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.

Susan Mau Larson voted chair of the Perpich Board

At its meeting yesterday, the Board of the Perpich Center for Arts Education voted for Susan Mau Larson to take over as chair. Susan, a former Crosswinds parent and organizer of EMID Families, will serve out the remainder of the term vacated by former board chair Pierce McNally last month. Perpich is in the midst of both a financial and a program audit by the legislative auditor, so Susan has her work cut out for her.

Audio of the full board meeting is available below.

Perpich Board meeting of 13 October 2016

 

After adopting the concept agenda, the board considered nominations for Board Chair. Susan Mau Larson was nominated by the Nominations Committee and acting chair Ben Vader Kooi was nominated by Julie Workman. The vote was 6-4 for Susan.

Susan reported on the East Metro Integration District (now referred to as Equity Alliance Minnesota) and invited other board members to join her at meetings there.

Luayn Ruch-Hammond reported on the work of the task force that grew from the Crosswinds visit earlier this summer. That group has had an interview with director Sue Mackert, but was not ready to make major recommendations. However, the task force was asking for work to start in building a more robust presence for the board on the Perpich web site. There was a lot of hand-wringing over the request that email addresses for board members be added to the site and the impact of open meeting law on the use of email to communicate amongst the board and with constituents of the board.

Ben Vander Kooi reviewed various legal liability issues with the board, sharing a Handbook of Legal Issues and describing the insurance coverage extended to board members.

Ben also described the expected timeline of the Legislative Auditor’s work. The auditor expects to share financial audit results in November and program audit results in January. The director and board chair will likely see a non-public draft of the program audit in December, but public release will await the meeting of the legislative committee to whom the report is addressed.

Sue gave updates on both the Perpich Arts High School and Crosswinds.

The board discussed their budget review plans with an eye toward being able to speak on behalf of the agency at legislative hearings in the coming year.

The board added a meeting on Thursday, 15 December 2016.

[Not mentioned at the meeting, but presumably the next regular meeting of the board is on Thursday, 10 November 2016.]

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.

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!

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.

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.

EMID Board to Celebrate Conveyance of Schools, 5/21

Jean Lubke, Executive Director of EMID, wants to let everyone know that the EMID board will mark the conveyance of the schools at their meeting tomorrow. Please join the board if you can! The meeting is at Crosswinds and starts at 5:30 on Wednesday.

The EMID Board will have a small celebration with the leaders of Perpich, Roseville, Crosswinds, Harambee, and our legislative advocates at the beginning of the Board meeting on Wednesday (5/21) at 5:30. You are most warmly welcome.

Please extend this invitation to the EMID Families and anyone else who has helped with this change.

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.