Myron Orfield on school segregation/integration, 4/21

You are invited to a talk followed by discussion by Professor Myron Orfield on school segregation/integration in the Twin Cities at the League of Women Voters Roseville, Maplewood, Falcon Heights meeting. The meeting is free and open to the public.

April 21st at 7pm
Little Venetian
2900 Rice St. Suite 240
Little Canada, MN 55113

For more information please see the PDF flyer and feel free to share it.

Please contact Carrie Dickson you have any questions.

St. Paul Gives Notice to EMID

Both the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are reporting that the St. Paul Public School Board has served EMID with notice of its intent to withdraw from the integration collaborative. Rehab Feshir writes for MPR: “St. Paul school board votes to leave integration district.”

In a statement released after the vote, the board cited changes EMID has implemented, including dropping Harambee and Crosswinds, as reasons for its intent to withdraw by the beginning of the next school year.

Doesn’t it seem amazing that the SPPS board, which worked so hard to kill Harambee and Crosswinds, would now site the departure of those schools from EMID as its reason for leaving the collaborative?

Anthony Lonetree posts for the Star Tribune: “St. Paul schools to leave integration district.”

The departure from the East Metro Integration District (EMID) takes effect after the 2015-16 school year, according to action taken by the school board at a special meeting Tuesday.

The one-year countdown starts ticking now.

UPDATE:

Star Tribune: Big Challenges

An article in the Star Tribune by Kim McGuire and Erin Adler declares: “Twin Cities integration districts, their schools ready for big changes.”

The West Metro Education Program and the East Metro Integration District (EMID), two special integration districts that serve the Twin Cities, are both facing big changes as inner-ring suburbs grow increasingly diverse and the school districts they serve rely less on them to achieve racial balance.

The article quotes both Kathy Griebel, principal at Harambee, and Eric Celeste, an EMID Families organizer, along with parents and administrators from WMEP schools. WMEP is considering conveying its schools to two separate entities, similar to the outcome at EMID last year.

WMEP following EMID gameplan?

Beth Hawkins writes in MinnPost: “West metro integration district may reinvent itself, spinning off 2 schools in the process.”

At its monthly meeting, the multidistrict joint powers board that governs the West Metro Education Program (WMEP) will hear a proposal to turn its FAIR schools over to the districts where they are located. The districts would commit to continuing the successful, popular programs as they are for a number of years. …

The potential shift comes as another of the Twin Cities’ three integration districts, the East Metro Integration District (EMID), is confronting similar issues. EMID last year used the same state process being contemplated by its western counterpart to “convey” its two schools to two of its 10 member districts. One of its members, West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan, announced last week it is considering withdrawing.

The chair of WMEP’s PTO has said she would love to have EMID parents at the WMEP board meeting tomorrow night. They meet at the FAIR school in Crystal. It will be helpful to show our support. Their agenda starts with an Open Forum at 5:30 pm.

West St Paul leaving EMID?

Erin Adler at the Star Tribune reports that “West St. Paul district signals intent to withdraw from EMID.” Many of us believed that without its schools, the East Metro Integration District would unravel. This process seems to be getting underway. Adler writes:

With EMID, “Collaboration is probably the biggest advantage,” said Jean Lubke, EMID’s executive director. “You can do more things if you’re larger than if you’re smaller.”

But West St. Paul administrators believe the cost of belonging outweighs the benefits, and that the district could provide some of its services in-house. The district might also independently partner with other districts and buy services — AVID training or artist-in-residence programs — themselves.

Approving the resolution doesn’t mean they are withdrawing immediately, said Superintendent Nancy Allen-Mastro, but “this puts us into an exploration phase.” In a year, board members will make a final decision, effective July 2016.

Parents United Legislative Kickoff

Hi EMID Friends! I thought you would like to know that the Parents United Legislative Kickoff is planned for Saturday, January 10th at 9am. There is no fee for this event, but Parents United does ask that you please RSVP so they know how many are coming.

This is the beginning of a new biennium, on in which the Republican party will control the House and the Democrats the Senate. It is also a “funding year” this year. Come learn more about what all this means for education in Minnesota and prepare to fight for your schools as the state’s budget is built.

Parents United Annual Legislative Kickoff
Saturday, January 10, 2015, 9 – 11 am
TIES Main (East) Building, 3rd Floor Cafeteria
1667 Snelling Ave. N., St Paul, MN 55108
Coffee, rolls and conversation! The Kickoff is free, but please RSVP

By the way, if you cannot make it to TIES on Saturday 1/10, but you want to watch the kickoff, we will be experimenting will a live-stream of the event. As soon as we have details about that stream, we will update this post.

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.”


MSR: Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt

Isaac Peterson had a story on the front page of the 7/17/2014 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, “Special Integration District school resists takeover attempt.” He begins:

Parents and students in the United States scored a major victory 60 years ago in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which decreed an end to school desegregation. More recently, Twin Cities parents and teachers scored another victory in a long and convoluted fight for school integration. That fight also is related to a lawsuit brought over school segregation.

Peterson gives some history of EMID Families and its struggles with the EMID board, then describes the legislative fight of the past two years.

After a sustained, protracted battle to keep the school open, the EMID Families were finally able to enlist the aid of allies in the state legislature. State Representative Carlos Mariani explained that “As the legislature continued to cut funding for K-12 education, school districts were looking for all sorts of ways to be able to capture revenue.

There will be a second part to the story next week covering the merger of Crosswinds with the Perpich Center for Arts Education.