Conference aims to transform lives

To the editor:

Last week’s edition of the Sun Thisweek painted our district very negatively at a time when we need our community the most. I have contacted the paper asking for balanced and accurate stories instead of articles and headlines that incite and sensationalize issues. I want to be sure all community members have access to accurate information.

In response to the article, I would like to clarify a few points: While the conference was held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside, the group did not stay there. The students shared three rooms at an alternate hotel at a much lower cost. It was not a “trip,” but an educational opportunity. The conference was chosen due to its history of promoting higher education for underserved populations. I would also like to clarify that this opportunity was not funded through the district’s general fund. It was planned and funded from the Educational Equity & Excellence Service’s college readiness grant, which focuses on closing the achievement gap and follows the district’s strategic plan. These dollars must be used for these purposes in order to transform young lives and close the opportunity and achievement gaps.

This was an incredible opportunity for seven young men from an underrepresented group of students to learn how to be leaders in our district and in their lives. It is unfortunate that this story was spun to be negative when it should have been portrayed as the transformational opportunity that it was and will continue to be.

Minnesota has one of the largest achievement gaps in the country. In the past four years, our students of color have increased by 200 students. We now serve over 1,500 students of color. Although we have made great progress in narrowing the achievement gap, a gap still exists. Different people need different opportunities to succeed which is what our vision of world-class, personalized learning for every student means.

I hope community members will consider learning more and I invite you to come and hear them speak at the next board meeting on March 12.

Dr. Lisa L. Snyder
Superintendent, Lakeville Area Public Schools