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Alejandra Matos

Reporter | Minneapolis education
phone: 612-673-4028
Alejandra Matos joined the paper in 2012 after graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in Multimedia Journalism. She was a Star Tribune health intern in 2011.
Recent content from Alejandra Matos

Minneapolis school officials say they failed to vet offensive children's books

  Minneapolis Public Schools officials said they failed to vet literacy training materials that some teachers complained showed racially and culturally insensitive stereotypes. Earlier this…
Minnesota students tops again in ACT scores

Minnesota students tops again in ACT scores

Class of ’15 earned highest marks, but with a deep divide between white and minority students.
On a fall-like summer day, Minneapolis starts the school year

On a fall-like summer day, Minneapolis starts the school year

The students in Minnesota’s third-largest district started the year a couple of weeks before most of their peers.
Minnesota schools have long -- and specific -- supply wishlists

Minnesota schools have long -- and specific -- supply wishlists

Students are being asked to bring in everything from 75 pencils, $50 checks to flash drives on first day of school.

Minneapolis Public Schools call center gets ready for Day 1

Most students in the Minneapolis School District will start class Monday. With that will come confusion over the bus a child needs to get on…

Minneapolis school district loses chief operations officer

Robert Doty is leaving to oversee the finances and operations of the Harvest Network of Schools, a group of highly-rated charter schools in the city.

Pearson testing reaches settlement with Minnesota over exam glitches

Pearson will give a $1 million credit after students faced numerous issues during exams.

Minnesota school districts use buyouts to shed bad apples

Districts say buyouts are cheapest way to deal with troublesome employees.
Minn. student test scores show little change despite vow to improve

Minn. student test scores show little change despite vow to improve

New statewide standardized test results show no overall improvement in math, reading or science this year, as well as little progress in closing the state’s persistent achievement gap.
Minneapolis schools hire former board chairman for pool contract

Minneapolis schools hire former board chairman for pool contract

Former board chairman Richard Mammen was paid $10K to negotiate.
Minneapolis looking to restart Community Action

Minneapolis looking to restart Community Action

City seeks to resurrect the agency with new leadership.
Dragon Festival in St. Paul shows off an ancient tradition

Dragon Festival in St. Paul shows off an ancient tradition

St. Paul’s Dragon Festival unites different Asian cultures.

Minnesota charter schools will be pushed to diversify

Minnesota state education officials are considering significant changes to a program intended to end racial segregation in schools and for the first time insisting that charter schools do more to diversify their classrooms.

Two Minneapolis school execs are vying for top Robbinsdale job

Two top executives at Minneapolis Public Schools are semifinalists to lead the Robbinsdale School District.Michael Thomas, the district’s chief of schools, and Cecilia Saddler, associate…

Minneapolis School District veteran retiring after 53 years in education

  Mitchell Trockman has been a teacher, a principal and an interim superintendent three times with the Minneapolis School District. After 53 years and a…

Minneapolis to offer customized 'road map' to high school students

Driven by a need to close the achievement gap, district officials say they want more individualized learning for each student.

Minneapolis school data being used to help colleges prepare teachers

Results could be used by colleges to help shape future instruction.
Minneapolis school board fears it hasn't made intentions clear in superintendent search

Minneapolis school board fears it hasn't made intentions clear in superintendent search

The school board fears it hasn’t made its intentions clear: The job isn’t Michael Goar’s to lose.
Minneapolis interim superintendent not holding back

Minneapolis interim superintendent not holding back

Minneapolis interim Superintendent Michael Goar is plowing ahead with significant changes to the school district like no other temporary chief in recent history. In just…
Minneapolis Public Schools to spend $1.75 million on Phillips pool

Minneapolis Public Schools to spend $1.75 million on Phillips pool

The district has a multimillion- dollar deficit, but wants better pool access and lessons for kids.
Changes in school autism program mean fewer options

Changes in school autism program mean fewer options

Minneapolis district officials say the program will no longer accept students classified as Level 1 or 2 autistic because they can be served in their community schools, rather than in specialized programs.
Alone in Minneapolis, a student finds his way and a high school diploma

Alone in Minneapolis, a student finds his way and a high school diploma

Angel Onofre didn’t see much use for high school and was ready to drop out. An administrator at El Colegio charter school wouldn’t let him.

Urban League ends contract with Minneapolis schools, closes academy

Shuttering comes after billings are questioned.
Minneapolis schools roll out new athletics funding plan

Minneapolis schools roll out new athletics funding plan

Officials want to build a multipurpose athletics facility and create a foundation to raise money for the district’s sports.
May 24: Suspensions rise in Minneapolis schools under new leadership

May 24: Suspensions rise in Minneapolis schools under new leadership

After months of steady progress in keeping students in schools, the number of suspensions for bad behavior has nearly doubled this semester.

Black students far more likely to attend high-poverty schools, study finds

Racial inequity is a “defining feature” of most school systems in the Midwest, report finds.
Sarah Jessica Parker visits Bethune to see how arts improve learning

Sarah Jessica Parker visits Bethune to see how arts improve learning

The actor sponsors the Minneapolis school’s participation in a program that encourages artistic expression.

Minneapolis schools rethinking budget around equity

The new model has some worried they’ll lose funding.
Pool plan splits Minneapolis school board, interim chief

Pool plan splits Minneapolis school board, interim chief

Michael Goar surprised board members recently when he expressed reservations about the cash-strapped district spending so much on a single sport.
Junior Chef competition shows off Minneapolis student cooking skills

Junior Chef competition shows off Minneapolis student cooking skills

Eight students wowed parents and food professionals with their cooking skills and healthy food choices.
As more students opt out of tests, average scores plunge at some Mpls. schools

As more students opt out of tests, average scores plunge at some Mpls. schools

Historic numbers of top students are exercising a little-known right.
After nearly a year away, soldier Jacob Martinez surprises children at school

After nearly a year away, soldier Jacob Martinez surprises children at school

When their dad walked into their classrooms Monday afternoon, Jaden, a second-grader, and the twins, kindergartens, had nearly identical reactions: stunned silence.
Legislative auditor to investigate Minneapolis Urban League

Legislative auditor to investigate Minneapolis Urban League

The legislative auditor will look into alleged double-billing for education programs.
Decision on Urban League's status with Mpls. schools delayed

Decision on Urban League's status with Mpls. schools delayed

Incoming CEO says the league remains committed to working with the Mpls. School District.
Minneapolis Urban League accused of potential double billing

Minneapolis Urban League accused of potential double billing

Top state officials and Minneapolis school leaders are investigating whether the Urban League is getting paid twice for similar work. “It’s alarming,” said Michael Goar, Mpls. interim schools chief, above.

Community Action of Minneapolis owes nearly $700,000 to creditors

Receiver for Community Action of Minneapolis also is questioning some debts.
Thousands of Minneapolis children leaving for charters, suburban schools

Thousands of Minneapolis children leaving for charters, suburban schools

Minneapolis struggles to stem the outflow to suburbs, charters or private schools.
Where Minneapolis kids go to school outside their district

Where Minneapolis kids go to school outside their district

A Star Tribune analysis found more than 17,000 students live in Minneapolis but currently attend schools in other districts. The map below shows how many…
Community Actions' ex-CEO not cooperating, court records say

Community Actions' ex-CEO not cooperating, court records say

The former head of Community Action of Minneapolis was to provide papers, interview.

Community Action of Minneapolis might never pay bills, court records show

Court-appointed receiver is looking into Community Action of Minneapolis finances.
FBI, IRS investigating misspending at Mpls. nonprofit

FBI, IRS investigating misspending at Mpls. nonprofit

Documents allege more misspending by Community Action, including by senior management for medical bills and for personal expenses of their friends. .
Senate GOP seeks to break up Minneapolis Public Schools

Senate GOP seeks to break up Minneapolis Public Schools

Proposal would break up state’s third-largest district into six smaller ones to foster reform.
In St. Paul schools, credit card spending tightly tracked

In St. Paul schools, credit card spending tightly tracked

District has strict accounting for credit card use, but questionable spending still gets missed.
Minneapolis schools begin search for new leader

Minneapolis schools begin search for new leader

Interim superintendent Michael Goar is favored by the president of the teachers union and some principals.
First student joins Minneapolis school board

First student joins Minneapolis school board

Patrick Henry sophomore Noah Branch will bring a new voice, one from students.
Billboard slams Minneapolis School District spending

Billboard slams Minneapolis School District spending

Nonprofit group scolds Mpls. schools for spending practices.
On interim basis, Goar takes over Minneapolis schools

On interim basis, Goar takes over Minneapolis schools

Mpls. Interim Superintendent Michael Goar says he will set up a clear improvement plan and immediately implement major district changes.

Minneapolis schools awarded no-bid contracts to Memphis IT company

Accounts differ on how a sizable no-bid contract was awarded to a Memphis-based company.
Bethune, Hiawatha schools show divide in Minneapolis classrooms

Bethune, Hiawatha schools show divide in Minneapolis classrooms

They embody the battle that has gripped Minneapolis schools for decades as leaders grapple with one of the worst achievement gaps in the country.
Nov. 2: Minneapolis' worst teachers in poorest schools, data show

Nov. 2: Minneapolis' worst teachers in poorest schools, data show

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, above, and other Minneapolis officials say they're taking action to balance needs with abilities.
Classes to resume at Southwest High Thursday after bomb threat

Classes to resume at Southwest High Thursday after bomb threat

Southwest High School will resume classes Thursday after it was shut down Wednesday because of a credible threat.
Principal at Green Central school in Mpls. placed on administrative leave

Principal at Green Central school in Mpls. placed on administrative leave

Parents were notified Monday that Lorraine Cruz would no longer be returning.

After 17 years, Minneapolis schools lobbyist resigns

Jim Grathwol is resigning after 17 years working for the district.
Minneapolis school district to review credit card purchases

Minneapolis school district to review credit card purchases

New scrutiny revealed that cardholders were making unauthorized purchases and have routinely failed to produce receipts.
Minneapolis schools' credit card usage raises questions

Minneapolis schools' credit card usage raises questions

Minneapolis public schools employees are using district credit cards for unauthorized purchases — including personal use — and have routinely failed to follow expense policies, a Star Tribune review found. Some, including CEO Michael Goar, above, have reimbursed the district.
Windchill advisory through noon Tuesday; windchills could hit -25

Windchill advisory through noon Tuesday; windchills could hit -25

Winter is back with a vengeance. The snow emergencies may be over for now, but windchills were expected to drop to 25 to 30 degrees…

Hennepin County knew since 1993 of abuse, neglect allegations vs. Mpls. couple

A Minneapolis couple were taken into custody Tuesday, five months after their newborn’s death.
Substitute teacher shortage has school districts reeling

Substitute teacher shortage has school districts reeling

Sick teachers are being forced to drag themselves to school when a substitute cannot be found. Principals are pressed into classroom duty when a teacher is absent. Students are split up and stuffed into other classrooms when a teacher is out.

Minneapolis scorecard shows modest gains in student achievement

But some groups struggle after funding for after-school enrichment programs is cut.
Johnson's departure part of larger trend for urban school leaders

Johnson's departure part of larger trend for urban school leaders

Los Angeles, Albuquerque, N.M., and Seattle have lost superintendents, increasingly bogged down by complex political landscapes and well-oiled resistance inside and outside urban districts.
Bernadeia Johnson out as Minneapolis schools chief

Bernadeia Johnson out as Minneapolis schools chief

The school board was scheduled to approve Johnson’s resignation late Wednesday and name the district’s chief executive, Michael Goar, as the interim superintendent.
Great places in Twin Cities include Crystal Court, Farmers Market, but no port-a-potty

Great places in Twin Cities include Crystal Court, Farmers Market, but no port-a-potty

Sensible Land Use Coalition award winners were noted for elevating function to art.

Audit: Community Action spent more than $1,200 on spa treatments

Organization spent over $1,200 on spa treatments at retreat.
Language requirement doesn't make the cut for Minneapolis schools

Language requirement doesn't make the cut for Minneapolis schools

Second-language requirement loses out to flexibility in Minneapolis schools plan.

Minneapolis brings real-time student data to school, classroom

The district is one of the first in the country to merge everything into one easy-to-understand computer dashboard, hoping the information will help close what has been one of the largest achievement gaps in the country between whites and students of color.
Federal civil rights official questions Minneapolis suspension policy

Federal civil rights official questions Minneapolis suspension policy

The policy is “legally and constitutionally suspect,” Peter Kirsanow wrote to Minneapolis Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, above.
Minneapolis schools HR director is real-time reporting witness in Ferguson

Minneapolis schools HR director is real-time reporting witness in Ferguson

DeRay Mckesson is poised to break news the moment a grand jury investigating a police officer's shooting makes a decision.
$1.2M sought to boost Minneapolis black student achievement

$1.2M sought to boost Minneapolis black student achievement

100 days into his newly created role, director Michael Walker is asking for $1.2 million next year for outreach and cultural training for teachers. He also wants to create a new mentorship and leadership program for students, called BLACK.
Oct. 18: Cuts imminent as Mpls. schools fail to meet enrollment goals

Oct. 18: Cuts imminent as Mpls. schools fail to meet enrollment goals

Once a “big player,” district now must cut millions and fight for every student.
Mpls. schools to make suspending children of color more difficult

Mpls. schools to make suspending children of color more difficult

The change comes amid intensifying scrutiny of the way Minneapolis public schools treat minority students and in the wake of new data showing black students are 10 times more likely to be sent home than white students.
What's next for Sens. Hayden, Champion ethics complaints is uncertain

What's next for Sens. Hayden, Champion ethics complaints is uncertain

Senate committee looking into Hayden, Champion will not act until state reviews are done.

In Minneapolis, Gagnon and Samuels win school board seats

Rebecca Gagnon retained her citywide seat on the Minneapolis school board Tuesday and will be joined by former City Council Member Don Samuels.Gagnon and Samuels…
Hayden faces new scrutiny for taxpayer-funded trip to New York

Hayden faces new scrutiny for taxpayer-funded trip to New York

Records show airfares for the state senator and his wife were paid for by state-funded nonprofit, contradicting earlier statements.
Issues, ideas from four citywide Minneapolis school board candidates

Issues, ideas from four citywide Minneapolis school board candidates

The four candidates for citywide seats on the Minneapolis school board offer starkly divergent ideas on issues of teacher tenure, and student achievement and testing.…
Out-of-state money pouring into Minneapolis school board race

Out-of-state money pouring into Minneapolis school board race

An unprecedented amount of money is upending the race with hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring in from well-funded outside groups. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $100,000 to a political-action group that supports former City Council Member Don Samuels and newcomer Iris Altamirano.
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