From uniforms to academics and culture, open house answers questions of students and parents.
“Do I have to wear my uniform?” asked 6 year old Penny Yang as she walked alongside her mother and siblings towards the entrance of Community School of Excellence. Yes, you will, but not quite yet. On the evening of Wednesday June 20th, Community School of Excellence (CSE) hosted its first open house. Even before the 5:30pm start-time, children, parents, and community members crowded the school entrances to sign-in and fill the auditorium.
Inside the auditorium, tables adorned with exotic table-runners and orchids lined the room. Smile-clad CSE faculty and board members walked the room to greet and welcome guests. The atmosphere seemed more like that of a festive event, a celebration, rather than a usual school function. Children talked gleefully with their new acquaintances, and colleagues chatted amongst themselves. The realism of the educational purpose of the evening, however, was more than evident. Visible to all attendees was the large projector screen that read, “Community School of Excellence: Academics, Culture, Community, Global Connection.”
To begin the evening, Mo Chang, Executive Director/Principal, approached the microphone and explained that the purpose of the evening was to learn about CSE as parents and as a community. So what was CSE all about? Chang shared the process of innovating CSE and revealed the question that she found essential when she surveyed the community before the launch of CSE: “What is your dream school?” An individual who spent 21 years of her career devoted to education, she explained that she saw a dilemma that hung over the Hmong community; children were losing their Hmong language and culture. Parents who approached her were in dire need of a solution. CSE was her hopeful solution to that dilemma.
CSE, a Hmong language and culture focus school, was created with the intention to offer education in more ways than one. CSE is expected to house a host of programs, both for students and the community, to develop individuals in academics and their personal lives. Unlike many schools which have a six-hour school day, CSE will have an 8-hour day. Chang explained that the extra hours would allow students time allotted to the study of Hmong language and culture, as well as homework help and reading. After Chang’s introductory presentation Saint Paul Concordia University’s President Robert Holst, a CSE institution sponsor, stepped up to the microphone and summarized Chang’s vision best when he confidently clutched a piece of paper which contained CSE’s daily agenda in his hand, held it before his audience, and stated, “this is not just a schedule; it’s a charter for excellence.”
The open house evening at CSE delivered passionate speakers, staff meet-and-greets, classroom tours, dinner, and entertainment. Overall, about 400 guests attended CSE’s first open house. Others who are interested in learning more about CSE can find CSE opening day at the Como Park 27th Annual Sports Tournament. On Saturday, June 30th, CSE will be at a booth to give out information, as well as free balloons to kids. There will be a tour of the school on Sunday, July 1st from 10am to noon. Lunch will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend. In addition, CSE will hold tours and information meetings every Tuesday from 3pm to 4:30 on site. CSE is located at 1330 Blair Avenue North. For more information, please contact Mo Chang at 651-917-0073 or visit Community School of Excellence’s website at www.communityschoolofexcellence.org.