A two-day conference begins today on the Minneapolis campus on closing the achievement gap in Minnesota’s K-12 schools. The first-of-its-kind conference, “Partnering for School Success,” is hosted by the School of Education, the Minnesota Department of Education and the Target Corp.
The conference features more than 100 presentations by K-12 educators and other community representatives on ways to improve learning in Minnesota’s schools. Featured guests include Gov. Tim Pawlenty; U.S. Undersecretary of Education Eugene Hickok; Thaddeus Lott Sr., former principal of highly acclaimed Wesley Elementary School in Houston, Texas; and Minnesota education commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke.
With new federal legislation and an intensified focus on standardized test scores, K-12 schools are under more pressure than ever to improve student performance. With that in mind, St. Thomas leveraged its partnerships with businesses, state government, local schools, and nonprofit organizations to bring together more than 500 representatives from across the state.
“Success in Minnesota’s K-12 schools is not a matter for the schools alone,” said School of Education dean Dr. Miriam Q. Williams. “St. Thomas is eager to work creatively with K-12 educators and the community to improve student achievement.”
Target CEO Bob Ulrich added, “Target is a proud supporter of education in Minnesota and wherever we do business. "
In addition to discussing “best practices” in reading and math instruction, conference-goers will discuss ways to enlist the support of parents, businesses, foundations, public agencies and other community organizations to improve student performance. “I hope this conference will produce many ways Target and other businesses can get involved with improving their local schools," Ulrich said.
“This conference is another way we’re on our way to being a great urban university,” said School of Education faculty member Dr. Bob Brown. “We’re able to convene these community groups together on behalf of K-12 schools. And within the university, we’re committed to working across our disciplines and departments to develop new, systemic ways to respond to an important social need.”
The conference, free to Minnesota’s K-12 educators, has filled and registration is closed. See the conference Web site for complete conference details. Keynote presenter and U.S. undersecretary of Education Eugene Hickok also will appear on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midmorning” program at 9 a.m. today.