Perpich Center for Arts Education makes a proposal for Crosswinds

The Perpich Center for Arts Education presented a proposal to take over Crosswinds to the EMID Board at last night’s meeting. Most impressive, on less than a few weeks notice, was the fact that the Perpich board had already authorized their executive director, Sue Mackert, to explore governance of Crosswinds. “The Board recognizes the synergy and strength of Crosswinds with Perpich Center philosophy of bringing urban, rural, and suburban students together in effective educational programs focused on teaching in and through the arts.

Senior Policy Director Pam Paulson, Arts High School Director Carlondrea Hines, and Senior Communications person Debra Kelley shared the most detailed proposal the board has seen yet for Crosswinds while noting that a vast amount of work would still need to go into creating a true plan. Perpich, they pointed out, is a state agency currently without any authority to govern a school like Crosswinds. This authority would need to be sought from the legislature, and given the complexities of the legislative process no promises could likely be made till May or June. They outlined aggressive plans to meet with EMID administrators, state agencies, Crosswinds staff, families, and even the Governor within the next month.

Perpich Center understands that operating a school focused in the arts and sciences also requires incorporation of some non-traditional models of teaching, as well as a commitment to explore and incorporate alternative models in which to evaluate student performance. These educational practices require ongoing assessment, teacher professional development and staff access to research and resources. The unique offerings within the Perpich Center, including access to professional development, planning services and an arts education library — all would be of great benefit to Crosswinds.

Perpich pointed out that they would not expect Crosswinds to be a “feeder school” for the Arts High School. They respect the staff of Crosswinds and intend to protect staff positions, but anticipate there would be some eliminations or mergers of staff. They also are eager to disseminate lessons of Crosswinds to educators statewide.

Of course, gaining the authority to govern Crosswinds would be a huge hurdle for Perpich. Even if that authority is granted, the funds to make the takeover possible might not be made available until the 2014/2015 school year. While the goal of the Perpich team is to meet the timeline initially set forth by the EMID Board for a 2013/2014 takeover, there is a chance EMID would be asked to maintain Crosswinds for one more year.