Schools Notebook: Kenny named a Reward School

Southwest elementary school recognized for narrowing achievement gap. Plus: a school centennial; Ed Talks' new season; seeking creative mentors; and a superintendent survey

Kenny Community School was recognized in September as one of the state’s top performers in improving student proficiency and closing the achievement gap.

Kenny was the only district school to appear on the Minnesota Department of Education’s list of 2015 Reward Schools released Sept. 1. The designation — based on state test scores, student growth rates and achievement gap reduction — is available to federal Title 1 schools like Kenny that have a concentration of low-income or at-risk students.

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota schools are on track to meet state goals for narrowing race and income-based achievement gaps in math and reading, according to the results of the Minnesota Measurements Rating released by the Education Department. MMR replaced the annual Adequate Yearly Progress ratings in 2012 when Minnesota was granted a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Forty-five percent of district students who took state standardized tests rated proficient in math in 2015, an increase of nearly 2 percent from 2014, and about 43 percent rated proficient in reading, an increase of less than 1 percent from 2014. Statewide, the proportion of students who rate proficient was about 60 percent in both subject areas.

The percentage of students rated proficient in science increased 3 points to just over 37 percent. Statewide, about 53 percent of students who took the test rated proficient.

Three district schools were named Celebration-Eligible this year: Howe, Waite Park and Anthony. They rank just behind Reward schools and can apply for Celebration status by documenting efforts to boost student achievement.


Former Fulton Elementary hosting centennial

Lake Harriet Community School–Upper Campus, opened in 1915 as Robert Fulton Elementary School, is hosting a centennial celebration Sept. 12.

Current students, alumni and neighbors are invited to attend the afternoon open house and 100th-birthday party. Lake Harriet Community School PTA is hosting the event.

Both the school and the neighborhood around it took their names from Robert Fulton (1765–1815), a Pennsylvania-born artist who pioneered commercial travel by steamboat in the early 1800s. The school was renamed in 2000 when it merged with nearby John J. Audubon Elementary School to form the dual-campus, K–8 Lake Harriet Community School.

The celebration starts at 3 p.m. with an open house that runs until 5 p.m., followed by a parade led by current and former students at 5:30 p.m. From 6 p.m.–8:30 p.m. expect food trucks, a bounce house and carnival games for the younger attendees and live music performed by Lake Harriet students and staff.

For more information, go to


Ed Talks series starts new season

The 2015–2016 season of the Ed Talks series co-presented by AchieveMpls and The Citizens League launches Sept. 21 at Icehouse.

Up first is Minneapolis educator and 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Tom Rademacher with his talk, “Students Lead in Anti-Racist Classrooms.” The second presentation is “Knowing Where We Come From Determines Where We’re Going” by Children’s Defense Fund–Minnesota Executive Director Peggy Flanagan, a former member of the Minneapolis Board of Education who is now the DFL’s unopposed candidate in Minnesota House District 46A.

The two 20-minute presentations will be followed by conversation and networking. The $5 admission includes appetizers.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave. S., and the program begins at 6 p.m. For more information, or to purchase tickets in advance, go to


Creative mentors needed

Art Buddies is recruiting talented creative professionals to mentor students during its upcoming fall session.

Art Buddies engages elementary age students in creative activities that are designed to build self-esteem and help the students envision who they might become in the future. Adult mentors work one-on-one with students during the weekly after-school program, which is provided free to students from low-income families in grades 3–5.

Mentors must be at least 18 years old. Art Buddies volunteers often come from creative fields like design, advertising and architecture.

Art Buddies will take place at three locations this fall: Mondays at Riverview West Side School of Excellence in St. Paul; Wednesdays at Bancroft Elementary in Minneapolis; and Thursdays at Whittier International Elementary School in Minneapolis.

Go to to learn more about the program or to apply for a volunteer mentor position.


Weigh in on superintendent search

The Minneapolis Board of Education is seeking public input as it develops its profile of the district’s next superintendent.

Students, staff, parents and community members are invited to take an online survey ( by Sept. 17. Survey takers are presented with a list of 25 “desired characteristics” they’d like to see in the next superintendent and the option to select up to eight characteristics from the list.

The survey results will be used by the board’s Superintendent Search Committee to develop a leadership profile. A report on the profile is scheduled for the Sept. 29 Board of Education meeting.