Superintendent awarded $12,000 bonus

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson was awarded less than half her potential $30,000 performance bonus for the 2011–2012 school year.

The School Board voted Dec. 18 to award Johnson a performance-pay bonus of $12,390 “in recognition of her continuing efforts to boost student achievement and improve organizational culture in the district,” according to a statement read by Board Member Carla Bates.

The statement recognized student performance gains in two key areas, third-grade reading and eighth-grade math, and Johnson’s leadership in the ongoing implementation of focused instruction and teacher evaluation initiatives. Half of Johnson’s bonus is determined by the district’s progress toward student-achievement goals outlined in the Minneapolis Public Schools strategic plan, and half is determined by performance ratings provided by each School Board member.

Bates added later, in her own words: “I would just like to remind the public again that our superintendent’s salary is very competitive in the state as well as in the nation, and … I am proud as a board member to be involved in providing a performance-based possibility for our superintendent. This is unique in the state of Minnesota.”

Johnson earns $190,000 per year. Her new contract, approved by the School Board in November, kept Johnson at the same base salary but increased her potential performance-pay bonus to $40,000 per year.

Apply now for STEP-UP jobs program

Young people looking for paid internships this summer have until March 4 to apply online for the 2013 STEP-UP employment program.

The city’s youth employment program is open to Minneapolis residents ages 14–21 as of June 1, 2013. Interns are placed at a variety of local businesses, government agencies and nonprofits, and earn $7.25–$10 per hour.

Participants can earn as much as $2,000 over the course of the summer and gain work skills to prepare them for college and future careers. Interns interview for their positions and are placed with an employer in the spring. The internships generally run from mid-June to mid-August.

Applicants must provide information about family income and meet the program’s income guidelines. Only online applications will be accepted this year. For more information, or to apply, go to

Learn about Minneapolis school options

Minneapolis Public Schools is partnering with area charter schools to showcase the city’s educational options from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 at the first Minneapolis School Fair Showcase in January.

This year is the first time the district’s annual education fair will also feature charter schools. The event takes place about a month before the district’s deadline for submitting school choice cards on Feb. 19.

The school fair runs 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S. There is free parking and childcare at the event, and the district is offering free shuttles to the convention center from various locations around town, including two schools in Southwest: Lyndale Community School, 312 W. 34th St., and Whittier International Elementary School, 315 W. 26th St.

For more information about the shuttle service, call 668-1842. General questions about the fair should be directed to the district’s office of Student Placement Services at 668-1840.

Middle school information nights begin Jan. 10

Fifth-grade students and their parents can learn more about the district’s middle school options at a series of information nights in January and February.

The open houses offer an opportunity for students and their families to tour the middle schools, meet teachers and learn more about the curriculum offered at each school. The district’s fifth-grade students are automatically placed in their attendance area middle school; those who wish to attend a non-pathway school must submit a school request card by Feb. 19.

The open houses are: Jan. 10 at Anthony, 5757 Irving Ave. S.; Jan. 15 at Northeast, 2955 Hayes St. N.E.; Jan. 23 at Ramsey, 1 W. 49th St.; Jan. 29 at Anwatin, 256 Upton Ave. S.; Jan. 31 at Sanford, 3524 42nd Ave. S.; and Feb. 5 at Olson, 1607 51st Ave. N.

Lyndale principal retires

Lyndale Community School Principal Ossie Brooks-James retired in early January after 35 years with the district. Assistant Principal Renee James will serve as interim principal for the school.

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Brooks-James spent her entire education career with Minneapolis Public Schools, joining the district in 1977 as a speech-language pathologist. She described herself as a “reluctant principal” who spent four years interning as an assistant principal at three schools before accepting a posting at Lyndale in 1997.

Brooks-James said she was leaving now to care for her granddaughter while her daughter pursues an “opportunity.”