The West Metro Education Program held its first-ever superintendent think tank event on Wednesday.  Superintendents, education leaders and students from across the metro area attended the event on Minnesota’s education disparities.

The event started off with a presentation by Chris Weber, a senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership and Education. Weber’s presentation ranged from college and career readiness to teacher efficacy.

Weber was then followed by Tamika Fuller from Education Reform Enterprises. Fuller’s interactive presentation gave an overview of data including discipline data by race, which revealed that black students, are disproportionally disciplined, compared to their white peers. Attendees wrote out questions they had about the data. 

The West Metro Education Program also held a morning panel on statewide systems dilemmas. Panelists addressed the data presented by Fuller. Donald Eubanks from Metropolitan State University and Jennifer Godinez from the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership were two of the seven education leaders on the panel.

Susan Enfield, superintendent of highline public schools in Washington, cited the disciplinary data saying how she worked with district principals to cut suspensions almost by half.

Students from schools including Eden Prairie High School shared their thoughts on how racial biases affect them at their schools and how they see it affect their peers.

One student, Kamal Suleiman, said his peers have asked him why he is the only black student in his Woodbury High School Advanced Placement classes.

Later in the afternoon, the West Metro Education Program planned strategic work sessions for the attendees.