The Imperative for 21st Century Learning, 10/2

Join Parents United to hear the latest on learning, relationships and stories. The last decade in education policy has increased demand for student and teacher accountability based largely on one metric: test scores. This allowed us to shine a light on gaps in achievement, but it has not proven an effective tool at closing those gaps. Parents United welcomes the insights of David O’Fallon, CEO, and Shandi DiCosimo, Program Officer of the Minnesota Humanities Center and Kent Pekel, Director of the Search Institute. Their research shows developmental relationships and cultural stories have the power to fundamentally change how students learn by bringing connection & context to the lives of students often defined by stereotypes.

This Parents United Parent Leadership Summit will be on Friday, October 2, from 11am to 2pm (with opportunities for networking starting at 10am) at the TIES Event Center (1640 Larpenteur Ave. W., Saint Paul, MN). The $35 registration fee includes lunch, but scholarships are also available if that fee is hard for you to cover. Please register today!

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.

Parents United Legislative Kickoff

Hi EMID Friends! I thought you would like to know that the Parents United Legislative Kickoff is planned for Saturday, January 10th at 9am. There is no fee for this event, but Parents United does ask that you please RSVP so they know how many are coming.

This is the beginning of a new biennium, on in which the Republican party will control the House and the Democrats the Senate. It is also a “funding year” this year. Come learn more about what all this means for education in Minnesota and prepare to fight for your schools as the state’s budget is built.

Parents United Annual Legislative Kickoff
Saturday, January 10, 2015, 9 – 11 am
TIES Main (East) Building, 3rd Floor Cafeteria
1667 Snelling Ave. N., St Paul, MN 55108
Coffee, rolls and conversation! The Kickoff is free, but please RSVP

By the way, if you cannot make it to TIES on Saturday 1/10, but you want to watch the kickoff, we will be experimenting will a live-stream of the event. As soon as we have details about that stream, we will update this post.

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

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.