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Class Act

Star Tribune writers tracking education issues

Minneapolis South High ESL kids receive free bikes from nonprofit

Thirty-one English as a Second Language students at Minneapolis South High School will soon be able to hop on their own bikes for joy rides around the neighborhood.

This weekend, the students are taking home free bikes from bike nonprofit Free Bikes 4 Kidz. The bike group accepts gently used bikes from the community, shines them up and donates them to kids.

The South High ESL students will head to the Mall of America to pick up their bikes Sunday, armed with knowledge from a bike safety training organized earlier this week through Minneapolis Public Schools district's Safe Routes to School coordinator Jennifer Bordon.

South High School bilingual associate educator Heather Hinrichsen applied for the bikes for the students. 

Free Bikes 4 Kidz is driven to help "all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need," according to the mission statement on its website

Each year, 25 million bikes are sold nationally and one-third of them have 20-inch wheels or smaller, which kids outgrow, according to the nonprofit's website. The group called the cycle an "endless supply" on the website.

St. Paul mayor honors Silva with proclamation

Hundreds of people gathered in St. Paul on Tuesday to thank former Superintendent Valeria Silva for her nearly 30 years of service to the school district.

Tuesday also marked "Valeria S. Silva Day" in this proclamation issued by Mayor Chris Coleman:

Whereas, Valeria S. Silva led St. Paul Public Schools, the second largest and most diverse school district in Minnesota, as superintendent of schools from December 2009 to July 2016; and

Whereas, Valeria S. Silva launched the Strong Schools, Strong Communities strategic plan to improve student outcomes, align programming and resources, and ensure sustainability; and

Whereas, Valeria S. Silva dedicated more than 28 years of service to the students, staff and families of St. Paul Public Schools as an educational assistant, teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of English Language Learner (ELL) Programs, chief academic officer and superintendent; and

Whereas, Valeria S. Silva's contributions to the field of education reach beyond St. Paul and Minnesota; and

Whereas, Valeria S. Silva's courageous leadership has catalyzed local and national efforts around racial equity, gender inclusion and many other protected classes; and

Whereas, Valeria S. Silva puts children first, channeling all of her joy, passion and creativity toward helping every child reach his or her full potential:

Now, therefore, I, Christopher B. Coleman, mayor of the city of St. Paul, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, to be Valeria S. Silva Day in the city of St. Paul.