Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota

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Anoka-Hennepin is a school district northwest of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota. The Anoka-Hennepin School District serves approximately 39,000 students and 248,000 residents. Anoka-Hennepin is the largest school district in Minnesota, and it operates 24 elementary schools, six middle schools and five high schools in addition to alternative middle and high school sites.[1]

About the district

Anoka-Hennepin School District is partially located in Anoka County, Minnesota
Anoka-Hennepin School District is partially located in Anoka County, Minnesota. Thirteen suburban communities are a part of the school district, including some from Hennepin County, Minnesota.[2] The county seat of Anoka County is Anoka. According to the United States Census, Anoka County is home to 336,414 residents.[3] Anoka-Hennepin is the largest school district in Minnesota, serving 39,106 students during the 2010-11 school year.[4]

Demographics

Anoka County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Minnesota in terms of higher education achievement in 2011. The United States Census Bureau found that 25.8% of Anoka County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 31.8% for Minnesota as a whole. The median household income in Anoka County was $69,139 compared to $58,476 for the state of Minnesota. The poverty rate in Anoka County was 6.6% compared to 11.0% for the entire state.[3]

School board

Anoka-Hennepin School District is overseen by a six-member board, all of whom are elected to four-year terms.[6]

Anoka-Hennepin School Board[7]
Member District Term Ends
Tom Heidemann District 1 2015
Marci Anderson District 2 2015
Bill Harvey District 3 2017
William Fields District 4 2017
Scott Wenzel District 5 2015
Jeff Simon District 6 2017

Budget

Anoka-Hennepin School District publishes its annual budget on its website.[8]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2013-2014 $392,862,553 79.5% $18,307,590 3.7% $58,480,766 11.8% $22,719,670 4.6% $2,025,000 0.4% $493,895,579
Averages: $392,862,553 80% $18,307,590 4% $58,480,766 12% $22,719,670 5% $2,025,000 0% $493,895,579

Academic performance

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments are standardized tests conducted to measure student progress toward the state's academic benchmarks. The reading and mathematics tests are used to determine whether schools and districts have made Adequate Yearly Progress toward all students becoming proficient in these subjects. The science tests are required by the No Child Left Behind Act but not included in the AYP calculations. Reading and mathematics tests are both given to students in grades 3 through 8, along with an additional reading test given to students in grade 10 and an additional mathematics test given to students in grade 11. Science tests are given to students in grades 5 and 8, along with an additional test given when students complete a life science or biology course in high school.[9]

Reading MCA Performance, Grade 10[10][11]
District Minnesota
Year Proficiency Avg. Score Proficiency Avg. Score
2010-2011 79% 1058 75% 1057
2011-2012 82% 1059 77% 1057
2012-2013 65% 1054 62% 1053

Mathematics MCA Performance, Grade 11[10][11]
District Minnesota
Year Proficiency Avg. Score Proficiency Avg. Score
2010-2011 48% 1147 49% 1147
2011-2012 42% 1146 43% 1146
2012-2013 55% 1151 52% 1149

Science MCA Performance, Grade HS[10][11]
District Minnesota
Year Proficiency Avg. Score Proficiency Avg. Score
2010-2011 55% 1049 N/A N/A
2011-2012 53% 1049 52% 1049
2012-2013 62% 1051 53% 1049

Issues

Book banning debate

In 2013, Anoka-Hennepin officials selected Eleanor & Park for their "Rock the Book" summer reading program for district high school students. In August 2013, the Parents Action League filed a complaint with the school district regarding the content of the book, which includes profanity and sexually explicit situations, and asked for the district to remove the book from its libraries.[12] School board Chair Tom Heidemann acknowledged that the district was mistaken to include the book in the summer reading program without consulting parents first, but did not state whether the district would ban the book.[13] The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota issued a statement asking the school district to keep Eleanor & Park available to students, with its Executive Director Charles Samuelson arguing, "We are greatly concerned by removing books like this from the school libraries because they deal frankly and honestly with problems that teens face."[14] A book review committee chaired by Anoka High Principal Mike Farley announced on November 22, 2013 that the book would not be removed from district libraries.[15]

New school security measures

In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012, Anoka-Hennepin School District implemented several new security measures for the 2013-14 school year. These measures include locking all entrances to district school buildings, constructing vestibule entrances requiring visitors to identify themselves before a staff member inside the building grants them access and the issuance of key fobs to after-school program participants to allow and to monitor entry into buildings. These initial modifications were made to the district's 24 elementary schools, two early childhood centers and one special education center, and the district is considering new security measures for its middle and high schools. District Chief Operations Officer Chuck Holden argued that this will turn these schools into "hard targets."[16]

Student bullying and mental health

During the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years, a total of seven district students committed suicide. In July 2011, a group of students sued the school district and claimed that four of the suicides were due to anti-homosexual bullying and that the district did not adequately protect students from this form of harassment. The district settled the lawsuit in 2012 but denied these claims, arguing that the cause behind the suicides was instead mental health issues. Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, the district expanded its mental health offerings by contracting with an outside agency to provide 14 mental health professionals to students at a cost of approximately $2.4 million over four years. Superintendent Dennis Carlson praised the change and stated, "I'm just thrilled we are finally in a position to offer this kind of support on site... I saw students who needed help and needed it now."[17]

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Minnesota school district websites

Last rated on December 24, 2012.

Grade2.pngC
Taxes N
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Budget
{{{1}}}
Meetings
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Elected Officials P
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Administrative Officials
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Contracts
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Audits
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Public Records N
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Background Checks N
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School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budgets, current and past, are posted.[18]
  • School Board meeting dates[19], minutes, and agendas[20] are available. There is also the ability to watch meetings live via a webcast[21]
  • Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents are listed with contact information.[22]
  • Bids, quotes, and proposals are posted.[23]
  • Information on labor contracts is posted.[24]
  • Audits are posted.[18]
  • Information is posted on state testing[25], with information on how the district performs on the tests[26]

The bad

  • Tax information is not posted.
  • School Board members are listed, but individual e-mail addresses and telephone numbers are not provided.[27]
  • No information on how to submit a public records request
  • No information on background checks for employees who come into contact with students.

External links

References

  1. Anoka-Hennepin School District, "General Information," accessed December 19, 2013
  2. Anoka-Hennepin School District, "General Information," accessed October 14, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 United States Census Bureau, "Anoka County, Minnesota," accessed October 14, 2013
  4. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed December 26, 2013
  5. Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, "Election Results and Statistics," accessed October 14, 2013
  6. Anoka-Hennepin School District, "Election of School Board," accessed December 26, 2013
  7. Anoka-Hennepin School District, "School Board Members," accessed December 26, 2013
  8. Anoka-Hennepin School District, "District Revenues and Expenditures," accessed December 4, 2013
  9. Minnesota Department of Education, "Testing Information," accessed December 26, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Pioneer Press, "Statewide: All public schools," accessed December 26, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Pioneer Press, "Anoka-Hennepin," accessed December 26, 2013
  12. Aaron Rupar, CityPages, "Parents Action League wants 'Eleanor & Park' removed from Anoka-Hennepin libraries," October 2, 2013
  13. Minnesota Public Radio, "Using 'R rated' book without asking parents was wrong, school chair says," September 25, 2013
  14. American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, "ACLU urges Anoka-Hennepin School District to keep Eleanor & Park on the shelves," September 26, 2013
  15. Shannon Prather, Star Tribune, "Challenged book to stay on Anoka High library shelves," November 22, 2013
  16. Olivia Koester, ABC Newspapers, "New school safety measures in place in District 11," September 5, 2013
  17. Sarah Horner, Pioneer Press, "Anoka-Hennepin schools to expand mental health offerings for students," July 16, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Financial Documents
  19. Board calendar
  20. Board minutes and agendas
  21. School Board webcast
  22. Superintendent/Asst. Superintendent Contact Information
  23. Anoka Hennepin Bids, Quotes & Proposals
  24. Labor Relations
  25. State Assessments
  26. Student Performance on State Exams
  27. School Board Members