Insight News

Feb 08th


Teaching children how to deal with bullies

Teaching children how to deal with bulliesStoryteller Danielle Daniel entranced an audience of over 100 young listeners at Southside Family Charter School on November 17. After an introduction from Executive Director Laura Matanah and two young Rainbow Rumpus readers, Meg Thomas from aMaze opened the event by having a large doll engage the audience in a brief back-and-forth about name-calling. Daniel then told stories about characters who found ways to deal with bullies.

Young people who were surveyed said that the stories gave them ideas about how to deal with name-calling. They also said they loved the event, which was clear from their dancing, singing, and shout-outs in response to Daniel’s cues. Daniel was accompanied by drummer Tony Paul and nine student drumming volunteers. The free event drew over 30 community members, including several area child care centers, in addition to the student body. It was presented in conjunction with the National Association of Black Storytellers, and cosponsored by aMaze, Black Pride, and Southside Family Charter School.

What's for lunch? Nutrition in schools

Most of us will splurge on our diets for a day or two during the holiday, but it's the food offered to Minnesota school children every day that has such organizations as the American Heart Association (AHA) concerned. They join more than a thousand groups that sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which would improve nutritional standards for school lunches. The current guidelines were put in place 15 years ago and are seen by many as in need of updating.  

With one in three American children overweight or obese, Rachel Callanan, regional vice president of advocacy for AHA in Minnesota, explains why changes are needed.  

"This law will make a big difference in helping our kids meet those recommendations and hopefully start to reverse that trend of childhood obesity," said Callanan. 


Nettie & Friends: Increasing learning opportunities for students

Nettie & Friends: Increasing learning opportunities for students“It tickled when the goat ate food out of my hand.” With wonder in his voice, a young kindergarten student told his Dad about the experience which was part of the first field trip he’d ever taken. Luckily for Dad, he helped chaperone that trip so he could be part of that magical moment for his son.

Food for the goats, chaperones, treats, even the bus ride to the apple orchard came complements of Nettie & Friends, a small non-profit that works to increase the learning opportunities for students at Maxfield Elementary School and Maxfield Learning Center in St. Paul.

Last year, Learning Center students went to the Horse Expo. That was a chance to come face-to-face with a real live horse. (Those animals are really big, especially when you’re only three feet tall yourself.) Students have built gingerbread houses, carved pumpkins, published the stories they wrote and taken swim lessons. Kindergarten students sewed the cover for a pillow they took home to their families. For any student who needs it, there are warm jackets, snow pants and boots so they can join their classmates on the playground during recess.

Connecting with our families

Connecting with our familiesWe value the dedication that our families have to our schools and students and we are always looking for ways to strengthen that connection. Three times a year, we hold conferences with our families and their children to check in on each student’s academic progress. The most recent parent – teacher conferences were November 4 and 5. Conferences serve as a great opportunity for us to come together to recognize each student’s strengths and needs. By connecting, our teachers and our schools can work with families to assess how we can build on student strengths and best support student needs in the classroom and at home.

Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees selects new president

 Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees selects new presidentThe Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees has selected Henry Lewis III, Pharm.D. to serve as Florida Memorial University’s new president. The announcement was made during an afternoon meeting attended by nearly 300 faculty, staff and students anticipating an introduction of the new president-elect by Charles W. George, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

After being introduced to the campus family, Lewis expressed his appreciation to the Board for their confidence in his leadership and stewardship, and his enthusiasm to instill confidence and competence in each prospective Florida Memorial graduate. “I see a diamond in the rough in Florida Memorial University, and I am confident that the institution can be the greatest institution it can be,” he stated.

Department of Education establishes new student aid rules to protect borrowers and taxpayers

The Obama administration recently released a broad set of rules to strengthen federal student aid programs at for-profit, nonprofit and public institutions by protecting students from aggressive or misleading recruiting practices, providing consumers with better information about the effectiveness of career college and training programs, and ensuring that only eligible students or programs receive aid.

“These new rules will help ensure that students are getting from schools what they pay for: solid preparation for a good job,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

Let’s make North High School a lesson for the greater good

Let’s make North High School a lesson for the greater good Over the past weeks, the proposed decision by Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia

Johnson to close North High School in 2014, and perhaps by next summer if enrollment continues to dwindle, has sparked heated debate on both sides.

The school district points to dwindling enrollment which is currently hovering at 265 students; soaring per pupil expenditures because of the low enrollment at a school designed for over 1,000 students; and academic underachievement. The community’s response is that the plan to close the city’s oldest high school seems calculated as feeder elementary and middle schools were closed in recent years, school boundaries redrawn, and little effort was made to determine why parents in growing numbers were sending their children to other schools and limited strategic actions taken to address concerns about the long term educational viability of the school.
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