Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Year's Eve Fun for a Great Cause!

89.3 The Current and Vega Productions Present:

2010: The Year We Make Contact -

A Benefit for the Music Programs at Edison High School in Minneapolis

Marriott City Center Grand Ballroom

An evening of music and entertainment featuring...

Solid Gold
Freddie Fresh
The Histronic

Massive light show, aerial performers, live performance painters and a balloon drop at midnight!

Doors:  7 pm
Show:  9 pm

General Admission Tickets: $25
VIP: $75 or FREE with approved instrument donation
*trade used instruments for VIP passes at any Schmitt Music location

VIP includes: complimentary horderves, champagne and beer, meet-and-greet with Solid Gold, special late night after party with DJ Freddy Fresh (1 am - 2 am), and more!

To purchase tickets online, click HERE

For more information, click HERE

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Four Northeast Public School Chess Teams Represent at District Tournament!

Marcy Open: 
The 7th & 8th grade chess team took 1st place in the District "Check It Out Chess" Tournament, and Luc Janssen won 1st  place as an individual player!

The 4th-6th grade team took 1st place in their catagory: Chris Carchi (who also won 1st place in individual scoring!), Andrew Swenson, Kegan Hackett, Tracy Shaffer, Erick Oreliana, and Utkarsh Kumar.

Waite Park:
K-3 Chess Team took 3rd place in the district: Parker Schaal, Jaden Halabi, Jamin Eisenberg, Ghangla Tsering, William Martin, Tenzin Tsultrim, & Abby Crohn.  Abby Crohn also won 1st place in individual scoring among girls in her catagory!

Northeast Middle School:
6th graders took 3rd place: Chue Moua, Mather McKay, Ian Kivi and Michael Moore.  Van Kirwin tied for 3rd place among individuals in the 7th - 8th grade catagory.


Minutes: November 16, 2009

Attendees:  Jenny Arneson (Waite Park), Dan Kemp (Edison), Kevin Matheny (Community pre-school parent), Jenn Bennington (Waite Park), Alita Bergen (Waite Park Community Council), Holly Siasoco (Edison), Mike Iacarella (Edison), Marcia Thomas (Pillsbury/NEMS), Dean DeGroot (NEMS/Henry), Diane Loeffler (Ward 1 State Representative)

Informal feedback on the NE School Showcase:  
  • More attention paid should be paid to promoting the ECFE program next year
  • Make the Recreational fire more visible (it was behind the building)
  • Have the Edison & NE Middle School athletes run organized games with kids next year.  Kids would have liked more interaction and structured play.
  • CSO transitions questions came up during the ECFE session - it may be a good idea to have a district employee in that session in the future to answer placement questions.
  • We were a little crowded in the Audubon Park indoor space, but none of the other parks in NE could commit to giving us a larger space, and Audubon is very accommodating.

Despite the crowded appearance, attendance was down this year, probably because we didn't get any funding to promote the event in the Northeaster.  As this event benefits every NE school tremendously, maybe we can ask each school to donate $150 for advertising next year?   That would cover the cost of a flier in the Northeaster, which seems to make a big difference in getting the word out.  It was also suggested that we ask for more financial  help from Neighborhood associations.  This year Waite Park Community Council donated funds and arranged for food to be donated by Eastside Food Co-op.  We can also ask various Edison sports teams to do a literature drop around NE. Dan Kemp will organize sports teams lit. drop next year.   Menlo Park called Dean wanted to know if they could be at the Showcase at the last minute.  Dean said no for this year, but that he would bring it up to the rest of the PEN membership.  After some discussion, it was decided that it doesn't make sense to have contract-alternative schools at the Showcase because of the way they work - students do not choose contract alternatives, for the most part, they are placed there.

DPAC Changes:

Todd Bennington (Waite Park) and Celeste Brown (Parkview) are the new Area A Co-Chairs.  Jenny Arneson, Jenn Bennington, Tammy Rusnacko, Marcia Thomas and Dean DeGroot are all Area A DPAC Reps or Alternates from PEN.  Northeast is well-represented at DPAC!   Please attend the next Area A meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 6:00 pm at Pillsbury.  Refreshments and childcare are always provided.

Sheridan Meeting Debrief:  

Dean DeGroot gave an overview of the meeting attendees: several district arts personnel, Courtney Kiernat from the CSO Transition team, Dean, Marcia Thomas, Jenny Arneson & Jenn Bennington from PEN, Jean Neuman (Sheridan principal), Sheridan's new AP, Wendi Jarden, and one Sheridan parent were there.   Jenny provided background about the magnet status at Sheridan throughout the CSO process.  The MPS '10 - '11 bulletin was due that Friday, so the meeting attendees quickly changed the name of the school at the meeting to "Sheridan Arts Magnet."  Dean presented the basic theory behind the Arts Integration curriculum.  A work group has been formed and will meet monthly to plan the future of Sheridan's program.  The Sheridan work group will update the community monthly at Area A meetings.  Contact Jean Neuman, Sheridan Principal, if you are interested in being a part of the Sheridan work group.

8th Grade/High School selection process:  

The primary attendance area high school choices for Zone 1 are Edison & Henry.  Two city-wide programs: North SUMATEC & South Open/All Nations are available to all Minneapolis students.  North is no longer a community high school - students must apply to get in and it is going to be an intense math/science/technology focus.  All Nations is a school within a school (9th graders are segregated from the rest of the students at South - it is a self-contained program).  At Henry & Edison, there will still be a few specialty programs in existence, but all of those classes are now electives (i.e. cosmetology & business at Edison).  NEMS 8th-graders visited Edison & Henry on November 17, Sheridan & Marcy 8th-graders visited both high schools on November 16.  These visits are structured, small group tours with student ambassadors, presentations, lunch, etc.  If kids are interested in schools outside of their zone, they can go to Open Houses.  Edison's Open House is on Dec. 1.  Open Houses are essential for parents to learn about their high school options.

Connecting NEMS with Pillsbury & Waite Park: 

Jenny & Jenn met recently with Ann Marie Cosgrove (NEMS PR), Kathy O'Neill (Pillsbury Family Liaison), and Robin Osterberg (Waite Park Family Liaison) about new efforts toward making NE the top choice for elementary families at our two PreK - 5 schools.  Many ideas about targeting 3rd grade families rather than 4th/5th-grade, as once families have 4th/5th grade students, often they are not as open to new ideas about middle school.  Particularly, connecting 6th and 3rd-grade students seems to be effective.  NEMS, Pillsbury and Waite Park would like to arrange and event where the 6th graders "host" an event for the 3rd graders and their families.  Debbie Nelson proposed that February would be good time for such an event, perhaps an ice skating/sledding party at Windom or Audubon Park.

The new parent group at NEMS has a liaison from Waite Park PTA, who will be helping with communication between the two schools.   Pillsbury/Waite Park alumni will promote NEMS at PTA meetings and 5th Grade classrooms. There is also an idea about utilizing the babysitting cert. program at NEMS Beacons to provide childcare at Waite Park & Pillsbury events.  Parents get to know NEMS babysitters and connections are made.

New Business:

Rep. Diane Loeffler brought to our attention a meeting at Eastside Neighborhood Services about Arts funding from the State.  Last year the state gave money to the Dept. of Education for Arts Education.  This funding decision seems to have annoyed many from the arts community, who felt that the money had been "stolen."  There does not seem to be an organized constituency around arts education.  Information about a website (only available through November 20) that allowed community input about arts funding was distributed.  This information was sent to Pat Teske (MPS Arts), Jean Neuman (Sheridan Arts) and Wendi Jardon (Sheridan Arts) for further action.

Next Meeting: January 18, 6:30 pm, Edison High School Media Center

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Edison Football Team Rakes for Waite Park

Last spring, Heather Tracey attended Waite Park Community School's Spring Fundraiser - "Wine & Dine 2009" - an evening Gala, including a buffet dinner contributed by numerous Northeast restaurants, live entertainment, a meat raffle, and a huge Silent Auction.  Ms. Tracey bid on and won the Edison Football team's contribution to the event: a day of leaf-raking in the Fall.

Thanks to the Edison Football Team for this generous contribution to Waite Park Community School.  It's partnerships like this that make our Northeast community and school pathways strong!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vikings' Greenway, Dairy Council Tackle Childhood Obesity

Northeast Middle School was on televised NEWS again, when Chad Greenway visited to talk to students about the importance of keeping fit and eating right.  Kicking off the school's Fuel Up and Play 60 program, the Minnesota Viking even inspired the middle school teachers to break out dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" for the kids.  Another article about the event, printed in the Farmer, highlighted the school's proactive stance against childhood obesity.  Northeast Middle School does it again, with ground-breaking programming for our middle schoolers!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Agenda: November 16, 2009 (6:30 - 8:00 pm)

Welcome/Introductions: 5 minutes (All)

Connecting NEMS with Pillsbury & Waite Park: ideas
(30-40 mns - Jenny Arneson)

New Area A Representatives to DPAC  
(10 mns - Jenn Bennington)

8th Grade/High School selection process changes 
(20 mns - Debbie Nelson/Bridget Altmann)

Debrief: Sheridan Meeting
(10 mns - Dean DeGroot)

Debrief: NE School Showcase
(5 mns - Jenny Arneson/Bridget Altmann)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Edison's Entrepreneurial Photo Students Receive Media Attention

Hats off to Edison art teacher Mark Rizzardi and his students! 

Neal St. Anthony, a columnist from the Star Tribune, wrote a fantastic article about Mark Rizzardi’s student-run portrait studio. The article was published in the November 10, 2009 edition of the Star Tribune. Click HERE to read the story on-line. 


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Climate Theater Performs at MCEA Conference

Climate Theater is part of the Northeast Middle School Beacons After School Program, and recently performed at the MCEA Conference, to rave reviews:

“I wanted to take a moment to let you know that the staff and students from Northeast Middle School did a fabulous presentation last week at the MCEA conference.

I have dedicated myself to finding ways to highlight the work of staff and students at NEMS as they exemplify such a high degree of poise, confidence, and knowledge. The Climate Theater students, alumni, and Mr. Lundeen were extremely professional and knowledgeable. I know the attendees went away with a great degree of respect for the accomplishments achieved around promoting a positive climate in the building and including such a high degree of youth voice and youth engagement. Barb Kapala provides an atmosphere where our young children can thrive and grow. I’m proud that she continues to work within Community Education and serves as a model for implementing a high quality program.”

Colleen Sanders
Community Programs Manager
Minneapolis Community Education


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Minutes: October 19, 2009

Attendees: Dean DeGroot (Henry/NEMS), Marcia Thomas (Pillsbury/NEMS), Pamela Vertina (Edison), Pam Costain (School Board), Jill Davis (NEMS/School Board), Holly Siasoco (Edison), Jenn Bennington (Waite Park), Jenny Arneson (Waite Park), Lilly Bubser (Waite Park), John Vandermyde (Edison alumn), Mike Iacarella (Edison), Alita Bergan (Waite Park Community Council), Jean Neuman (Sheridan), Maggie Knoke (Pre-K), Bridget Altmann (Marcy/Edison), Carla Steinbach (Edison), Willie Fort (Assoc. Sup. Area A), Tammy Rusnacko (Waite Park)

Jackie Turner, Director of Community Relations & Student Placement, joined us to discuss the CSO transition process, and answer questions about how CSO implementation will affect the Northeast community.

  • High School - the three zone concept was introduced (plus city-wide options). High School students can be grandfathered in to their current school, but they will not be bused. Because the size of the Open program (which is considered city-wide and therefore will provide busing across zones) impacts how many Marcy Open students may potentially attend Edison rather than South High, there was a discussion about how large the Open program at South was going to be with the CSO changes. The current cap is 200, it will probably go down to about 150. There are about 90 students in 8th grade who are attending open schools, so there are additional spots for 30 - 40 kids currently not in K-8 open programs next year. The first High School Open House will be held on Nov. 16 1st and they will continue through the 1st week in Dec. Families will now apply to schools rather than to programs. In response to questions about the high school busing zones, Jackie confirmed that there was still at 2 miles (except at North High, where it is 1 mile due to safety concerns). The district is currently working with MTC on "Go-Passes," which will allow students to use the city bus system for free. The pilot program this summer worked extremely well, but it is currently still too expensive to implement year-round for every high school student. The zone concept made CSO changes much less disruptive for high school students. Ms. Turner estimated that Edison's enrollment would be effected by the zone transportation changes very minimally. Many of the families who don't live in the neighborhood are enrolled in ELL programs, and therefore will still receive busing to Edison.

  • Anwatin/Bryn Mawr - families in the Bryn Mawr & Harrison communities have the option to attend Southwest High School, although they are still considered part of Zone 1 (N & NE) for K-8. An exception was made for these two communities via an amendment to the CSO recommendations by the Board because of their unique location on the boundary between SW & N.

  • K-8 - Maps of the city with K-8 boundaries were distributed. See this map at: and click on the "Maps (10.25.09) link on the right-hand sidebar. What is now the Pillsbury attendance area used to be considered an "open area," meaning it had no specific community school assigned to it. Now that Pillsbury has been "de-magnetized," residents of this area will go to Pillsbury if they choose to attend a community school. Ms. Turner estimated that about 140 kids will flip/flop between Waite Park and Pillsbury due to this change. Ms. Turner and Courtney Kiernat met with the Waite Park Site Council and listened to feedback from parents and staff about the possible effect of the boundary placement. If people choose to drive, most families currently attending Waite Park who live south of Lowry Ave. will still be able to attend Waite Park if they prefer not to change schools. Pillsbury is a more crowded school, but will probably still be viable to families who wish to drive to Pillsbury and live north of Lowry Ave. However, the 140 estimated number of children effected by this change includes ELL families who will continue to be bused, as ELL is considered a city-wide program. PEN membership asked what the district was doing to project capacity in NE schools. Will Pillsbury be able to support a significant increase in ELL students eventually? Ms. Turner replied that, yes, Pillsbury has room. It is estimated that about 60 students will leave Pillsbury due to demagnetization.

Q & A:

- How will new boundary & transportation policies be communicated to families?

District staff will be attending family events, such as Waite Park's upcoming Family Dinner Night. Also, the school messenger phone service, and letters to families.

- Will student athletes have to stay out of athletics for one year when/if they change schools due to CSO?

The district has asked for a waiver of that policy from the state during CSO transition.

- Could Waite Park eventually loose its ELL program due to the loss of its large Spanish-speaking population as new families are encouraged to attend Pillsbury and are no longer bused to Waite Park?

At least 100 students must be in program to keep it open. Pillsbury is currently 40% NLL, and Waite is about 30% ELL. Moving kids from Waite to Pillsbury will concentrate Spanish Speaking families in one school, shrinking WP program to non-viable number, leaving only one bilingual choice in community schools in NE.

- Would it be possible to change the Lowry Ave. boundary to include some of the southwestern part of NE? Then Waite Park could keep more African American and ELL students, lessoning segregation and overcrowding at Pillsbury.

Ms. Turner asked for a possible new boundary to be drawn on the map and said that she would take it back to the office to have her staff take a look at the possibility. She will get back to us about this suggestion.

- When will there be a discussion about the magnet status of Sheridan?

There are some Arts discussions coming up…the district placement staff is sill in the midst of scheduling a time to meet with Principal Neuman and Sheridan's site council.

- Will ELL students in high school still be able to attend Edison if they live closer to Roosevelt?



Pam Costain & Jill Davis, from the School Board, joined us to invite PEN to meet with Board members discuss the process for hiring our new Superintendent - doing community meetings. Would we like to convene a specific PEN/Eastside meeting re: superintendent search. Answering questions of the board. Shall we fold the meeting into the previously scheduled Area A meeting? Yes. Jenn Bennington will include an invitation to the Area A meeting on the 28th in the PEN e-Digest, as well as the PEN Facebook group and blog.


Jenny Arneson
& Bridget Altmann requested that PEN members do their utmost to promote the NE School Showcase, passing out fliers and posters about the event and asking that everyone present post notices and pass out fliers to whatever NE business, pre-schools, and daycare centers that they can.


Dean DeGroot announced that the Arts School Application being proposed by a group of Edison teachers, including Mark Jenson, will meet on Wednesday, October 21 from 4-6 pm in order to review the application to the office of New Schools one final time. The "review party" will be held at the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers office, and snacks will be provided.

"Coupons Now" fundraising opportunity was proposed by Dean for all NE schools. Pamphlets were distributed. Please take a look and decide if PEN would like to pursue in future.

NEXT MEETING: Monday, November 16, 2009, 6:30 - 8:00 pm at the Edison High School media center.


Monday, October 26, 2009

PEN Members have been asked to attend the next Area A meeting, to be held at Edison (in the media center), 6:00 - 8:00 pm, on Wednesday, October 28. We will gather with other Area A community members to discuss our needs and issues pertaining to the new District Superintendent search process. What do N & NE Minneapolis value in a Superintendent? What should be considered during the search process to ensure that NE & North's schools are represented?

Please Attend!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lissa Jones, executive director of African American Family Services, will provide the keynote address at the Family Enrichment Network Conference hosted by the Minneapolis Public Schools Office of Family Engagement on Saturday, October 24.

All Minneapolis Public Schools' families and community members are invited to attend. Lunch and childcare will be provided. This event is free to the public.

For more information about the Family Enrichment Network Conference or to register, visit or call the Office of Family Engagement at (612) 668-1830.

WHAT: Family Enrichment Network Conference

WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 2009, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.
Keynote address at 10 a.m.

WHERE: South High School 3131 19th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN


Friday, October 9, 2009

PEN Meeting!

Monday, October 19, 6:30 PM
Edison High School Media Center

We will be discussing the impact of CSO transition plans on our Northeast schools, particularly the new boundary between our two community schools (Waite Park and Pillsbury) when the CSO changes go into effect next year. We will also discuss the New Schools initiative and it's possible implications for Northeast, and the upcoming Northeast School Showcase. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 6-8 PM
Thomas Edison High School

Join Edison High School as they learn about human rights issues, inspire the community and advocate on a local and global level.

Camp Darfur - An interactive awareness and education event that brings attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and gives individuals the opportunity to discover their own power to make a difference.Camp Darfur raises awareness and examines Sudan’s Darfur region and its humanitarian crisis – genocide. A deeply concerned world community must come together united as one voice to remember the victims of past genocides and to make a call to action to end the genocide in Darfur today.

"Upstanders" - A dramatization of heroic individuals standing up to Genocide.



Thursday, November 12
Time: TBA
Film Viewing: The Richie Boys and Speaker, Guy Stearn

March: TBA
Screening of the film, Child Soldiers

Thursday, April 15
Time: TBA
Holocaust Survivors tell their stories


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Edison Homecoming & Oktoberfest: You're Invited!

Edison Homecoming Celebration & Oktoberfest!
October 2
nd from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Rain or Shine (there will be tents)
Thomas Edison High School parking lot – 700 22nd Ave NE

Community Friends, Families and Alumni please join us to cheer on the Tommies!

Brats and Beverages will be served.

Hosted by the Edison Community and Sports Foundation


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PEN Members Invited to a Special DPAC Meeting

Community members' role in developing the CSO transition plan and supporting its implementation is critical and we need your input at a special DPAC meeting Monday, September 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Assembly Room at 807 NE Broadway.

We will focus our discussion on two main areas:

  • Tool Box- What kind of services/resources do schools need to successfully make their transitions (e.g. marketing tools, translation services, traveling placement center)?
  • Hot Spots- What are families most concerned about in making the transition (e.g. availability of public transportation, Spanish only PA announcements in dual immersion program)

If you are unable to attend the September 28th meeting please e-mail your input to Courtney, at .


Monday, September 21, 2009

As Edison completes the accreditation to offer IB, the international team visiting Edison would like to get parent and community input/support about and for IB at Edison.

Bill D'Amour, who is the lead staff in finalizing this credentialling for Edison, says that there are 2 ways of getting word to the team: Show up for a meeting at the high school tomorrow morning (9/22) between 7:30-8:00 AM to tell them in person (and get a continental breakfast), or to send letters/emails to Mr. D'Amour: William Damour


Friday, September 18, 2009

Agenda: September 21, 2009 Meeting

Welcome/Introductions: 5 minutes (All)

Changing School Options (CSO): Impacts/considerations for NE—Open Discussion (30-40 minutes)

NE School Showcase: Planning Ideas—Bridget/Others (20 mns.)

Edison Art Proposal: Follow-up from August—Dean/Jenny/Others (20 mns)

PEN Initiatives for 2009-2010: --Dean/Jenny/Penny (10 mns)

Announcements: (5 mn)

  • Area A Meetings
  • Other
Next meeting: October 19, 2009 @ Edison High School: 6:30 – 8:00 PM


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Come volunteer to make Northeast Middle School a more beautiful place for students, teachers, and community! If you are artistic, handy, have a green thumb or simple care about your community come make a difference on Saturday, September 19, 9am- 12pm at Northeast Middle School (2955 Hayes St NE).

Volunteer projects will include:
  • Painting murals
  • Building outdoor benches
  • Cleaning and landscaping school grounds

If you are interested, sign-up at Go to Volunteer Opportunities and find the School Beautification Project on the Project Calendar. Questions? Call Tyler at HandsOn Twin Cities - (612) 379.4900 Ext. 23

Sponsored by NE Middle School, HandsOn Twin Cities, and American Express.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Changing School Options Town Hall Meetings Scheduled

Learn more about all school changes recommended for the 2010-2011 school year.
  • Ask questions. District leaders will be available to answer questions and address concerns. Hmong, Spanish and Somali interpretive services will be available at all meetings.
  • Share your comments with School Board members. Board members want to hear what you think before they vote on September 22.

Meetings are 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. and are co-hosted by Area Parent Advisory Councils. All meetings include a brief presentation followed by a question and answer session. All are welcome.

September 9
Sheridan Global Arts & Communications School
1201 University Ave NE | Co-hosted by Area A
Information about schools in N/NE Minneapolis (N of 394/Cedar Lake/Downtown/U of M)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Letter-Writing Time!

As the debate continues over the details of the Changing School Options (CSO) restructuring plans, PEN members have been watching carefully and suggest that this is a time for ACTION. We encourage everyone to contact their board members now regarding high school changes.

Main points:

  • Northeast watns curricular equity among all Minneapolis high schools
  • Northeast wants to see strong, rigorous academic programming at Edison
  • Northeast wants educational pathways to Edison from more primary schools.


You may remember an earlier call to action with similar content, but we believe it is important to remind the board of our commitment to education equity in Northeast at this time. The board will be meeting at the end of the month to re-evaluate their high school plan for the city, and they need to know that Northeast cares about their public high school before that meeting.

Board members can be reached via email at the following addresses:

Carla Bates -
Pam Costain -
Jill Davis -
Lydia Lee -
Tom Madden -
Chris Stewart -
T. Williams -


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 13 Meeting to Discuss Future Magnet Status of Sheridan Elementary

Please join us on Thursday, August 13, 6:30 - 8:00 pm for a special Area A/PEN meeting. We will meet at Logan Park (location has changed from Sheridan to Logan Park). Sheridan is currently listed as a "TBD" magnet school, and the district would like the community to decide what sort of a magnet school it will become. This meeting will bring together the main stakeholders in this discussion: Current Sheridan families; Northeast & North community members; Sheridan teachers; District personnel; NE principals; and we hope at least one MPS board member.

Some of the ideas that have been proposed include relocating the Spanish dual immersion program at Sheridan, creating a Montessori program for the displaced families from Parkview Montessori (scheduled to close in 2010), and making Sheridan a Pre-K - 5 school, rather than a K - 8. Sheridan's future will impact the future of all of the schools in our community. This is an opportunity for the concerned citizens from both Northeast and North Minneapolis to work together for the good of our children. Come learn and share your ideas. Be a part of big changes to our public education landscape.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Minneapolis board to discuss 'self-governed schools'

The MPS Board meeting on Tuesday, July 28 (6:00 pm at the 807 NE Broadway building) will discuss proposals for four new "self-governed" schools, one of which would like to exist at Edison. Here's an excerpt from an article published today in the Star Tribune about this new initiative:

The Legislature approved "self-governed" or "site-governed" schools this spring, in a bill that drew little notice at the time. Proponents say it could end up being the most important educational reform that Minnesota schools have seen since the 1991 law permitting charter schools.

"It's a big deal," said Jon Schroeder with Education|Evolving, a Minnesota education group promoting the new schools.

Sort of like charter schools, self-governed schools are designed to be innovative. But they don't take per-pupil revenue away from school districts the way charter schools do when students leave for them, and districts have control over the types and numbers of self-governed schools that can be set up within the district.

The full article can be found at the Star Tribune website.

This will impact our NE neighborhood. If possible, try to make it to the meeting. PEN will a part of this conversation.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Edison Football Team hosts Clinic at Waite Park

Earlier this summer, the Edison football team hosted a clinic for elementary-aged kids at the high school football field. It was a big success, so another clinic has been scheduled. This one will be at Waite Park, and is open to any NE kid who is interested in learing some football skills.

Thursday, July 30 (6:30-8:00) for kids going into 3rd-8th grade.

Hosted by the Edison Football Team. Clinic will be held outside on the football field at Waite Park.

To register e-mail Larry at or call Waite Park Recreation Center at 612-370-4959.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dr. Green’s tenure to end June 30, 2010

Minneapolis Public Schools’ Superintendent William Green announced today that he will not seek an extension to his contract beyond June 30, 2010.

Dr. Green chose to inform the Board of Education a year in advance to give members ample time to choose his successor and ensure a smooth transition.

“Serving the Minneapolis Public Schools’ students, staff and community has been one of the greatest honors and I hope you will feel, at the end of my term, that all of our students’ educational experiences have been as enriched as I have been in serving them,” said Dr. Green.

“As a student of history, I have observed that a leader must feel the pulse of time and sense when it is time to begin to make room for a new kind of leadership. If a leader doesn’t sense when the time has come for him to pass the reins on to a different leader, the institution suffers. To do that would go against my commitment to this organization. I love the Minneapolis Public Schools’ family, in all of its richness, diversity, commitment, hard work and potential.”

At the end of his term, Dr. Green plans to return to teaching and writing as a history professor at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He is a tenured professor and has been on leave from the college while serving as superintendent.

The school board process and timetable for selecting Dr. Green’s successor has yet to be determined. Details on the superintendent selection process will be released in the coming weeks.

To read Dr. Green's announcement in its entirety, see:


Youth Voice Summer Program for Middle School Students

Any interest in Hip Hop Dance, DJ, Graffiti Art, Fashion Design and Spoken Word?
Come join the YouthVoice Summer Program!

When: August 3rd to August 21st 2009
Where: Redeem Center for Life, Peace Palace, 1800 Glenwood Avenue North
Time: 11:00 – 4:00 Monday – Friday
Cost: FREE! With bus transportation provided! Lunch and snack provided each day. Field trips to a water park, the University of Minnesota and more!

Questions?: Contact Jeri Ezaki at 612-668-3809

The YouthVoice Program is a partnership between Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education Program, Sanctuary CDC, Redeemer Center for Life and the Urban 4-H Program of the University of Minnesota.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why the Achievement Gap? This ex-Edison student will tell you. She now attends a Charter...

By Karen Romero , ThreeSixty
July 21, 2009

I think one of the most important reasons for Minnesota’s big racial gap in graduation rates and test scores is the economic situation in many families. Like the majority of the Latino immigrant students I know, I have to work after school to help my family here and in Mexico. Consequently, I don’t have enough time to study or to do my homework in the evening.

I came to Minnesota two years ago to be able to go to continue my education because in Mexico my parents couldn’t afford to pay for the books, uniforms, transportation, and other things Mexican students pay for...

To read this article (and please do), go to the TC Daily Planet website.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

MPS Board Meeting 7-14-09

The MPS Board Meeting on Tuesday, July 14 chiefly concerned K-8 preliminary Changing School Options (CSO) revisions to the recommendations that were presented to the board by MPS district personnel. The final recommendations are due at the end of August, but there has been continual discussion about the desired changes to the original recommendations throughout the summer. For a look at the latest set of possible recommendations, click here and download the three links under item "II. Changing School Options - Revised Plan and Variations."

We urge all PEN members to take a look at the progress that the district has made. There is a significant ripple effect to the closing of any MPS school, and all of the current K-8 recommendations have at least five schools closing, and other changes to magnet schools and attendance boundaries.


Athletic Opportunity for NE Students

One of the primary focus topics on the 2008-2009 PEN calendar was about athletic opportunities for NE students. Together, we identified a gap in what was offered by the schools and the Parks/Rec Centers at around the upper elementary/middle school age range. This lack of competitive sports offerings prior to the beginning of Edison's wide range of high school athletics seemed to be the cause of many NE families choosing to look outside of the neighborhood for more competitive athletic opportunities. Jenny Arneson has been searching out ways to fill this gap and has found a fantastic opportunity for soccer players.

Minneapolis United Soccer Club (MU) operates a city-wide soccer program that allows kids to expand their soccer playing experience. This group is for soccer players who are looking to play soccer beyond the Parks/Rec opportunities or NE/SE soccer.

Teams determine their own practice location, but play games in many locations throughout the city. Try-outs are happening now for the younger ages!

Thanks, Jenny!


Monday, July 6, 2009

National Report Finds MN Charter Schools Fall Behind Public Schools

"A Stanford University report finds that charter schools across the nation – including Minnesota – fall behind public schools in the quality of education they offer. The report found 17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains significantly better than public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse, and 46 percent demonstrating no significant difference...."

To read the rest of this article, go to the Twin Cities Daily Planet website.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Bridging the Achievement Gap

The high schoolers in Claire Hypolite's chemistry class are clustered in little knots of desks, heads down and pencils flying as they grapple with packets of homework problems. They toss solutions and gossip back and forth in English, Somali, and Hmong while they work. Watching this entirely generic classroom scene, it's hard to believe more than 80% of these kids were failing this class only a few months ago.

Claire Hypolite came to Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis eight years ago after completing her student teaching at North High and a doctorate in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She discovered she loved teaching while working as a teacher's assistant in graduate school, tutoring undergraduate students, and teaching English in Japan.

Read the full article at the Minnesota 2020 website


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Tuesday July 7th, the Edison Dance Team will be holding a fundraiser at Dairy Queen, 710 Lowry Ave NE, from 4-9pm. Dairy Queen has graciously agreed to donate 20% of their profit to us from 4-9pm. So if you are in the neighborhood stop by and enjoy an ice cream treat while supporting the Edison Dance Team.

Thanks for your support~ The Edison Dance Team


Monday, June 29, 2009

PEN Action: Letter to MPS Board, Superintendent Green, Assoc. Superintendent Fort & Assoc. Superintendent Cassellius. Sent June 29, 2009

On behalf of Pubic Education in Northeast (PEN), we are concerned about the future of our
local schools and the vitality of the Northeast Minneapolis community. As you know, schools play a major role in creating a sense of community. Currently, a growing percentage of Northeast students attend schools or plan to attend schools outside of Northeast. This represents a loss of cohesion to our community. PEN's goal is to promote Northeast schools, and to increase connections between the community and its schools. If we are to keep our community viable and thriving, we believe we must create clear educational pathways that will maintain a sense of continuity and connection throughout our children's school years.

The realization of this goal requires the Minneapolis School Board to stand by their stated intention to offer community schools throughout the city that provide equitable and rigorous programs. We believe that the MPS Board would like every child, regardless of their economic background or where they live in Minneapolis, to have access to a safe, secure, successful school experience. Our Northeast K-8 and middle schools need to offer programs that create a natural pathway from elementary through high school. PEN strives for equity with all Minneapolis Public Schools, including viable resources to fund International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), College-in-Schools (CIS) and other programming options. Survey data and self-reports indicate that families make school choices based on extracurricular activities as well as academic opportunities, such as arts and athletic programs. Clearly, Edison High School has suffered the loss of many of these opportunities over the years. There needs to be a sustained effort to rebuild these options at Edison.

We have recently learned that there is a proposed plan to bring a contract-alternative school into Edison as a co-location partner—Heritage Academy ( We believe that this could be detrimental to the perception of Edison as a community school. Housing another school on Edison's campus creates an inherent competition between schools. Also, if Heritage Academy grows (which we understand is part of their proposed plan), this would limit Edison’s ability to expand it’s own current and future programming. Before any decision is made regarding co-location partnering, the people of Northeast would appreciate the opportunity to have a voice in how this will affect our school and our community. We believe that there are other options that the District could consider to better utilize space at Edison High School.

Edison could be the temporary home of the Northeast branch of the Hennepin County Public Library while its space is being remodeled. This would open up Edison to the community and allow all to experience Edison as a desirable place to be and, perhaps, help make Edison a school of choice for their children. As you may know, Northeast Minneapolis is the only officially-designated arts district in the City. There are hundreds of artists currently working and living in Northeast, with a good number of artists waiting for more studio space to become available. An arrangement could be negotiated between local artists and Edison to provide more arts opportunities to the students. Please, do not once again make the mistake of placing programs at Edison High School that have little neighborhood support. This has happened in the past and the results have always backfired for the school and the district as a whole!

In summary, schools have a huge impact on the livability of a community. The following are ideas that support keeping our Northeast schools, the schools of choice for our community:

  • Provide pathways from Elementary to Middle School to Edison High School with IB, AP, CIS, Arts and Sports Programs. This is necessary for Edison to survive.
  • Provide equitable programs and support for those programs.
  • Create clear pathways that include Northeast Middle School, Sheridan Elementary, and Marcy Open to assure that more neighborhood kids are attending Edison High School.
  • Provide a marketing plan to attract students to Edison High School. Furthermore, support this marketing plan with extra funding and staff recognizing that Edison has lost ground in attracting students due to inattention to its needs in the past.
  • Provide support for currently successful programs and expand arts, theater and sports programming.

Before any decisions are made regarding Northeast schools, PEN would like to make sure that the Northeast community is informed about the options available and be given a chance to take part in this crucial decision-making. We believe the discussion surrounding our schools should be focused on collaboration and cooperation.

Please contact PEN and notify us of any discussions surrounding our schools in the future. PEN can be contacted via email at: Our phone number is 612-789-9596. We also have a website, which can be found at

Thank you for your leadership during this difficult time of transition for Minneapolis Public Schools.


PEN Committee Members:

Dean DeGroot, Northeast Middle School/Patrick Henry Parent

Bridget Altmann, Edison Staff

Jenny Arneson, Waite Park Parent

Jenn Bennington, Waite Park Parent

Mike Iacarella, Edison Staff

Vicky Iacarella, NE Community Member

Mandy Larson, Edison/Pillsbury Staff

Tammy Rusnacko, Waite Park/South High Parent