A student’s learning does not end at the school bell. Even though a child spends most of their time outside of the classroom, educators can keep students engaged by offering high-quality after-school programs to extend the learning day.
Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed October 23 Lights on Afterschool Day, connecting Minnesota to a national celebration of after-school programming. More than 90 after-school programs throughout the state will host events on Thursday, and in recognition of this, the lights on the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge and the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis will glow gold tomorrow evening. The iconic Empire State Building in New York City will shine with the same color that night, connecting the Midwest to celebrations across the country.
This will be the 15th annual Lights on Afterschool celebration, which is organized by The Afterschool Alliance, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for more investment in them.
ST. PAUL, MN — More than 40 schools statewide are participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 8, to encourage students, parents, teachers, community members and organizations to get out on sidewalks and trails. The event is anticipated to draw participation from more than 4,000 schools from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as 40 countries around the world.
This event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school. Many schools participate by arranging for school buses to drop off students at a nearby park or other safe locations to finish the trip on foot. The drop-off option also can be used for students who are usually driven to school in private vehicles.
“Participating with school children emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity, teaching pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and building connections between families, schools and communities,” -Nicole Campbell, Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School coordinator.
Last year's International Walk to School Day at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis
ST. PAUL, MN – With the first month behind them, thousands of students across the state are settling into their classrooms for the 2014-15 school year. Governor Dayton visited Duluth today, meeting with kindergarten students and teachers at Congdon Park Elementary.
Since 2011, the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $895 million in schools. This year, more than 55,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners will benefit from free all-day kindergarten, while others will benefit from high-impact initiatives designed to increase literacy and close the achievement gap.
“As Minnesota’s students and teachers return to the classroom, I wish them all a successful school year,” said Governor Dayton. “During the past four years, the Legislature and I have worked to make high-impact investments that will improve academic achievement and prepare our students for future success.”
Governor Dayton visits with all-day kindergarten students at Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth
Students who master the fundamentals of reading at an early age are better prepared for future academic success. As our kids are exposed to more advanced concepts their ability to learn becomes increasingly linked to their literacy. In math classes, students may be asked to do word problems, while in a science or history class they may be assigned a reading out of a textbook – all of which require strong language skills.
To help our students develop the strong reading skills they need, we launched the bipartisan “Read Well by Third Grade” in 2011. Since then, we have invested $150 million in high-impact literacy programs that helping ensure all Minnesota students are developing the reading skills they need for academic success and bright futures.
Governor Dayton serves lunch to students alongside Coon Rapids staff.
Ensuring that Minnesota students are ready to learn when they enter the classroom is critical to improving academic progress and preparing kids for bright futures. To help guarantee that our students have access to healthy meals, we invested $4 million in school breakfast and lunch programs this year. In addition to ensuring no Minnesota student is denied access to a healthy meal at lunchtime, the funding also will provide all 64,000 Minnesota Kindergarten students breakfast.
“No child in Minnesota should be denied a healthy lunch,” said Governor Dayton. “We cannot expect our students to succeed on an empty stomach."
Access to higher education is crucial to ensure that Minnesota has a competitive workforce that is prepared to fill the jobs of the future. That is why the budget enacted by Governor Dayton and the legislature makes a significant investment in college affordability and improving our state colleges and universities. By investing $250 million in higher education, with $46 million going to direct financial aid for students, the budget brings the dream of a higher education within reach for even more Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton Mingles with Minnesota Youth
Governor Mark Dayton speaks with students from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
After nearly a decade of cuts to higher education funding, tuition skyrocketed at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). From 2001 to 2014, tuition at the U of M more than doubled from $5,002 to $13,626 for state residents. Left unchecked, ever increasing tuition costs and increasing debt are a tax on the future of Minnesota students and a drag on our state’s economy.
Access to a high-quality education should be available to all Minnesotans and not just students who can afford to take on costly loans. In 2013, we froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU systems schools to halt the trend of double-digit cost hikes. This helped make college more affordable for 282,000 students.
Minnesotans agree that everyone who works hard in school deserves access to higher education. This tuition freeze begins to restore balance in Minnesota’s educational system. It also will help ensure our students for the future economy.
As Minnesota students return to the classroom, our littlest learners are set to benefit from some big new investments. In 2013, we made a historic investment in all-day Kindergarten, ensuring every Minnesota student has access, free of charge. After a year to get ready, all Minnesota schools are now offering all-day Kindergarten to our families this fall.
This investment is sure to make a big difference for our students. All-Day Kindergarten has a proven track record of success, preparing young learners for success in school.
“I’m in college because I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for my future, my kids, years from now. I’m also doing it because my family back home wants me to succeed. So it’s about me, it’s about my future, and it’s about my family back home.”
This is just one of the many voices represented in “Shaping your Future: Why Minnesota Families Choose College.” The Minnesota Department of Education partnered with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) to produce this series of videos about the importance of planning for career and college. College students from all over Minnesota were interviewed about their experiences growing up, the challenges they faced, how they wanted their lives to be different from their parents’ lives, and how they felt they wanted more for themselves. Their stories are featured in individual 2-3 minute videos, and there are also stories on the importance of parental support when planning for college and career. Stop by MDE’s booth at the fair to check out the videos, or watch them on our YouTube page at http://bit.ly/mndeptedtv.
Governor Dayton meeting with the Cannon Falls High School Band
With the first day of school just weeks away for many districts, Governor Mark Dayton met yesterday with nearly 300 school superintendents from across Minnesota to discuss the status of education in our state. Governor Dayton reviewed the progress Minnesota has made over the last four years to reinvest in our schools, support our students and teachers, and ensure that all children have access to a world-class education.
“When I campaigned four years ago, I talked about a better Minnesota in general,” said Governor Dayton. “In particular, with education I said that I would set aside money and increase spending in real dollars for education every year, with no excuses and no exceptions. I’m proud and pleased to say that I’ve kept that promise.”
After a decade of stagnant funding and budget cuts, Governor Dayton has reinvested in our schools. Since taking office in 2011, Governor Dayton has invested $895 million in E-12 education, paid back all the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from our schools, and frozen tuition or increased financial aid for more than 482,000 Minnesota college students and graduates. These major investments will give Minnesota students the high-quality education they need to succeed in school and life and compete in today’s global economy.