The new Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent, Ed Graff, gave a report to the Board of Education about his first one hundred days in office back in October. He said that in that time he’d learned a lot about the district, its students and families, its staff and about the community. “At the Davis Service Center, I’ve met people ready to support others in their work. And throughout the community, I’ve met engaged families, passionate partners and countless people who believe in our district’s potential. I, too, believe in our potential.”
He said that while there is a lot of good work happening in our schools, that there was also much work that still needed to be done. He said there were four key areas that needed to be addressed if the school system was going to make lasting change:
Achievement: He feels it is the district’s responsibility is to create conditions so that all students succeed, including having high expectations and high support. Also, the district needs to have even more rigor and culturally responsive instruction in its classrooms.
Equity: He wants the school district to focus on removing any racial disparities in both their work and decision-making, and to understand and work to address any implicit biases.
Engagement: The school district needs to connect even more with students and build more authentic relationships with families and communities. Also, as the school district makes decisions, they need to make sure that all voices are represented. The district will also need to communicate better with staff across the district.
Accountability: The school district owes it to itself and its students to do its best work. Both internally and externally, it needs to follow up quickly and accurately to requests, explain decisions transparently, and provide consistent, high-quality services.
Graff said that identifying areas where we can improve is easy but that addressing them would mean a lot of hard work from everyone. One of the things he told the school board was that they needed to work on improving their strategic plan, Acceleration 2020. That would mean having clearly defined actions and ways of measuring success. It would also mean focusing on literacy as a key foundation for all students, because kids who read grow up to succeed.
As superintendent, he committed to being accessible and responsive to staff, students and families and to promptly address concerns if and when they arise. He also committed to regularly visiting the schools and having frequent communication. Lastly, he committed to keeping the students of Minneapolis schools at the forefront of what he does and that he would expect others in his leadership team to do the same.
To learn about Superintendent Graff go to mpls.k12.mn.us/mpssup. To learn about the Minneapolis Public Schools strategic plan go to Acceleration 2020 at mpls.k12.mn.us/strategic_plan.