Great MN Schools

By Kim Yang

 

We recently had a chance to meet with Osman Ahmed at Great MN Schools to learn about the organization.

Tell us a bit about Great MN Schools

We are a non-profit organization (www.greatmnschools.org) that works with schools, provides tools and resources like the Minneapolis schools finder to support families’ school selection process. We believe Great Schools change lives and that high-quality schools are the cornerstone of a just and thriving community.

Our school-centered approach starts with identifying schools with strong leaders and culture, and helping them diagnose their strengths and gaps. We facilitate the development of a strategic roadmap, and surround schools with support to ensure the implementation of strategic interventions and evidence-based solutions.

Together, we partner for continual progress toward excellence. This is a unique model in Minnesota. And we build community partnerships to support underserved families’ ability to navigate K-12 systems and advocate for their children through new tools and resources. This work will lead to families choosing better options for their child, and stronger family-school relationships and stronger schools. You can learn more about our work at www.greatmnschools.org.

What is the Minneapolis School Finder?

Minneapolis School Finder (www.minneapolisschoolfinder.org) is the only school resource guide that provides families with objective information on all schools across Minneapolis. Now in its 5th edition, Minneapolis School Finder answered a call from families for more transparent and parent-friendly school quality information. Over the years, Great MN Schools has worked with parents and community partners to improve the information we provide. Included are profiles of 154 schools, with information on academic performance, a guide to help you on your journey to find a great school, please visit to learn more www.minneapolisschoolfinder.org.

Why are you encouraging families to check it out now?

Now is the best time to look for a new school for next year. Most open enrollment periods in Minneapolis run in the late fall and early winter. A lot of families don’t know this, and it is one of the best kept secrets in Minneapolis, even I, as a parent, did not know that now was the time to look for a new school until I began my work on Minneapolis School Finder. It is particularly important if you are considering a Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) school that you check out your options now and complete the school request form as the district’s open enrollment period ends February 7th!

What new information is there in it this year?

This year we have updated all of the schools’ profiles to include the latest information on schools, including all of the changes happening in the district with Comprehensive District Design (CDD). We have also worked to make our website, www.MinneapolisSchoolFinder.org, more parent friendly with informational videos and links on school profiles to take you exactly where you need to go to apply for a school. Additionally, we have a new online tool called How to Pick a School available on the website that walks parents through the entire school choice process. Families can work with their child How to Pick a School

What advice would you give to families looking for a new school this year?

Two things: first, follow the 5 steps laid out in How to Pick a School; second, start now! If you do these two things you will have the best chance of finding a great school for your kid!

About Osman Ahmed

Osman is the Director of Community Partnerships at Great MN Schools, responsible for engaging the broader Minneapolis community in ensuring all students attend a great school. Previously, Osman has organized and convened broad constituencies and worked on successful political campaigns that range from school board to the federal level. Most recently, Osman served as housing and community outreach director for Sen. Tina Smith; his experience includes also working on campaigns for and/or in the offices of Sen. Al Franken, Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Rep. Keith Ellison.