When I started working for Anoka-Hennepin School District seven years ago, I was immediately impressed by the communication taking place between our schools and families. It was clear to me our parents were engaged in their children’s education and appreciated information provided by their teachers and schools.
Two of my favorite headlines over the past few years were, “Runner carries injured foe half-mile to help,” and “Wrestler loses match but moves crowd with kind act.” These headlines reflect the character that student athletes in Anoka-Hennepin Schools have developed thanks to parent and family involvement, and the positive role models, mentors and coaches that have played an inspirational role in their lives.
Like many, I grew up in the 1960s and 70s. In my middle class neighborhood, families were proud to be self-sufficient. While I knew there were kids at school wearing the same clothes frequently, I was not aware of their circumstances. Our family donated to service organizations and our church in order to help in our community. We believed our donations helped families and children in need. Schools were not a place we considered for donating.
“When bright young minds can’t afford college, America pays the price,” Arthur Ashe, a former top-ranked tennis player remembered for his work to further social cause.
Four years ago when I was the principal of Coon Rapids High School, I was pleased to play a role in creating our first group of students in the school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.