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Continued: Columbia Heights elementary school to require uniforms

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 23, 2013 - 1:19 PM

Fashion can be a distraction at school, many parents contend.

“A lot of parents were voicing their opinions about leveling the playing field and having kids focus a bit more on learning instead of what they’re wearing. And I think it will help create a calmness in the building and be one less thing students need to worry about.”

The school is establishing funds for low-income families who may struggle to buy uniforms. The uniform committee is also trying to raise $5,000 to provide every student one uniform polo free of charge.

At the middle school, the school hosts an annual swap session where parents can bring in outgrown uniform items and leave with new-to-them uniform shirts and pants. Valley View is likely to host a similar swap meet.

Valley View Principal Willie Fort said the decision to go to uniforms wasn’t made lightly. There were parent meetings, a survey and notices about the uniform proposal sent out. Fort wanted to make sure a majority of families truly supported uniforms. About 90 percent of the school’s 400 families weighed in, with a majority favoring uniforms.

The Columbia Heights school board approved the uniform mandate at Valley View in January.

“I feel good about the decision,” Fort said. “We had a pretty comprehensive process. A high number of our families had the opportunity to give their input. I feel good about that. It was a decision driven by parents who felt empowered.”

Students who show up out of a uniform will most likely be given a loaner uniform to wear for the day. School officials are still working out the final details.

Carrie Hepokoski, who will have three children at Valley View, said uniforms will foster a sense of unity and school spirit.

“This makes people notice we do have a great school,” Hepokoski said.


Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804



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