St. Paul alternative education conference set for May 1

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The Neighborhood Learning Community, a collaboration of many different groups, schools, and citizens on the West Side, will host the West Side Learning Conference, Monday, May 1, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. West Siders and other civic leaders will report on the pioneering organizing effort over the last five years that has gained national attention for its success in involving the West Side community in the education of children. The Neighborhood Learning Community is using this conference to help people imagine how neighborhoods can partner with schools, the city and other agencies to engage youth in the Second Shift.

The conference will be keynoted by Dr. Nick Longo, Program Office for Civic Learning at the Kettering Foundation. Many local and state officials are expected to attend.

“The genius of Minnesota’s education was the strong ties between schools and communities,” said Nan Skelton, a leader in this effort who once served as Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education. “Minnesota’s great policy innovations like Community Education and Early Childhood Family Education reflected the tie between education and civic life. This tie has weakened in recent decades, but the Neighborhood Learning Community shows that it can be revived.”

Mayor Coleman, whose Second Shift initiative aims at enlisting community actors in children’s education, noted that the Neighborhood Learning Community serves as a model for the city. “Activating the community to be involved in education is one of my highest priorities,” said Coleman. “It takes a whole community to educate a child. The Neighborhood Learning Community shows that it can be done.”

The confrence will be held at the Drake Building, 60 Plato Blvd. East, St. Paul. For more information, contact Nan Skelton, 612-625-3003

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