How Minneapolis and St. Paul districts are supporting their homeless and highly mobile populations during the outset of this school year.
While anti-racism efforts have been taking shape in districts for a while now, many called for a renewed sense of urgency around it in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
This week a handful of Minnesota districts kicked off their new formats of part in-person, part-distanced learning.
School administrators in several metro districts are hoping a COVID-19 information dump will offer teachers some added assurances about staying safe. In some instances, though, it’s having the opposite effect.
COVID-19 rates weren’t the driving factor in Bloomington. Rather, district leaders flagged staffing limitations as a deal breaker for the hybrid model.
Both the Minneapolis Public Schools district and the Red Lake School District are holding school board races.
In-person learning, a hybrid or distance learning? Districts are carefully watching county coronavirus numbers as they get ready to be nimble.
If some form of in-classroom learning resumes, the need for substitute teachers could spike. If this fall includes a return to full-on distance learning, the need for subs could plummet.
Petitions have been circulating on social media the past month or so, demanding school reforms in Minnetonka, Eastern Carver County, Rochester and elsewhere.
“Social distancing on a school bus, we feel, is going to be a challenge,” said Shelly Jonas, executive director of the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association, adding she and her colleagues are more interested in having students wear masks and in enhancing cleaning routines.
“When an officer responds to a situation, their mindset is they want to control it. That’s not what we do here. We don’t control young people,” said Theon Jarrett at ISD 287. “We do our best to support, listen to them, validate them, give them a voice, then get them back to class.”
State legislators came close to passing an omnibus education policy bill during the regular session’s final moments, but it didn’t happen. Now two bills are being considered in the House.
This past weekend marked the final wave of regularly scheduled high school graduation ceremonies in Minnesota.
“Really, the early childhood years are pretty critical for laying some groundwork in equity and justice,” said Amy Betz, an early childhood specialist at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development.
“This is as important as school buses, as textbooks, as teachers,” said Fred Nolan, executive director of the Minnesota Rural Education Association. “This has become an essential part of providing education, daily, for students throughout the state.”
State lawmakers passed a six-month extension for all teacher licenses that were set to expire after June 30.
As board members listened to more than 100 supporters and opponents in a virtual meeting, critics held a drive-by protest outside district headquarters. In the end, the vote to approve was 6-3.
The shift to distance learning has prompted districts to invest in technology, prepare and deliver meals to students and incur other COVID-related expenses even as fee-based programs have been canceled.