A welcome note from the new schools leader

As your new Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, I am extremely hopeful for the future and excited to lead our efforts to raise academic achievement for all students. I believe more strongly than ever that our top priorities lie in narrowing the achievement gap and offering all of our students a high-quality education that prepares them for college or a career.

During the summer, we are busy. We are working to find new ways to increase student achievement. Summer is a wonderful time to make learning fun and interesting for children.

Summer school classes began June 28. Our summer school programs for elementary and middle school students target the areas of reading and math through an exciting new curriculum: “Seeds of Science, Roots of Reading.” The summer programs we offer also incorporate activities such as canoe trips and visits to local parks and museums. The courses accelerate learning, expand vocabulary and provide students with a hands-on approach in the classroom.

Families play a critical role in their child’s academic progress and learning does not stop during the summer months. Parents can turn regular activities into learning opportunities each day. Ask your child questions and listen to his or her thoughts or explanations. Invite your child to read a recipe, measure laundry detergent or count change at the store. Read with your child every day. Visit a nearby library and find books that your child will enjoy. Simple efforts can keep your child on track toward academic success.

We are also already preparing to welcome students back to school. The first day of school for students in grades 1–12 is Aug. 30 and the first day of school for our new kindergarten students is Sept. 1.

I am confident that 2010-11 will be an exceptional year. We are working hard to make every school a great school. Our focus is on “Connecting for Results.” That means every classroom has an effective teacher, every school has a strong principal and every staff member shares the same high expectations for all students. We will do whatever it takes to help your child be successful in school.

Next month, I will share information to help your family prepare for the new school year. Please call us at 668-1840 if you still need to enroll. We are happy to help you find the right school for your children.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer. We look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Bernadeia Johnson is superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools.