When the possibility of closing Minneapolis’ North High School was announced in 2010, several groups sprang into action to save the school—including parents, alumni, community organizations and teachers.
The story of the school’s escape from the brink of extinction has become the subject of “Organized Parents, Organized Teachers,” a short film produced by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, a national policy research and reform support organization that promotes quality education for all children, especially in urban communities.
At its core, the video explains how Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, a Twin Cities-based parent and community organizing group, successfully joined forces with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and other community and alumni organizations to stop the closure and improve the quality of schools in one neighborhood.
But the movie is meant to be instructive on another level, by advancing a viewpoint that is counter to the “divisive ‘blame and shame game’ so prevalent in American K-12 education,” explains Phil Gloudemans, the Annenberg Institute’s director of strategic communications. Parents and teachers, it seems, can get along and be on the same page to force change in school systems. The institute is featuring the film on a website called RealParentPower.com proclaiming that message.
In the meantime, it appears the North High narrative, itself, is still unfolding. According to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article from October 2012, the new North High’s academy is underenrolled, but efforts are under way to add students, and with them, a lasting life for North High.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.