Brown-bags | MNAchievementGap

Over 100 Years of Educational Experience and Wisdom: What It Takes For ALL Students Succeed

Moderator: Katherine Page

On Tuesday, November 15th, three respected administrators from Minneapolis and St. Paul will speak from noon until 1:30pm at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue in St. Paul

Bernadeia Johnson, former superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, Mary Mackbee, principal of Saint Paul Central High School since 1993, and Delores Henderson, former Minnesota Principal of the Year  will speak about how public education and its context have changed over the years, how things have improved, and, most especially, what still needs to be done so that ALL students succeed.

October and November Forums

Mark your calendars for our next Achievement Gap Forums at Mount Zion Temple


First: Minnesota’s Best Teachers Speak on Education in Minnesota: What’s Good? What Still Needs Fixing?

Moderator: Katherine Page

On Tuesday, October 18th, in partnership with Education Minnesota, two former Teachers of the Year and two runners-up from last year will speak from noon until 1:30pm at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue in St. Paul

The two semi-finalists are from the St. Paul Public Schools: Juanita Ortiz, a Latino culture teacher at Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet, and Koua Yang, a social studies teacher at Harding High School. The two former Teachers of the Year are Katy Smith, an early childhood family education teacher from Rochester, Minnesota, and Amy Hewett-Olatunde, a teacher at LEAP (Limited English Academic Proficiency) High School in St. Paul.

 

Second:  Over 100 Years of Educational Experience and Wisdom: What It Takes So ALL Students Succeed

Moderator: Katherine Page

On Friday, November 18th, three respected administrators from Minneapolis and St. Paul will speak from noon until 1:30pm at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue in St. Paul

Bernadeia Johnson, former superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, Mary Mackbee, principal of Saint Paul Central High School since 1993, and Delores Henderson, former Minnesota Principal of the Year  will speak about how public education and its context have changed over the years, how things have improved, and, most especially, what still needs to be done so that ALL students succeed.

(We’ll send a reminder email a week or so before the forum. But mark your calendar now.)

Principals and Progress

September 13th, 2016, noon, at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avene, St. Paul

Katherine Page, Moderator

It has become almost a truism that in addition to good teachers, good principals are essential to closing the achievement gap. They try to ensure a safe enivronment or their strudents, enourage best practices by their staff, support parent involvement, and keep the district's bureaucracy at bay.

But it's been a long, long time since 'the principal' was short for 'the principal teacher', and the many hats they now wear has made their job far more difficult.

We welcome Dr. David Adney and Jon Millerhagen to speak at our September 13th, 2016 Forum.  

David is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Secondary Principals Association (MASSP).  He has had years of leadership experience most recently as Principal at Minnetonka High School.  David has spoken about principal leadership throughout the US, Japan and China.

Jon Millerhagen is Executive Director of the Minnesota Elementary Principals Association (MESP).  He has twenty years of experience as a principal and received the Minnesota National Principal award in 2012.  Jon has testified before the State Legislature and also on Capitol Hill.

David and Jon will lead us through the changes and then speak with us about what he sees the Principalship looking like in the future.  As Executive Director of MSPA David has spoken to groups about the position of Principal Leadership throughout the US, Japan and China.

The Achievement Gap and Immigrant Students of Color

Much attention has been paid to the achievement gap which is defined as “the ability accurately to predict a student’s performance based purely on  his or her ethnicity,” and in particular on the color of his or her skin.

Recent immigrants from various African, Spanish-speaking, and Asian countries are included in that definition, but there is strong evidence that the barriers for those young people are far different from the barriers for young African Americans and other U. S.-born racial minorities. And treating them all as one group does a disservice to all of them.

The Minnesota Achievement Gap Committee forum on May 18th will feature six education professionals discussing English Language Learner (ELL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) education throughout Minnesota and in the Twin Cities specifically. The panelists will discuss:

  • How do you best address concerns among . . . (read more)
Positive Behaviors Lead to Academic Success - Minneapolis

Katherine Page will moderate a forum where the Chief of Minneapolis Public Schools and three principals will discuss how those schools are led, how they maintain a positive school climate with staff and students, and how this leads to academic and life success for students.  The participants are

  • Michael Thomas, Chief of Schools for Minneapolis
  • Michael Bradley, principal, Roosevelt High School 
  • Yusef Abdullah, principal, Henry High School 
  • Ronald Salazar, principal, Fowell K-8  

Minneapolis Public Schools does not have an all district classroom management program.  However, each school has its own Positive Schoolwide  Engagement Plan, and each classroom has a Classroom Engagement Plan.  The presenters will talk about these plans in their schools.

The panel will discuss current successes, issues with student behaviors, how the Engagement Plans were developed and how they are supported in the district, the school, and the community.  A safe, welcoming school with high behavior and academic expectations leads to success for its students.

The forum will be Tuesday, April 26th, at noon, at Mount Zion Temple on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. The public is welcome.

Positive Behaviors Equal Academic Success

On March 10th four gifted principals from St. Paul Public Schools will be discussing how their schools are led, how they maintain a posi thetive school climate with their staff and students, and how this leads to academic and life success for students. 

The principals are: 

  • Barbara Evangelist, St. Paul Music Academy
  • Mike McCollor, Washington Technology Secondary Magnet
  • Stacy Theien-Collins, Murray Middle School
  • Michael Thompson, Johnson Senior High School

Each school has a belief statement or philosophy around which the principals develop school climate. This belief ties into the positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS) practices in St. Paul Public Schools. They also tie into the district school climate goals that Superintendent Valeria Silva discussed during the February 23 St. Paul school board meeting. This information along with positive reinforcements and consequences are explained in each school’s student handbook.

Current successes and issues with student behavior will be discussed along with how these are supported and handled and what needs to happen for change to occur.  A safe, welcoming school with high academic expectations leads to academic success for its students. That is the focus of these four principals.

At the end of the principals’ presentation, there will be time for a question and answer session.

MinneMinds - an Update by Frank Forsberg

MinneMinds, a collaboration of over 90 organizations, is working to make sure every child in Minnesota has the opportunity to access high quality early childhood education. For the last three years the MinneMinds Campaign has been working to increase the amount of public funding available for the most at-risk families for early childhood education and to improve the quality of early childhood education through the Parent Aware Early Childhood Education rating system.

On Decembner 8th Frank Forsberg will present an update on progress during the last year. The forum will be held at Mount Zion Temple at noon.
 

Generation Next - an Update

At the next Achievement Gap Committee Forum, on December 1st at noon at Mount Sinai Temple in Saint Paul, R. T. Rybak, executive director of Generation Next, will review the progress made in the last year in implementing steps to attack the achievement gap for young people of color. Generation Next is a broad-based partnership representing some of the region's most significant community groups, political leaders, foundations and businesses.

Generation Next’s goals are that every young person: is ready for kindergarten, meets benchmarks in reading by 3rd grade, meets benchmarks in mathematics by 8th grade, graduates from high school ready for college and career, and earns a post secondary degree or certification.

Educational Equity Resource Center
with Julie Sweitzer and Michael Rodriguez
Tuesday, October 6th, Noon, at Mount Zion Temple

Minnesota is building greater access to the expertise and resources of the University to help address educational equity from cradle to career. The new Educational Equity Resource Center engages with educators to share University research and programs, help translate research to practice, and enhance collaboration. Michael Rodriguez, professor of educational psychology, and Julie Sweitzer, are co-directors and will present an update on the U of M’s developing plans.

Legislative Session Education Report
moderated by Lori Sturdevant

The Annual Legislative Session Education Report Forum (whew!) happens on Tuesday, June 2, noon to 1:30 pm, at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul 55105.

This year’s panel will consist of Rep. Jenifer Loon, chair of the House Education Finance Committee, Rep. Sondra Erickson, chair of the House Education Innovation Committee, and Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray, member of both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate E-12 Education Budget Committee. 

Education Action from the Legislature
moderate by Lori Sturdevant

The Annual Legislative Session Education Report Forum (phew!) happens on Tuesday, June 2, noon to 1:30 pm, at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul 55105.

This year’s panel will consist of Rep. Jenifer Loon, chair of the House Education Finance Committee, Rep. Sondra Erickson, chair of the House Education Innovation Committee, and Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray, member of both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate E-12 Education Budget Committee. 

Principals Discuss What it Takes to Beat the Odds

Part One: Principals from St. Paul


We recently asked the District Superintendents of St. Paul and Minneapolis to suggest some principals in their districts who are beating the odds in addressing the achievement gap. From the lists they provided we have assembled two panels for two forums, one from Minneapolis, and the other from St. Paul. We think each of them could shed a lot of light.

Both forums will ask the participants to adress these questions:

  • What does it take for a school to consistently beat the odds?
  • What does it need from the district and the state?
  • What does it need from its community?
  • What changes at the district and state levels would be most helpful?

The first forum will feature:

Como Park Elementary, Principal Christine Vang
St Paul Music Academy, Principal Barbara Evangelist
Washington Technology Magnet, Principal Mike McCollar
Harding High School, Principal Douglas Revsbeck


The forums will be held at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul at noon on May 12th and May 17th.

S.M.A.R.T - Enhancing Learning Readiness

A Chance To Grow


We've heard a lot recently about the external influences on a child's readiness for school.  Organizations like NAZ stress the importance of all of a child's environment. Children's Hospitals gave a forum last Fall about the effects of toxic stress, and the U's Institute for Child Development has talked about the importance of executive function.

A Chance To Grow has developed a set of learning readiness activities called S.M.A.R.T. that they have tested over five years in partnership with 20 Head Start classrooms around the state. and have found that "when followed into Elementary School student performance remained on par with National Norms and middle class peers throughout Kindergarten, First and Second Grades, changing the trajectory of these children in poverty."

There will be a forum on March 31st at noon at Mount Zion Temple.

Black Male Student Achievement in the Minneapolis Schools
Michael Walker, Director, Office of Black Male Student Achievement
March 10th at Mount Zion Temple

Building a Bridge: How and Why MPS Created the Office of Black Male Student Achievement and its work with Positive School Wide Engagement to close the achievement gap

 

St. Paul's Racial Equity Policy - an update
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Saint Paul Public Schools is now in the second phase of its Strong Schools, Communities Strategic Plan. Through the recently adopted Racial Equity policy, the district seeks to eliminate institutional racism and increase achievement while narrowing gaps between the highest and lowest performing students. Michelle Walker's presentation at the Achievement Gap Committee meeting will highlight the District's most recent efforts in implementing the Racial Equity policy

 

Language Immersion and the Achievement Gap

To what extent could dual language immersion education help eliminate the achievement gap in Minnesota? Studies both large and small find that immersion students from diverse ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic and developmental backgrounds outperform peers taught in English-only classrooms.

Tara Fortune, Immersion Program Director for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota, and Tina Maynor, Founding Lead Teacher at Pierre Bottineau French Immersionn in Minneapolis, will discuss these as well as the design factors needed for good educational outcomes.

The forum is December 9th at noon at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul.

How the State is Helping with the Achievement Gap

Brenda Casselius, the State Commissioner of Education, will speak on progress that is being made across the state to reduce and eliminate achievement gaps, the challenges the schools are still facing, and efforts underway to overcome those challenges. She will also discuss work being done to implement recent legislation, especially as it relates to support for students whose first language is not English.

The forum will be held at Mount Zion Temple, 1330 Summit Avenue in St. Paul, from noon to 1:30 on December 2nd.

MinneMinds - What A Collaboration Can Do

MinneMinds, a collaboration of over 90 organizations, is working to make sure every child in Minnesota has the opportunity to access high quality early childhood education. For the last three years the MinneMinds Campaign has been working to increase the amount of public funding available for the most at-risk families for early childhood education and to improve the quality of early childhood education through the Parent Aware Early Childhood Education rating system. So far the Campaign has helped secure nearly $50 million for early learning scholarships and the expansion of Parent Aware. However, there is a long way to go to provide every family the opportunity for quality early childhood education.

On Tuesday, November 18th, Frank Forsberg, Vice-President for Systems Change and Innovation, will offer an update on the Campaign: what it is, what it has accomplished, and what it is looking to accomplish in 2015. The 90 minute forum will take place at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul 55108, from noon to 1:30 pm.

PSEO and Beyond - Shrinking the High School
Achievement Gap
Kristy Snyder and Mike Crhistenson, MCTC

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) has partnered with the Minneapolis Public Schools to provide a much better path to post-secndary education and employment for disadvantaged students.

Kristy Snyder is the Dean of Academic Foundations at MCTC.  Her colleague, Mike Christenson, leads the college's partnership efforts.   Together, they will outline a plan and a program  for closing the achievement and employment gaps that have plagued the households and neighborhoods served by MCTC.

Snyder believes that strengthening career and technical pathways, from K-12 to college, will bring the job opportunities needed in these communities.  Christenson will demonstrate that Minneapolis employers, led by Hennepin County, are preparing to place those who choose such pathways. Please join us to learn more.

Tuesday, October 28th
Noon
Mount Zion Temple
1300 Summit Avenue, St. Paul

Rybak Lays Out Generation Next's Plan

In the next Achievement Gap Committee Forum, on October 14th at noon at Mount Sinai Temple in Saint Paul, R. T. Rybak, executive director of Generation Next, will outline a plan of concrete steps to attack the achievement gap for young people of color, as released in August. Generation Next is a broad-based partnership representing some of the region's most significant community groups, political leaders, foundations and businesses.

Generation Next’ goals are that every young person: is ready for kindergarten, meets benchmarks in reading by 3rd grade, meets benchmarks in mathematics by 8th grade, graduates from high school ready for college and career, and earns a post secondary degree or certification.

The Significance of Birth
to Three

September 9th, 2014

Drs. Gigi Chawla and Mike Troy will speak to both the thought-leading strategies and the science that validates increased attention and investment in early childhood development. Drawing from their frontline insights as a pediatrician and clinical psychologist, respectively, they will speak to the value of understanding that brain development is dramatic and profound in a child’s earliest months and years and is a critical part of creating a foundation for life-long well-being as well as academic success.

Further information from the speakers:
As one of the largest pediatric health systems in the country, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota believes a strong start is critical to long-term health and success, and the importance of early childhood development cannot be overstated. Children’s is engaged in an effort to build greater awareness about the importance of a child’s development in the earliest years and to identify collaborative methods to reach more children in their first years of life. It recently released a position paper titled Foundation for Life: The Significance of Birth to Three, and is engaging withcommunity leaders in the Twin Cities and beyond with expertise in the areas of early childhood health, education and development. You can find more information on this effort here:
http://www.childrensmn.org/blog/earlychildhood/.

Off for the Summer

We have yet to transcribe the videos from the last two forums, but once that's done, we're taking a short break.

There's a very exciting roster of forums for the Fall. Stay tuned!
End-of-Session Report on Education Legislation, May 27th, 2014

Come and hear what happened at this year’s legislative session with respect to education legislation. Mary Cecconi, Executive Director of Parents United, will begin the report with an overview. Then, . . .
 (read more)

Denise Specht - Education Minnesota, May 15th, 2014

It's been a while!  Our last series presented a wide diversity of views from various advocacy organizations about what is needed to close the achievement gap. We wanted our next forum to cover similar ground, but from the point of view of the teachers . . . (read more)

AGC Winter Forum Series: Seeking agreement on how to close Minnesota’s Achievement Gap, Janurary-February, 2014

For years, you have come to the Achievement Gap Committee’s Brown Bag lunches to hear from a wide range of education professionals, researchers, and policy makers on how to close the achievement gap. This winter, we are asking the question: Are there areas of agreement that a broad range of people and organizations could get behind?

To that end, we are inviting . . . (read more)

Forum on the education reform proposal of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, “Schools St. Paul Children Deserve,” with Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Wednesday, October 23, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the University Lutheran Church of Hope, 601 – 13th Ave SE, Minneapolis.
Saint Paul School Board Candidates Forum on the Achievement Gap, October 17, 2013, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 N. Kent St., Saint Paul, Co-sponsored with the Saint Paul League of Women Voters and the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center.

Generation Next, Sepatember 30th, 2013

Generation Next
is the Twin Cities own version of the Cincinnati Strive Initiative. It is an effort to bring the community together to improve educational outcomes for all students and to end the achievement gap. This vast undertaking involves major foundations . . . (read more)

St. Paul Racial Equity Policy,  September 20th, 2013

This summer the Saint Paul School Board approved a racial equity policy. To learn more about this policy and its implementation you are invited to attend the Minnesota Achievement Gap Committee Forum co-sponsored by the Wilder Foundation on Friday, September 20, noon to 1:30 pm, at the Wilder Foundation, Lexington and University Avenues, Saint Paul.

Michelle Walker, Chief of Staff for the Saint Paul Public Schools, and . . . (read more)

Executive Function and the Developing Brain, June 27th, 2013

Executive Function is a term sometimes used by caretakers of young children and by specialists who treat youngsters with various pathologies.  But the words  "executive function" are rarely used in discussions about the achievement gap.   That is beginning to change.  A Canadian author . . . (read more)

The House, the Senate, and the Achievement Gap, June 14th, 2013


What happened at this session of Minnesota’s Legislature with respect to education legislation? Participate Friday, June14th,  in a conversation about the legislation and its implications for education in Minnesota with . . . (read more)

The Northside Achievement Zone and the Cradle-to-Career Pipeline, May 10th, 2013

Minneapolis’ Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) is a collaboration of organizations and schools that work with children and families in a geographic “Zone” of North Minneapolis to build a culture of achievement—so that all youth graduate from high school ready for college. Come Friday, May 10, and hear NAZ leaders and partners talk about the Zone’s progress to date and . . . (read more)

Principal Training and the Impact of Minnesota’s New Principal Evaluation Law

April 12th, 2013

Principals play a critical role in creating a positive school culture, supporting teachers, and ultimately student achievement. On April 12th Fred Storti will speak on the impact of Minnesota's new principal evaluation law.

The state of Minnesota and individual school districts are placing increasing importance on developing and evaluating school principals. Storti, executive director of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, will update us on the principal principles, from the training taking place at the Minnesota Principals Academy to the impact of new state laws.  A Q&A follows the presentation.

The meeting will be April 12th  from noon to 1:30 pm, at University Lutheran Church of Hope, 601 13th Ave. SE, Minneapolis. Coffee and water are provided.

Lessons from Hiawatha Academies

Eli Kramer, the leader of a successful charter school, will speak at the Brown Bag forum on March 15th, 2013.

One interesting aspect of Hiawatha Academies is the culture the schools promote to support academic success. The Hiawatha Academies mission is

to empower all Hiawatha scholars with the knowledge, character and leadership skills to graduate from college and serve the common good

To accomplish its mission, Hiawatha Academies create a culture that nurtures the whole person—teachers included—for academic success and more. How have they done this? What sustains it? What challenges lie ahead? What can other schools learn from Hiawatha Academies? Kramer will present the Hiawatha story, and a Q&A will follow.

Use the calendar link on the right-hand side of the screen to register.

Early Education - Forum III

What Needs to Happen to Bring Quality Early Care and Education to Scale?

Speakers are:

  • Ericca Maas, Executive Director of Parent Aware for School Readiness, will speak on the unmet need in early learning and how scholarships empower low-income parents to access quality programs.
  • Frank Forsberg, senior vice president of the Greater Twin Cities United Way: Getting to scale with quality early care and education, will speak on the MinneMinds Campaign, a statewide coalition of more than 60 organizations working to boost early learning.
  • Barbara Milon, Executive Director of the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in Minneapolis, and Nancy Hylden, lobbyist for the MinneMinds Campaign, with the latest legislative update and call to action.
  • Gov. Dayton (or a representative) has been invited to speak on the Governor's early learning proposals.

Governor Dayton's 2014-15 budget plan, released in January, includes $93 million in new early learning funding. Last week, Sen. Chuck Weiger introduced Senate File 481, a bill that would provide $185 million to enable low-income families to choose high-quality early learning programs in their community, an essential step to closing the achievement gap. This bill is supported by the MinneMinds Coalition. The legislative pace will pick up soon. The first deadline for bills to pass committee in their house of origin is March 15.

The forum will be held Friday, Marcch 1st, at noon at the Kelly Inn, and admission is free.  To register, use the registration link in the calendar on the right side of this screen.

Early Education  - Forum II

What is Minnesota’s plan for increasing access to quality early childhood education, and how is it working in communities of color?

Speakers:

  • Karen Cadigan, director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning
  • Bao Vang, community outreach and Parent Aware quality coach for Think Small
  • Barb Fabre, director of child care and early education programs on the White Earth Indian Reservation

Carolyn Smallwood, executive director of Way to Grow, will moderate.  

The forum is free and runs from noon - 1:30 pm at the Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway, St. Paul. You can register using the link on the calendar to the far right.

Tackling the Achievement Gap Before it Starts: Improving Access to Quality Early Care and Education - a Brown-Bag Series

February 8th, 2013

Minnesota’s youngest children will receive high-profile attention this legislative session; a broad coalition called MinneMinds is pushing to increase access to high quality early care and education to ensure all children are prepared to succeed in school and life. The Achievement Gap Committee has organized a series of three forums to highlight current research and practice around early care and education, particularly as it relates to closing the achievement gap. The three forums are February 8th, February 15th, and Mach 1st.

Forum 1: Exploring “Quality” Care: What does quality look like, is it the same across cultures, and do state investments in quality have a long-term benefit or fade out with time? Friday, Feb. 8, noon-1:30 p.m., Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway N.

  • Kathryn Tout, co-director, early childhood research and senior research scientist, Child Trends: How do we measure quality early care?
  • Rob Gruenwald, associate economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Focusing in on “fade out”: Do early childhood investments have long-term benefits, and if so, how?
  • Richard Chase/Betty Emarita, founder and president, Development and Training Resources: Does quality early care look the same across cultures, and what do we know about best practices in various cultural communities?

Register for this event on the right hand side of the page.

Larry Pogemiller - Reinventing High School

January 11th, 2013

Minnesota's three top leaders in  education: Brenda Cassellius, Steven Rosenstone, and Larry Pogemiller worked together during 2012 to reinvent high school - and align its mission with higher education.  According to Education Week, Minnesota is effectively putting together several strategies in one holistic plan, which very few states have done.

The plan, soon to be introduced to the Minnesota Legislature, has four main elements, starting with college- and career-readiness assessments in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.  Once students are evaluated, those who are behind would be targeted to get them up to speed.  The proposal also expands opportunities for concurrent-enrollment programs.  It would also promote a better understanding of students' career interests,  the training to achieve their goals, and sharing information about workforce needs.

Where: University Lutheran
When: Noon

Dane Smith - Smart InvestmentsSeptember 28th, 2012

Dane Smith and Maureen Ramirez of Growth & Justice will present their organization's work on education and smart investments

Julie Sweitzer - Minnesota Principals AcademySeptember 14th, 2012

Julie Sweitzer, Director of Leadership Initiatives at the University of Minnesota, will be the first presenter of the season for our Brown Bag forums.  She will talk about the Minnesota Principals' Academy, with which she has been involved since its inception, and about what principals must do to have a successful school.

Karen Cadigan - Current Legislation May 25th, 2011

Karen Cadigan, Director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning, will report on the status of early education in Minnesota and the legislative actions and non-actions since she took this position last year.

League of Women Voters Forum - May 14th

The Educator Pipeline: Training & Supporting Teachers & Principals

The featured panel members, are:

  • Sandra Vargas, President and CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation: Opening Remarks
  • Vallay Varro, Executive Director, MinnCAN: Minnesota Legislative Reform Efforts: Teacher evaluation systems, alternative certification, and efforts to repeal LIFO
  • Susan Heegard, Vice President, Education Achievement, Bush Foundation: Higher Education: Coordinating education of teachers with needs of K-12 districts
  • Nathan Eklund, Principal, Eklund Consulting LLC: Improving School Culture: Supporting teachers and principals to create humane environments where adults and students can do their best work
  • Louise Sundin, President Emeritus, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers: On the Ground: Teachers' Union Take on Reform Efforts and the Impact on Teachers and the Learning Environment
A question and answer session will follow the panel members' remarks.
The forum will be held
Monday, May 14th, 2012
from 7:00–9:00 pm at
Plymouth Congregational Church
1900 Nicollet Ave (at Franklin)
The forum is free and open to the public.

Rosemary Frazel Brown Bag - the school readiness gap - May 11th

Focusing on what matters to close the school readiness gap: teacher-child interactions

At the May 11th AGC forum, Rosemary Frazel will provide an overview of the research that supports the use of the Classroom Assessment and Scoring System (the "CLASS") as a tool for understanding the quality of student- teacher interactions in pre-K classrooms.  She will also discuss use of the CLASS to improve teacher effectiveness through coaching.  Rosemary has been working with the CLASS for two and half years both as an observer and as a trainer of coaches.  She was previously a parent educator in ECFE and Public Policy Director for the Children's Defense Fund-MN.

The May 11th AGC forum will be from noon to 1:30 pm, at University Lutheran Church of Hope, 601 13th Ave. SE, Minneapolis. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Misty Sato Brown Bag - April 27th

Professor Sato in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnnesota, leads the college's TERI (Teacher Education Re-Design Initiative) program.
On Friday, April 27th, she will speak at a Brown Bag on the work, both present and future, that the college is doing to improve the quality of Minnesota's teachers.
The meeting will be from noon to 1:30 pm, at University Lutheran Church of Hope, 601 13th Ave. SE, Minneapolis. Attendance is free and open to the public

Rosemary Frazel Brown Bag - the school readiness gap - May 11th

Pacific Education Group Brown Bag - April 20th

The Pacific Education Group aims to help Minnesota school districts overcome the impact of racism and White privilege on students' learning. On Friday, April 20, noon to 1:30 pm, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, you can hear of a representative of the organization.

Luis Versalles is a former principal in the Richfield School District before joining PEG. He will speak on the organization's work nationally and locally and tell you how the organization actually conducts "Courageous Conversations".

This forum is free and open to the public.

League of Women Voters: Forum on the Acheivement Gap - April 16th

Part of a series. The panelists include Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, Eric Mahmoud, Sara Paul, Mark Bonine, and Lynn Nordgren. The forum will be held Monday, April 16th, at 7 pm. For lots more details visit the League's web site.

Emily Puetz Brown Bag - April 13th

On Friday noon, April 13 , Emily Puetz will give us an up-to-date report on Focused Instruction, a key element in the District's program to improve school outcomes.  She has been Chief Academic Officer for the Minneapolis Public Schools since 2010.  She was previously director of teaching and learning at Eden Prairie Schools and has also run a private educational program.

We meet at the University Lutheran Church of Hope at 13th Avenue and 6th Street in Southeast Minneapolis. Parking is available on the north side of the church.  The program begins at noon, with coffee and water provided. If you plan to attend, please register here .

Our April Agenda

April is a big month for the Achievement Gap committee.  Of the four  events in April, three of them are Brown Bags, and one is an evening forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. We'll send out more info as each event draws near, but here are the dates and times for you to mark on your calendar:

  • Friday, April 13th, Noon in Minneapolis:   Emily Puetz, Chief Academic Officer, Minneapolis Public Schools, on Focused Instruction.
  • Monday, April 16th, 7-9pm at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis:   League of Women Voters forum on the Achievement Gap, featuring Karen Kelley, Eric Mahmoud, Sara Paul, Mark Bonine, and Lynn Nordgren.
  • Friday, April 20th, Noon in St. Paul:   Luis Versalles of the Pacific Education Group that has been working with the St. Paul schools.
  • Friday, April 27th, Noon, in Minneapolis:   Professor Misty Sato, University of Minnesota, on training of teachers.

Robert Bruininks Brown Bag - March 2nd

Our next Minneapolis meeting -Friday noon, March 2nd - features Robert Bruininks, former president of the University of Minnesota.  Earlier he spent seven years as chair of the University's Department of Educational Psychology.

Last year the U of M Alumni Association said Bruininks is "preparing for a year's leave of absence during which he'll travel from Paris to Sydney to investigate how other countries are organizing higher education in the face of dwindling resources.  Then he'll return to the University faculty as part of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  He wants to examine how universities can narrow the achievement gap among young children.  He plans to return to his education psychology roots and offer proposals on how to revive public education, from K through U."

We meet  in the University Lutheran Church of Hope, 13th Avenue and 6th St. S.E. Mpls. Parking on north side of the building. 12 NOON Bag lunch - bring a sandwich.  Coffee and water supplied. If you plan to attend sign up  here.

Michelle Walker Brown Bag - February 24th

Dr. Michelle Walker, Accountability Officer for the Saint Paul Public Schools, will speak this Friday, February 24, noon, at the Achievement Gap Committee Forum at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul. She will speak on the process of updating the District's strategic plan, "Strong Schools; Strong Communities," through the inclusion of over 100 recommendations from the nine community action teams organized by the District that presented their recommendations to the District last December.

The largest Action Team, The Achievement Gap Action Team, was co-chaired by Grant Abbott, co-chair with Don Fraser of the Achievement Gap Committee.

if you are planning to come, please  register here.

Rick Mills Brown Bag - February 10th

On Friday noon February 10 we will hear Rick Mills, CEO of the Minneapolis Public School System (second in command), speak about the progress of Minneapolis students in reducing the achievement gap. A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, Mills came to Minneapolis from the Chicago Public Schools, where he last worked as a chief area officer/area superintendent for 26 high schools that experienced marked academic growth under his leadership.

The meeting is free and open to the public. It will be held in the University Lutheran Church of Hope at 13th Ave. and 6th St. in southeast Minneapolis. Bring a lunch; coffee and water will be provided. Parking is available on the northeast side of the church. If you plan to attend please let us know by registering here .

Julie Landsman Brown Bag - January 27th

The next Achievement Gap Committee event in Saint Paul will feature veteran teacher, teacher educator, and author Julie Landsman . She taught for twenty-five years in the Minneapolis Public Schools and continues to teach and consult at local colleges of education. She is the author of A White Teacher Talks about Race and with Chance Lewis edited White Teachers/Diverse Classrooms: A Guide to Building Inclusive Schools Promoting High Expectations, and Eliminating Racism . She will talk about what needs to be done to overcome the impact of White privilege and racism in our schools and especially in our classrooms.

This meeting will be on Friday, January 27, Noon to 1:30 pm, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church 797 Summit Avenue. Parking is on the north side of the church off Portland Avenue. Please enter through the door across from the parking lot. Also, please bring your own lunch.

Ann Marie DeGroot Brown Bag - January 13th

On Friday noon January 13  Ann Marie DeGroot, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board, will tell us about the work of the YCB on the 25th anniversary of its founding.

Consisting of elected officials from all the public agencies that have an impact on Minneapolis children, the YCB is working to better coordinate services among the many youth-serving organizations, to involve youth in public decision-making, and to set fresh goals to improve outcomes for Minneapolis children.

The meeting is at the University Lutheran Church of Hope at 13th Avenue and 6th Street in Southeast Minneapolis.  Bring a bag lunch - water and coffee will be supplied. Parking available on northeast side of Church.

Pam Costain Brown Bag - November 4th

Pam Costain will speak on building a system for career and college readiness: what's working and new directions.  Pam is a former chair of the Minneapolis School Board and has been president of AchieveMpls since June 2010.  AchieveMpls is a strategic nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools

Within the last six months the Minneapolis School District has received $13 million from four local corporations, and it is undertaking changes that Pam will describe as she shares her expectations for the future.

The 12 noon meeting is a bag lunch at the University Lutheran Church of Hope at 13th Avenue and 6th Street in southeast Minneapolis.

St. Paul School Board Candidates - October 28th

Candidates for the Saint Paul School Board (seven of the ten as of today) will join us for a conversation on how to address the equity/opportunity/achievement gap in the Saint Paul Schools. Grant Abbott will moderate.

The meeting will be Friday, October 28, noon to 1:30 pm, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Parking is available in the lot north of the church off Portland Avenue. Entrance is on the north side of the church. Coffee and tea water provided, but people who attend are asked to bring their own lunch.

Don Fraser and Gregg Abbott, co-convenors

Daily Planet Brown Bag - October 14th

The Twin Cities Daily Planet wants to learn what folks believe schools should  do to narrow the achievement gap.  Here are their questions:
What's the best way to close the achievement gap?  Is the best solution to: 

  • Increase engagement between schools and communities 
  • Focus on accountability and basic reading and math skills 
  • Focus on intensive intervention after school and in early childhood, or 
  • A different approach.

At the October 14th meeting of the Committee on the Achievement Gap they will ask these questions of those in attendance.  The answers they hear will be recorded and at the end of the month they will write an article summarizing what they've heard across this and several other conversations across the Twin Cities.

This October 14th meeting will be at 12 noon at the University Hope Lutheran Church at 13th Avenue and 6th street in Southeast Minneapolis. This is a bag lunch with coffee and water provided.  Please let us know if you plan to come.

Mary Cathryn Ricker Brown Bag - September 30th

Mary Cathryn Ricker will speak on the efforts of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers to end the equity/achievement gap in the Saint Paul Public Schools.  Mary Cathryn is a nationally board certified teacher with many years of classroom experience and is in her fourth term as president of the Federation.

The meeting is Friday, September 30, Noon to 1:30 pm, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul 55105.  Parking for the event is in the church's parking lot on the north side of the church off Portland Avenue.

Carlos Mariani-Rosa Brown Bag - Aprtil 29th

State Representative Carlos Mariani-Rosa will speak on the work of the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership.  He will also report on the status of education funding.

The Minnesota Minority Education Partnership was founded in 1987 and seeks to increase the success of Students of Color and American Indian Students in Minnesota schools, colleges, and universities.

Bag lunch at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul. (Parking lot on the north side of the church off Portland Avenue).