The Monroe Community and Alumni felt frustration and even bitterness over the way the St. Paul School Board handled the Monroe name-changing vote this past summer. At the heart of the frustration was the Board’s failure to adhere to their own policy of involving the community and Alumni into the renaming process. The Board paid only lip service to their own policy. The Monroe community never had the opportunity to participate in the renaming process.
As a follow up to the Board’s decision to rename the school, the Monroe Community Steering committee explored ways to have an impact on 2019 School Board elections. We do not want to support the two incumbent board members who pushed through the name change. At the same time, we looked at potential school board candidates that would support our value of community partnerships. Over the years during its many transitions, it was the Monroe community and the West 7th Street traditions that brought strength to the local school. We see community partnerships as vital to successful local schools.
We did a review of the candidates running for the school board election to see which candidates supported the value system of the Monroe and West 7th Street traditions.
A Fresh New Voice
We found only one candidate, Jessica Kopp who has the values we see about community involvement in the local schools. Fifteen of us from the Monroe community interviewed Jessica Kopp and found that she could be a fresh, new independent voice on the St. Paul School Board.
This is Jessica’s first effort in the political process. She is a parent, a wife, middle and high school teacher and community organizer. She organized and facilitated parent- led working groups that brought together families, educators, community partners, and district professionals to build relationships and solve problems for the Hamline School. She believes in building strong, smart, and sustainable relationships with the many communities partners and organizations to help SPPS thrive.
Among Jessica’s priorities are the following:
- Host annual education summits between city/county/SPPS to assess needs and build solutions
- Collaborate to build more full-service community schools across all grade levels
- Help schools connect with their district council, city councilperson, and local organizations and business leaders
- Partner with local colleges & universities to reimagine and improve teacher preparation programs
- Trust and support school communities to achieve district goals in different ways
You can learn more about Jessica’s campaign from her website, http://www.jessica4stpaulschools.com. There you can learn how to get involved through yard signs; she can use your help by donating to her campaign online; inviting her to group functions; and making comments on your social media sites.
We recommend your full support and vote for Jessica’s candidacy as a way of something good coming from the way the school board handled the Monroe Name change. Many of you are not St. Paul residents. While you cannot vote, you can share Jessica’s candidacy with your friends and relatives who may live in St. Paul.
In the voting process, you can vote for four school board members in the November election. We do not recommend voting for the two incumbent board members. We recommend that you vote for only one candidate, Jessica Koop. By voting for only one candidate, this creates more total votes for Jessica. The top four vote getters become school board members.
We may have failed with the school board vote on the Monroe name change, but perhaps we can make a difference going forward. We recommend Jessica Kopp.
Monroe Alumni Steering Committee