Category Archives: Crosswinds

Speak Up for Crosswinds Today!

It’s time for all Crosswinds advocates to really get to know some legislators and make sure that they never forget us! Remember to be nice, respectful, but clear in asking what you want. Being angry or confrontational does not help us.

Contact the members of the education conference committee to ask that the Perpich and Crosswinds language be pulled out of the education omnibus bills and considered in a working group next week instead. Also ask that the Senate language for Perpich be used instead of the House language. The Senate version gives Perpich time to turn things around rather than simply eliminating the agency.

Then send the same message to your own legislators asking them to contact their colleagues on the conference committee.

We recommend advocating for both Crosswinds and Perpich because their fates are closely tied, no action is likely on Crosswinds without action on Perpich.

Please emphasize that to be fair to Crosswinds families and staff Crosswinds needs to be conveyed to another entity that will continue its program during this legislative session. Point out that delaying conveyance till next year will deeply damage the school and encourage families and staff to flee. To date, only Saint Paul Public Schools has put forward a proposal to continue the program at Crosswinds. There is also a proposal from District 833 (South Washington County), but it is for an entirely different program than what is currently at Crosswinds and, in particular, makes no mention of racial integration as part of its continuing mission.

Be sure to include your personal story about how Crosswinds has impacted your family.

Thank you all for your effort and love for Crosswinds!

Crosswinds and Perpich to House Education Finance, 3/15

The next stop for the bill to shut down Perpich and (possibly) convey Crosswinds (HF1825 and clone HF1826) is at the House Education Finance committee this Wednesday, 3/15, at 1pm. Please make a call to your own representative and also consider quick calls to bill sponsors Jenifer Loon and Sondra Erickson. Let them know you support Crosswinds and would like to see it conveyed to the Saint Paul Public Schools this year. If you care about arts education in Minnesota, then also let them know you would like to see Perpich get a chance under new leadership rather than being shut down as this bill suggests.

Please keep in mind that not all Representatives and Senators will be directly dealing with this particular bill at this time, but may have influence in speaking with others. If you have time to look to see if your legislator is on an Education committee or Government Operations committee, these folks will be dealing with this more closely. The more you can make it personal, the better. Like “I noticed you are on Education K-12 committee and I am highly concerned about the bill to close Perpich” or “I noticed that you are not on any education committees but I am highly concerned about the bill to close Perpich and hope you could possibly discuss this with a colleague on an education committee.”

Here are some ideas on what you might say. Explain why Arts Education is important to you. Choose from the topics below, but put them in your own words. Focus on what makes sense to you and keep it short. Ask them to please Convey Crosswinds to the Saint Paul Public School and to keep Perpich Center for Arts Education open for all of Minnesota students and teachers. Include your name and mailing address, and a phone number (though they will not likely call you back).

  • Drawing out a decision on Crosswinds conveyance will put two schools at risk: Crosswinds School and Woodbury Leadership Academy. Please amend this bill to allow Crosswinds conveyance to the Saint Paul Public Schools this year.
  • While I support conveying Crosswinds, I also want to see the Perpich Center for Arts Education serving all Minnesotans.
  • The decline of Perpich services the past few years has been due to mismanagement. Teachers want and need Perpich as a resource and training service for arts education in their classrooms and schools.
  • Perpich has new leadership and needs to be given a chance to turn the agency around.
  • Perpich Arts High School provides a unique Arts education which is available to students across Minnesota. This type of Arts focused education is not otherwise available in many areas of the state.
  • Perpich Outreach is a resource for all arts specialist teachers in the state. While we have many opportunities in the metro area, much of Greater Minnesota does not have these resources and relies heavily on Perpich Outreach for assistance.
  • The Perpich Library is a valuable resource for teachers and educators around the state to check out and use. Moving these materials to the State Library Services Division of the Department of Education will not allow proper access for teachers and educators.

HF1825 Seeks to convey Crosswinds in 2018

Yesterday the House Education Innovation Policy committee held a hearing on HF1825, a bill sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Loon (48B, Eden Prarie) and Sondra Erickson (15A, Princeton) to abolish the Perpich Center for Art Education and convey Perpich and Crosswinds properties to other parties. By a 9 to 6 party line vote the committee approved the bill and sent it on to the House Education Finance committee.

Saint Paul Schools interim superintendent John Thein was present and reiterated Saint Paul’s interest in taking over the Crosswinds school. He again promised to keep the program, staff, and families of Crosswinds intact, and spoke of how well Crosswind’s mission was suited for Saint Paul’s diverse student body. Thein also noted that the year-round calendar of Crosswinds was a perfect fit for the year-round program Saint Paul already manages at Crossroads. The Crossroads K-5 would be a perfect feeder to the Crosswinds 6-10, and Saint Paul’s objective would be to grow Crosswinds to a school for grades 6-12 gradually.

One issue to note is timing. The bill does not seek conveyance of Crosswinds to another party until January 2018. This is an incredibly awkward timing for all involved. For Perpich, it leaves a drain on their budget present for another full year. For Saint Paul, it would require a temporary management agreement with Perpich for the 2017-2018 school year. For families and faculty of Crosswinds, this would let uncertainty about the final outcome fester and scare people away from the school. Both Saint Paul Public Schools and the Perpich Board have asked the legislature to approve a conveyance in June 2017 instead, so that a smooth transition could be promoted.

Another potential stumbling block may be interest from District 833 (South Washington County Schools). Although the district has made no proposal for taking over Crosswinds this year, and did not appear at the public hearing the Perpich Board held at Crosswinds last month, there have been rumors that they remain interested in the property. You may recall that in 2013 the District 833 proposal was simply to use the building for their own purposes, discarding the program, staff, and students of Crosswinds.

Representative JoAnn Ward (53A, Woodbury), in whose district Crosswinds sits, spoke up during the hearing for both Perpich and Crosswinds. She hopes to put forward a bill this month that would seek the earlier conveyance of Crosswinds to the Saint Paul Public Schools.

Saint Paul Public Schools may take over Crosswinds

At a public meeting held by the Perpich Center for Arts Education at the Crosswinds School this week, a draft proposal was shared that suggested the Saint Paul Public Schools may take over the Crosswinds School.

The draft closely resembled the terms under which the Roseville Schools took over Harambee in 2014. Under the draft proposal, transportation funding for students currently at Crosswinds would be “grand-mothered” in, but new students from outside the Saint Paul district would have to provide their own transportation as open enrollment students.

MPR: St. Paul could assume control of Crosswinds

Solvejg Wastvedt reports for MPR that St. Paul has proposed taking over Crosswinds. In “St. Paul district could assume control of Crosswinds school” she reports:

The plan would add an additional grade each year starting in 2018, eventually resulting in a 6-12 school. The proposal envisions maintaining current staff, although it does not commit to keeping every position.

The article also states that St. Paul’s is the only proposal the Perpich board has received for Crosswinds.

Public Hearing on Crosswinds, 2/23

The Crosswinds Task Force of the Perpich Board of Directors will hold a public hearing at 7pm Thursday, 23 February, at Crosswinds Arts & Science School, 600 Weir Dr., Woodbury.

The hearing is open to the public and is for the purpose of taking public comment on future alternatives for the operation of the school.

Crosswinds is a public integration magnet serving St. Paul and the east suburbs with a focus on arts and environmental science. It was created in 1997 by the East Metro Integration District (EMID), now known as Equity Alliance MN. After EMID announced plans to possibly close the school, Perpich Center offered to take over its management and the state legislature conveyed the school to Perpich in 2014.

Perpich community forum

Susan Larson writes…

It has been a long time since we connected as a group. I miss all of you and our time together working to save our schools.

I am reaching out to you now because our schools once again need help and I am hoping you can assist. As you know there have been a great deal of public concerns raised about the Perpich Center for Arts. It has reached a point where I sincerely feel the whole agency is at risk of survival. This would mean not only losing Crosswinds, but also losing the Arts High. As a Perpich Board member I am trying to understand what is happening and to rectify the situation. I humbly apologize for any action or inaction on my part which has contributed to the situation. I am truly sorry for any pain this has caused any of you and hope that we can build upon our past relationships to come together and find a path forward.

Thursday evening the Perpich Board will be hosting a community forum. Your presence and voices are welcome and needed. I hope you can be there and encourage you to invite anyone else you feel may be interested and available. Below is the announcement that was on the Perpich website.

Thank you.

Susan

Perpich community forum

The Perpich Board of Directors will host a community forum 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Crosswinds Arts and Science School, 600 Weir Drive, Woodbury.

The Perpich Board iinvites anyone interested to attend. The goal of this forum is for board members to hear more about everyone’s experience with the Perpich Center, the arts high and Crosswinds. We want to know what is working well, learn about any challenges, and gather ideas and opportunities for the future.

Date: Thursday, June 9, 2016
Location: Crosswinds Arts and Science School, 600 Weir Drive, Woodbury
Time: 6:00-8:30 p.m.

The mission of the Perpich Center is to provide all Minnesota students the opportunity to develop and integrate their artistic and academic abilities to their highest potential.
Concerns about the Perpich Center have been raised in the media and in the state legislature. We want to engage in a dialogue about how we can work together to overcome these concerns and build a strong future for all students. Through open communication and collaboration we believe we can achieve and sustain our mission.

Please attend and share your voice!

Crosswinds Update for Start of School

School starts next week, on Tuesday 9/2! Can you believe it?

The best way to catch up on these and other staff changes at Crosswinds will be to attend the Back To School Night programs on Thursday (8/28, tomorrow!). The program for new students starts at 6pm, returning students are expected at 6:30pm.

Here is a detailed update from Perpich executive director Sue Mackert:

Enrollment

Crosswinds has begun its first year of operation as a part of the Perpich Center. Enrollment is beginning to grow, as expected (and hoped). We currently have 182 students starting school tomorrow, with tours continuing daily. I expect this to continue to be a year of transition as we work to identify the issues affecting students and teacher achievement.

Staffing

Being part of the Perpich Center affords an opportunity for more appropriate staffing at Crosswinds. Changes and/or shifts include:

  • Visual arts teacher Rebecca Bullen has chosen to return to the Arts High School as director of the Media Arts program. Rebecca was on loan last year to Crosswinds to effect a stronger, more varied visual arts program. Jeff Pridie of the Perpich Center staff is serving as the visual arts teacher at Crosswinds. Jeff has 32 years experience as a K-12 visual arts teacher and is former president of Art Educators of Minnesota. He is not a stranger to Crosswinds as he supervised Rebecca last year during her student teaching and outreach assignments. Jeff will also assist with development of the teacher training institute at Crosswinds. He is a superb educator and arts education manager.
  • Anna B. and Chris Mower chose to exercise bumping rights for obtaining full time positions in teaching at Crosswinds. Anna is a licensed English teacher; Chris will be teaching social studies.
  • Science teacher Mark Wackerfuss is taking over responsibilities for external environmental programs, including managing garden activities. A second year teacher and a Woodbury resident, Mark is highly regarded and has many contacts. His father has been a gracious volunteer in pulling weeds and caring for the campus.
  • Leah Larson, a media specialist at Perpich, will be getting the library in shape at Crosswinds and helping teachers with media needs. Leah has helped Crosswinds this past year and comes from strong middle school background.

Student Services

  • The focus on achievement resulted in the addition of Keary Staffold as dean of students and Lisa Quiring, guidance counselor to the Crosswinds team. Both worked previously in the Roseville School District. Lisa, who is a counselor at the Arts High, will assist staff to make certain Crosswinds high school students are taking the courses required for graduation and toward college success. Keary, who is full time and on site at Crosswinds, will work with all issues of student success, including discipline and family/student needs. In addition to Lisa and Keary, three Crosswinds staff members are certified behavioral specialists. Perpich Center has also engaged the services of an external firm for psychological and other needs.
  • Contracts for special education services are nearly complete and will supplement the services provided by teachers and staff already in place for the coming school year. Lynn DeLisi, former assistant principal at Crosswinds is the new associate principal at the perpich Arts High School. She will continue to provided assistance at Crosswinds, when needed.

Leadership

In preparation to meet the stated goals to legislators for the continuation of Crosswinds, Perpich Center is advancing toward establishment of the Teacher Training Institute. Dr. Carla Hines, Crosswinds principal, has been assigned responsibility for developing the Institute and for taking over management of the Perpich Center’s professional development department. She will continue to lead efforts for establishing Crosswinds as a model school of integration. To support her efforts, Antwan Harris, principal of the Perpich Arts High School, will provide day-to-day assistance to Crosswinds. Both serve as members of the Perpich Center leadership team. This type of shared responsibility among two very fine administrators will provide for continued stability of Crosswinds as enrollment grows.

Funding

Crosswinds funding, like all school districts, is based upon enrollment. Currently, enrollment is not sufficient to cover costs. In an innovative move to create a win-win situation for two valuable schools, the state has entered into a lease with Woodbury Leadership Academy (WLA), a K-6 school serving 200 students from similar demographics as Crosswinds. Aside from providing for operational costs, WLA will utilize services of Crosswinds, such as cafeteria services, which will minimize and/or eliminate losses we would otherwise experience from operating such a small school. Staff has been kept in-the-loop on WLA since the opportunity arose and many have offered suggestions for unique partnerships with Crosswinds.

We are looking forward to a great new school year.

Talking Circle, 8/26

JoAnn Ward will lead a Talking Circle assisted by Leslye Taylor. This is for parents and alumni students to share in a safe circle space all that needs to be expressed from our experiences. If there is time, we might envision about what we are moving into together. We’ll have some time to visit together over refreshments as we gather. The Talking Circle will take about three hours, including time to gather at the start and wrap up at the end. Please plan to spend the entire time with us and not just drop in.

Tuesday, August 26
6:30 – 9:30pm
Home of Leslye & Terrance Taylor
433 Woodhill Dr., Roseville, MN 55113

Please RSVP and send any questions to
Leslye at 651-343-8511
leslye@taylormadecreatives.com

MSR: Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive

The second part of Isaac Peterson’s story about Crosswinds was on the front page of the 7/24/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Parents, educators, legislators continue fight to keep racial integration efforts alive.”

According to State Representative Carlos Mariani, who fought for Crosswind’s continued independence, a meeting at the school after the end of the session led to those seeking to absorb the school into another district finally agreeing, “‘Okay. We’ll let someone else run the school.’ That’s when the Perpich Center for the Arts stepped up and said, ‘We’ll run the school and we’ll promote integration with it.’”

The marriage of the two schools would seem to make it a perfect match, as Crosswinds is a school that emphasizes the arts, and the Perpich school, by its own nature, has extensive experience in those areas as well. One of Crosswinds’ features is that it boasts probably the most racially and culturally diverse student orchestra in Minnesota.

The story includes extensive quotes from former Crosswinds parents Eric Celeste, Tami Bayne-Kuczmarski, and Dan Larson as well as from Principal Carla Hines.

This story was accompanied by another Peterson story about the efforts of Dan Shulman to get another desegregation lawsuit going in the Twin Cities: “One desegregation lawsuit not enough.”

Shulman maintains that a revival of the original suit is necessary because, almost 20 years after the culmination of the settlement of the first case, “The same conditions that existed when we filed the first case in 1995 have reoccurred almost 20 years later. And they’re worse. That includes segregation of schools, discrimination in terms of suspensions, teacher assignments to schools, misuse of funds that are supposed to be for integration, and the State of Minnesota has approved and knowingly allowed this to occur and they are responsible for fixing it. [We need] to make sure that we desegregate these metropolitan schools.”