Insight News

Oct 04th


WE WIN students teach African history

WE WIN students teach African historyBlack History is every day, not just February, according to students in WE WIN Institute’s Rites of Passage programs.  The elders from Booth Manor, a senior high-rise downtown Minneapolis, were enlightened about the rich African history, by 30 students from WE WIN.  The theme of the program was, From Africa to America.   The students narrated the African quest from its beginnings in ancient Egypt: how their ancestors invented and built the pyramids.  They informed the elders about the first African doctor, Imhotep, who is not only recognized as the real ’Father of Medicine’ but also as the first architect and engineer of ancient times. Imhotep was the creator of the Pyramid of Djoser, popularly known as the Stairstep Pyramid, in which we find architectural techniques that are still in use like columns, stone walling, flooring, lintels, and jambs.

Rep. Moran stands up for equity in education

Early this morning, the Republican led House passed a K-12 Education Omnibus bill, outlining cuts and policy changes to Minnesota’s education system. One provision in the bill repealed a Minnesota statute aimed at preventing racial segregation in Minnesota schools. Upon giving an impassioned speech on the importance of the Desegregation Rule, State Representative Rena Moran (DFL—St. Paul) was successful in removing the repeal, with members voting unanimously to support her amendment.

Legislators unite to oppose education cuts

African American legislators are voicing their unified opposition to a House GOP bill that disproportionately cuts funding to inner city schools. The bill was passed today in the House Education committee on a party line vote. Legislators said the unfair cuts would likely worsen the state’s achievement gap.

“This bill is a political tool that creates winners and loser in our school funding formula with the students in our inner city schools taking the biggest hit,” said State Rep. Jeff Hayden (DFL – Minneapolis). “They are fundamentally undermining our state’s efforts to reduce our achievement gap.”

Education spotlight: Latrell Mckelvy

Education spotlight:  Latrell MckelvyAn A1 Grade 4 student at W.I.S.E. Charter School, North Minneapolis, Latrell Mckelvy recently won the 1st place in the Grade 4 spelling bee contest held at Sojourner Truth Elementary.

“There are young and positive men in our community and my son is one of them”, says a proud mother Marshelle Mckelvy of her oldest child, Latrell.

Evidently, Latrell is academically very smart, but his performance in reading and math—his favorite subjects—is way above average. He is in a 6th grade reading class and 6th grade math class.

North Minneapolis’ Shawnnise Watkins Wins Ann Bancroft Award

North Minneapolis’ Shawnnise Watkins Wins Ann Bancroft Award18 -year-old girl leader influences peers with support from YWCA of Minneapolis

In 2007, the just turned 14, Shawnnise Watkins came to the YWCA of Minneapolis, to complete the Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP)—an all-girl youth intervention program for first-time offenders—in order to have a disorderly conduct offense removed from her record. Watkins had recently been in a fight that was serious enough for the police to get involved.

“At that time, Shawnnise was a strong, vibrant girl who stood up for herself and her friends and tried to solve all of her problems with a smart mouth and quick fists,” recalled Kyanna Wright a counselor at the YWCA of Minneapolis.  “She didn’t like school and she wasn’t doing well at all.  She felt all she ever heard was, ‘you’ll never be anything; you’ll never do anything.’  She even recalls a teacher telling her she was never going to make it.  Shawnnise loved to write, but mostly kept her talents to herself and used her smarts outside the classroom.”

Reading and Math Corps looking for tutors for 2011 - 2012

Responding to an increasing need to help Minnesota children with reading and math, two AmeriCorps programs are recruiting more than 900 tutors across the state – their largest effort ever. One out of every four Minnesota third graders does not read at grade level, and more than 40 percent of the state’s eighth graders do not meet math proficiency standards.
In response, Minnesota Reading Corps, one of the largest AmeriCorps programs in the country, is about to get even larger as it works to recruit more than 800 tutors  for the 2011-2012 school year, up from 670 this year. Minnesota Math Corps, now in its third year, is set to double in size, from 50 to 100.

Minneapolis GED student defies the odds

Minneapolis GED student defies the oddsSomeone once shared this anonymous saying with me; “A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn.” Marie Bounds, Minneapolis GED student, reminds me often that she did not fail to make the turn. Marie first enrolled in the Minneapolis Northside Adult Basic Education program in November 2010. She has attended class almost every day since.

Marie is a high school dropout. When asked why she dropped out, she ponders for a moment and then explains, “You know, I didn’t receive any support from my family. I was busy babysitting for cousins and helping in other ways during the day. No one bothered to come to events at school. I became discouraged. I simply lost the will to try.” Twenty-eight years later, the pain of not graduating is still visible on Marie’s face.
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