Discussion on support of Seward Montessori School K8

Dear Neighbors,

Over the past 3-4 months the Minneapolis School District has proposed a new Comprehensive District Design.  The CDD makes huge changes to the entire school district.  One of the changes the School Board is currently proposing to eliminate the middle school program at Seward Montessori, starting in school year 2021-2022.

One of our neighbors Matthew Hendricks, has asked the SNG board and community to ask the district to keep Seward as a K8 school.  Matthews reasoning is below.

We will have a zoom meeting on Wednesday, May 6th at 7PM.  Please join us to discuss this issue.   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84015163915

Dear SNG Board and Community,

As you may have heard, the School Board is currently proposing to eliminate the middle school program at Seward Montessori, starting in school year 2021-2022.This unnecessary change would be disruptive and highly disappointing, in the view of most Seward parents who have students in the school.  I’m happy to provide more background on what we know (and what we’re still trying to learn from the school district) at your convenience.
As we make the case for keeping Seward as a K-8 school, it would be helpful to have a letter of support form the Seward Neighborhood Group.  Attached is a draft of that letter, which we are hoping the SNG Board will approve prior to May’s CDC meeting if possible.

Matthew Hendricks

Proposed letter to be sent to Minneapolis School Board and District Staff
School Board Members and Executive Leadership,

The Seward Neighborhood is a diverse and vibrant community. Seward Montessori School is a microcosm of our community, with a student body that reflects our neighborhood’s diversity.

This letter is not intended to weigh in on the debates over the Comprehensive District Design (CDD). We understand that the School Board is faced with a challenging situation, and there are no simple answers. The broader issue of whether to pass the CDD proposal is outside the scope of this letter.

This letter is specifically about retaining Seward Montessori as a K-8 school. We know that it would be possible to retain Seward as a K-8 school while implementing the changes outlined in the CDD. In fact, two of the four models for the CDD retainedSeward’s K-8 program, based on CDD proposals released for public review in January 2020.

As a neighborhood organization, we understand the importance of longevity and continuity for building community. Because Seward Montessori’s K-8 program keeps families involved for nearly a decade (and longer for families with multiple students), we see parents putting down roots in the neighborhood. We see families contributing significant time and talent to the school community. We hear from Somali families in particular that keeping siblings together is important.

We watched with gratitude as the District invested $17.5 million in the renovation and expansion of Seward Montessori school. This project created a dedicated 3rd floor for the middle school program at Seward. It is disorienting to hear that so soon after the renovation, the District is planning to remove the middle school program from this new middle school space.

As a popular, diverse school that connects local families, Seward Montessori has been a tangible asset to our community. Removing three grades from the school would disrupt and split apart a learning community that has been nurtured and supported by our residents for many years.

Because Seward embodies the School District’s values of diversity and stability for families, and because Seward Montessori’s K-8 program has been a centerpiece of our neighborhood for over 20 years, we urge you to retain the K-8 program at Seward.

Respectfully submitted,

SNG Board

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Our mailing address is:  2323 E. Franklin Ave. Mpls., MN  55406
Phone :  612-338-6205
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