Schools notebook // Summer meals

Free summer meals being served

Free summer meals for children and teenagers will be available June 15 to August 13 at nearly 100 Minneapolis schools, parks and community locations through the Summer Food Service Program.

Minneapolis Public Schools sponsors the U.S. Department of Agriculture program in Minneapolis. The free meals are a nutritious lunch option during the summer, when many children no longer have access to school lunch programs.

Summer Food Service locations are determined based on area poverty rates, but the meals are provided to all children and teenagers under 18 years old regardless of family income. A typical lunch menu might include a cold cut sandwich, fruit or vegetable and milk or juice.

Some sites also offer breakfast, a mid-afternoon snack or dinner. No site offers more than two meals a day.

Free summer meals will be served at more than a dozen locations in Southwest. For a full list of Summer Food Service Program locations and meal times, visit the district website (foodservice.mpls.k12.mn.us).

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District issues timeline for schools changes

The Minneapolis School Board vote on a major district restructuring plan is now tentatively scheduled for September, Minneapolis Public Schools announced June 1.

The board was to vote May 26 on the plan, known as Changing School Options. That vote was delayed after board members raised a number of concerns about the plan in a May 5 discussion meeting.

The aim of Changing School Options is to reduce the number of school programs and change attendance rules so that children attend schools closer to home, limiting transportation costs. District leaders said the changes, scheduled for 2010, would put the district on a better footing to deal with a $28 million budget shortfall and declining enrollment.

While the School Board and district administration were in general agreement on the broad outlines of the plan, board members said they needed more information on specific changes before giving Changing School Options their support. Board Chairman Tom Madden said the board likely would have voted down the plan in its original form.

District administrators plan to revise the plan in June and further study how the proposed changes will impact students, according to the new timeline released by the district. Working with the School Board, they will review and revise the plan throughout July and August.

The district will present the revised Changing School Options plan to the public in a series of town hall-style meetings in September. Public hearings on proposed school closings will take place before a final vote on the plan.

Parents can check for updates on the planning process on the district website (www.mpls.k12.mn.us). Additional planning materials will be posted there over the summer, beginning in July.

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Enroll now in Camp MPS

Families can enroll students now in Minneapolis Public Schools’ Camp MPS program.

Camp MPS debuted last summer as a retooled summer school program. Days were lengthened from four to six hours to make time for more programming like physical education, music and arts classes, in addition to math and reading classes.

Camp MPS runs July 7–30. Camp days begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 2:45 p.m. To register a student for Camp MPS, call 668-0440. Information and registration forms are also available on the district website (alc.mpls.k12.mn.us/).

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Lake Harriet students paint mural

FULTON — Third-grade students at Lake Harriet Community School’s upper campus decorated a drab courtyard wall with a colorful mural in May.

The mural, unveiled May 29, was completed with the help of Jane Elias, a Lake Harriet parent who also runs Simply Jane, a drop-in art studio at 4801 Nicollet Ave. S.  Elias worked with the students on a scene “celebrating animals and nature,” combining student drawings into a mural design that then all of the students helped to paint.

“It’s a gift that they leave for the classes that come next year,” Elias said.