Insight News

Wednesday
Dec 17th

Education

Celebrating the arts and academics

Celebrating the arts and academicsLast month, I was given the opportunity to participate in a series of Young People’s Concerts presented by the Minnesota Orchestra. They invited me to narrate a popular story, “Tubby the Tuba,” as they filled Orchestra Hall with the beautiful sound of music. The story is about a tuba trying to find his place in the musical world of an orchestra. It was a wonderful way to weave reading and literacy into the arts and I am so thankful that all of the third-graders in the Minneapolis Public Schools were able to attend the concerts.
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Lighting a successful spark

“On your mark, get set, ready, go!”  In the language of childhood, these words are an exciting invitation—and a signal that it’s time to be at the starting line and prepared to take off in order to sprint to success.  But what happens when children aren’t ready for the most important race of their lives?  Every year, four million children in America enter kindergarten, but as many as one in three won’t be ready for school—and many of them will never catch up.  Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids, or SPARK, a national initiative of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, was designed to get children at the starting line and ready to go.  Seeking “ready children,” “ready communities,” and “ready schools,” SPARK worked for over five years in seven states and Washington, D.C., to help communities unite resources to better prepare children for school and smooth the transition between pre-school and elementary school settings. The Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office (CDF-SRO) was honored to be the grantee for SPARK Mississippi (SPARK-MS), a $5 million initiative that has improved school readiness for more than 800 Mississippi children ages three to eight—a concrete example of what’s working to improve children’s chances.
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Zophia Dadlez wins Saint Paul Public Schools spelling bee

Zophia Dadlez wins Saint Paul Public Schools spelling beeZophia Dadlez, a sixth grade student at L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion School, won the Saint Paul Public Schools 2011 spelling bee at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. After 28 rounds, she earned first place by correctly spelling apocalyptic, an adjective meaning foreboding imminent disaster or final doom. William Yang, an eighth grade student at Farnsworth Aerospace PreK-8 Magnet, is the second place winner and Elijah Armstrong, a fourth grade student at EXPO for Excellence Elementary Magnet, is the third place winner. Thirty eight students had earned a spot in the districtwide contest by winning spelling bees at their schools.
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Jackson analyzes education disparity


Jackson analyzes education disparity
Fifty-nine percent of Black males in Minnesota graduate from high school. Two-thirds of Minnesota Black male students read below the fourth grade level. Three times as many Black male students, in comparison to white male students were expelled. Black male students were admitted to district Gifted and/or Talented programs at less than half the rate of white male students, while nearly three times as many were classified as mentally retarded. (TheSchott Foundation).

Statistics for Minnesota are representative of a national tragedy while the United States wrestles with the embarrassment of our students ranking low in education globally. On Monday, Feb. 28, 6–7 pm, Dr. John Jackson, Ed. D., J.D. President of the Schott Foundation, will give a keynote address at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, on the future of public education and its impact on the academic achievement of Black males. Jackson will provide an overview of Minnesota’s statistics on racial disparities in public education and offer practical solutions for educational reform based on the Schott Foundation’s fourth biennial report, Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education & Black Males.
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UNCF move to D.C. to expand advocacy and service to students

Seeking to expand its support of education for Americans of color, UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) will move its national headquarters from Fairfax, Virginia into Washington, D.C. in 2012.  UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization has begun construction on a 50,000 square-foot office at Progression Place, located at 1805 7th Street, NW, in D.C.’s surging Shaw neighborhood.  Nationally known for its motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”®, the 10,000 college scholarships it awards each year, and the 39 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) it represents, UNCF will continue to advocate for the rights of low income and minority students and push for education reform. 
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First Book: Grants for summer reading programs

First Book—Greater Minneapolis/St. Paul has announced grants to purchase books for summer reading programs that serve up to 100 children from low-income households in the counties of Anoka, Hennepin, Carver, Scott, Washington, Ramsey and Dakota.  Applications from organizations that are approved will receive funds in time to provide resources for their summer reading programs.
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Imhotep: Father of medicine, step pyramid

Imhotep: Father of medicine, step pyramidBlack History Month is an important time for people of African descent. It is a special occasion for us to reflect on the struggles we have been through and the accomplishments we have made. WE WIN Institute teaches children from K-12 about African history and culture. No matter what the nationality of the children we serve, we teach them all about the accomplishments of African Americans. It is important for all children to know and understand the great contributions of people of African descent.
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