Brookings report: MPS third in improvement
Minneapolis Public Schools was one of the best-performing districts in the nation in terms of bringing its student test scores closer to the state average, the Brookings Institution reported in February.
The Washington, D.C., public policy think tank studied 37 urban school districts across the country and found MPS ranked third in increasing student achievement. The report, prepared by the institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy, standardized scores on different state tests to make the comparison.
Big-city schools typically lag behind their suburban and rural counterparts in achievement, but 29 of 37 urban school districts in the study raised test scores closer to the state average between 2000 and 2007. MPS followed New Orleans Public Schools and the Dallas Independent School District on the center’s list.
The report’s authors did not identify a source of the improvement, but speculated it could have to do with district-level policies, the federal No Child Left Behind program or other reforms.
Football Lakers host fundraiser
LINDEN HILLS — Out thousands of dollars for work they were never paid for, the Southwest High School football team is hoping to make up some ground on fundraising with a March event.
The Lakers Football Booster Club will bring comedian and hypnotist Thomas Krueger to Southwest 7 p.m.–10 p.m. March 27. Tickets are $10.
Booster Club Treasurer Ann Mackinnon said the team was owed nearly $11,000 by Twin Cities events planner Paul Ridgeway for work they did last June parking cars during the U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. Due to Ridgeway’s publicized financial troubles, the team was unclear if it would receive those funds, Mackinnon said.
She said the March 27 appearance by Krueger was the first of possibly several events to help the team make up for the lost fundraising dollars. The team also planned to sell rounds of golf at Interlachen for five unaccompanied foursomes donated by the country club.
To purchase tickets for Krueger, contact Head Coach Sean McMenomy or any Laker football player. Tickets also will be for sale at the door the night of the event in the auditorium at Southwest, 3414 W. 47th St.
For information on purchasing a round at Interlachen, email Mackinnon at email@example.com.
Kenwood principal retiring
KENWOOD — Kenwood Community School Principal Susan Craig will retire at the end of this school year after 32 years in education, 21 of those spent in Minneapolis Public Schools.
"It’s an enormous amount of a person’s life to spend with kids and working in schools, so that part I am really going to miss," Craig said. "I’m going to miss the incredible partnership with the community and parents."
Craig said she and her husband, Gavin, are an active couple who bicycle regularly and hope to spend more time traveling in the coming years. They also will have more time to spend with their children and two grandchildren, she added.
Craig is in her fifth year as Kenwood principal. She previously served as assistant principal at Southwest High School, principal at Longfellow Community School and was principal at Cooper Community School for 11 years before joining Kenwood.
Craig began her education career in California.
"I really enjoy my job a lot and I enjoy Kenwood," she said. "It’s just an extraordinary school."
Craig expected a replacement to be named in May.
Blake is a National School of Character finalist
LOWRY HILL — The Blake School is a finalist in the National Schools of Character Awards sponsored by the Character Education Partnership.
The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit promotes character education in schools and every year recognizes those schools that excel at teaching students ethics, responsibility and caring behavior. Blake is among 25 schools and two school districts in the running for an award in 2009.
The Partnership received a record 185 applications to the 2009 awards. Representatives will visit nominees in April before selecting 10 winners in late May.
Blake previously was recognized with a Minnesota School of Character Award by the Center for Academic Excellence. The North Mankato-based education center partnered with the Minnesota Department of Education to create a state award based on the Character Education Partnership’s national award model.
Cargill supports MPS science education
Two new grants from the Wayzata-based Cargill Foundation aim to promote science and engineering careers to Minneapolis students.
The foundation donated $2.5 million in March to the Science Museum of Minnesota, which will introduce the Engineering is Elementary curriculum in public elementary schools in the Minneapolis and Hopkins districts. The program engages students in grades 3–5 in hands-on projects.
The district also announced a $622,000, five-year grant from the Cargill Foundation to support Project Lead the Way in public middle schools in Minneapolis and Osseo. Project Lead the Way is a national nonprofit that introduces students in grades 6–12 to engineering, design and technology concepts.