MPS

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Interim MPS super says this is no time to ‘play scared’

Michael Goar (r) with Michael Walker, director of MPS Office of Black Male Achievement.

If the Minneapolis School Board approves it, Interim Superintendent Michael Goar plans to “right size” the district. “What we are proposing are the things that I will be focusing on as superintendent for the next four months,” says Goar, who was named Bernadeia Johnson’s interim successor in December and assumed his new duties Feb. 2.
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MPS curtails suspensions

‘Reverse racism’ used to combat discipline bias
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 
Since this story was published, Minneapolis Public Schools has emailed the following statement:

In regards to the article posted on Dr. Johnson’s recent announcement to reduce the disproportionality of nonviolent suspensions between black and brown students and their white peers,  Dr. Johnson has not lifted the moratorium on nonviolent suspensions for students in grades pre-kindergarten through first grade. This moratorium began in September, and continues to remain in place. Dr. Johnson also did not communicate that she would not consider extending the moratorium to other grades. The option to extend it to other grades is still under consideration. In fact, she specifically announced that she challenged all schools to work to reduce nonviolent suspensions for all students. Continue Reading →

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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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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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Financial aid workshops, free ACT exams to boost college applications

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is sending a strong message to students, families, staff members and the community that we believe it is imperative that all students be prepared for college, career and life. Providing more students with the right preparation will advance our whole nation. We know that when college is affordable, the chances of college completion increase. Each year hundreds of MPS students fail to get federal college aid because of difficulties completing the required Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These students are 70 percent less likely to apply to college. Continue Reading →

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Poor MPS test scores show leadership’s lack of commitment to students

 

“We exist to ensure that all students learn” is the mission of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson states on the MPS website that she believes “more strongly than ever that our top priorities lie in narrowing the achievement gap and offering all of our students a high-quality education that prepares them for college or a career.”

All of this sounds great, but by the time you get through reading this column you will realize that those are just empty words. In this column I will discuss the 2011-2012 MPS test results. These results have been swept under the rug by the so called “Leadership Council” and their representatives. In 2010, when the NAACP called for parents to remove their kids from Minneapolis Public Schools some people thought that they were going overboard. 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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Minneapolis: A Tale of Two Cities

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A new Minneapolis Foundation report claims that racial disparities and other factors have essentially changed Minneapolis into “two cities” — one for the haves and another for the have-nots. “What are we going to do?” Foundation Vice President Karen Kelley-Ariwoola asked as she recently discussed the findings of the 60-page “OneMinneapolis” report released in October. Co-authored with the Wilder Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation report selected 24 community indicators that reflect the city’s educational, economic and social environment. It sketched “a portrait of the Minneapolis landscape” and found disparities in such areas as education, children and youth, and economic vitality. The report’s “Points of Concern” include:

• 83 percent of the jobs in Minneapolis are held by Whites. Continue Reading →

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