St. Paul Visit Highlights Community Partnerships

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During a visit to a St. Paul (Minn.) high school Sept. 14, AFT president Randi Weingarten stressed the importance of community partnerships for strengthening public schools and making good on the promise of a high-quality education for all children.

Weingarten visited Humboldt Senior High School, where an array of community partners are helping students overcome economic, social and cultural gaps. Local businesses and colleges are involved in programs at the school aimed at making sure Humboldt graduates are ready for work or higher education.

This year, under an innovative agreement initiated by the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Humboldt is implementing a restructuring plan aimed at boosting student achievement. Weingarten called the efforts in St. Paul the product of a "solution-driven contract" that has enabled teachers and administrators to develop a new instructional model, supported by wraparound services and community partners.

Weingarten toured the high school with St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva, principal Mike Sodomka and St. Paul Federation of Teachers president Mary Cathryn Ricker. Later in the day, Weingarten and SPFT members were joined by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman as they talked about partnerships between the community and the public schools.

After visiting Humboldt, Weingarten met with leaders of the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation and volunteers and organizers with the citywide Tutoring Partnership for Academic Excellence. This year, more than 4,000 St. Paul students are getting help from volunteer tutors at 24 community-based and 13 school-based programs that participate in the partnership. [Tom Lansworth, video by Brett Sherman]

September 15, 2010