Trent Tucker has been the director of athletics for the Minneapolis school district since 2013. On Friday morning, he was in his office and sharing some good news with assistant Dave Wicker, and Amy Cardarelle, the athletic director at Edison High School.
These three and others involved in city athletics had gotten the school district to take a look at what they perceived to be academic success for their athletes. And they were right.
“There were 666 seniors participating in athletics from our 10 high schools during the 2015-16 school year,’’ Tucker said. “We had 659 of those graduate. That’s a 98.9 percent graduation rate, and with a 3.1 grade point average. “We are very excited about the academic performance of our student athletes. Our participation numbers have gone up every year in the time I’ve been here, and now we have data to show our athletes are graduating at a tremendous rate.’’
Cardarelle said: “We’re always looking for ways to engage students. That’s a key to success, and this academic performance shows that students participating in athletes are engaged in their school.’’
The seven traditional high schools are Edison, Patrick Henry, North, South, Roosevelt, Washburn and Southwest. The district also supports Heritage Academy, Wellstone International and FAIR, which have small athletic programs.
The city is having some athletic success, including the North football team that was playing Wabasso in the Class 1A semifinals on Saturday. The Polars reached the Prep Bowl before losing to Minneota a year ago. North also won the Class 1A boys' basketball tournament in March.
“We’re seeing more students interested in attending North,’’ Tucker said. “The success we’ve had in athletics, including the boys basketball championship last spring … I feel like that’s put a lot of life back in North.’’