Insight News

Mar 06th


Bill Green refl ects on leaving Minneapolis school post

Bill Green refl ects on leaving Minneapolis school postJune can be a bittersweet time for many of us at the Minneapolis Public Schools. Our students wrap up the school year and a mixture of sadness and excitement is in the air. Our principals, teachers and all staff are proud of the accomplishments our students have made. Our schools are all hosting annual celebrations, carnivals, performances, recognition activities and commencement ceremonies. A special congratulations to our graduating seniors who are ready to tackle the ‘real world.’

June 30 will be my last day as Superintendent of Schools and I feel mixed emotions myself. Serving the Minneapolis Public Schools’ students, staff and community has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I hope you will feel, at the end of my term, that all of our students’ lives and educational experiences have been as enriched as mine has been in serving them. I know that change, while it may be unsettling, is essential for growth. It helps us expand our understanding and our experience. We are committed to building a lifelong passion for continuous learning in all of our students and learning to cope and even thrive with change is part of that education.

University of Notre Dame Valedictorian Katie Washington: A terrific role model

University of Notre Dame Valedictorian Katie Washington: A terrific role model As colleges and universities across the country celebrated their students’ accomplishments this commencement season, the news about the top student at the University of Notre Dame was especially inspiring for me. Twenty-one-year-old Katie Washington from Gary, IN, made history as Notre Dame’s first Black valedictorian. Katie was a biological sciences major with a minor in Catholic social teaching who earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She is planning to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. next at Johns Hopkins University, and she said she was “humbled” and “in a mode of gratitude and thanksgiving” by being named valedictorian. In a culture filled with superficial celebrities, beautiful, brilliant, hardworking young women and men like Katie are real role models and ought to be on the cover of our magazines. They’re who our children should aspire to be.

Minneapolis Board of Education approves contract for Bernadeia Johnson

Minneapolis Board of Education approves contract for Bernadeia JohnsonThe Minneapolis Board of Education unanimously approved a contract with Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent-designee Bernadeia Johnson last Tuesday evening.

“I am extremely hopeful for the future and excited to lead this work,” said Johnson. “I am eager to focus on the academic work of the district and I know we can do great things for the children of Minneapolis.”

The contract which was approved at Tuesday night’s board meeting specifies that Johnson will receive an annual salary of $190,000. The contract also contains provisions for a performance-based bonus tied to academic achievement of students. Annual performance goals will be formally established by the school board in writing by August 31 of the contract year. The school board has sole discretion to determine whether or not the goals were achieved.

While the contract also contains provisions for family health insurance, dental insurance, disability and life insurance, Johnson chose to forego additional benefits normally included in the superintendent’s package and opted to receive terms and conditions similar to the contracts in place for the Minneapolis Public Schools’ executive leadership team. This contract includes cuts to paid vacation and sick time and the elimination of personal time. Johnson hopes that by forfeiting these benefits, she will lead the way for other administrative and professional employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Admission Possible year end graduation celebration

Admission Possible year end graduation celebration Largest group of students yet complete two-year college prep program

Nearly 1,000 low-income students celebrated this school year’s achievements at the ninth annual Admission Possible-Greater Twin Cities Year-End Graduation Celebration May 22 at the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium.

The seniors at the celebration successfully completed a free two-year college prep program through Admission Possible. In the program, they worked with an AmeriCorps coach to cover 320 hours of comprehensive curriculum ranging from ACT practice tests to campus visits, with the final goal of gaining admission to college, securing financial aid and choosing a school that’s a good fit.

World-class students and schools

World-class students and schoolsSpring is a great time to be Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent because I have the opportunity to recognize some of our many outstanding students. I want to offer my whole-hearted congratulations to the six students who have recently been selected as Gates Millennium Scholars. These students are among only 1,000 scholars nationwide to receive good-through-graduation college scholarships via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They are Fadumo Abdullahi and Abdullahi Ali of Edison High School and Doua Kha, Mai Vang, Soua Chang and Susan Vang of Patrick Henry High School. In addition to financial assistance, Gates Millennium Scholars receive academic support, mentoring and leadership training. As a result, recipients have an average five-year graduation rate of almost 80 percent, 45 percent higher than the six-year rate for all college students.

Minneapolis Principals’ Academy names 2010 members, graduates class

Nineteen participants have been selected for the 2010-2011 Minneapolis Principals’ Academy.

The Minneapolis Principals’ Academy is designed to develop principal leaders who are effective in creating successful schools that get results. It is a year-long intensive and rigorous professional development program using both national and local experts in the field of educational leadership to prepare dedicated leaders for the principalship.

Selected applicants are educators who aspire to obtain school principal positions after completion of the professional development program. MPS received 47 applications this year.

A Minneapolis School Board without African American participation? What a travesty!

Recently, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and several of the Trade Unions released their endorsed candidates for the upcoming November Minneapolis Public School Board election. Only one union to date, Service Employees International Union, has endorsed a single African American for the new school board.

We have been advised that each of the major MPS unions screened several African American candidates for the school board including current School Board member T. Williams and new candidate Chanda Baker. I know for certain those two African Americans screened. Only Chanda Baker received the SEIU endorsement

While I cannot speak for the qualifications of all the African American candidates I find it impossible to understand why only (SEIU) could identify a single qualified African American that they could endorse.

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