Spring Lake Park Schools to join consortium

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Spring Lake Park Schools will join Columbia Heights, Fridley, Mounds View and Roseville school districts in a new collaborative, the North Suburban Post-Secondary Success Consortium.

Details are still being ironed out, but three agreed upon purposes are to maximize programs, services and activities that promote secondary success for students; leverage resources; and meet the requirements of the Minnesota Achievement and Integration program, according to Spring Lake Park Schools Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg.

Currently, the district belongs to Equity Alliance MN, formerly known as East Metro Integration District, or EMID. It’s continued membership in that collaborative is up in the air.

Equity Alliance MN requires member districts to give 18 months notice of any intention to withdraw, and Spring Lake Park Schools has submitted such an intention for the past three years, never actually withdrawing.

At the time, Spring Lake Park administrators and board members agreed that integration revenue turned over to EMID, around $175,000 annually, could be better spent with minimal participation in EMID programs from parents, students and staff.

Since then, many staff have participated in Advancement Via Individual Determination, more commonly known as AVID, training through Equity Alliance MN, so the district is in the process of conducting a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it still wishes to part ways with the collaborative or participate in two, which is permissible by law.

Spring Lake Park Schools is one of 10 invested in Equity Alliance MN. Roseville Area Schools is the only other North Suburban Post-Secondary Success Consortium that is also a member of Equity Alliance MN.

Ronneberg believes a consortium with geographically close partners will lend itself to greater collaboration, he said.

“It opens the doors to a lot of opportunities,” Ronneberg said.

Ahead of the first year of the collaborative, the 2017-2018 school year, possible shared initiatives include expanding College in the Schools access, career readiness pathways and business partnerships.

Additionally, four of the five districts are AVID districts, according to Ronneberg.

Spring Lake Park Schools began offering AVID programming this school year and plans to build on current offerings in future years.

AVID aims to outfit students with the skills to succeed in rigorous courses in high school and beyond.

“It’s been very successful,” Ronneberg said.

Other possible initiatives of the consortium are continuing to form partnerships with colleges and universities to create diversity in the education workforce and developing a shared equity framework.

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