Insight News

Jul 28th


Chanda Baker Smith: A fresh voice in education

Chanda Baker Smith: A fresh voice in education

Minneapolis mother, educator seeks at-large seat on MPS

The race for Minneapolis Board of Education heats up in the wake of numerous changes, not only in elected members, but in the overall structure of the board itself. This November, Minneapolis residents will elect five members to the board of Education and four in 2012.

Due to a referendum in 2008 enacted by voters, election districts will be based on existing districts for the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board eventually increasing the size of the board from seven to nine members by 2013.

With the announcements from thee current board members, including Tom Madden, Chris Steward and Pam Costain, that they will not be seeking re-election, there’s a flurry of interest in the seats up for grabs, with six candidates vying for the two At-large seats alone.

Chanda Smith Baker is one of them.

We were able to catch up with Chanda to get her perspective on the race and why she’s running.



Oh The Things You Can Do! (When You Don’t Watch TV)

Oh The Things You Can Do! (When You Don’t Watch TV)Children sprawled out on couches, recliners, or floors; nearly hypnotized by a variety of images and messages projected from a television screen. The image has become all too familiar. Increasingly, young children are adopting habits of a sedentary lifestyle, at a stage in life when activity is imperative to growth, mentally and physically. Oh The Things You Can Do! (When You Don’t Watch TV), a children’s book written by Candy Pettiford and illustrated by Andres Guzman, is one step in Pettiford’s mission to reclaim youth.

It all began with a personal revelation. “I have grandkids. And I realized we were losing them because they were watching too much TV. Not only that but they are into these different electronic games. I thought: ‘If I am having problems with my grandkids I know people must be having problems with their children and their grandchildren.’ I really almost stumbled upon writing the book,” said the author.


Congressional Arts Forum names winners

Congressional Arts Forum names winnersUS Rep. Keith Ellison hosted the 29th Annual High School Congressional Arts Competition Forum May 3 at the Perpich Center for Art Education (PCAE) in Golden Valley.  Each spring, Ellison sponsors a district-wide high school arts competition. The High School Congressional Arts Competition is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent of students from across the nation and in each Congressional District.

A total of 50 pieces of artwork were submitted by 30 art teachers from 20 schools in the Fifth Congressional District.  Schools competing included:  Perpich Center for the Arts High School (Golden Valley), Hopkins High School, Hosterman District 287 (New Hope), Washburn High School (Minneapolis), Fridley High School, Robbinsdale Cooper High School, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Southwest High School (Minneapolis), FAIR School Downtown, Totino-Grace High School (Fridley), Richfield High School, Spring Lake Park High School, Breck School (Golden Valley), Spring Lake Park Learning Alternatives Community School, The Blake School (Minneapolis), Metro Heights Academy (Columbia Heights), P.E.A.S.E. Academy (Minneapolis), Phoenix VOA High School (Minneapolis), Columbia Heights High School, and El Colegio  High School (Minneapolis).

Lyndale School hosts authors, artists at Arts Extravaganza Day

Lyndale Community School  from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Thursday May 13 will host Arts Extravaganza Day, the culmination of a year-long poetry project sponsored by Arts for Academic Achievement that paired classrooms with Minnesota authors. Lyndale Community School is at 3121 W. 34th St. in South Minneapolis.

The goal of the project was to help students know authors, see themselves as authors and become authors. Each grade level worked on poetry and writing with a single author or artist for five or more days during the school year. Through classroom visits, artists taught students about the writing process and gave them a look into a writer’s mind. All students in grades Pre-K through five produced written work.

At Arts Extravaganza Day, students will present readings, performances and illustrations. Authors scheduled to read from their work include John Coy, Susan Marie Swanson, Joyce Sidman and Marie Olofsdotter, who will appear with a four foot tall puppet of her character Sofia.


Forum explores closing the achievement

Forum explores closing the achievementCarl Harris, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy & Strategic Initiatives of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education will be the keynote presenter in a Town Hall Forum on education, 4:30pm– 6pm., Monday, May 17, 2010. The event is organized by 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison. It will be held at Columbia Heights Senior High School, 1400 49th Avenue Northeast, Columbia Heights, MN.

Maxfield Magnet teacher named Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Maxfield Magnet teacher named Minnesota Teacher of the YearSaint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) sixth grade teacher Ryan Vernosh is 2010 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. The appointment, which was made public Sunday, May 2, is the culmination of a search process that began with more than 400 nominations and 107 candidates.

"Ryan represents the teacher of the future that our nation's students need right now," said Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva. "He truly embodies the passion, dedication and determination of our District's quality educators that work tirelessly in our classrooms to effect positive change in our students' lives."

Vernosh, who teaches sixth graders at Maxfield Magnet as part of the school's gender specific programming, is the second ever SPPS teacher to be named Teacher of the Year. He has been with the District since 2004 and has taught at Maxfield since 2006.

Metropolitan State appoints interim affirmative action officer

Metropolitan State appoints interim affirmative action officerTruly Webb, Minneapolis, has been appointed interim affirmative action officer by President Sue K. Hammersmith. The appointment is effective for one year beginning May 3.

Webb is responsible for developing the university’s affirmative action plan; for monitoring compliance within all aspects of university work; and for investigating student or employee complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation brought under MnSCU’s 1B.1 policy. She also works with the Human Resources Office in the administration and monitoring of hiring practices and provides training and professional development related to nondiscrimination, equal employment opportunity, and affirmative action.
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