ST. PAUL (November 4, 2010) – Spurring a conversation on the state of education in Minnesota and the steps necessary to create educational success for all youth, Mayor Chris Coleman was featured as part of a panel last night at Macalester College in Saint Paul.
The panel, entitled, “Closing the Achievement Gap,” also featured local leaders like State Representative Carlos Mariani, Saint Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva, Saint Paul Federation of Teachers President Mary Cathryn Ricker and former Saint Paul City Council President Bill Wilson.
“While Minnesota students traditionally perform at the top on standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT, our state has one of the highest disparities in success between students of color and their classmates,” Coleman said. “In Saint Paul we are we are utilizing a community approach to education, empowering every resident to do their part to ensure the success of our youth.
“From providing quality out-of-school programming to receiving a Promise Neighborhoods grant from the Obama Administration, Saint Paul will continue its educational leadership in order to provide all students with the tools they need to be productive members of our community,” he added.
Panel members pointed to community involvement in education as a key in closing the achievement gap. In Saint Paul, this ideology will be realized through the $500,000 Promise Neighborhood Grant.
The City was selected as one of 21 communities across the nation to receive the grant which is intended create a community-wide effort ensuring all children succeed in school and in life through seamless coordination of cradle-to-career educational, family, and community resources and supports. The neighborhood will encompass a 250-block area in the Summit-University and Frogtown neighborhoods.
Now in his second term, Mayor Coleman has led Saint Paul’s nation leading educational efforts with his Second Shift Initiative that extends the learning day through quality after-school opportunities in arts, sports and academics. Coleman has focused on initiatives that will effectively prepare children to enter kindergarten as well as expanding access to programs by offering free rides for students participating in after-school programs.
In recognition of his efforts, Mayor Coleman has been honored by the Afterschool Alliance and was named to the top leadership post in the National League of Cities’ Institute on Youth, Education and Families earlier this year.