WMEP, MN

West Metro Education Consortium (WMEP) (wmep.k12.mn.us)
Minneapolis, MN

What is that strange name WMEP/NUA? The West Metro Education Program/NUA (WMEP/NUA) Partnership has been a unique collaborative of urban and suburban school districts in the Minneapolis area since 2003, with the ultimate goal of fostering high intellectual performance in all students, while creating a culture of equity, justice and simple fairness throughout the participating school districts. WMEP was established in response to a court–ordered desegregation action to have urban students of color attend school in member suburban districts through a program called, “The Choice is Yours.” NUA was invited into this Midwest area to assist the educators in becoming more culturally responsive, as their demographics rapidly changed with an influx of children from Somalia, and Ethiopia, as well as Hmong, Latino and African American children. From the inception of the partnership, eleven school districts have received professional development services from NUA. Seven districts received longitudinal services from grades K-12. Since the Spring of 2007, transformation sustainability has been the focus to build a cadre of teacher/leaders who could sustain the work of NUA for years to come. Currently, endorsed coaches are delivering professional development services within the school districts of Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Robbinsdale and Wayzata.

The 2010-11 WMEP/NUA Partnership, has a rich, laser beam approach for building the leadership skills for teacher/leaders/coaches within the three remaining school districts of Eden Prairie, Robbinsdale and Wayzata. Our professional development services are being delivered directly to the teacher/leader/coaches within a school laboratory setting. The teacher/leader/coaches who have received a minimum of NUA professional development services as an NUA teacher, are now engaged in Action Research as one component of our seminars. They are collecting data on student engagement, as a process for refining their leadership skills for giving feedback, and building capacity through designing interactive seminars for their colleagues. The intent is to deepen their teacher leader attributes, while strengthening their instructional repertoire for building the pedagogy of confidence in their colleagues and students.

If interviewed our partners might share that our partnership has changed the culture of how they view their responsibilities to learning and teaching. A large percentage of the teachers have become more cognizant of building relationships with their students and colleagues, as an essential non-negotiable element for growth. They have become astute in the delivery of instruction using our foundational principles and pedagogy. Our WMEP/NUA partners can engage in thoughtful discussions around their practice and issues of social justice, equity, and simple fairness with far greater ease than before working with NUA.

The demographics and professional development goals of our three current districts are as follows:

  • The Eden Prairie School District is seeking to have 100% of their teachers deepen the conversation, collaboration and value of their learning communities. They desire to have 100% of their teachers enhance their knowledge and skills. Eden Prairie Demographics: Eight schools K-12; 586 teachers; 9,702 students; Ethnic breakdown: 9% Asian, 10% Black, 4 % Hispanic, 77% White. Letter from Eden Prairie thanking NUA
  • The Robbinsdale School district is seeking to have their staff learning and use information about equity and diversity to engage in reflection and changed practice. They would like the staff to learn about and engage in learning communities and use research based strategies to strengthen their instruction. Finally, they would like the staff to learn to use technology to improve communication, encourage creativity and increase student achievement. Demographics: Sixteen schools only 2 Middle Schools have been in NUA grades 6-8; 721 teachers; 11,766 students; Ethnic breakdown: 1% Am Indian, 8% Asian, 26% Black, 11% Hispanic, 54% White.
  • The Wayzata School District is seeking to have teachers participate in professional development that improves instruction so each site meets their student achievement goals. Demographics: Eleven Schools K-12; 630 teachers;10,100 students; Ethnic breakdown 10% Asian, 8% Black, 2% Hispanic, 80% White.

Transformation sustainability is becoming a true reality within this Midwestern area. The National Urban Alliance no longer has to provide direct services to the classroom teachers in several districts, as a result of the highly skilled WMEP/NUA Teacher/Leader/Coaches. They are spreading the fruits of our labor for equity, justice and simple fairness, while fostering an expectation for high intellectual performance in their students and colleagues, throughout their schools.

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