I take pride in Minnesota’s education system. Across the state we have schools filled with hard-working, caring teachers and staff that strive daily to ensure that our children receive a quality education.
With that said, there is always room for improvement and as the chair of the Minnesota State Senate E-12 Finance Committee, it is my duty to seek out those improvements and do what I can to implement them. Thankfully, there are a lot of teachers and programs out there to make this part of my job a little easier.
These programs highlight what we are doing well here in Minnesota and give us a look at what education looks like when it is running on all cylinders. I will be joining five of the newest senators who are members of the Senate education committees to see the great things happening in their districts.
• At Rosemount High School, Sen. Clausen will join our conversation as we discuss their dual enrollment program with Inver Hills Community College. This program improves post-socondary achievement and strengthens the bond between our E12 and higher education institutions.
• Sen. Jensen will be meeting us at Owatonna High School to discuss the school’s relationship with the local Hometown Credit Union. This fully-functional, student-run, school-based Credit Union gives students a first-hand look at business and employment.
• I will be stopping in to East Ridge High School with Sen. Kent to discuss the school’s technology, non-traditional schedule and their college and career readiness program, “Project Lead the Way/AVID”.
• On our visit to Glacier Hills Elementary, Sen. Carlson will join us to highlight the school which focuses on the arts and science. This magnet school’s vision is to create a highly effective, K-6 environmental school that acknowledges students’ individual learning styles and develops analytical, creative and critical thinking.
• Sen. Dahle will join the group at the Northfield High School. We will have the opportunity to see three impressive programs, including the Torch Program, 1 to 1 Tech Initiative and the Academy. The Torch Program which initially focused on Latino students, now also gives additional support to “first-generation college eligible” students. In the ten years of the program, graduation rates among this population skyrocketed from 36% to over 90%.
I am looking forward to getting a first-hand look at these programs and discussing their impact on the region and the state. The needs of our businesses are constantly changing and we need the ability to change with them. I think these programs are great examples of ways to keep up with that need and I am looking forward to bringing these ideas back to the Capitol for the 2014 session.