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U's work cited in agreement that aims to close achievement gap for Native American students in Minneapolis

The University's work with colleagues at Anishinabe Academy in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was cited in Star Tribune news about a new five-year agreement between MPS and Indian leaders, approved this month.

Unlike the first memorandum of agreement between MPS and the Native American community, the new one sets specific targets for improving performance through 2016, according to the article. Three schools, including Anishinabe Academy, are designated to emphasize research-backed best practices for educating Indian students.

Anishinabe principals have been working with the University of Minnesota and district Indian education specialists on integrating native values for learning into the district's curriculum. "At Anishinabe, 83 percent of the students entering kindergarten from its High 5 prekindergarten program met the district's literacy standard last year, compared with 70 percent for all district kindergartners," the article said. "That's because the school is in the fifth year of putting federal grants and the school's discretionary dollars into its youngest classrooms, hoping for a payoff in later grades." The percentage of students leaving kindergarten with early literacy skills has increased from fewer than half in 2007 to nearly 75 percent.

The collaboration of CEHD educational psychology professor Jennifer McComas and community elder Ida Downwind at Anishinabe Academy was the cover story in the winter 2012 issue of Connect, CEHD's alumni magazine. Their work joins state standards with tradition and includes second-language learning.

"Minneapolis schools set path of success for Indian students" appeared in the Star Tribune on Sunday, Jan. 22.

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