Lessons from Lucy: Mpls. elementary school fights to beat the odds

Photojournalist Ben Garvin takes us to the first day of school at Lucy Craft Laney Community School, which looks a lot like a big celebration. http://kare11.tv/2vjDWsU

MINNEAPOLIS - Lucy Craft Laney Community School in North Minneapolis is celebrating three consecutive years' gains on the state's standardized test scores at a time Minnesota overall, is not making similar strides with children of color.

What's behind this pocket of success?



We begin the school year with Lucy Laney's unique approach helping students succeed, even when odds would say they won't. An estimated 90 percent of children at the school live in poverty, according to federal standards.

Educators at the school began the new school year making visits to every home of their nearly 500 students, an interaction important to creating true community at the school.

“Where the staff feel like this is my home, the students feel like this is my home, and families feel like this is my school, and that is going to come out of us walking the streets, biking the streets, going to eat out here, stopping at a corner store, being clearly marked Lucy Laney, so everyone can see who we are, going up with door knocks, stopping at the parks, waving at the kids and getting excited about having them back,” said Mauri Melander, Lucy Craft Laney Community School Principal.  

“The investment staff members like these make, is not quite understood. There is a level of investment that comes at a cost, because when you choose to press into that, you get great outcomes from kids, you do, but you also choose to press into the pain, for some people it’s too much, especially if it’s unfamiliar, but it’s worth the cost because the return on your investment is pretty powerful," said Melander.

Lindsey Seavert and Ben Garvin bring us "Lessons from Lucy” as the 2017-2018 school year begins.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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