Public Hearing on Crosswinds, 2/23

The Crosswinds Task Force of the Perpich Board of Directors will hold a public hearing at 7pm Thursday, 23 February, at Crosswinds Arts & Science School, 600 Weir Dr., Woodbury.

The hearing is open to the public and is for the purpose of taking public comment on future alternatives for the operation of the school.

Crosswinds is a public integration magnet serving St. Paul and the east suburbs with a focus on arts and environmental science. It was created in 1997 by the East Metro Integration District (EMID), now known as Equity Alliance MN. After EMID announced plans to possibly close the school, Perpich Center offered to take over its management and the state legislature conveyed the school to Perpich in 2014.

Perpich community forum

Susan Larson writes…

It has been a long time since we connected as a group. I miss all of you and our time together working to save our schools.

I am reaching out to you now because our schools once again need help and I am hoping you can assist. As you know there have been a great deal of public concerns raised about the Perpich Center for Arts. It has reached a point where I sincerely feel the whole agency is at risk of survival. This would mean not only losing Crosswinds, but also losing the Arts High. As a Perpich Board member I am trying to understand what is happening and to rectify the situation. I humbly apologize for any action or inaction on my part which has contributed to the situation. I am truly sorry for any pain this has caused any of you and hope that we can build upon our past relationships to come together and find a path forward.

Thursday evening the Perpich Board will be hosting a community forum. Your presence and voices are welcome and needed. I hope you can be there and encourage you to invite anyone else you feel may be interested and available. Below is the announcement that was on the Perpich website.

Thank you.

Susan

Perpich community forum

The Perpich Board of Directors will host a community forum 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Crosswinds Arts and Science School, 600 Weir Drive, Woodbury.

The Perpich Board iinvites anyone interested to attend. The goal of this forum is for board members to hear more about everyone’s experience with the Perpich Center, the arts high and Crosswinds. We want to know what is working well, learn about any challenges, and gather ideas and opportunities for the future.

Date: Thursday, June 9, 2016
Location: Crosswinds Arts and Science School, 600 Weir Drive, Woodbury
Time: 6:00-8:30 p.m.

The mission of the Perpich Center is to provide all Minnesota students the opportunity to develop and integrate their artistic and academic abilities to their highest potential.
Concerns about the Perpich Center have been raised in the media and in the state legislature. We want to engage in a dialogue about how we can work together to overcome these concerns and build a strong future for all students. Through open communication and collaboration we believe we can achieve and sustain our mission.

Please attend and share your voice!

Crosswinds Update for Start of School

School starts next week, on Tuesday 9/2! Can you believe it?

The best way to catch up on these and other staff changes at Crosswinds will be to attend the Back To School Night programs on Thursday (8/28, tomorrow!). The program for new students starts at 6pm, returning students are expected at 6:30pm.

Here is a detailed update from Perpich executive director Sue Mackert:

Enrollment

Crosswinds has begun its first year of operation as a part of the Perpich Center. Enrollment is beginning to grow, as expected (and hoped). We currently have 182 students starting school tomorrow, with tours continuing daily. I expect this to continue to be a year of transition as we work to identify the issues affecting students and teacher achievement.

Staffing

Being part of the Perpich Center affords an opportunity for more appropriate staffing at Crosswinds. Changes and/or shifts include:

  • Visual arts teacher Rebecca Bullen has chosen to return to the Arts High School as director of the Media Arts program. Rebecca was on loan last year to Crosswinds to effect a stronger, more varied visual arts program. Jeff Pridie of the Perpich Center staff is serving as the visual arts teacher at Crosswinds. Jeff has 32 years experience as a K-12 visual arts teacher and is former president of Art Educators of Minnesota. He is not a stranger to Crosswinds as he supervised Rebecca last year during her student teaching and outreach assignments. Jeff will also assist with development of the teacher training institute at Crosswinds. He is a superb educator and arts education manager.
  • Anna B. and Chris Mower chose to exercise bumping rights for obtaining full time positions in teaching at Crosswinds. Anna is a licensed English teacher; Chris will be teaching social studies.
  • Science teacher Mark Wackerfuss is taking over responsibilities for external environmental programs, including managing garden activities. A second year teacher and a Woodbury resident, Mark is highly regarded and has many contacts. His father has been a gracious volunteer in pulling weeds and caring for the campus.
  • Leah Larson, a media specialist at Perpich, will be getting the library in shape at Crosswinds and helping teachers with media needs. Leah has helped Crosswinds this past year and comes from strong middle school background.

Student Services

  • The focus on achievement resulted in the addition of Keary Staffold as dean of students and Lisa Quiring, guidance counselor to the Crosswinds team. Both worked previously in the Roseville School District. Lisa, who is a counselor at the Arts High, will assist staff to make certain Crosswinds high school students are taking the courses required for graduation and toward college success. Keary, who is full time and on site at Crosswinds, will work with all issues of student success, including discipline and family/student needs. In addition to Lisa and Keary, three Crosswinds staff members are certified behavioral specialists. Perpich Center has also engaged the services of an external firm for psychological and other needs.
  • Contracts for special education services are nearly complete and will supplement the services provided by teachers and staff already in place for the coming school year. Lynn DeLisi, former assistant principal at Crosswinds is the new associate principal at the perpich Arts High School. She will continue to provided assistance at Crosswinds, when needed.

Leadership

In preparation to meet the stated goals to legislators for the continuation of Crosswinds, Perpich Center is advancing toward establishment of the Teacher Training Institute. Dr. Carla Hines, Crosswinds principal, has been assigned responsibility for developing the Institute and for taking over management of the Perpich Center’s professional development department. She will continue to lead efforts for establishing Crosswinds as a model school of integration. To support her efforts, Antwan Harris, principal of the Perpich Arts High School, will provide day-to-day assistance to Crosswinds. Both serve as members of the Perpich Center leadership team. This type of shared responsibility among two very fine administrators will provide for continued stability of Crosswinds as enrollment grows.

Funding

Crosswinds funding, like all school districts, is based upon enrollment. Currently, enrollment is not sufficient to cover costs. In an innovative move to create a win-win situation for two valuable schools, the state has entered into a lease with Woodbury Leadership Academy (WLA), a K-6 school serving 200 students from similar demographics as Crosswinds. Aside from providing for operational costs, WLA will utilize services of Crosswinds, such as cafeteria services, which will minimize and/or eliminate losses we would otherwise experience from operating such a small school. Staff has been kept in-the-loop on WLA since the opportunity arose and many have offered suggestions for unique partnerships with Crosswinds.

We are looking forward to a great new school year.

Talking Circle, 8/26

JoAnn Ward will lead a Talking Circle assisted by Leslye Taylor. This is for parents and alumni students to share in a safe circle space all that needs to be expressed from our experiences. If there is time, we might envision about what we are moving into together. We’ll have some time to visit together over refreshments as we gather. The Talking Circle will take about three hours, including time to gather at the start and wrap up at the end. Please plan to spend the entire time with us and not just drop in.

Tuesday, August 26
6:30 – 9:30pm
Home of Leslye & Terrance Taylor
433 Woodhill Dr., Roseville, MN 55113

Please RSVP and send any questions to
Leslye at 651-343-8511
leslye@taylormadecreatives.com

MSR: Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive

The second part of Isaac Peterson’s story about Crosswinds was on the front page of the 7/24/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive.”

According to State Representative Carlos Mariani, who fought for Crosswind’s continued independence, a meeting at the school after the end of the session led to those seeking to absorb the school into another district finally agreeing, “‘Okay. We’ll let someone else run the school.’ That’s when the Perpich Center for the Arts stepped up and said, ‘We’ll run the school and we’ll promote integration with it.’”

The marriage of the two schools would seem to make it a perfect match, as Crosswinds is a school that emphasizes the arts, and the Perpich school, by its own nature, has extensive experience in those areas as well. One of Crosswinds’ features is that it boasts probably the most racially and culturally diverse student orchestra in Minnesota.

The story includes extensive quotes from former Crosswinds parents Eric Celeste, Tami Bayne-Kuczmarski, and Dan Larson as well as from Principal Carla Hines.

This story was accompanied by another Peterson story about the efforts of Dan Shulman to get another desegregation lawsuit going in the Twin Cities: “One desegregation lawsuit not enough.”

Shulman maintains that a revival of the original suit is necessary because, almost 20 years after the culmination of the settlement of the first case, “The same conditions that existed when we filed the first case in 1995 have reoccurred almost 20 years later. And they’re worse. That includes segregation of schools, discrimination in terms of suspensions, teacher assignments to schools, misuse of funds that are supposed to be for integration, and the State of Minnesota has approved and knowingly allowed this to occur and they are responsible for fixing it. [We need] to make sure that we desegregate these metropolitan schools.”


MSR: Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt

Isaac Peterson had a story on the front page of the 7/17/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt.” He begins:

Parents and students in the United States scored a major victory 60 years ago in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which decreed an end to school desegregation. More recently, Twin Cities parents and teachers scored another victory in a long and convoluted fight for school integration. That fight also is related to a lawsuit brought over school segregation.

Peterson gives some history of EMID Families and its struggles with the EMID board, then describes the legislative fight of the past two years.

After a sustained, protracted battle to keep the school open, the EMID Families were finally able to enlist the aid of allies in the state legislature. State Representative Carlos Mariani explained that “As the legislature continued to cut funding for K-12 education, school districts were looking for all sorts of ways to be able to capture revenue.

There will be a second part to the story next week covering the merger of Crosswinds with the Perpich Center for Arts Education.


The Deed is Done

We have received word that both Crosswinds and Harambee have officially been transferred to their new homes! Sue Mackert, Director of the Perpich Center for Arts Education, reports that Perpich has received the deed to Crosswinds and Shari Thompson, now of the Roseville Area Schools, reports that ISD 623 now hold the deed to Harambee.

Please make sure to let your friends and neighbors know that Crosswinds and Harambee are open for business, still year round, still welcoming students from across the east metro, still focussed on integration, arts, and science. Help us get the word out!

EMID Families Reunion and Fundraiser, 7/19

Crosswinds and Harambee both have a long future ahead of them thanks to the incredible work of EMID Families and our supporters in the Minnesota legislature. Please join us for this celebration of our accomplishments and chance to return some support to two of our most dedicated supporters: JoAnn Ward and Peter Fischer. Much work still lies ahead as we make our schools the best they can be, so we need to make sure JoAnn and Peter are there to fight for us in the future.

Saturday, July 19, Noon to 2pm
at the home of Eric Celeste & Mary Hess
1993 Lincoln Avenue, Saint Paul

Co-hosted by Carrie Dickson, Lee Ann Fugaban, Susan Mau Larson, Jocelyn Stein, and Leslye Taylor.

Bring your own picnic lunch. We will have a grill and some drinks. We’ll be outside if we can, inside if we must.

We will be accepting donations for Peter and JoAnn at the reunion. If you cannot join us, or would like to use a credit card, please visit Peter and JoAnn’s campaign websites to make a donation:

Pioneer Press: At Crosswinds school in Woodbury, transfer’s complete, work begins

Christophper Magan wrote a story for the Pioneer Press today, “At Crosswinds school in Woodbury, transfer’s complete, work begins.” It describes the final conveyance of Crosswinds to Perpich.

Now Crosswinds is working to rebuild its staff and student enrollment. This year fewer than 175 students are enrolled at the school, which houses sixth- through 10th-graders. That’s fewer than one-third of the 544 students who were there in 2008.

“We are not ready to celebrate yet — there is still work to be done,” said Sue Mackert, Perpich executive director. “I don’t want Crosswinds ever to be in such a situation of instability ever again.”

That means the school will not only have to increase its enrollment, but also demonstrate the long-term value of a voluntary integration program.

Crosswinds Community Partnership, 6/2

Leslye Taylor wants to make sure that all Crosswinds families know they are invited to participate in the Crosswinds Community Partnership (CCP) meeting on Monday 6/2 at 6:30pm. Details in the agenda.

This is the agenda that included our input. This enables us with a time to speak together and look at what is before us voicing all of our perspectives openly. It’s a new beginning building relationship. Don’t hold back who you are, come to the CCP meeting and begin rebuilding our school… let Dr Hines get to know us as we get to know her in shared leadership. I’m really looking forward to these next steps with each of you in our work together.