AchieveMpls offers several career and college readiness programs for Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) students - but did you know we also support MPS by managing individual MPS school funds, college scholarships and small grants for MPS staff?
One of the grant programs we administer is the Minneapolis Educator Leadership Awards (MELA), which provides up to $75,000 each year to support MPS teachers, principals, paraprofessionals and support staff in designing creative learning opportunities for students. MELA was created by the Graves Foundation in partnership with Educators 4 Excellence.
MELA awards are entirely educator-driven. Candidates are nominated by their peers, and finalists are selected by a committee of teachers, administrators and support staff who work in MPS schools. Each finalist is invited to submit a proposal for up to $10,000 for an innovative project that enhances student learning and creates stronger school communities.
Last year MELA recipient Kristen Melby at Andersen United Community School designed a two-month, fifth grade project on historical and contemporary indigenous resistance movements across the Americas. Students learned about the Zapatistas in Mexico, the Mapuche in Peru, the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and other communities through books, documentaries, field trips and guest speakers. They heard from Chauncy Peltier, son of Leonard Peltier, about his father's activism and local resistance movements. At the conclusion of the project, students worked with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater to develop a mask and shadow performance for Native American Family Involvement Day.
That's just one of the great projects MELA has supported. Here are some others:
- Scholarships for a Spanish immersion trip to Puerto Rico for Windom Open Elementary School 5th graders
- A Parent Advocacy and Education leadership program at Emerson Spanish Immersion School
- A creative writing program at South High School that incorporates local artists-in-residence, spoken word workshops with local performers and a student-driven literary arts magazine
- A Makerspace Cabinet at Wellstone International High School that provides tools, basic manufacturing equipment and other resources to integrate project-based learning and technical skills
If you’re a MPS staff member, nominate an outstanding peer by Monday, March 6. Don’t miss this transformative opportunity for our students and schools!