Category Archives: Integration

Speak Up for Crosswinds Today!

It’s time for all Crosswinds advocates to really get to know some legislators and make sure that they never forget us! Remember to be nice, respectful, but clear in asking what you want. Being angry or confrontational does not help us.

Contact the members of the education conference committee to ask that the Perpich and Crosswinds language be pulled out of the education omnibus bills and considered in a working group next week instead. Also ask that the Senate language for Perpich be used instead of the House language. The Senate version gives Perpich time to turn things around rather than simply eliminating the agency.

Then send the same message to your own legislators asking them to contact their colleagues on the conference committee.

We recommend advocating for both Crosswinds and Perpich because their fates are closely tied, no action is likely on Crosswinds without action on Perpich.

Please emphasize that to be fair to Crosswinds families and staff Crosswinds needs to be conveyed to another entity that will continue its program during this legislative session. Point out that delaying conveyance till next year will deeply damage the school and encourage families and staff to flee. To date, only Saint Paul Public Schools has put forward a proposal to continue the program at Crosswinds. There is also a proposal from District 833 (South Washington County), but it is for an entirely different program than what is currently at Crosswinds and, in particular, makes no mention of racial integration as part of its continuing mission.

Be sure to include your personal story about how Crosswinds has impacted your family.

Thank you all for your effort and love for Crosswinds!

Myron Orfield on school segregation/integration, 4/21

You are invited to a talk followed by discussion by Professor Myron Orfield on school segregation/integration in the Twin Cities at the League of Women Voters Roseville, Maplewood, Falcon Heights meeting. The meeting is free and open to the public.

April 21st at 7pm
Little Venetian
2900 Rice St. Suite 240
Little Canada, MN 55113

For more information please see the PDF flyer and feel free to share it.

Please contact Carrie Dickson you have any questions.

EMID Families Meeting, 12/8

EMID Families will be meeting on Sunday, 12/8, at 3pm at the Rondo Branch of Saint Paul Public Library (461 N Dale St, Saint Paul 55103). Look for us in the Children’s Room there.

We will have an update on the legislative situation and what we as families can do to help ensure a successful handoff of Crosswinds to Perpich and Harambee to Roseville. We will also be focussed on our plans for an integration initiative to carry on a conversation about the importance of real integration in our schools to Minnesota. Please join us, we especially hope that by meeting at the Rondo Library more families from Saint Paul can take part on Sunday.

Everyone is welcome, especially families new to Harambee or Crosswinds! Please come and be part of building the future for our schools.

EMID Families Meeting, 11/3

As you know, EMID Families can never rest for long! Work progresses on three fronts: supporting our schools during this interim year of management by Roseville and Perpich, preparing for a legislative session vital to the permanent assignment of Harambee and Crosswinds to Roseville and Perpich, and an integration initiative to carry on a conversation about the importance of real integration in our schools to Minnesota. If you are interested in helping with any of these initiatives, please come to our next meeting!

EMID Families will be meeting on Sunday, 11/3, at 3pm at the Maplewood Branch of Ramsey County Library (3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood, MN 55109). Just look for us in the Community Program Room there.

Everyone is welcome, especially families new to Harambee or Crosswinds! Please come and be part of building the future for our schools.

House Education Committee Meets at Crosswinds

The Minnesota House Education Policy Committee held a hearing on integration policy at Crosswinds yesterday, 9 July 2013. The hearing included:

  • Lisa Larson on MN law with regard to bonding of Crosswinds (0:15:40)
  • Myron Orfield describing the history of segregation, integration, and re-segregation in Minnesota (0:25:10)
  • Bryan Bass describing the program at Crosswinds (1:06:35)
  • Parents Tami Bayne-Kuczmarski and Kelly DeBrine with students Juan Jimenez, Sam Larson, and Nate Celeste testifying to the effectiveness of Crosswinds (1:26:08)
  • Kathy Griebel describing the program at Harambee (1:46:12)
  • Jocelyn Stein testifying to effectiveness of Harambee and Crosswinds (1:50:25)
  • Bruce Hagerty providing background about the EMID Board (2:11:50)
  • Shari Thompson sharing financial background about EMID (2:24:30)
  • Janet Mohr thanking the committee for its consideration (2:32:43)
  • Some final remarks by legislators (2:43:39)

A big thank you to Committee Chair Carlos Mariani Rosa for selecting Crosswinds as the site for this important hearing.

Video of the hearing is available on YouTube. Slides from some of the presenters are included below.

Slide from Lisa Larson:

Slides from Myron Orfield:

Slides from Shari Thompson:

EMID Families Sends Petition to the Board

Thank you to all who participated in the EMID Families petition to the board over the past several weeks. We collected 269 signatures on a petition that asks the board to approve a management plan with Perpich:

The East Metro Integration District (EMID) is considering a management agreement with the Perpich Center for Arts Education to allow the Crosswinds Arts & Science School to stay open for the next school year. We petition the EMID school board to:

Allow Crosswinds to remain open under Perpich leadership beginning in the 2013–2014 school year.

We also took this opportunity to survey those of you with students at Crosswinds, and 87% of those who responded to that survey said they planned to stay at Crosswinds if Perpich was allowed to manage the school next year!

A report with the full results is available on our petition page.

Please don’t forget this is a big week for Crosswinds. We need families to come to these events and demonstrate that we stand with Crosswinds. Join us for as many of these events as possible, all of them will be held at Crosswinds:

  • Tuesday, 7/9: House Education Policy Hearing on Integration at 11am.
  • Wednesday, 7/10: Special EMID Board Meeting to consider Perpich management of Crosswinds at 5:30pm.
  • Thursday, 7/11: Crosswinds Carnival!

A Big Week for Crosswinds!

Next week will be a big week for Crosswinds, there are three events that are very important for our community and we hope you can join us at as many as possible!

Tuesday, 7/9: House Education Policy Hearing at 11am.

The House Education Policy Committee will hold a hearing at Crosswinds about integration policy for Minnesota from 11am-2pm on Tuesday. This will be a chance for this committee to hear about the successes and failures of integration policy here in EMID and at Crosswinds. It is very unusual for a legislative committee to meet like this outside the legislative session and we are incredibly privileged that Chair Carlos Mariani has decided to make Crosswinds the venue for this important hearing. Testimony will include U of M law professor Myron Orfield, former EMID board chair Bruce Hagerty, our own Bryan Bass, and many others including students, parents, and teachers.

Wednesday, 7/10: Special EMID Board Meeting to consider Crosswinds at 5:30pm.

The EMID Board will hold a special July board meeting on Wednesday to consider a proposal from the Perpich Center for Arts Education to manage the Crosswinds program next school year. This would require that the EMID Board leave Crosswinds open, as they decided to do for Harambee, and contract with Perpich to run the school, similar to the contract they agreed to a few weeks ago for Roseville to run Harambee. This is a last chance to keep Crosswinds open next year. The board will have a work session at 5:30pm and start its regular meeting at 6:30pm. Public testimony is welcome at the start of the regular board meeting.

Thursday, 7/11: Crosswinds Carnival!

The Crosswinds Carnival will be a great chance to spend time with the whole Crosswinds community on Thursday! For students the fun will start at 2pm, but everyone is welcome to join in after school from 4-7pm. Please make sure your student has a signed permission slip allowing them to stay after school that afternoon if you plan to join us or to pick them up later.

EMID Families T-Shirts!

To celebrate summer and the work we have ahead of us for Crosswinds and Harambee, EMID Families has decided to produce two limited edition t-shirts. These will be great to wear to the legislative hearing we expect to host at Crosswinds in July, or to various year-end events around the schools.

These t-shirts will only be on sale for one week, until Monday 6/10! Get yours while they last!

You can get a yellow shirt that declares “Integration for Minnesota. Watch us grow!” for $12, or a very special black shirt that just shows off the dandelion symbol for $14.

Yellowshirt Blackshirt

Thanks to Carrie Dickson for coming up with the dandelion theme EMID Families has adopted to let everyone know we won’t be stopped and plan to spread our story.

Please note, these shirts will only be printed if we reach a total minimum order of 25 yellow shirts or 10 black shirts by June 10th, so order now. If you choose the “free shipping” option, then Eric Celeste will deliver the shirt by hand to a future EMID Families or Crosswinds meeting for you.

Legislators push for Crosswinds at unprecedented board meeting

Last night’s EMID board meeting at Harambee was an amazing experience for those who were there to see it. In addition to an hour of family testimony, five legislators spent well over an hour sharing their perspective on the legislative session and the options for next steps with the EMID board.

Many family members testified about the lessons they learned during the session. These included the fact that we learned the buildings were bonded to host integration magnet schools, that the legislature must approve conveyance to any other party by a 60% vote, that Minnesota supports integration in the form of a renewed integration plan, that hidden processes impede democracy, that we can talk to our elected officials, and that families will not give up their efforts to save our schools. The final testimony was the reading of a letter from Dan Shulman, lead attorney in the lawsuits that led to the creation of integration districts in the 1990’s, stressing that Minnesota law still demanded integrated education and the actions of the EMID board might put everyone back in court once again.

Superintendent Thein of Roseville assured the EMID board that with their support Roseville would make sure Harambee opened in September to welcome students back. The EMID board voted to support the efforts of Roseville and there was a lot of confidence that, one way or another, Harambee would remain open.

Representatives Peter Fischer (Roseville), JoAnn Ward (Woodbury), Jason Isaacson (Vadnais Heights), Carlos Mariani (Saint Paul), and Senator John Marty (Roseville) shared their view of the session with the board. Rep. Isaacson said, “taking care of Crosswinds School died in the Senate… just so we are clear about this it was attempted in several times in several ways and it didn’t go through… I’m going to tell you what’s not going to happen: South Washington will not receive that school, period… we have the backing of the Speaker on that.” Rep. Mariani connected the situation at EMID with the wider support of integration exemplified by the new integration legislation. Sen. Marty asked for all the parties to work together to find a solution for Crosswinds. Rep. Fischer described the lengths the House had gone to in negotiating with the Senate, sharing the accountability language and a whole set of questions he’d like to see answered. Rep. Ward spoke from her work in education about the importance of a variety of schools for diverse students and families. All of the legislators very firmly asked the board to find a way to keep Crosswinds open for the 13-14 school year.

The clear, consistent message from these five legislators was that the board should do for Crosswinds/Perpich what they were clearly so willing to do for Harambee/Roseville.

Rep. Mariani also told the board he planned to hold a hearing of his House Education Policy Committee at Crosswinds in July (probably on 7/9). In many ways, this meeting felt like a preview of that hearing, though with the roles of board and legislators reversed.

The board did finally make a “consensus” decision to allow Superintendent Mohr to investigate with Perpich and MDE the feasibility of running the Crosswinds program next year. If this looks possible, the board will hold a work session on 6/12 to learn the details of the proposal.

Some (poor quality) audio recordings of the meeting are available. Part One includes the families testimony and the description of Roseville’s efforts on behalf of Harmabee. Part Two includes the exchange of the legislators with the board.

A video of the discussion between legislators and the board is also now available.