A successful school beats the odds in North Minneapolis

Ascension Catholic School in North Minneapolis wins the odds. (FOX 9)

In the race to start the day on the north side of Minneapolis, there is a starting line that was created long before many got out of bed.

Follow the taillights in the crisp air of the early morning and chances are many are going to the corner of North DuPont Avenue and North 18th Avenue. It’s long before 7:30 in the morning, and those who jump from their cars to the finish line at the front door are all children.

Welcome to another day at Ascension Catholic School.

“I love it here,” said Ni-Kia Madison, an eighth-grader.

Ni-Kia like her classmates are galloping down the halls wearing their red sweaters to get to class by 7:45. In all the other twin cities, coffee has not yet started to be brewed in many offices. But in ascension, it’s just another day of learning, another day of rowing in a school that dates back more than 100 years.

“We have about 280 smart students here in Ascension,” said principal Benito Matias.

The treatment of his students as researchers is intentional, a change in the framework of consciousness that everyone will be able to understand what is happening in his classrooms is academic, exploratory and life-changing.

“And the truth is, it just makes sense,” Matias explains. “In terms of high expectations, in terms of a relationship, in terms of how we really want to communicate as we look at what we want as results, it’s natural to call them scholars.”

Ni-Kia is one of the results its CEO is talking about. She lives in Robbinsdale and moved to Ascension two years ago.

“I did not like to read when I was in my second school because they did not really enforce it. So I was like, I do not have to read,” Ni-Kia recalled. “So when I came here, you had to read. And I came as a better reader over the years. And I saw it in my test scores.”

The average ten-year increase of eighth graders is 70% proficiency in math, 66% in reading. The scores far exceed the qualifications of students in neighboring schools in the Minneapolis Public School District. Since 2013, all eighth-graders of aliyah have continued to graduate from high school.

“You know, a lot of people want to know what, what’s the secret sauce? And I wish there was a secret sauce,” Matias said.

He emphasizes that with the intention of the transcendence teachers, it is their researchers who do all the hard work. And there is more to do.

“We are not where we want to be with all the success that has been on the rise, and for over 130 years being in this neighborhood and this bloc, it is not easy,” Matias stressed.

If anyone knows, Matias knows. Is a product of public schools in Minneapolis. He graduated from Franklin High School, Patrick Henry High School, and then became a teacher at MPS. He has been the director of the canals since 2016.

“We talk a lot about relationships here in transcendence,” Matias said. “And it makes so much of a difference when you know someone cares about you when you have someone to hold you accountable when you’re not making the best choices, which sometimes when I grew up, I did.”

But Matthias is not the only son of North Minneapolis to return home to work in Ascension. Quentin Moore completed his eighth grade at Ascension and went on to graduate from St. Thomas University. He is now the promotion director of the Aliya Academy.

“I have a sacred place in my heart to transcend,” Quentin Moore said.

Moore’s job is to mobilize support to make it convenient for parents to send their children to one of the three schools of Ascension Academy, Ascension Catholic School in North Minneapolis, St. Peter Culver in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul and John Paul II. A school in northeastern Minneapolis. The tuition advertised at Ascension is more than $ 1,400, but most families pay less than $ 200. Giving families this opportunity is what motivates Moore.

“I am a man of faith. And so also to be able to express those values ​​is important,” Moore said. “And I also know it’s really changing the lives of our researchers who go through these halls.”

It is especially important to work in North Minneapolis where there are ongoing gaps. More than 90% of the canal registrants are colored students. In recent years both education leaders and the community have been talking about education gaps among white and black students. Matias says they are working to close that gap one researcher at a time.

“But there’s a part we do not talk much about, and that’s the belief gap, right?” Asked the principal. “Both are related to the fact that researchers believe in their ability to achieve as well as we, the adults who believe in their ability to achieve.”

Ni-Kia Madison believes she can. She beamed with a wide, full-bodied smile as she proudly revealed that she had been accepted to DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis.

“Really excited,” Madison beamed. “My mom is really happy. She’s proud of me. You know, she knew I could do it.”

All in a school in North Minneapolis that starts long before many businesses around the twin cities.

“It sets the bar for people from the north side that you can do it,” Madison said. “You can get out of there if you want to. You can succeed. You can be anything you mean to be.”

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