 
Some see ‘bold leadership’ in her proposals prior to union negotiations

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Dr. Bernadeia Johnson is asking the community to support her new district priorities that “will be a significant, real and challenging shift for our schools and students.”

A key component of this shift that Johnson impassionedly unveiled May 13 at Hennepin Country Central Library in downtown Minneapolis is establishing “an innovative partnership zone.”

“Schools will own critical decisions, like hiring the people that best match the needs of students,” explained Johnson, who noted that separate contracts will be arranged with the teachers at these schools, which the district will identify during the 2013-14 school year and begin implementing in 2014-15. Other key components include:

• Recruiting and hiring more Black teachers and other teachers of color: “Our youth must see themselves reflected in the adults who are working with them on a daily basis,” Johnson said. “We need more quality teachers and staff members who look like the students they serve.”

• Extending the school day, and partnering with local businesses and community groups “for extended and wrap-around services… We want our schools to become community hubs that are open to learners of all ages and whose lives call for educational opportunities beyond the school day…” stated Johnson. Northside Achievement Zone head Sondra Samuels and Harvest Prep School President Eric Mahmoud were among the estimated 250 persons who attended the May 13 invitation-only meeting. Both spoke approvingly of Johnson’s plans after the presentation. Continue Reading →

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Suburban Black student suspensions show little improvement in 2010-12

 
In some cases, the disproportionately high rates are growing worse
 
 

 

Second in a series
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In last week’s edition, the MSR reviewed 2009 suspension data from several suburban schools showing, as the story headline stated, that “Black suspensions [are] more than double other students’ in suburban schools.” The MSR also reviewed the 2010-11 and 2011-12 discipline data from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to determine if schools have improved since 2009. According to the most recently available MDE data, the extremely disproportionate Black student suspension rates in several Minneapolis suburban schools have not significantly improved over the course of the last two school years, and in several cases have grown considerably worse, despite statements from many districts that they have programs in place to reduce the rates. The MSR examined MDE disciplinary action counts from 13 school districts. Following are specifics from four districts.  

Hopkins

Fifty-seven percent of 2010-12 suspensions (580 of 1,010) in Hopkins junior high and high schools were Black students, an 11 percent increase from 2009. Continue Reading →

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Does Minnesota need a ‘13th’ grade?

 

 

By Donald Allen

Contributing Writer

 

The Minnesota House of Representatives have enacted a bill attempting to establish a “13th” grade pilot project based in north Minneapolis. The bill, H.F. 1149 is part of an education and employability solution for young adults who are unemployed, underemployed and not enrolled in postsecondary education. Co-authored by Senators Jeff Hayden (D-SD 62), Bobby Joe Champion (D-SD 59), Representatives Ray Dehn (D-HD 59B) and Will Morgan (D-SD 56B), the bill is said to potentially impact over 3,000 young adults ages 18-26, placing them on college and career pathways by 2015. It states the commissioner of education shall develop a one-year 13th-grade pilot project, with one site being operated by the Minneapolis Urban League. The “13th” grade proposal is problematic because a one-year pilot program is expected to eradicate generations of educational failures in poor minority communities and the parties involved seem not to understand Minnesota’s employability issues and current status of K-12 education [if any] in the Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading →

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Northside hoops league starts teaching the game young

 

 

 

 

While the NBA and NHL playoffs are well underway, the NABA is winding down its regular season. The North Area Basketball Association (NABA) has been playing Saturday morning games at North High School since late March. The spring league features up to 90 boys and girls in grades K-4, learning how to play the game the right way. “I learned how to shoot a left hand lay-up and how to dribble,” said eight-year-old Elisiah Robinson. However, his mother, Vanessa Petty, says her son is a regular participant because of the socialization skills he’s learning as well. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis Public Schools brings on new head of athletics

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Minneapolis City Conference once was considered the jewel of high school conferences around the state.  Unfortunately, various factors over the years have contributed to its slowly decreasing luster. The new MPS athletic director would like to bring that lost luster back. “Once the job was open and I went through the formal application process and the interviews, I just felt like being a part of an athletic structure like this would be a right place to be,” said new Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Athletic Director Trent Tucker. He succeeds John Washington, who retired last fall. MPS has “a rich tradition,” Tucker said in a recent interview with the MSR. “There are so many things that are positive. Continue Reading →

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We must produce the schools Minneapolis needs

 

 

By Bernadeia H. Johnson, Ed.D.

Guest Commentator

 

Our world has been changing at a pace that most of us struggle to comprehend. It is full of products and services that simply did not exist a few years ago. We now engage one another through video calls and instant messages and social media. We shop from our laptop and bank through our smart phone. We expect the information we want to be available when we want it. Continue Reading →

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