Insight News

Oct 04th


Northside deserves district’s full attention

Northside deserves district’s full attentionWhen I became superintendent six months ago, I promised to do whatever it takes to make sure that all students enrolled in the Minneapolis Public Schools receive a high quality education. I remain committed to that promise.

I know that the past three months have been extremely difficult. Your confidence in our commitment to North Side families may have been shaken. My recommendations to phase out the current North High School program and to close Cityview Performing Arts School started a heated but necessary dialogue, one that I believe we must continue. However, I know that the recommendations also opened deep wounds. People ask me on a daily basis, “Why are you giving up on educating North Side students? Why is the district getting into the charter school business? Why not support the current teachers by giving them more time? Why are you are trying to close successful schools in North Minneapolis?”

MPS sends 7,000 books home with students

In support of Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s goal for all kindergarten students to be reading by Level B after winter break, Target Corporation donated 7,000 books, two for each kindergartener to take home over winter break.

When Target Corporation heard of Johnson’s goal to increase literacy this fall, they wanted to help. Target shipped approximately 7,000 books to MPS elementary schools, for each kindergarten student to take home two multi-page books to read over winter break. The books align with the reading skills taught in classrooms. A tip sheet for parents to learn how to help support the development of their child’s reading skills was also sent home with the students.

$1.2 million grant supports Indian education

The Minneapolis Public School district was awarded one of nine demonstration grants for American Indian children by the United States Department of Education in the amount of $1.2 million over four years.

The grant will fund an individualized mentoring program, College PREP (Personalized Resources and Education Pathways), which was established by the MPS Indian Education department and a consortium of American Indian community organizations.

The program will provide all American Indian ninth-grade students from each MPS high school and alternative school with one-on-one academic mentoring support, including an individualized support plan, specific to each student. In total, approximately 105 students will be served. Mentors will provide referrals to culturally relevant education services and monitor student progress to keep them on track toward post-secondary enrollment and success.

Chile honors SPPS chief, Valeria Silva

Chile honors SPPS chief, Valeria SilvaSaint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria S. Silva was recognized with two awards from her homeland of Chile.

El Mercurio, the newspaper of record in Chile, selected Superintendent Silva as one of the top 100 Female Leaders for 2010. The award has been given for nine years to women who make differences in various fields, such as education, politics and business. Readers nominated more than 600 candidates before a panel narrowed the list to 100.

"I am truly honored and deeply humbled to be mentioned along with such outstanding women in my homeland," Silva said. "I hope that this will further show our students here in St. Paul and children in my home country that with hard work and dedication, they can reach beyond their wildest dreams."

Among others who received the recognition this year are former Chilean President and current United Nations Secretary Michelle Bachellet and current Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel.

Jimmy Kennedy: Viking extraordinaire

Jimmy Kennedy: Viking extraordinaireTelevision and newspapers have been focused on all the woes of the Minnesota Vikings. To hear them talk, the reader would think that there is nothing good about the football organization. Contrary to popular belief, one of the best things about the Vikings is defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy.

At 31, Jimmy Kennedy is not only a successful football player, but he is also a college graduate with a degree in Rehabilitation Services and minors in African American Studies and Sociology from Penn State University. He is also a business owner with a plethora of businesses which include real estate and several laundry mats.

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. 

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