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Learning and safety


April 20, 2021 - evening


To the MPS Community:

The MPS community learned with the rest of the world this afternoon that the jury charged with deciding the fate of former police officer Derek Chauvin found him guilty on all counts in the murder of Mr. George Floyd. 

In discussing the historic verdict lead prosecutor, State Attorney General Keith Ellison, said that while the verdict was, "another step on the long path towards healing," for the Floyd family it could not be declared justice. Instead, Ellison said the verdict represented the first step toward justice: accountability. What we know is that in two days former Minneapolis student Daunte Wright will be laid to rest, another black man killed at the hands of law enforcement. There is much more work to be done before justice is achieved and Minneapolis Public Schools has a critical role to play. We cannot back down from our focus on equity.


What does equity look like in a learning environment? It looks like the world every parent wants for their child, where their child feels:

  • Valued for their strengths and contributions
  • Respected for who they are
  • Heard and appreciated
  • Cared about and caring for others
  • Represented in curriculum
  • Comfortable and welcomed at school
  • Academically confident and challenged
  • Empowered to achieve goals, dreams and full potential
  • With a place in and responsibility for creating a more just society


This is the MPS our children deserve. This is the world that Mr. Floyd sadly did not experience. As we all help our students respond to today’s events, remember to ask for help when you need it. Here are some resources. Your student is also welcome to contact their school nurse, social worker or counselor.

MPS activity cancellations for tonight

All schools released as regularly scheduled today. All athletic and after-school activities were canceled. Tonight’s previously scheduled Finance Committee meeting is being postponed until a later date.

Distance learning through the remainder of this week

In light of expected congestion and increased people moving throughout the city related to this verdict, as well as activity related to the Thursday funeral of Mr. Daunte Wright, MPS schools and classrooms will educate via distance learning Wednesday through Friday of this week (April 21-23). Over these three days, no athletic events or Minneapolis Kids before- and after-school childcare will be held. Meal box pick-ups will continue as currently available. Time does not allow for a quick switch back to in-person learning.

Tips for re-entering distance learning

  • Confirm your student has a device (iPad/Chromebook) for learning. If you do not, please contact your school right away. Even though students are in distance learning, schools will be open to pick up devices.
  • Double-check your student’s login information for SeeSaw and/or Google Classroom, as well as any other applications necessary for them to continue learning from home.
  • Know your student’s online class schedule, including any live meetings that may take place.
  • Ensure your contact information, especially phone numbers and emails, are updated. You can make changes by contacting your school secretary. 
  • Contact your school or teacher with any questions. 

Ongoing protests and demonstrations likely

Many MPS students have brought their voices to public gatherings that have been held already. Moving forward, we encourage cautious, careful responses, focused on the well-being of ourselves and others. Minneapolis is the place we live, work, love and learn — it is our home. Let’s work together to make it everything it can be going forward, a world where every child knows hope and possibility. This MPS video provides some wonderful context for what’s going on in our city, as well as both hopeful and helpful ways to talk with your students about Mr. Floyd’s murder and the verdict announced today.

Let’s do our best to take care of ourselves and each other this week. 

 

 

April 20, 2021 - morning


MPS Students and Families,

We hope everyone is finding hope and encouragement during this difficult period in Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota. Like many of our neighbors, we await a final verdict in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, just as we grieve with the family of former MPS student Daunte Wright, who will be laid to rest on Thursday, and the loss of a Minnesota icon, Walter Mondale.

Last week we communicated that we anticipate several transportation challenges later this week across the city, which could impact in-person learning in MPS. With that in mind, this is a reminder that from Wednesday through Friday of this week (April 21-23), all students in all grades will be in distance learning. Over these three days, no athletic events or Minneapolis Kids before- and after-school childcare will be held.
Meal box pick-ups will continue as currently available


Tips for re-entering distance learning

  • Confirm your student has a device (iPad/Chromebook) for learning. If you do not, please contact your school right away. Even though students are in distance learning, schools will be open to pick up devices.

  • Double-check your student’s login information for SeeSaw and/or Google Classroom, as well as any other applications necessary for them to continue learning from home.

  • Know your student’s online class schedule, including any live meetings that may take place.

  • Ensure your contact information, especially phone numbers and emails, are updated. You can make changes by contacting your school secretary. 

  • Contact your school or teacher with any questions. 

Remember that students may be impacted by ongoing public protests

Peaceful protests are one of the foundations of our democracy. At the same time, we cannot deny the fact that people with ill intentions sometimes take advantage of communities wrestling with complicated social justice issues. We know from experience that students and families must be extra vigilant and protect themselves and their loved ones from those who will work to disrupt peaceful protests and inflame tensions after this verdict. We encourage cautious, careful responses, caring for the well-being of ourselves and others, and making decisions as a family about participation.

This MPS video provides some wonderful context for what’s going on in our city, as well as both hopeful and helpful ways to talk with your students about it. 

Let’s do our best to take care of ourselves and each other this week. 



April 16, 2021


Dear MPS Students and Families,

Our community is moving through an extraordinarily challenging time as we react to the killing of former MPS student Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer, just as testimony in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd concludes and the case goes to the jury.

We anticipate that a verdict in the Chauvin case could impact in-person learning in Minneapolis Public Schools. In order to give families as much time as possible to plan for changes in their daily routine we want to share the following information. 

In-person learning next week will be impacted by the trial

The Derek Chauvin jury will begin deliberation Monday, the same time that MPS middle grades are making in-person learning available for the first time in more than a year. (See trial resources for families.)

After speaking with Hennepin County sources, we believe we can best serve students and staff through changing the learning format next week:

  • On Monday and Tuesday (April 19-20), in-person learning will continue for all grades with corresponding transportation to and from school. Sixth graders in most schools will be welcomed on Monday, and grades 7 and 8 in most will follow on Tuesday. A few schools in hybrid learning with start dates scheduled later in the week will provide updated start dates for their students. Please check with your school with any questionsFamilies who believe a different choice makes sense for their child are welcome to make that decision using your school’s approved absence process.

  • From Wednesday through Friday next week (April 21-23), all in-person learning students in all grades will return home for distance learningStudents will not be required to leave their homes to attend school for the remainder of the week, though school buildings will be open. Over these three days, no athletic events or Minneapolis Kids before- and after-school childcare will be held. Meal box pick-ups will continue as currently available

Students may be impacted by ongoing public protests

Peaceful protests are one of the foundations of our democracy. Some students may feel called to participate in collective actions being organized around the city, but MPS also recognizes our primary need and your primary desire to keep students safe. We cannot deny the fact that people with ill intentions sometimes take advantage of communities in crisis. 

Leaving the school campus should be a family and caregiver decision done while carefully weighing the potential dangers and concerns in the broader community. Please read more here as you consider your decision to allow your student to participate in public gatherings and how it can impact your child, their education and their safety.

Race may be a topic of conversation in your child’s classroom

The racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents may be widely discussed among some students in our schools. As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis. Understanding that every educator will approach this differently, MPS has provided all educators with resources that are appropriate both to the age of the students being taught and the background and experience of the educator.

These plans are made based on what we know today. Should trial activities change, we will reevaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible. 

If you have additional questions about school for your student next week, please see your school principal. Thank you for your flexibility and for helping us put our students first.

Sincerely,

Ed Graff, Superintendent

How to talk to kids about the verdict