From June 13-17, the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling hosted the Minneapolis Public Schools Boys Summit for the second year. Under the leadership of Leticia Guadarrama, MPS Global Education, and Said Garaad, MPS ELL family outreach specialist, 25 recently graduated eighth grade English language learners were on the Minneapolis campus. Joining the group this year were Kezyah Trejo, MPS bilingual associate educator, and Sophie Pilhofer, global education intern and Humphrey Fellow.
Monday started off, as Mondays can, with some “bumps in the road” in regard to transportation. After two broken buses, a parent drop-off and a rescue by Garaad, most of the boys eventually made it to campus. They were greeted by University of St. Thomas teacher candidates Alexandra Gross and Amy Storvick, who worked with the group throughout the week.
The goal for the summit included classroom activities focused on introspection, expectations and setting goals for high school. Each afternoon the boys spent time participating in physical activities. There was also an opportunity for daily reflections on the lessons of the day.
This year, Minneapolis Public Schools agreed to use this opportunity to test out a new computer program designed to help improve the reading and writing skills of English language learners. Teacher candidates Gross and Storvick got a “crash course” in crashing systems! Thanks to cooperation and support from University of St. Thomas ITS, by Tuesday this experimental system was up and working.
Storvick stepped up and led a few sessions of this reading and writing computer program. The boys represented a wide range of English proficiency, so it was a learning experience, not only for them and Storvick, but for the designers of the new system.
Gross designed and led a lesson on study skills and strategies, a timely lesson for these young folks who are preparing for the new rigors of high school. Gross gets “extra credit” for joining the boys on their day off at Camp Ihduhapi. High ropes challenges, low ropes initiatives and mosquito bites can be a real bonding experience.
Our commitment to “one university” was evident throughout the week. Teron Buford, assistant director of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment, joined the boys for lunch on Monday and shared a wealth of information. Rising senior and business major Cory Kemp had lunch with the boys on Thursday. They were eager to ask about homework as a college student and how to balance responsibilities and fun.
Friday, Minneapolis School Board member Siad Ali visited the summit. Rising junior and Page Scholar Tobias Knight lunched with the boys and discussed the value of applying for scholarships. The Minneapolis Summit finished with a presentation by teams of boys as they shared with teachers, parents and guests what they learned this week.