Schools notebook: Finance chief leaving district

Finance chief leaving district

Minneapolis Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Peggy Ingison will leave the district in September to take a similar position with the Minnesota Historical Society.

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson announced Ingison’s impending departure at the Aug. 23 School Board meeting, saying Ingison “will be missed.”

“I want to congratulate her and thank her for her service in the Minneapolis Public Schools as she embarks on a new career,” Johnson said.

Ingison arrived in the district about four-and-a-half years ago, during the administration of former superintendent Bill Green. Prior to that she was state finance commissioner under former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, leaving that post after about three decades in state government where she served in several positions, including state budget director.

Johnson said Ingison’s tenure with the district was marked by “considerable improvement” in the finance division’s budgeting and planning processes.

“She’s been instrumental in bringing more transparency to the work around the budgeting process,” Johnson added.

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Volunteers to help bring dropouts back

For the second year in a row, volunteers with the district’s “We Want You Back” campaign will go door-to-door trying to get un-enrolled youth back in school.

The citywide door-knocking event was scheduled for Sept. 10. Last year, about 100 students contacted through the campaign signed-up to speak with district staff about earning their high school diplomas, and 14 of those students have since graduated, the district reported.

The event is organized by the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board, which has also brought the “We Want You Back” campaign to parks, libraries and community events over the summer.

The Sept. 10 event begins 11:30 a.m. at Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road N., with a free lunch and registration for volunteers. A required training session for volunteers runs 12:30 p.m.–1 p.m.

Minneapolis hip-hop emcee I Self Divine performs 1 p.m.–2 p.m., and volunteers disperse in groups to door-knock 2 p.m.–4 p.m.

The campaign’s goal is to once again bring 100 un-enrolled students back into the district.

To volunteer for the door-knocking campaign, contact Jo Haberman of the Youth Coordinating Board at 673-2720 or [email protected]

Students who wish to re-enroll may also call 668-4136.

More information on the campaign is available at wewantyoubackmpls.org.

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Art Buddies seeking creative volunteers

Art Buddies, an after-school program that pairs creative professionals with youth from low-income families, is seeking volunteers for its fall session.

Art Buddies links mentorship and artistic expression, and is a program of the local nonprofit Creatives for Causes. Professionals from fields like architecture, graphic design and advertising work alongside youth to help them visualize their futures through creative projects.

Art Buddies in the past has met in the Whittier Recreation Center connected to Whittier International Elementary School, 315 W. 26th St. This year, the need for volunteers is even greater since the program aims to serve more youth, Art Buddies organizers wrote in an e-mail.

To learn more about the program, or to volunteer for the fall session, visit the Art Buddies website at artbuddies.org.

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District eases cell phone policy

A less-restrictive student cell phone policy drafted in cooperation with student government leaders won School Board approval Aug. 23.

The previous district policy on “personal electronic devices” — not just cell phones but also iPods, tablet computers and the like — prohibited even their possession on school campuses. CityWide Student Government leaders made clear in several appearances before the School Board last year they wanted the policy changed.

The new policy lifts the prohibition on personal electronic devices, but strictly limits their use during the school day, requiring that they remain turned off and out of sight at most times.

Use of the devices is only allowed on school premises before and after the school day, unless a teacher or principal makes an exception. Only high school students are free to use the devices between classes and over lunch periods. Parents must file a request and get principal approval for an elementary-age student to carry a personal electronic device at school.

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Superintendent tours schools on first day

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s tour of the district on the first day of school Aug. 29 took her to two Southwest-area schools.

Johnson stopped by Lyndale Elementary School at about 8:30 a.m. and then made another brief visit to Jefferson Elementary School later in the morning.

About 29,000 students in grades 1–12 filled district classrooms on the first day of school and about 3,200 kindergarteners arrived for their first day Aug. 31.