Nice to be back, although my time spent in Portland is always enjoyable. My daughter's graduation made it especially fun, but a city full of great food, drink and art within a couple hours of mountains, vineyards and the ocean is pretty hard not to like. Still, it's good to get back home and just in time for the New Standards concerts co-hosted by Music in the Park/Schubert Club and the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation in honor of our respective anniversaries.

They were great shows, with wonderful music and a nice turnout. It was really neat to hear the group's bassist, John Munson, who grew up on the corner of Doswell & Hythe, talk about the importance of this neighborhood in his life. He described the kinds of values that our community imparted to him that matter so much to him still. Obviously, his love of the arts features prominently in that story, but he also talked about the support of the community, the friendships cultivated and the bonds formed. It was a lovely evening and a great way to celebrate two organizations that understand those values and help to sustain them. Thanks to everyone who came and who made it all happen, especially the Schubert Club, which handled PR, tickets and more.

District Teachers Group Seeking Policy Changes
A group of teachers from Como High School is circulating a Call to Action email encouraging parents to come to the May 20 School Board meeting at 5:30 pm at 360 Colborne Street to talk about concerns surrounding the District's current classroom behavioral policies. A big push to keep kids in school and class by offering teacher training has not been successful in this group's eyes and they claim an atmosphere of fear and lowered expectations is hurting all members of the school community. For anyone with kids in the public schools or knowledge of the situation, I think I can say that everyone agrees on the problems, but agreement on the solutions is a harder row to hoe.

My thumbnail (and as always, please feel free to correct/dispute) is that the District is under enormous pressure to close the achievement/access/learning gap between students of color and their white counterparts. Their vision of changing the way teachers teach certainly could be part of the answer, but the implementation is a longer term process and the support necessary to make this change successful seems to be lacking, probably due to budget realities, but also perhaps due to philosophical differences. The latter seems to be what's surfacing in the teachers' Call to Action. I don't know enough about it to explain it all better, but attending the school board meeting on May 20 will help anyone interested to get a clearer understanding of the issues. Everyone should be interested, how this plays out will have a dramatic impact on our city's future.

Save Those Boxtops!
Neighbor and St.AP Elementary fundraising coordinator, Sonia Ellis, reminds everyone to tear off those General Mills boxtops and drop them off at the school. There's a beautiful mosaic box right inside the front door that will hold all you can bring. They received $1,700 this past year from the program, so it does make a difference. 

Art-a-Whirl Features Local Artists - May 16-18
At least three neighborhood artists will be showing work at this year's festival of the arts in NE Mpls. Suzanne Skon, Carmen Gutierrez-Bolger and Linda Ricklefs Baudry have all produced some very lovely works. Stop by and see for yourself, it's a large collection of art and artists that's always fun to stroll through. 

St.AP Art Festival - June 7, 10-5pm
Our own art fest follows pretty closely, so mark it on your calendars, it just keeps getting better. If you go to their website you can see examples of the work of some of the artists in attendance. It's pretty impressive...pottery, photos, paintings, jewelry and other crafts. This year they have brought more of the activity down to the Library lawn so it won't stretch much past Doswell, but there will still be plenty of booths and things to eat. Don't miss it!

Senior Spring Flower Outing
Katharine Tondra, volunteer coordinator at St. Anthony Park Area Seniors is organizing another outing to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. The last one was a great success and it's open to all ages. Just contact Katharine.

Art on the Green LIne - Seeking Proposals Until May 21
There are only a few days left to submit proposals for art projects to encourage people to frequent businesses and help create identity along the corridor. For more info.

That's all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.