May 22 marks the one year anniversary of the tornado that hit north Minneapolis and devastated a community. Thousands of residents were affected by this unfortunate disaster, many of whom are part of the Minneapolis Public Schools family.
I want to acknowledge the amazing efforts put forth by the students, staff and community members in our schools and across the city that provided relief for families impacted by the tornado. Although many are still hurting from the aftermath of the storm and there is still work that needs to be done, I am impressed by the progress that has been made and by the steadfast resilience of those in the community.
Throughout the 2011-2012 school year, we have provided individualized support to our students while continuing to connect our families to generous community agencies that are able to provide additional support and aid.
Our schools have done so much to support our students this year. One example, Lucy Laney, a school located in the heart of the disaster area, created a 4-week severe weather unit integrating literacy, writing and math to help students cope and prepare for future severe weather situations. Those lessons include critical analysis of weather-related articles, journaling about the emotional impact of last year’s tornado and analyzing data, charts and graphs of daily weather observations. Principal David Branch told me that his staff members hope that these lessons will give students the knowledge and skills necessary to be prepared in the event of another storm.
As we plan our upcoming move to north Minneapolis, I am honored that the new Davis Center will be a part of the north Minneapolis neighborhood. The way the neighbors and the community have come together to lift one another up despite the tragic circumstances is inspiring, and it is just the support that our students need to continue striving to achieve their dreams in pursuit of college and a career.