Superintendent Graff's Letter of Support

April 21, 2017

Dear Principal Rathke,

I would like to extend my deep respect and appreciation to you, our students, staff and families for the conversations you have undertaken over the past couple of months regarding the possible renaming of Ramsey Middle School. I have carefully reviewed the recommendations from the site council and concluded that I support your decision to rename the school after former Minnesota State Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

As our students have said all along, this conversation has really been one about your values as a school community. What I especially appreciate about the effort is that it started with students and teachers engaged in important learning in our classrooms. In meeting with students leading this effort, it is evident that they were fueled by a desire to take the conversations they were having in the classroom and make real and lasting change through advocacy and public policy.

I am also proud and thankful that our students had your expertise, as well as that of our teachers and school staff, supporting them as they explored these ideas and navigated the district’s official decision-making process. They learned the importance of engaging many voices and the satisfaction that comes from ensuring multiple viewpoints are brought to bear on crucial decisions such as these. In addition to thanking the student leaders, I’d like to extend a special thanks to Ramsey Middle School teachers Elissa Cedarleaf Dahl and Paul Sommers, as well as site council member David Weingartner.

As our students continue thinking about ways to make our community and nation a stronger, more welcoming place for all, I hope they remain inspired. I trust they will continue to raise their voices, lead important conversations and navigate the world of policy that governs our institutions and our broader society. This is the sort of engagement that makes Minneapolis Public Schools strong and reaffirms our values as a democratic society. Thank you for your leadership and for inspiring theirs.

Sincerely,

Ed Graff
Superintendent of Schools