MPLS school leaders on planning for the school year

8 / 5 / 20

A new school year is upon us, and school teams have spent the summer scenario planning. We recently convened a few local school leaders to share how they're thinking through the challenges and opportunities with returning to learning—and we thought you might like to hear their insights and the factors guiding their approach and decision-making. 

School leaders are working tirelessly to factor in student and staff well-being as they also focus on their jobs to deliver a high-quality learning experience—no matter the delivery model. And thanks to those who spoke candidly in the video:

  • Colette Owens, Hiawatha Academies
  • Carl Phillips, Northeast College Prep
  • Julie Henderson, Hennepin Schools

Watch a 4-min clip of Colette Owens talk about planning

Or watch the full-length video here

Colette, Carl, and Julie joined 70 other Minneapolis district, charter, and independent school leaders in series that we convened with Bellwether Education Partners and ANet. Bellwether and ANet helped design a series and tailored advising sessions to support scenario planning for re-opening schools—keeping equity at the center as school communities planned for health and safety, academic outcomes, and operational feasibility.

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As we collectively share concern about this year and the impact on our own families and those who are disproportionately impacted (emotionally and academically) by these disruptions, please also give a bit of empathy to the teachers and schools leaders. They, in particular, feel the weight of the moment and the trades-offs in consideration.

While I cannot speak for every school leader, when I think of the Great MN Schools portfolio schools, I can say with confidence that I echo the thoughts of Bellwether's Bill Durbin when he shared in the video, “These are incredibly thoughtful leaders. They are keeping community members at the center of their decision-making. It will be hard; they always make it work.”

We agree, and we thank each of you for your support to ensure these school leaders have what they need to stay focused on their core work with students and their families.

In community,

Jennifer Stern
CEO, Great MN Schools