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.

WMEP following EMID gameplan?

Beth Hawkins writes in MinnPost: “West metro integration district may reinvent itself, spinning off 2 schools in the process.”

At its monthly meeting, the multidistrict joint powers board that governs the West Metro Education Program (WMEP) will hear a proposal to turn its FAIR schools over to the districts where they are located. The districts would commit to continuing the successful, popular programs as they are for a number of years. …

The potential shift comes as another of the Twin Cities’ three integration districts, the East Metro Integration District (EMID), is confronting similar issues. EMID last year used the same state process being contemplated by its western counterpart to “convey” its two schools to two of its 10 member districts. One of its members, West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan, announced last week it is considering withdrawing.

The chair of WMEP’s PTO has said she would love to have EMID parents at the WMEP board meeting tomorrow night. They meet at the FAIR school in Crystal. It will be helpful to show our support. Their agenda starts with an Open Forum at 5:30 pm.

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.

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.


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.

Star Tribune: Minnesota chosen for Turnaround Arts program

Graydon Royce writes for the Star Tribune: Minnesota chosen for Turnaround Arts program.

Minnesota is one of three states chosen for the next phase of Turnaround Arts, a national initiative that uses the arts to improve student performance.

The Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley will direct the two-year program, with funding from the State Arts Board and the Minnesota Legislature.

Of course, Perpich has also just received authority to run Crosswinds on a permanent basis.

Pioneer Press: Zander Sellie is in the house

Our own indefatigable Crosswinds graduate, Zander Sellie, became front page news in the Saturday 5/17 Pioneer Press! See the article by Christopher Magan, Zander Sellie is in the house — in the statehouse, that is.

Zander in the Pioneer Press (Jean Pieri)

Here is a PDF of the front page.

Pioneer Press: Future of two east metro magnet schools in lawmakers’ hands again

Christopher Magan writes in the Pioneer Press: “Future of two east metro magnet schools in lawmakers’ hands again.”

When Minnesota lawmakers return to the state Capitol next month, they will be asked again to decide the future of two east metro magnet schools.

A year after a group of east metro school districts ended their involvement in Crosswinds East Metro Arts and Science School in Woodbury and Harambee Elementary Community Cultures and Environmental Science School in Maplewood, supporters might get another shot at permanent leadership for the schools.

“We are hoping for a smooth conveyance,” said Jean Lubke, executive director of the East Metro Integration District, or EMID. “We support the schools’ continued operation as inter-district integration magnet schools.”