Starting this fall, parents, teachers, and students connected to Minneapolis Public Schools are getting a new source for timely school news and perspectives.
Minneapolis Schools Voices is a soon-to-be launched education news portal that will serve up in-depth coverage, links, events, and perspectives reflective of the diversity of the MPS community.
Minneapolis Schools Voices will explore solutions to the many issues facing the school system, expand access to quality education news and information in Minneapolis, and broaden the voices that shape the dialogue and decisions affecting all MPS families.
Minneapolis Schools Voices is a product of the team that created Southwest Voices, which in its first year of publication became the only Minneapolis news publication consistently covering the inner workings of the Minneapolis school district’s board of education—led by MPS parent and Southwest Voices correspondent Melissa Whitler.
Through reporting on MPS, the Southwest Voices team became acutely aware that our education coverage was primarily reaching those who are already highly engaged and informed, and whose voices are already reflected in news coverage.
With a grant from the Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis Schools Voices seeks to ensure that everyone connected to Minneapolis Public Schools has access to high quality news and information, and that our coverage reflects the voices of those historically underserved by the school system and by local news and information.
This work is even more urgent as schools recover from the pandemic, as MPS reckons with its structural deficit, and begins the search for a new permanent Superintendent. A truly equitable school system requires that all parents, students, and educators have the best available information—and that they have the opportunity to have their voices heard and reflected in the public discussion.
Funding will enable us to broaden our coverage of MPS and adjacent issues so that we can provide MPS families with timely information about how schools are navigating today’s challenges, and to engage them in an expansive, collaborative dialogue about possible solutions and what happens next.
We will also use a variety of direct outreach tactics, including inviting residents to text with us, attending community meetings and circulating sign-up sheets, tabling community events, and sending out direct mail pieces to targeted neighborhoods and streets.
Southwest Voices Editor Melody Hoffmann will edit Minneapolis Schools Voices, in collaboration with correspondent Melissa Whitler, reporter Anna Koenning, and newly hired Community Connector, Cirien Saddeh. Koenning is a contributor to Southwest Voices; the daughter, granddaughter and sister of educators; and is fluent in Spanish. She majored in journalism and Spanish at the University of Minnesota and wrote for two newspapers during her time there the Minnesota Reformer and El Independiente, covering schools, local government, housing and writing about Derek Chauvin’s trial in Spanish for the international news section of a Madrid-based paper.
Saadeh is an Arab-American journalist and educator who works at the intersections of journalism, social movements, experiential education, and sustainability. She was trained as a community organizer by the former Organizing Apprenticeship Project (now Voices for Racial Justice). She has written for local, national, and international publications and is committed to using journalism as a tool in the pursuit of justice for all historically disenfranchised communities.
Charlie Rybak is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Minneapolis Schools Voices, nor will be receiving any of the funding. His father, R.T. Rybak, is President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation