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