Robbinsdale area schools striving to be highest-performing highly diverse district education hometownsource.com education level 3

Robbinsdale area schools superintendent carlton jenkins delivered the annual state of the district address thursday, march 8, at FAIR school pilgrim lane in plymouth.

In his address to faculty, teachers, parents and community leaders, jenkins highlighted the schools’ history and foundations. He also outlined how the district compares to other schools in the state and inspires many for the future.

Jenkins came to the district in august 2015. He previously spent four years as superintendent of saginaw public schools in michigan and was a high school principal in the beloit public school system in wisconsin. Jenkins was a middle school principal, an associate high school principal, a physical education teacher and coach.

Robbinsdale school district superintendent carlton jenkins speaks to staff and board members, administrators, teachers, parents and members of the community march 15 during the annual state of the district address.Every student

“we can’t lose sight of that,” he said. “sometimes we get so busy focusing on our future that we forget our foundation. This district is a product of the star work of educator and visionary E.J. Cooper. We honor those contributions by working to bring the district to new heights of performance expression and human decency. The district was founded with the vision that this place could be something special. We believe that still.”

Jenkins explained that the district officials and teachers are consistently working to live out the mission of inspiring and educating all learners to develop their unique potential and positively contribute to their community.

“robbinsdale area schools operate under a unified district vision which states we are committed to ensuring every student graduates career and college ready,” he said. “we believe each student has limitless possibilities and we strive to ignite the potential in every student.School principal we expect a high intellectual performance from all of our students and we are committed to ensuring an equitable and respectful educational experience for every student, family and staff member, focusing on strengths related to race, culture, ethnicity, home or first language, national origin, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion or physical appearance.”

Jenkins referenced a vision abraham lincoln spoke of in his inaugural speech some 150 years ago: that all people are created equal. Inspiring words, jenkins said, that still ring true today.

“I think we’ve reached an important juncture in our history,” he said. “we’ve done well but we face unprecedented challenges. But I say, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.”

With each day, jenkins said, each member of the district’s 1,700 employees work to achieve the goals of implementing policies and practices that open pathways to academic excellence for all students; utilizing culturally responsive teaching and personalized learning for all students; engaging family and community members as partners and; empowering students by amplifying their collective voice.School principal

“we are working to become a high-performing, diverse, thriving district,” he explained. “we will become a destination district and a destination community.”

Jenkins said that the way this goal can be achieved is for the community to come together to break the barriers of economic status and provide opportunity for all students. He called for patience and teamwork as district staff members partner with those in the community to harness the resources at the state and federal levels to advocate for investments in school buildings and programs.

“change takes time,” he said. He referred to the five-year plan and outlined the stages as chaos in year one, organized chaos in year two, plan implementation in year three, organized abandonment in year four and system change and success in the years that follow.

He said moving forward, district administration and staff members plan to abolish the predictability of student success based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic standing, gender, sexual orientation and other externalities.Area schools he stressed the importance of creating a positive culture within schools and tackling the need for additional support when it comes to mental health issues.

“to get there, we must be patient as it a journey and not a race,” he said. “when challenges come we won’t run away from them. We’ll run to them. We will be a destination district that performs at the highest level and one that is highly diverse.”

• the rate of enrollment into post-secondary education from robbinsdale area schools is 72 percent. This exceeds the state average of 69 percent.

• at armstrong high school, one of the first two AP capstone-designated high schools in the state, more than 40 percent of students took at least one advanced placement test in the spring of 2017, an all-time high number.

• armstrong is 10th on the minnesota section of the washington post’s “most challenging high school” list for 2017 and cooper is on the 2016 list at number 27.Jenkins said cooper also ranked seventh in the state on newsweek’s “beating the odds list of top 500 schools”

• the district’s arts programming and curriculum has been recognized for excellence on the state and national level. This includes FAIR arts immersion program which has expanded to kindergarten and first grade (in addition to the existing grades 4-8) which will offer a K-8 arts immersion program by 2020.

• robbinsdale schools have received an award for excellence in finances for 15 consecutive years from the association of school business officials international.