Millennia Consultant Mirja Hanson has been engaged in several efforts to engage a broad-base of community stakeholders in addressing challenging issues:
Reimagine Minnesota. Forty-two metropolitan Twin Cities school superintendents joined forces 2017 to engage over 3000 community members, educators and districts’ stakeholders in forums and work sessions to discuss ways to ensure the constitutionally guaranteed right to an adequate education including integration, access, opportunity, and educational achievement. Millennia assisted in the development of a Collective Education Roadmap for Action based on the community input and advice. The initiative was triggered by parents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul Schools suing the State of Minnesota for a public education system that does not provide constitutionally guaranteed equitable education for all children. Implementation is currently underway.
South Saint Paul School District in Minnesota took on the challenging topic of shifting school start times and bus schedules in light of the research showing that high school students gain significant health and school performance benefits through extending their morning sleep hours. Millennia assisted in facilitating a series of Community Learning Sessions in 2018 to share extensive research about sleep needs for each age group, the impact of appropriate school start times for student learning and options for implementing start and end times changes for students, families and staff. The community-based recommendations will be presented to the School Board in August.
The Rockford Area Schools is facing serious funding shortfalls. The suburban/exurban consolidated district west of Minneapolis, MN retained Millennia in engaging the community in a 200-person community conversation and follow-up advisory group meeting in 2018 to learn what district stakeholders consider education priorities, gain community understanding about school funding gaps and seek recommendations for deepening community support in all areas of school operations. As suggested by the participants, a short-term next step is a “School Funding 101” forum scheduled in August to build support for a referendum question being planned for the November 2018 elections.