Best of Neighborhood News 03/26/19: a lesson plan for every student

A lesson plan for every studentA $2.6 million initiative is bringing change to classrooms in elementary and middle schools across Minneapolis this fall. Every school in the district will be able to hire “a differentiation specialist – a licensed teacher who will help meet the varying academic needs of students.” The pedagogy of differentiation is that teaching is predicated on student differences, above all else; differentiation is about this need to differentiate instruction effectively. This differentiation initiative is a part of Superintendent Ed Graff’s new academic priorities, which aim to deliver – with a proposed budget totaling $620.6 million – a “sense of stability” to schools and district departments. Eric Moore, a member of the superintendent’s cabinet and interim chief of academics, explained that the differentiation initiative “is really listening to our families that want rigor and positive classroom experiences.”

Learn more, read the full story at Southwest Journal. Hennepin County Attorney unveils data dashboard that allows anyone to track racial disparities and moreHennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced to the county board on March 14 that the prosecutor’s office is set to build newfangled data practices that “promote transparency” and guide “thoughtful decision making.” Such practices, the prosecutor explained, will be made possible through a statistical data dashboard, with easily accessible information that is updated daily and goes as far back as 2014. Continue Reading

Student debt is a problem for everyone

Bring up student loans anywhere near a college campus and you’re sure to get more than a little nervous laughter. Despite their commonality — 61 percent of University of Minnesota students graduated with debt in 2013 — little is known about student loans.  How big are they, really? How many University fees, outside of tuition, are students accountable for? And how are we ever going to get out of debt? When you enroll in college, those answers aren’t easily found.  Minnesota lawmakers have introduced several bills this session that seek to make the answers to these questions more accessible. Continue Reading

Student fees set for an increase

If the fees committee’s initial recommendations stick, student fees will increase by more than $30 each semester.Next year, University of Minnesota students may have to dish out $467 each semester in student services fees — an increase of more than $30 from the current charge.The Student Services Fees Committee on Tuesday released its initial funding recommendations, fulfilling most of about $35.7 million in requests from campus organizations. If those initial recommendations stick, fees for full-time students will increase next school year.“The quantity of requests this year was very high,” said student groups committee Chair Achintya Saurabh, adding that the amount of funding requested was similar to last year. Two separate committees —one for student groups and one for administrative units — allocate funding each year to University campus organizations. The committee responded to administrative units’ requests, which are often larger, on Monday.Though 91 student groups requested funding, the committee only recommended funding 78 groups with nearly $2.5 million.Last year, the committee approved funding for 77 student groups with about $2.1 million.Saurabh said when recommending funds, the committee examined how the groups benefit the wider student community and whether their finances are sound.“We looked at specifically how each student group impacted all students on campus,” he said, “and what is the breadth of the services they provided.”Although worries that some student groups had mishandled funds popped up last year, Saurabh said there wasn’t much concern this year.“As a whole, there was nothing big,” he said.Eight student cultural centers requested a combined total of about $464,000 in funds this year but were recommended only about $324,000.One of these organizations, the Disabled Student Cultural Center, was recommended only $18,751 of its nearly $37,400 request because many of the group’s budget items were unclear, according to SSFC documents.In a trend continued from last year’s fees process, some faith-based student groups didn’t receive their full requests.One example of this was Catholic Students United’s $83,645 request, for which the committee’s initial recommendations offered $32,570. The group received $3,450 in fees last year.Organizations will be able to appeal funding recommendations in public forums Wednesday and Friday. Final funding allocations are due out in spring. [See original article here:] Continue Reading

Photo essay captures bizarre phenomenon of college move-in week

Last week photographer Wendy Schreier witnessed something many college students overlook entirely. Her latest photo essay captures the bizarre phenomenon of move-in week.Originally from Northeast Minneapolis, Schreier moved to the Marcy Holmes neighborhood last April and was astounded by just how much furniture, clothing and general household items littered the streets and curbsides last week as University of Minnesota students moved into their new homes.“It was just a funny transition to see because I grew up in Northeast and lived in Roseville for a really long time,” Shreier said. “And unless you live in this neighborhood you don’t know that this happens, and it’s crazy. The whole neighborhood moved at once.”Schreier said she became frustrated with how much seemed to be going to waste despite seeing several signs for university programs aimed at recycling old furniture and reusable household items. So, she set out on foot and documented the discarded couches, mattresses and televisions in a photo essay she titled Left Behind – A neighborhood moves.But not all those items went to the dump.Last year, Pack & Give Back recycled almost 70,000 pounds of household items from students living on and around campus, said sustainability coordinator for University Services Stacey White. The University of Minnesota program, which works with the city of Minneapolis, collects reusable household items in Marcy Holmes, Southeast Como, Prospect Park and Cedar-Riverside neighborhoods, and then redistributes them for free to students who can use them.The program collects the discarded items before the city collects its trash, White said, but not all the items can be used. Continue Reading