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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 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.
Suspensions rise in Minneapolis schools under new leadership

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.

Urban League ends contract with Minneapolis schools, closes academy

Shuttering comes after billings are questioned.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Hmong International Academy parents demand a principal, stability

Hmong International Academy parents demand a principal, stability

A dozen parents marched to district headquarters, held two-hour meeting with administrators.
Republican legislators press Hayden during ethics inquiry

Republican legislators press Hayden during ethics inquiry

Republican legislators are demanding more information about whether DFL Sen. Jeff Hayden abused his power and aided the misspending of taxpayer money.

Judge: Minneapolis schools wrong to suspend student 12 times in one year

Judge sides with family in complaint against Minneapolis schools.
Community Action of Minneapolis board suspends chief

Community Action of Minneapolis board suspends chief

New allegations emerge as state seeks a court-appointed receiver.

Minneapolis school board candidates face off at improv comedy debate

Improv setting still generates talk about class sizes, achievement gap and recess.
Mpls. schools settle federal discrimination claim over South High harassment

Mpls. schools settle federal discrimination claim over South High harassment

The federal complaint stemmed from a cafeteria fight spurred by racial tensions at South High.
Minneapolis schools cut ties with achievement gap group

Minneapolis schools cut ties with achievement gap group

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, above, decided to terminate a $375,000 contract with the Community Standards Initiative, which could not fulfill its promise to help address the academic achievement gap.
May 21: Minneapolis police defend tactics used in Dinkytown riots

May 21: Minneapolis police defend tactics used in Dinkytown riots

Minneapolis department says cops “showed a lot of discipline” at April melee.
Community Action groups serve needs amid new scrutiny on spending

Community Action groups serve needs amid new scrutiny on spending

Community Action programs have been happy to serve behind the scenes, but a recent audit is forcing them into the spotlight.
Other groups picks up clients after Community Action closes down

Other groups picks up clients after Community Action closes down

Suburban Hennepin County group sees an increase in energy assistance applications after troubles at Minneapolis agency.
Community Action of Minneapolis closes down after state raid

Community Action of Minneapolis closes down after state raid

Officials seized files and computers, and the nonprofit closed down Friday.
Hayden target of state GOP Senate ethics inquiry

Hayden target of state GOP Senate ethics inquiry

They say Sen. Jeff Hayden “should have known better” in dealings with Minneapolis nonprofit.
Sen. Hayden quits Community Action board; GOP calls for inquiry

Sen. Hayden quits Community Action board; GOP calls for inquiry

Sen. Hayden, facing GOP ethics complaint, blasts Community Action CEO Bill Davis, shown above.

Audit: Nonprofit spent taxpayer money on lavish trips

Department of Human Services audit finds that Community Action misspent hundreds of thousands of public dollars.
Leaders intensify criticism of Community Action of Minneapolis

Leaders intensify criticism of Community Action of Minneapolis

City and state leaders, including several board members of the embattled Community Action of Minneapolis, said they were “dismayed” and “appalled” by allegations that longtime chief executive Bill Davis inappropriately spent money on lavish expenses.

Private school students booted from Minneapolis public school sports

School district begins enforcing a little used rule meant to keep nonpublic-school students from being in public-school sports.

Minneapolis schools seek to end contract with achievement gap group

District says consulting group not hitting its goals.
Minneapolis considers waiving gym requirement for graduation

Minneapolis considers waiving gym requirement for graduation

Minneapolis will let some kids graduate without taking physical education.

Suspensions rise for K-4 Minneapolis students

Suspensions jumped dramatically for Minneapolis public schoolchildren in kindergarten to fourth grade last year, even as school officials faced mounting criticism over inconsistency in doling…
Minneapolis schools ban suspensions of youngest students

Minneapolis schools ban suspensions of youngest students

District joins others in backing away from practice criticized for targeting minority students.
Lucy Laney School in Minneapolis struggles to meet standards

Lucy Laney School in Minneapolis struggles to meet standards

Not a single seventh-grader at the school met state math standards last year. Principal says new measures mean improvement is in sight.
New office aims to zap the gap in Minneapolis public schools

New office aims to zap the gap in Minneapolis public schools

Director of new office takes to the streets in his high-profile challenge to elevate the achievement of black males.
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