Community Collaboration helps increase Battle Creek family involvement almost 20%

A new, more collaborative approach has increased family participation in spring conferences held at Battle Creek Middle School in St. Paul. This April, our Spring Conference turnout had a 7% increase from last year and a 19% increase from two years ago. Many programs shared information about opportunities to develop new skills, improve academically and stay physically active during the summer. Continue Reading

St. Paul teachers’ union head advocates ‘solution-driven’ approach to close gaps

St. Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) president Mary Cathryn Ricker spelled out her union’s new proposal, called the “Schools St. Paul Children Deserve” at an Achievement Gap Committee (AGC) forum on October 23. Ricker handed out the proposal at the forum, and explained that it is based on seven core principles, which were developed over the course of a few months by the union and citizen groups in St. Paul. The SPFT has been using the “Schools St. Continue Reading

Grad students oppose potential University of Minnesota and Teach for America partnership

As the University of Minnesota considers a partnership with Teach for America, a group of graduate students from the University’s College of Education and Human Development wrote a No TFA at the U statement. Asking for signatures from their fellow students and the general public, the students posted their statement June 25 on a newly-created blog of the same name.Erin Dyke, one of the eleven graduate students who wrote the statement, sees the University’s proposed partnership with TFA as a “major compromise of the mission and values” of the University’s College of Education and its teacher prep programs. She contrasted the five-week summer training TFA recruits get before becoming classroom teachers with the University’s one year student teacher residency program for their traditional students, and feels that TFA is part of “decimating” job opportunities for traditionally licensed teachers who graduate from programs like the University’s.By June 30, more than 150 students, teachers, and alumni from the University, the Twin Cities, and national education circles have signed the No TFA at the U statement (below). The full page statement ends by calling on the University to overlook any “short-term” financial gains a partnership with TFA could bring, and instead asks the University to say no to what the group calls the “opportunistic, trendy, and short-sighted education ‘reform’” efforts of TFA. Collective Statement Opposing TFA PartnershipWe are writing to collectively voice our concern and opposition to the proposed partnership between the University of Minnesota and Teach for America (TFA). We are surprised that the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) would consider partnering with TFA, given the lack of support on the part of Curriculum and Instruction faculty and many others in CEHD, its decreasing support from the State Board of Education (who denied providing the organization its 45 temporary teaching licenses), and the numerous teacher education scholars whodenounce TFA. With the lack of evidence that TFA actually improves the lives or learning environments of students most vulnerable to exploitation (e.g., urban children/youth of color/poverty), we can only guess that this partnership is primarily one of business.We believe that this partnership offers unearned legitimacy to a significantly flawed and powerful force in education, one which sends underprepared teachers into communities of students already often marginalized by the education system. Continue Reading

School Cafeterias make efforts to buy from local farms

A few school districts in Minnesota have been recognized recently for their efforts in creating healthier, more locally grown meals for school lunches. In March, St. Paul Schools will complete its 18 month pilot program in finding new and innovative ways to create a more local, sustainable and healthy school lunch program. Continue Reading

On his knees, band director pleading to stop SPPS music cuts

“I want to use my body to show how devastating this decision would be. It would be cutting our program off at the knees,” said Chelsea Heights Elementary School band director Dave Perry, on his knees at the St. Paul Public School Board listening session March 26. He added, to enthusiastic applause, “We aren’t worried about losing our jobs, we’re worried about what this is going to do to the kids.”
St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) face a $25 million deficit. Continue Reading