Leaders Say Community Must Help Address Achievement Gap in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

August 19, 2011 Updated Aug 19, 2011 at 9:51 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Community leaders say "it takes a village" to address the educational achievement gap.

Friday, residents and leaders from various community organizations got together to brainstorm solutions to close that gap.

The Duluth school district has put a lot of emphasis on solutions as well. The district has gotten more parents involved in their child's education, created integration specialists to work with families, and has data coaches to work with teachers.

The parents and leaders, who met at Lake Superior College focused on key factors inside and outside of the classroom that could lead to the success or more minority and impoverished students.

More than 100 people discussed, what leaders say, are long overdue problems and solutions.

Organizers say closing the gap is something the school district can't tackle on its own.

They say the community must also take ownership and come together to help all students succeed.

"It's time for the community to step-up and say we're here to support you. Here's what we can do, and just help in whatever way we can because it does take a village to make things happen and we want to have a healthy community," said Jodi Broadwell, a BRASS planning team member.

Ideas tonight included getting more teachers of color into the classrooms and having city-wide community dialogues on a regular basis.

Closing the gap is also on the list of Dr. I.V. Foster's priorities as Superintendent of Duluth's public schools.

Leaders also acknowledged community help is needed because fewer dollars are flowing into school districts to address the issue.

How does Duluth's achievement gap compare to other cities?

Broadwell said the number of children in Duluth isn't very big, and she is optimistic about being able to close the gap in Duluth, as people come together.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike