Edinbrook Elementary is among the largest in the Osseo district with more than 750 students. School officials say they're working to build 'community' with those students and their parents.
It starts outside the school with a personal greeting from the principal every morning, no matter what the weather brings.
"Its just a way for us to meet folks prior to them entering the space in a welcoming and loving way," said Principal Aaron Krueger. "That's really one of the back-bones of who we are as a building."
At this school, Krueger says it's part of how they build community. The day our crew visited, kids were collecting a reward for fundraising for the PTO. It was a special donut breakfast. Students had worked to get sponsors for a 3K walk. Other rewards included pizza with the principal up on the roof of their school. Its all a way to make connections.
"The value of having a relationship with those you serve and those that want to help you serve, there's nothing greater," said Krueger. "It is the most critical work that I do as a leader."
Two moms who serve as volunteers at special events like the donut breakfast say their effort helps make a difference.
"The kids definitely respond better. The kids love it," said volunteer Mia Head." "They are happy, they're willing to try new things when they have a different face encouraging them, cheering them on to succeed."
"But I always joke that I spend more time here that at my paying job because i just like to be involved with my kids at school," said volunteer Tanya Barry-Dopkins.
Pre school educators say they've seen amazing growth since Edinbrook embraced pre-kindergarten even before state funds were available to pay for it. Teacher Jeanette Lapore says Pre-K is important start to closing the achievement gap.
"Some children have a lot of opportunities and some children have limited opportunities and this kind of evens out the playing field," Lapore said.
The pre-math, pre-literacy focus is so popular here, they could add more students if funding was available.
"We're a building that has a pretty large waiting list," said Principal Krueger. "The idea behind voluntary pre-K, we want to have Edinbrook families have an opportunity to be here."
Edinbrook also has an 'AVID' program which encourages kids to think about college early on. Teachers share their college experience and kids write down goals for college and career.
Mike Johnson, reporting
November 2, 2017