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ENEWS: Blueprint Building, Open House, Community Schools

Date Published: 10/12/2018

Author: Dane Smith

Informing the Thriving by Design Blueprint

Building the Blueprint across Minnesota these last few weeks, Thriving by Design has been hearing from folks about what is really needed to implement a thriving, inclusive, economy in communities statewide. Check out a recent post about the first community meeting in Bemidji and coverage by the Marshall Independent, building economies around basic needs and education continues to echo throughout the other community conversations.  There is still an opportunity to convene with those in your community (however you define community is up to you) to dive into a deeper conversation about equitable growth in Minnesota, and provide input for the Blueprint.  Check out our Thriving by Design website for further information. Call or e-mail Sarah Leistico, Policy & Outreach Manager, for guidance and additional details.   (sarah@growthandjustice.org or 651-917-6037 ext. 4).  Our team can work with you to secure a location, promote the meeting, and support meeting facilitation.   Click here to sign up and host a conversation today!

Movin’ on Up!

Growth & Justice Open House on Oct. 30

Growth & Justice is on the move this fall, building a new public policy blueprint that will push our state toward a more equitable prosperity and climate action.  And we’ve literally moved too, to accommodate our expanding work and staff.  We invite you to learn more about our ambitious new initiatives on October 30, anytime from 4 to 8 p.m., at an Open House in our new offices.   We’ll provide refreshments, including wine and beer and light hors douevres.   You will meet new President Jane Leonard, honor the “semi-retired” Dane Smith (now our Senior Fellow and President Emeritus), and recognize the contributions of outgoing Board Chair, Kim Lowe.  We’ll put on a very brief program every half hour starting at 4:30, to catch you up with G & J’s audacious “Thriving by Design’’ project in partnership with OneMN.org and our plans to produce a “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint” for policy-makers and community leaders.   G & J’s new and larger office is one floor up from our old one, at 970 Raymond Ave, St. Paul 55114 – Suite 201.  Please RSVP via Eventbrite.  (And here’s a map

Community Schools Catching On

Growth & Justice for more than a decade been advocating for a more expansive education strategy in Minnesota, one that reaches far beyond the K-12 system, extends from pre-natal care to career launch, before and after school hours, inside and outside school buildings, and involving the entire community.  Thus, we have been advocates for and helped nurture the growth of both community education partnerships and community schools for areas with high poverty and student need for social services.   One of the better backgrounders on the effective and increasingly popular model of community schools was published recently in MinnPost. From the article:  “Full-service community schools serve as a hub for academic, social and health services, through partnerships between schools, local nonprofits and other community-based organizations. By reducing barriers for students and their families — to addressing basic needs like stable housing, job training and mental and physical health care — these sites aim to better equip at-risk students to focus and succeed in school.”  Summing up the secret of success for one community school was Craig Sweet, the Achievement Plus coordinator at Saint Paul Music Academy:   “What I look at is stabilizing, in tone and feel. So when families come in here, when they realize these services are here, it becomes more of a home. It’s going back to those relationships that students then forge more strongly with their teachers, us, their parents, or that they make within themselves. That’s fundamentally the business we’re in.”


Quote:  “When you don’t have a home, education is difficult… Life is a lot easier to navigate when you have a living wage… I can’t think of a single person who shouldn’t have healthcare… So many students are one crisis away from leaving school… We’ve got to get active, represent the people” - Participants at Thriving by Design community meetings in Bemidji, Marshall, Inver Grove Heights, and White Bear Lake.

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