Minneapolis Public Schools announced that it would not close Mona Moede, an early childhood care center in North Minneapolis, in the 2023-2024 school year. The decision followed public outcry against the district’s decision at the Jan. 10 School Board meeting. 

Mona Moede serves nearly 80 children ages 3 to 5 at their Three School and High Five programs on the North side of Minneapolis. 

Of the 22 community members who spoke at the January 10 school board meeting, 10 were staff, parents and alumni of Mona Moede asking board members to keep the schools open. Public comments at board meetings are limited to two minutes of speaking time or four for speakers with interpreters. 

Many of the speakers on January 10 told school board members to walk in and see the work that educators are doing at Mona Moede, which is located less than half a mile down the street from the Davis Center, where board meetings are held. 

“I know a lot of people say that kids can go to other schools in the community but they can’t, because there are no other schools like that in the community,” Briana Thompson, a Mona Moede parent and former staff member, said. “Why take something away from the community that’s working?”

Several speakers against the Mona Moede closure wore blue sweatshirts with the early childhood care center’s logo of a bigger polar bear protecting a smaller polar bear, and many of the speeches about Mona ended with applause from the audience.

Mona Moede educator Valerie Matthews spoke out against the early childhood care center’s closure to applause from the audience at the January 10 School Board Meeting at the Davis Center.

“Mona is a model of what holistic and culturally responsive early childhood classrooms should look like across the district,” Mona Moede social worker Shannyn Fagerstrom said. 

Families and staff said that Mona Moede is a special place where people feel comfortable, a “gem” in the Minneapolis community. Some mentioned that the school specifically serves many families of color.

“[Mona Moede] is the best thing that’s ever happened to our BIPOC students and families on the North side. The best thing,” Mona Moede educator Valeria Matthews said. “Not everyone walks into a Minneapolis Public school and feels welcome. Our families do.”

When asked about the initial decision to close Mona Moede and the subsequent reversal of the decision, a representative from MPS sent the following message:

Earlier this year, MPS notified Mona Moede staff that Three School classrooms were being moved and High Five classrooms would no longer be at Mona Moede beginning in the 2023-24 school year. This was recommended to ensure that early childhood programming is more consistently available in MPS community schools, a core value of our board-approved strategic vision

After receiving feedback and perspectives from board members, staff and community stakeholders, MPS has decided that Three School and High Five classrooms will remain open at Mona Moede for the 2023-24 school year. MPS staff will incorporate the feedback received as well as the values of the community in any future action to better align our early childhood programming at MPS.

Staff at Mona Moede did not comment on this story.