Monthly Archives: February 2010

Jamie Notter is Right. Best Practices are Flawed.

By John Hamerlinck

I just read Get Me Jamie Notter’s, “Beapples and orangesst Practices are Flawed Because We Are Human”blog post. I wondered how many people in our field (one awash with “best practices” talk) might read this. Even if only a few more people do, it is worth passing along here.

I believe we are in the business of promoting creativity and innovation. When we set out to do this in the context of communities, we are automatically engaged in endeavors that happen in unique contexts. The reason people have so much trouble replicating the success of a “best practice” in campus-community partnerships is because it is impossible to replicate the personal relationships, history and culture of the place the “best practice” came from. We need to quit worrying so much about replication and start more conversations about how we might find the courage to create more collaborative, reciprocal partnerships.

Building Bridges: Campus Community Connections in St. Cloud

By Maria Ortiz

With help from a capacity building grant through Minnesota Campus Compact, St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and St. Cloud Independent School District (ISD) 742 developed, “Building Bridges: Campus Community Connections.” The goals of the project were: 1) to enhance and deepen the partnership and collaboration between SCSU and ISD 742 in the face of service learning budget reductions; and 2) to meet the mutual needs identified to enrich student learning among specific ISD 742 and SCSU classrooms and courses.

This project enabled SCSU to increase the infrastructure necessary to support community service-learning; providing opportunities for classroom theory to be practiced in a real-time setting and further institutionalizing service-learning and civic engagement SCSUas a core campus value. This collaborative work created service-learning experiences, fostered college aspirations among ISD 742 students, and met the educational needs and goals of both K-12 and university students. According to Beth Knutson-Kolodzne, SCSU Volunteer Connection Coordinator, even though the grant period is over, the projects it helped to create have continued to produce results.

The Building Bridges project focused on three activities; Reading Tutoring, Spanish Immersion, and English Language Leaner (ELL). The Reading Tutor Project involves SCSU Students in a Special Education class with students’ 4th-6th grade at Lincoln Elementary School in St. Cloud. Through this partnership, ISD 742 students improved their confidence and performance in the subject areas identified by the teachers and SCSU students are provided practical experience in the subject area of their specific course/major.  “The tutoring project still occurs with Lincoln Elementary school with the Special Ed. (SPED) 200 class at SCSU.  This also occurs among the teachers at Lincoln and the special education faculty at SCSU,” explained Knutson-Kolodzne.

The Spanish Immersion Project involves SCSU students in upper division Spanish courses working with students in grades K-1 at Clearview Elementary School in Clear Lake, MN. Through this partnership, language acquisition skills and proficiency are enhanced among all parties. The Spanish Immersion program with Clearview Elementary school is coordinated through the department of Foreign Languages’, Spanish teaching faculty and includes this as both curricular service-learning and co-curricular volunteering.

The English Language Learner (ELL) Project involves a collaboration to coordinate and facilitate a Career & Technical Education Academy for English Language Learners in grades 9-12. This partnership exposes ELL students to college and career options and provides them the opportunity to engage in exploring both. According to Knutson-Kolodzne, “We used to do this over the course of 4-5 days for 2 summers with ELL students in grades 9-12 in District 742.  Now, starting this semester (Spring 2010), we have created a Career & Technical Education (CTE) program focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) initiatives with students, faculty and staff at SCSU that have expertise or interested in those areas.  It is now an 8-week program, which takes place every Tuesday for approximately 3 hours after school.  We call it CTE-STEM for ELL.”

Examples of impact on students are evident through excerpts from SCSU students’ reflection journals from the Spanish Immersion project at Clearview Elementary School:

“This was a great experience for me because I learned that using my Spanish is easier than I thought. It has been great practice and has given me more confidence with my ability to speak.’

“I have learned the importance of taking the time to volunteer. I realize how much I really enjoy doing something for no pay. I think often times people are so concerned about what we can get for ourselves out of everything we do and most of the time people want money. It is nice to revert back to just doing something for the greater good. It feels nice to give.”

Support from the MNCC grant allowed both SCSU and ISD 742 to more fully appreciate the needs, capacities, and energy involved in creating positive, effective partnerships.  The many activities involved in the project allow partners to find better, more effective and efficient methods of working together.

Metropolitan State 2010 Census Campaign

Contributed by Metropolitan State University

“Be Counted, 2010 Census” banners hang over East 7th Street from the skyway at Metropolitan State University to promote the upcoming census to the University and surrounding Census 2010community.The Center for Community-Based Learning, American Democracy Project, Student Senate, MSUSA, and University Activities Board are coordinating a campaign to provide university students, faculty and staff, and community members, with a series of events that will address how the 2010 Census works and how each individual can make a difference.  The census determines how more than $400 billion is allocated to communities for things like new schools, roads and public transportation, fire and police services, hospital services, and social service programs, higher education The census also determines the number of representatives in Congress who can advocate on our behalf. Everyone’s participation is vital to help ensure a complete and accurate count.

Please join us for one or more of the upcoming informative sessions:

The Census: Culture, Identity, and the Changing Face of Minnesota A panel discussion about the intersection of the census, race, and identity, with representatives from the Somali and Latino Complete Count Committees, OutFront Minnesota, and Hennepin County.
Tuesday, February 16, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Minneapolis Community and Technical College campus Helland Center Student Lounge (H-2000) Co-sponsored by MCTC

Census Data: A Source for Fun Facts* and more!

State Demographer Tom Gillaspy
Wednesday, February 17, 3:30-5:00 p.m, St. Paul Lib 302 and via ITV in Minneapols, MEC 2300

Dollars We Count On: The Census, Cities, Local Government, and Higher Education Wednesday, February 24, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Great Hall Panel discussion with:
Chris Coleman, St. Paul Mayor, Kathy Lantry, St. Paul City Council President Lois Larson,  Metropolitan State Interim Director of Financial Aid Melvin Carter, St. Paul City Council Graeme Allen, Director of Government Relations, Minnesota State University Student Association

Controversy, Conflict, and the U.S. Census Monday, March 15, Noon – 1:30 p.m., Lib. 132 Campus Conversations Brown Bag- Bring Your Lunch, Dessert and Beverage provided. Campus Conversations are open discussions for students, staff and faculty that focus on current issues.  The conversations work to enhance knowledge of current issues and promote democratic dialogue with members of the campus community. Discussion will be facilitated by a Metropolitan State faculty member.
Click here for more information or call 651-793-1285 with any questions.