Minneapolis welcomes students back to school

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff (left) meets a second-grade class at Bryn Mawr Elementary School on Aug. 27. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Tens of thousands of Minneapolis Public Schools students returned to class on Monday, Aug. 27.

The district expected to welcome about 36,000 students back to class, a spokesman said. Most had already registered, but the district’s placement offices reported placing a total of about 200 students each day during the two weeks before classes started.

Classes began Aug. 27 for most students in grades 1–12 and on Aug. 29 for kindergarten, pre-K and preschool students. Classes for ninth-graders at Southwest High School began Aug. 27 and on Aug. 28 for students in grades 10–12.

The start of the year came with new bell times at 20 schools. The district changed the times to streamline its busing, a change it says can save up to $2 million.

Sixteen of the 20 schools had bell-time changes that were within an hour of previous start and end times. But four schools had changes of up to 70 minutes, including Clara Barton Open School and Bryn Mawr Elementary School in Southwest Minneapolis.

New Bryn Mawr principal Laura Cavender said the changes do not seem to be an issues.

“Kids are here on time, buses are here pretty much on time, and the school year started off great,” she said.

Barton’s start time went from 7:30 a.m. to 8:40 a.m., and its end time went from 2 p.m. to 3:10 p.m. Bryn Mawr’s went from 7:30 a.m. to 8:40 a.m., and its end time also went from 2 p.m. to 3:10 p.m. Other Southwest schools that saw significant start-time changes included Anthony (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.) and Justice Page (8:50 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.).

Schools across the district had their first days under new leadership. Washburn High School, for example, welcomed new principal Emily Lilja Palmer, an educator with over 25 years of experience who had spent the previous five years as principal of Sanford Middle School.

Southwest High welcomed new principal Michael Favor, another education professional with 25 years of experience, who spent last school year as interim superintendent of the Monticello Public School District. The school welcomed a new athletic director, Kim Royston, and a new assistant principal, Camille Erickson, who spent the past three years as a dean of students at Columbia Heights Public Schools.

Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff spent much of his week visiting schools, starting with a stop at Jenny Lind Elementary School on Aug. 27. Later in the day, Graff took a tour of Bryn Mawr with Cavender and saw several of the new science classrooms at Washburn in a tour with Palmer, among other stops.

Washburn has been undergoing a major renovation and expansion this summer, an effort that’s included the renovation of existing music and science classrooms and the addition of five new classrooms on the second floor. The district expects the second-floor addition to be ready for students beginning the week of Sept. 10.

The district’s Board of Education was scheduled to host its second business meeting of the school year on Sept. 4, followed by a discussion meeting on Sept. 8 to discuss the comprehensive districtwide assessment. The district was scheduled to hold its seventh-annual “farm-to-school” community barbecue from 4:30 p.m.–7 p.m. on Sept. 12 at its culinary center, 812 Plymouth Ave. N. Visit nutritionservices.mpls.k12.mn.us/f2s_community_bbq to learn more about the event.