What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

How does your MPS faculty rank for experience?

Posted by: Steve Brandt under People and neighborhoods, Politics and government Updated: March 24, 2014 - 11:34 AM

So maybe you’re curious after Sunday’s article focused on the concentration of inexperience in high-poverty Minneapolis elementary schools about how the school that serves your children or neighborhood stacks up.

The entire list of schools used in the analysis appears below.  Average teacher experience in 2007-2008 and the current school year are shown, along with the percent of lower-income children in each year

eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The 2007-2008 year was the last before the district negotiated a new protocol for interviewing teachers for vacancies that undercut the dominance of seniority in determining which teachers were interviewed for vacancies.

The data used in the analysis is published by the Minnesota Department of Education and appears in the staffing demographics section of the data reports and analysis portion of the department’s web site.

The Star Tribune analysis excluded schools that had a major disruption during the period covered that could have artificially influenced staffing.  Those factors include the fresh-starting of schools, the introduction of new program types, or the reopening of a school. For example, Pierre Bottineau French Immersion school is only in its second year, which accounts for its two-year average for teacher experience. Ramsey switched from a K-8 to a middle school, and Folwell switched in the opposite direction.

Most of the low-seniority schools are high in poverty, and most of the high-seniority schools are below the district average for poverty. But there are exceptions. For example, Pillsbury in northeast Minneapolis is almost 89 percent poor, but its staff average is still 16 years, or three above the district average.  But Principal Laura Cavender said that her school’s population dominated by students learning English brings a different type of poverty – she calls it situational – than the generational poverty she encountered in stints at North Side schools.

District-wide, the biggest of the five-year brackets for teacher experience is teaching sin their first five years, at 30 percent of all district teachers. The next biggest is teachers with between 16 and 20 years on the job, at 20 percent.  The smaller brackets for teachers between 6 and 15 years represents the impacts of layoffs during the period when the district was shrinking between 1998 and 2010.  

Some schools have faculties much better balanced by experience levels than others.  Some examples include South High School, Seward, Folwell, Marcy, Armatage, Sullivan, Johnson and Anwatin.  

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