Schools notebook // Superintendent earns performance bonus

The School Board awarded Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson just less than half of a potential $30,000 bonus for her performance in her first year as leader of the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Johnson’s was the first superintendent contract to include incentive pay for reaching performance goals. Her total bonus, based on her work between July 2010 and July 2011, was $12,184.

School Board Chair Jill Davis praised Johnson’s “tenacity and strength” in her first year on the job, highlighting in particular her skills in communication, collaboration and building relationships with the wider community. Strengthening relationships was one of three criteria considered by the Board in setting the bonus; the others were Johnson’s progress in boosting academic results and in meeting specific goals set in cooperation with the School Board.

“Though we did not meet all of our academic goals, with her continuing work to deliver focused instruction we believe all students can be successful,” Davis said.

Johnson said she could not take sole credit for district progress, thanking district staff for their efforts. And she said there was more work to be done.

“We are making progress for our students, and for the first time in a decade we’re seeing a trajectory change for our students of color,” Johnson said. “But let me be clear: I am not satisfied and not pleased that we haven’t gotten greater outcomes for our students, and neither should you [be].”

She also said she planned to donate a “substantial amount” of her bonus to AchieveMpls, the district foundation, to establish a scholarship for Minneapolis Public Schools students who plan to study teaching in college.

Johnson said the scholarship would be named for her late mother and grandmother, who were both district teachers. Her grandmother was also a principal and district administrator.


School Choice Fair to be held Jan. 21

Minneapolis Public Schools hosts its annual pre-K–8 School Choice Fair 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Hyatt Regency hotel, 1300 Nicollet Mall.

The fair is an opportunity for parents to meet with teachers and building principals and learn more about their students’ school options for next fall. Parents also will learn about the pathways district students follow from school-to-school as they proceed through the grades.

Also at the fair will be representatives from the district’s Transportation and Nutrition Services departments. Parents of incoming kindergarteners will have the opportunity to learn more about preparing their children for school.

Incoming middle school students and their parents also may attend open houses to learn more about their options for next fall, including 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at Anthony Middle School, 5757 Irving Ave. S., and 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at Anwatin Middle School, 256 Upton Ave. S.

An open house for the new middle school set to open next fall in the Ramsey building at 1 W. 49th St. is
10 a.m.–noon Feb. 4.

For more information on school placement procedures, go to schoolchoice.mpls.k12.mn.us/.


Sign up now to STEP-UP

Students can apply now for an internship with a local employer through the STEP-UP Summer Jobs Program. Applications are due Feb. 3.

Each summer, the program places about 2,000 youth aged 14–21 with area employers, including local businesses, government agencies and nonprofits, for paid summer internships. Last year, 1,980 young people found positions with 275 employers and together earned about $2.9 million in wages, the district reported.

Applicants must live in Minneapolis and be of a qualifying age on June 1. Those interns chosen to participate must first complete a work skills-training program in March and April before they are placed with employers.

Most STEP-UP summer jobs run from June 18 through mid-August, and all pay a minimum of $7.25 an hour.

For more information, call 455-1530 or go to achievempls.org/step-achieve-summer-jobs.

The website also includes information for employers that wish to host a STEP-UP intern this summer.


District hires technology expert

Minneapolis Public Schools announced in December the hiring of David Mayor as the new district chief information officer.

Mayor will lead the district’s efforts to better use technology for student instruction and to manage district operations. He was previously employed as chief information officer for the city of Rochester, N.Y., since 2008.

In a statement released by the district, Mayor said: “I am eager to lead Minneapolis Public Schools’ efforts to leverage technology and enhance learning and address the digital divide so that our students gain the skills necessary to excel in a global community.”

The term “digital divide” refers to the disparities in access to computers and other technologies.

Mayor was one of two new hires who will fill top district administrative posts. The district also announced the hiring of Chief Financial Officer Robert Doty in December.

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]