The Minneapolis Public Schools began the new school year with a resounding bang at the fourth annual Back to School Rally August 30 on Boom Island.
“We Are Family,” was the theme of the event, which Catherine Jordan, Executive Director of Achieve Minneapolis, reminded the crowd gathered in the park. “We [the Minneapolis Public Schools] want everyone to be successful. Every child can learn. Every child is smart. Every parent is smart,” said Jordan.
Families received various school supplies including notebooks, pencils, crayons, and an alarm clock. Families waited patiently in long lines for the popular black-and-white backpacks and kids wore the backpacks proudly all afternoon. Smaller colorful backpacks were also given away to preschoolers.
Careisha, a seventh-grader at Sheridan, said, “It’s hot; I’m happy. I got a backpack. I’m looking forward to school, to getting good grades and to see my friends.” She poses here with her sister.
Community agencies were on hand to provide information to families about services and extracurricular activities available. For example, agencies providing free tutoring for children were present, as well as others such as Big Brother Big Sisters, Camp Fire, and the YMCA.
Sixth grader Julie poses with her younger brother, Jack, who said he was looking forward to school starting.
Families with preschoolers played together in the Tot Lot, new this year, while older kids participated in games for prizes. A school band performed and a drill team thrilled the audience with rhythmic movements and drumming.
Face-painting was a popular activity at the picnic.
Minneapolis Public Schools will roll out a Strategic Plan later in the fall. “We are currently gathering information in the form of parent surveys, staff survey and focus groups that will guide the committee in establishing systematic goals for the District. The Strategic Plan will also include an accountability system as well,” said Fair.
All photos by Jennifer Holder.