Harvest schools announce ‘the next phase of our journey’

Harvest Prep and Best Academy merge to improve student performance

Harvest Prep
Photo courtesy of HNS

Harvest Network of Schools (HNS), a nationally recognized leader in delivering an excellent, affirming, enriching education through a portfolio of K-8 public charter schools in North Minneapolis, announced on May 23 a series of strategic organizational and structural changes that will take effect July 1, 2018.

Harvest Preparatory School, a K-6 school founded in 1992, and Best Academy, a K-8 school founded in 2008, will merge and operate under a single board of directors. The Mastery School, a K-8 school founded in 2012, will operate under separate management of an independent board of directors while continuing to collaborate with Harvest Prep and Best Academy through a partnership.

The Harvest Network of Schools organization and board of directors, which manages academics, strategy, operations and administration for all three schools, will cease serving as their charter management organization effective July 1, 2018. Each of the schools will now directly provide the services previously contracted through the Harvest Network of Schools.

“Harvest Network of Schools successfully transformed education theory and practice in North Minneapolis during our first 25 years, educating African American scholars at the highest levels,” said Eric Mahmoud, CEO and Founder of Harvest Network of Schools.

“As we pushed our education model to serve more children through growth and replication, several key performance indicators trended downward beginning in 2015.”

Mahmoud says Harvest Network of Schools hired one of the most respected education consulting groups in the nation to identify pressure points that were impacting the Harvest Network of Schools system. “We took the findings and recommendations seriously and are excited to share the next phase of our journey and a return to greatness for the next 25 years.”

Harvest Prep and Best Academy’s sole focus will be improving its student performance model. The academic model is designed to improve academic achievement by exceeding academic performance for low-income and socially disadvantaged students through a high-expectations, no-excuses culture; a rigorous curriculum; highly qualified, effective teachers; and a longer school day and school year.

Best Academy board chair Ezra Hyland states, “Best Academy is thrilled to join forces with Harvest Preparatory School to return our schools to their historical level of educational excellence in North Minneapolis. By streamlining our governance and resources, we can increase our focus on making sure our teachers and scholars have what’s needed in the classroom to deliver on our goals.”

Eric Mahmoud
Eric Mahmoud Photo courtesy of HNS

In the next phase, Eric Mahmoud will continue to provide leadership to the Harvest-Best school consolidation as the new organization journeys toward greatness.

The Mastery School (currently serving grades K-5) will focus on strengthening student performance through its elementary model and by adding sixth grade in the fall of 2018 with a goal of building out its middle school program by the 2020 school year.

“The Mastery School is focused on unleashing an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Margie Soran, chair of the Mastery School board of directors. “We look forward to working with the community and staff to move the school from good to great.”

Eric Mahmoud said, “I believe the consolidation of Harvest Prep and Best Academy, along with its continued partnership with Mastery, will significantly reduce complexity and position the schools for greater success.”


Information and photos provided by HNS