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Letters: Children's success depends on achievement gap closure

Children's success depends on achievement gap closure

I am writing in response to Christine Osorio's March 15 viewpoint submission to the Woodbury Bulletin ("Elementary School, neighborhood, YMCA powering to provide equity at school and home.")

This piece addresses the value of after-school programming when multiple organizations collaborate. It also highlights the efforts of a Maplewood school district to eliminate the opportunity gap for low-income children, especially children of color.

From MPR's By the Numbers, Black and Hispanic students from Minnesota rank last in the nation for on-time graduation rates. As well, Minnesota spends "a smaller share of its education dollars on student support like school counselors, social workers and attendance trackers than any other state in the nation." (Graduation Gap, 2016). Minnesota school children need more from their communities.

The partnership of the YMCA and local properties demonstrate the importance of student support. YMCA members provide two-to-one staffing for students at Maple Pond Homes and even supports students at District 622 schools with tutoring and collaboration with teachers. New this year, the YMCA offers 30 minutes of exercise, yoga and other calming strategies, as well as 30 minutes of nutritional education each week. This partnership is making great strides in student support.

As community members, we can help close the achievement gap, starting with early education. MinneMinds, a coalition of concerned organizations and leaders from across Minnesota, supports policies that focus on investing in early education. They provide advocacy tips at their website, www.minneminds.org.

The success of Minnesota's children depends on working to close those achievement gaps through careful and strategic outreach such as that demonstrated by Maple Pond Homes, YMCA, District 622, and MBG Property, but it takes all of us to make a change.

Laurel Bergland

St. Paul

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Poppy Day support helps Legion mission

Thank you, Woodbury, for again generously supporting the Woodbury American Legion Post 501 in conducting its annual Poppy Day fundraising event. Your support will enable our 141 Legionnaires to continue with their mission of supporting veterans, their families and the Woodbury Community. This year's program was an outstanding success, and you made it happen.

Tom Grezek

Post commander, Woodbury American Legion Post 501

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