St. Paul Gives Notice to EMID

Both the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are reporting that the St. Paul Public School Board has served EMID with notice of its intent to withdraw from the integration collaborative. Rehab Feshir writes for MPR: “St. Paul school board votes to leave integration district.”

In a statement released after the vote, the board cited changes EMID has implemented, including dropping Harambee and Crosswinds, as reasons for its intent to withdraw by the beginning of the next school year.

Doesn’t it seem amazing that the SPPS board, which worked so hard to kill Harambee and Crosswinds, would now site the departure of those schools from EMID as its reason for leaving the collaborative?

Anthony Lonetree posts for the Star Tribune: “St. Paul schools to leave integration district.”

The departure from the East Metro Integration District (EMID) takes effect after the 2015-16 school year, according to action taken by the school board at a special meeting Tuesday.

The one-year countdown starts ticking now.

UPDATE:

Star Tribune: Big Challenges

An article in the Star Tribune by Kim McGuire and Erin Adler declares: “Twin Cities integration districts, their schools ready for big changes.”

The West Metro Education Program and the East Metro Integration District (EMID), two special integration districts that serve the Twin Cities, are both facing big changes as inner-ring suburbs grow increasingly diverse and the school districts they serve rely less on them to achieve racial balance.

The article quotes both Kathy Griebel, principal at Harambee, and Eric Celeste, an EMID Families organizer, along with parents and administrators from WMEP schools. WMEP is considering conveying its schools to two separate entities, similar to the outcome at EMID last year.

West St Paul leaving EMID?

Erin Adler at the Star Tribune reports that “West St. Paul district signals intent to withdraw from EMID.” Many of us believed that without its schools, the East Metro Integration District would unravel. This process seems to be getting underway. Adler writes:

With EMID, “Collaboration is probably the biggest advantage,” said Jean Lubke, EMID’s executive director. “You can do more things if you’re larger than if you’re smaller.”

But West St. Paul administrators believe the cost of belonging outweighs the benefits, and that the district could provide some of its services in-house. The district might also independently partner with other districts and buy services — AVID training or artist-in-residence programs — themselves.

Approving the resolution doesn’t mean they are withdrawing immediately, said Superintendent Nancy Allen-Mastro, but “this puts us into an exploration phase.” In a year, board members will make a final decision, effective July 2016.

Crosswinds and Harambee Get Legislative OK

60 years after the landmark ruling in Brown v Board of Education, we celebrate the success of our three-year collaboration between families, two school districts, and Minnesota House and Senate members which has culminated in a vote enabling both Crosswinds and Harambee to stay open.

Language included as part of bonding and finance bills passed last night (5/16/2014) grants final approval of the transfer of the schools to other districts while maintaining their integration mission. We anticipate that Governor Dayton will sign the bills soon. Harambee Community Cultures/Environmental Science Elementary, a K-6 school in Maplewood, will become a permanent member of ISD 623, Roseville Area Schools. Crosswinds School of Arts and Sciences, a 6-10 middle school in Woodbury, will join with Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Each of the schools has been operated by these respective districts for the past school year, under a temporary one-year management agreement with the East Metro Integration District 6067 (EMID). EMID had determined in 2013 that it no longer wanted to operate the schools, and would instead focus more on interdistrict support for integration programs and efforts. After the legislature failed to convey the schools last year, Roseville and Perpich were awarded the management agreements for this past transition year, based largely on their commitment to keep to the original integration mission of the schools.

“This is a great outcome” says Troy Stein, a parent of students at both EMID schools. “These schools are unique, with their model of successful voluntary integration, and their accessibility to kids from all over the entire east metro region. This is one of those stories where the legislature, the leadership of all the districts involved, the staff at the schools, and the families of the kids, will all be able to look back and say, ‘We did a wonderful thing!’”.

Partnering with families in this effort this year include EMID Director Jean Lubke, Superintendent of Roseville Area Schools John Thein, Director of Perpich Center for Arts Education Sue Mackert, House authors Representatives Joann Ward and Peter Fischer, and Senate authors Senators Chuck Wiger and Kevin Dahl along with countless other legislators, families, and friends.

Harambee (grades K-6) and Crosswinds (grades 6-10) remain open for enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year to students from the East Metro area. There is no cost and transportation is provided from some areas. For more information, see their respective websites at www.isd623.org and www.crosswindsmn.org.

UPDATE: Here is an EMID Families press release about this legislative milestone.

Crosswinds Bill Passes Senate E12 Division, 3/18

This morning SF530, the bill conveying Crosswinds to Perpich, was the first item on the agenda of the E12 Division of the Senate Finance Committee. The bill was presented by its author, Sen. Dahle, and amended to take care of some finance and transportation issues. Great news: the bill made it over this very important hurdle!

Tom Melcher, of the Minnesota Department of Education, explained that one of the amendments just ensured that districts whose students attend Crosswinds did not get to charge the state for their “declining enrollment” in these cases. This effectively makes the future under Perpich similar to the past under EMID, when districts could also not make such charges to the state. With regard to transportation, the new language clarifies that Perpich will be able to seek integration funding for transportation as long as it files integration plans with MDE, again similar to the transportation situation under EMID. Though the final “fiscal note” was not yet complete, Melcher anticipated that it would show SF530 provides a net benefit to the state, rather than a net cost.

Testimony proceeded from Dr. Jean Lubke (Executive Director of EMID), Kitty Gogins (Chair of the EMID Board), Sue Mackert (Executive Director of Perpich), Dr. Carla Hines (Principal at Crosswinds), Kai’li Taylor (Crosswinds 9th grader), Eric Celeste (former Crosswinds parent), and Mike Boguszewski (former Crosswinds parent). Many other parents and students surrounded the final three testifiers to show the committee the strength of our support, and written testimony was also provided from many of you.

With very little discussion, the E12 Division voted to “lay over” the bill with Chair Wiger for inclusion in the Senate Finance omnibus. This is very good news. Sen. Wiger gave a supportive little talk after the vote. This leaves the future of SF530 very much in his hands and the hands of the Senate Finance Chair, Sen. Dick Cohen. Of course, this is the legislature, so other complications may arise.

Thank you to all of you who have helped us get so far on this road. Today was a big step, only possible due to your actions over the past few years. At this point we need to thank our supporters, please help us by sending kind notes to:

And you may also want to send a note asking for support for SF530 from Sen. Dick Cohen as Chair of the Senate Finance committee.

Crosswinds Hearing with Senate E12 Finance, Tuesday 3/18

SF530, the bill to convey Crosswinds to Perpich, is scheduled for another hearing the the Minnesota Senate tomorrow. This time the bill will be heard by the E12 Division of the Senate Finance Committee in Room 112 of the Capitol, Tuesday, March 18, 8:30-11am. Join us at the capitol if you can!

Please visit our Contacting Your Representatives page for more details on how to ask your own senator to support SF530.

Crosswinds Hearing in the Senate, Thursday 3/6

Exciting news for all of us who waited through the whole 2013 session without a hearing in the MN Senate, this year we are getting our first Senate hearing right up front! Join us in Room 112 of the Capitol, Thursday, March 6, Noon-2:30pm for a hearing of the Senate Education Committee on SF530, the bill to convey Crosswinds to Perpich.

If you can’t be at the hearing, then please consider writing a testimony for the conveyance of Crosswinds to Perpich. We have a packet of testimony (PDF) from parents to the House last year that might provide some inspiration. Just send your testimony to testimony@emidfamilies.org by Tuesday 3/4, and we will make sure it gets to the committee. Visit our Contacting Your Representatives page for more details.

Sue Mackert, Executive Director of Perpich, will join us at our EMID Families meeting on Sunday (3/2, 3pm, Rondo Library, Saint Paul) to fill us in on plans for the legislative session.

Bulletin: South Washington County School Board shows interest in acquiring Crosswinds school in Woodbury

Judy Spooner writes in the The South Washington County Bulletin: “South Washington County School Board shows interest in acquiring Crosswinds school in Woodbury.” She filled in background to a discussion that took place at the 8 November South Washington County School Board meeting.

Although early in discussions, board members said last week they see that the Crosswinds building could become a fifth District 833 middle school. Should South Washington County Schools acquire the building, it would occur over a two-year period. …

The school, built in 2003 to house 600 students, currently has 350 students and is in “beautiful condition,” [Superintendent] Jacobus said, but District 833 would have to alter the school’s model, probably to a middle school.

It could also be a school for grades 6-12, District 833 School Board Chairwoman Leslee Boyd said.

Crosswinds, which operates on a year-round schedule emphasizing art and science, has strong enrollment in grades 6-8 but falls off in grades 9 and 10, [EMID and South Washington County school board member] Gelbmann said. That is because parents are concerned about splitting up their student’s high school experience.

Numerous decisions would be ahead if District 833 pursues building acquisition, including a two-year process for planning and transition.

The state pays to transport kids by bus to Crosswinds from the 10 member districts, Gelbmann said, and would have to agree to continue to do so because it’s too expensive for 833.

Also, current teacher contracts would transfer to District 833 if the school is taken over. Those with seniority also have seniority in any of the 10 member districts, under state law, Gelbmann said.

Back to School Night Needs You

Thursday 8/30 is Back to School night for EMID schools. Harambee’s evening will start at 5pm. Crosswinds will be welcoming new students at 6pm and returning students at 7pm. Principal Bass has asked for some parent volunteers to help out at Crosswinds from 6-8pm. He is hoping to have 2-3 volunteers throughout the evening covering half-hour shifts at the table. Torria will have a sign and a sign up sheet ready for the table.

So come join in the Back to School night activities (and air conditioning)!

Janet Mohr Named EMID Superintendent

EMID added the following statement to its website a week ago. We’ve also heard (unofficially) that Janet Mohr’s first day on the job will be Monday 4/16. If you want to contact Mohr, we believe that her EMID email is already working: janet.mohr@emid6067.net.

The East Metro Integration District #6067 School Board has named Janet Mohr the district’s new superintendent. Mohr is currently the director of special education for EMID and the director of mental health for Northeast Metro 916. Mohr will succeed Interim Superintendent Dr. Jerry Robicheau, who announced his retirement. “Please join me in welcoming Janet Mohr to the position of EMID superintendent,” says George Hoeppner, the EMID School Board chair. “We are looking forward to working with Ms. Mohr.”

Prior to her special education role with EMID and her mental health role with Northeast Metro 916, Ms. Mohr served as the director of the rural education leadership program with the Minnesota Association of School Administrators from 2006-2008 and the superintendent of Frazee-Vergas (MN) Public Schools from 2001-2006. During her career, Ms. Mohr has held a number of administrative and teaching positions at districts such as Detroit Lakes Public Schools, the Buffalo Valley (ND) Special Education Cooperative, and Frazee-Vergas Public Schools. She has a Ed.S. degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, an M.S. from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and a B.S. from University of Wisconsin-Superior.