Letters from the LJA Leadership

1/11/18

LJA is in the depths of its J-Term learning. It is such a pleasure to walk around the building and listen in on scholar conversations. In book club, scholars are debating conflicts, intrigued by twisting plots, and calling each other out for reading ahead. In math, scholars are thinking hard and it is evident as they complain, “My brain is melting!” During the afternoon J-Term classes, scholars are hard to be found, as their classes have exploded to all parts of LJA’s campus and surrounding neighborhood. You can completely see, feel and hear the joy from scholars as they take foot to their next adventure.

LJA’s annual mid-year celebration is quickly approaching. LJA will be out hitting the slopes at Green Acres this year. Please make sure your scholar is prepared for all that MN winter beauty has to offer as we head outdoors next Friday, January 18th.

Keep your eyes open for our Spring season of Girls On The Run. Girls On The Run Spring season is 10 weeks long and will begin in March. Girls On The Run is more than a running program. It is a national program that uses running alongside a research driven curriculum that focuses on self-esteem, team building, and more. More information will be coming next week. If you are interested in supporting this program, Mr. Terrence is looking for more volunteers. Thank you for considering and supporting this empowering opportunity for our scholars.

LJA has begun it enrollment for the 2019-20 school year (and we even have a few spots in grades 5-7 open for the rest of this year). Share with your networks the joys and successes of your scholar’s experience at LJA.

LJA Leadership Team


1/4/18

Welcome back! We hope everyone had a great break and that the new year is off to a great start!

We are now a fully educator led school; George Sand has officially retired. Please do not hesitate to contact leadership if you would like to schedule a time to come in to chat about this transition. You can always email the leadership team at leadershipteam@laurajeffreyacademy.org.

J-term: this is a fun time of the year for us. We have three weeks of programming and then another two week break. During J-term, scholars dive into a book club of their choice, continue their math minded explorations through math class and end the day participating in a 3-hour experiential course. The J-term course choices this year include: winter survival, creative coding, knitting and design, urban planning and papier mache, and origami and geometry.

Winter intersession: The theme for winter intersession this year is Leadership, Creativity, and Calm. Intersession is optional programming that takes place on the Tuesday - Friday of the first week of our break (1/22 - 1/25). We have 7 class options with activities like improvisation, acting, creating and performing songs, team building, and mindfulness, and gaming. There will also be an ice skating field trip on the final day! Remember that there are scholarships available and we encourage everyone to sign up and participate.

Looking into the future: we are in the preliminary stages of planning our Black History Month focus for February. We would like to make sure that our time spent is relevant to our scholars by creating connections with local black history and achievements, and that it establishes pride for our program at LJA. The plan is for us to have our scholars research the history of the Rondo neighborhood and the life of Laura Jeffrey. We believe this will improve the culture and pride for our program and help our scholars recognize that we are not just a school but connected to and part of the larger community.

LJA Leadership Team


12/21/18

Hello Families and Friends.

As 2018 comes to a close, we think about all the growth and change we have seen so far this year at LJA, in our scholars as well as educators in the building. It is always a wonderful moment, such as a History Day presentation, to see a student realize how powerful they can be when given the opportunity by supportive and challenging teachers. The scholar finds their voice, the educator fulfills their purpose.

The key to growth and change is creating a sustainable school culture where adults and scholars are given the time and space to forge authentic relationships. A teacher can’t really challenge a student unless there is a trusting relationship. Adults can’t challenge other adults unless there is trust between them. A school can’t fulfill its promise without everyone being on the same page with their goals and the mission to be accomplished. And this can only happen through trust, communication, and the disciplined practice of building professional and personal relationships.

The question then becomes; “What is the best way to foster such a school culture?”

There have been numerous studies that highlight the fact that when educators are more closely involved in decision-making at multiple levels of school management, scholars have greater academic success and educators have higher levels of satisfaction in their profession. Here’s a list of findings from a University of Pennsylvania study based on a survey of roughly 900,000 teachers in 25,000 schools across the country from 2011-15. (The data source for this study was the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Survey (TELL), administered by the New Teacher Center in Santa Cruz, CA)

The University of Pennsylvania analysis generated five key findings:

1. Schools with higher levels of both instructional leadership and teacher leadership have greater student achievement.

2. Those specific elements of instructional leadership that are most strongly related to student achievement are:

a. Holding teachers to high professional standards for delivering instruction;

b. Providing an effective school improvement team; and

c. Fostering a shared vision for the school.

3. Those specific areas of teacher leadership and teacher decision-making that are most strongly related to student achievement are:

a. establishing student discipline procedures and policies; and

b. school improvement planning.

4. Schools often do not emphasize those elements of instructional leadership and areas of teacher leadership that are most strongly related to student achievement.

5. High-poverty schools often have lower levels of both instructional leadership and teacher leadership, which could put their students at an academic disadvantage.

As a charter school our mandate is to implement educational practices and innovations that ensure the greatest success for all students. LJA has always taken this mandate seriously and with purpose from the very beginning of its existence.

The research around the effectiveness of teacher leadership is solid and the implementation of this program model seems to be a good fit for the long-term health of Laura Jeffrey. LJA has a history of teacher leadership in the areas of curriculum and instruction and teacher professional development. It seemed a logical next step for the school to evolve into a fuller realization of the power of educator led schools.

However, it is important to be skeptical of innovations in education in order to make sure they are actually good for scholars instead of being mostly for the benefit of adults. Especially if the innovation is implemented in a haphazard or rushed manner; which is typical of most educational innovations and improvement efforts.

For the past year and a half, the school leadership team has been working hand-in-hand with the LJA School Board and educational experts to thoughtfully implement the transition to an “educator led” school. (We use this term instead of “teacher led” because all the adults in the building are considered educators and are invested in the process of supporting student success.)

We base our work on the firm belief that educators are professionals similar to lawyers, architects, and engineers where, as professionals, they are responsible and accountable for the success of the business. And charter schools, unlike traditional schools, need to consider themselves a small business that relies on buy in from families, staff and the larger community. This work demands discipline and attention to detail in the areas of planning, communication and decision-making, and educator commitment.

As professionals, educators must be involved in the critical decisions that impact the mission of LJA without getting bogged down in all technical aspects of day to day operations of running a school. Educators need autonomy and decision-making opportunities, but these opportunities must be student focused and tied to larger school goals. For LJA this decision-making focuses on three key areas: curriculum and instruction, school culture which includes implementing discipline policies, and maintaining community and family relationships.

In order to keep the focus on these three critical areas LJA will continue to have a leadership team that is responsible for staff supervision, financial oversight, compliance, school operations, and maintaining strong board/staff relationships. The LJA Leadership Team has been fully functioning since the beginning of the school year with support as needed from the LJA Interim Director, George Sand. Beginning in January 2019 the team, Jacob Bonde, Lizzie Forshee, Anna Robinson, Cassandra Quam, and Terrene Thigpen will take over fully as the LJA Interim Director position is completely phased out.

This is an exciting time in the next phase of Laura Jeffrey Academy and we thank you for the opportunity to work with your scholar and to have the support of such a terrific community of families and friends. Have a joyful and peaceful winter break. See you in the new year.

LJA Leadership Team



12/14/18

Dear LJA Community,

We know this time of year can be a stressful. As the calendar year ends, many of us are scrambling to be prepared as deadlines approach. Or working hard to organize and communicate with friends and family. For LJA students, school deadlines are approaching as well and stress levels--for some--are rising.. Students are hard at work preparing for summatives: history day projects, music performances, researching diseases, essays, etc.


But this time of year can be joyful as well. We make it to the finish line and celebrate. We look back at the year and what we accomplished. We hope that, if you find yourself or your scholars, feeling those stress levels rise, you take a moment to celebrate all that you have done this year, all the accomplishments, all the hard work and friendships and joys and laughter. If the stress is specifically about school, you might want scholars to reflect:

  • What is something that you are working really hard on right now?
  • What is a recent piece of work that you are proud of?
  • When is a previous time where you persevered through stress and ended up achieving your goal?


It may not feel like it now, but by the end of next week, students will be finishing work and they will have something to be proud of. Let’s not forget to celebrate that!



12/7/18

Dear LJA caregivers,

TGI(early release)F! As we mentioned before, we use this time to work on our transition towards being teacher-led. We hope you all value us investing this time to continue to improve our program. When thinking of where we are, two words come to mind: momentum and forward moving. Those words accurately describe Laura Jeffrey these days as we are picking up momentum and moving forward.

Something big on the horizon is our winter concert. The focus of this performance is women's triumphs over 100 years of misogyny. Our scholars will be doing various performances and showing off their musical talents. We would love it if we had as many of you present to show our scholars support. We would also love it if you invited other people from your network so they can see our brilliant scholars in action. We are proud of their continued hard work and would love to show them off. The performance will be at Macalester's Kagin Commons auditorium on December 18th, beginning at 2:30.

Another happening on the horizon is J-Term, which is from January 3rd -18th. A refresher about J-term is that scholars will have a book club and math class in the morning. Their afternoon will be filled with one of the following class options: Winter Survival, Creative Coding, Knitting and Design, Urban Planning and Papier Mache, and Origami/Geometry.

In closing, it is important to assist our scholars in their ever-changing-forward-moving lives. To help with this transition we had a high school fair at LJA on Wednesday this week. Scholars and their parents were excited to begin thinking and talking about their life after Laura Jeffrey. What an exciting thing for some of our scholars to have on their radar!

On behalf of our LJA staff, enjoy your weekend. Thank you for all that you do to make Laura Jeffrey an amazing place!



11/21/18

Dear LJA Caregivers,

On behalf of the school, we would like to take a moment to express how grateful we are for you. We recognize the strength of our community and know that it is only possible because of your contributions. We appreciate how willing you all have been to help out with events, connect us to community resources, and provide feedback about how we can improve our program. Community can be defined as a unified body of individuals working towards a common goal. We, including you, embody just that.

As we approach the end of 2018, we would like to formally announce the latest update to our transition towards an Educator-Led school. George Sand has served as the LJA Interim Executive Director since August of 2017. It has always been the intent of this position to serve as a transitional role until the new management structure of the school was established.

In the Spring of 2018 it was decided by the LJA Board of Directors that LJA would implement an educator led model for school management and decision-making beginning in the fall of 2018. A part of this model is the establishment of a school Leadership Team that is accountable to the Board for leading ongoing excellence in teaching and learning at LJA as well as overseeing day-to-day operations of the school.

As the Leadership Team has become more comfortable in this challenging role, George’s time and position has been gradually phasing out. With this phasing out in mind, it has been decided that his last day will be December 20th, 2018. George would like to let everyone know how much he has appreciated his time at Laura Jeffrey Academy and he looks forward to its great success in the future.

LJA will be closed for the next few days. Many of us will be taking time to relax, refocus, and enjoy quality time with our loved ones. We hope that all of you are able to do the same.

With gratitude,

Laura Jeffrey Academy


11/16/18

It was a busy week at LJA! We opened the week with a rigorous day of professional development for staff and ended the week with Bring a Friend to School Day. As I looked around the busier-than-usual lunch room today, I was reminded of the feeling of the first day of school, with so many fresh faces in the building and a noticeable sense of excitement coming from the students. It was a good reminder to me that there are exciting and innovative things happening every day at LJA, and sometimes it just takes the presence of newcomers to really notice!

This was our first year expanding on a typical shadow day with the idea of Bring a Friend to School Day. We hope your scholars found it to be valuable to be able to share their LJA experiences with a visitor for the day (whether they brought a friend themselves or just had some visitors in their classes). We would welcome any feedback on whether or not we should make this an annual tradition and any ways that we could improve the day for next time.

With conferences coming up on Monday and Tuesday, I hope you will take a moment to express gratitude to the amazing teachers at LJA who are working constantly and diligently with your students. Teachers everywhere go above and beyond to positively shape the lives of young people, and I have made it my goal this Thanksgiving to express gratitude to those who taught my throughout my own education.

I hope as many of you as possible will visit LJA on our two conference days next week. Remember, even if you don’t sign up for a conference, you can just drop by during the open house times to talk to teachers!

I wish you all a very pleasant holiday filled with delicious food and moments of laughter with family or friends!



11/9/18

Tomorrow LJA will send 15 scholars participate in the Girls on The Run 5k at the Mall of America. Go cheer them on if you’d like, and at least send them warm thoughts!

Training for a 5k is great metaphor for the work we do here at Laura Jeffrey Academy. For most people, you can’t instantly be able to go that distance. In learning, sometimes we can be frustrated that we don’t have the answer already, that we haven’t mastered the skills yet, that we don’t fully understand the answer to the questions we are asking. But it takes practice, and showing up everyday and pushing yourself to be a little bit better than the last. To learn a little bit more, grow a little more, build on what we accomplished yesterday. It is important for us to all remember this that growth takes time, and hard work.

This applies to our principle of the month as well, Building Empathy. There’s no shortcuts. Building empathy takes time. It takes intentional practice. It takes the courage to take the first steps. It might require breaking some bad habits in our ways of thinking, and admitting that those bad habits aren’t helping us. Some days will be harder than others. But, slowly but surely we get to new place, a new level and we can be proud of what we accomplished...and we are a healthier, happier person on top of it!

As our scholar-athletes know, improvement also takes motivation and teaching from peers, coaches and mentors. In this regard, LJA is excited to kick off a new mentor program this year. On Thursday, fourteen of LJA’s eighth graders kicked were joined by mentors--women from a diverse array of STEM fields. They had lunch (thanks mentors!), played games, and got to know one another. We look forward to seeing this program grow.

What are the dreams, goals or accomplishments you envision for our scholars here at LJA? What is one small step they could take in that direction?

LJA Leadership Team



11/2/18

As I type this, I can hear through the windows the laughter of students playing in the sunshine and I find myself reflecting on what an honor and joy it is to work with the scholars of Laura Jeffrey Academy. It is a privilege to work with and support them as they grapple with the big issues in their lives - from organization and time management to navigating interpersonal relationships to analyzing world events. We are so fortunate to have a dedicated staff who work tirelessly in supporting your scholar’s academic and social-emotional learning and growth. (We look forward to the opportunity to discuss your scholar’s learning and growth at conferences November 19 & 20.) Because of our community - staff, families, and especially the students - Laura Jeffrey Academy is a place of hope and growth.

This week I had the honor of discussing with students their power in the world and it was amazing to hear them brainstorm all they various ways they can use their voice to make change. One way that was identified was to talk to the adults in their lives who are able to vote and to share their views and opinions on issues and candidates. If you haven't already, take some time this weekend to hear what they have to say! Then, on Tuesday, vote (if you haven't already)!

You can find your polling place by following this link: https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/

Enjoy the weekend,

LJA Leadership Team


10/26/18

Thank you for all who attended the Chili Cook-Off. It was a great night of joy, laughter, and scholar pride. We tasted 17 different chili’s that ranged from vegetarian, traditional, spicy and wild card. The opportunity to slow down, enjoy each others company, and give the scholars an opportunity to showcase their learning is so very appreciated. LJA is always looking to improve our events. If you have suggestions on making LJA’s annual Chili Cookoff even better, please send an email to Annie Lien and she will relay your feedback to the Family and Relations Committee.

LJA has great news! Madi McAndrews will continue as our full time social worker. Ms. Mollie has decided to continue her duties as a full time, stay at home mom. We are very thankful for Ms. Madi’s continued dedication and passion for LJA and its scholars.

It has been an exciting first week back and great start to Quarter 2. The 5th and 6th grade scholars had the opportunity learn from the University of MN Neurology Department. Scholars explored a number of hands on stations that expanded their Brain Awareness and classroom learnings from Quarter 1. The 7th and 8th grade scholars kickstarted their LASS experiences by learning about the 2018-19 History Day theme: Triumph & Tragedy. Expect an email/letter from Anna and Jen within the next week or two with more details.

Between now and end of November, LJA scholars will dig into LJA’s Principle "Building Empathy" during advisory time. Staff introduced “Building Empathy” with an all school assembly. Advisories will continue to expand on its meaning through lessons and activities. We will continue to turn-key our understandings to application by identifying and acknowledging peers who embody the principle in their everyday interactions.

Lastly, please mark your calendars as next Friday, November 2nd, is LJA’s Halloween Party. This is a fun night for current scholars to enjoy their peers and teachers with a night of activities, relaxation, and another chance to show off their Halloween costume.


October 5, 2018

Greetings LJA Families and Friends,

We’ve come to the end of our first quarter and there was a veritable buzz of activity this past week as students finished up their quarterly summative projects for their classes. There is always a bit of anxiety and stress around this work, but mostly it is a time of deep concentration as scholars strive to meet deadlines for completion.

We are going to continue the practice we started last year of having scholars present their summative work to interested people during the annual LJA Chili Cook-Off. This ensures an audience for the work and it is an excellent opportunity for scholars to practice their presentation skills.

Speaking of the Chili Cook-Off, it is coming up quickly on October 25th. Please make an effort to attend even if you don’t feel like you have the most brilliant chili to enter into the judging. Everyone is welcome to come and eat whether they bring chili or not, there is always LOTS of food, and it is a fun time to get to know other families who have scholars at LJA.

As we continue our transition to an Educator Powered school, we are relying more and more on educator committees to become driving forces in our school community. An example of this is the work the School Culture Committee is doing around embedding the LJA Principles into the day-to-day functioning of the school. (As you well know, in the hurly-burly of the school day, it easy to forget guiding principles and values.)

To make the LJA principles more “alive”, staff are focusing on different principles each month in Advisory conversations and throughout the day in classrooms. In September the focus has been on Mutual Responsibility and Individual Accountability. A monthly assembly is then held and scholars who are exemplars of the principles are acknowledged. This talk about principles can be seen as a typical thing most schools do, but at LJA it takes on more significance because staff are serious about the work and scholars quickly realize, “Oh, they’re serious about me having principles! “

One last acknowledgement goes out to the 7/8 team for the planning and implementation of an environmental stewardship project this past week where LJA scholars worked with Great River Greening. The project was designed to give scholars an opportunity to help with clean water sampling and planting erosion controlling plants along the Mississippi River. Happily, everyone go their hands dirty. This is a yearly event and returning volunteers sign up specifically when the know LJA scholars are going to be working on the project. We love this kind of community feedback!

Have a happy weekend and thanks for all you do for your scholar and LJA.

The Leadership Team



September 28, 2018

Dear LJA Families,

It’s hard to believe, but 1st Quarter is almost over! Students are hard at work on their summative projects, which they will finish next week. The 5th and 6th graders are working on either math games or their special number poster for their math summatives. In LASS, they can choose between writing and defending a bill or a narrative writing assignment. In STEM they are creating models of ecosystems; in Art they are making self-portraits; and in Wellness their summative project is a stress kit and mind map. For the 7th and 8th graders, their summative projects are writing a profile for a political candidate in LASS, a keyboarding performance in Music, the stress kit and mindmap in Wellness, a linear relationship poster in Algebra, and using genetics principles to breed imaginary dragons in STEM (Pre-Algebra has a different timeline for their summative). Summative time can be a stressful part of the quarter for students, but it is amazing to see them putting together what they have learned over the whole quarter. I hope you will ask your student about their summatives and take pride in their learning.

Today and yesterday students were asked to decide which of their summative projects they would like to showcase at the Chili Cook Off. This is an annual event at LJA where the whole community comes together to enjoy food and appreciate student work. Summative projects will be displayed, and select students will be performing during the event. Please mark your calendars now for Thursday evening, October 25th from 6:00 – 8:00pm. This is a beloved event in the LJA community and a chance for you to show off your best chili! We hope that many of you will be able to come and see the fabulous work that your scholars have been doing. Ask your scholar what they will be showcasing!

Have a great weekend!



September 21, 2018

Dear LJA friends and families,

Leadership Team rep here to give you a quick update about our week at LJA.

To start, T.G.I. (early release)F! Some of you might be wondering why we have these early release days. This is our second one of the year. It should be known that these days have been intentionally placed throughout our school year to support our shift towards being an Educator Powered school. When the scholars leave for the day we break into one of three committees: Curriculum and Instruction, Family and Community Engagement, and School Culture. During our pre-committee meeting today we had a brief discussion about why we are making this shift to being Educator Powered. One of the themes that came out of that discussion was that this shift will address the need for civic engagement and service.

Along with the energy being put towards becoming Educator Powered, we are particularly focused on the implementation of Restorative Practices at Laura Jeffrey. We recognize that it is important to integrate this into our culture and we try to use these practices as often as possible. Sometimes Restorative Practices happen in the form of short check-ins with scholars and other times it involves a larger and more thorough process. These practices allow for time and space to constantly grow as a community. All of our scholars deserve opportunities, without judgement and/or punishment to learn and grow from their actions. This investment in growth only strengthens our community.

Some things to keep on your radar:

  • Our New Family Picnic - September 24th from 5:30-7:30
  • Picture Day - September 27th.
  • The last day of our first quarter - October 4th.
  • Intersession from October 8-12th.
  • No school from October 15-19th.
  • Chili Cook Off - October 25.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns that you have. We deeply value your opinion.

To conclude, we hope everyone has a great weekend doing activities that allow you to kick back, relax, and enjoy the Fall weather.

LJA’s Leadership


September 14, 2018


This was a week to be thankful for all our great partnerships. We had three different groups join us this week.

On Wednesday, tutors from St. Kate’s started assisting in our midday math classes, allowing students to get a lot of individualized attention working on the skills they need. They will be here every Monday and Wednesday throughout the school year. Thank you St. Kate’s!

On Thursday, students from the University of Minnesota were here to show off promotional trailers for their intersession classes. These students are all post-graduate getting their teaching license in Communication Arts & Literature. As part of their program, they design unique, creative, engaging classes that they then offer to our students as part of our intersession programming in October. Ask your scholars if there were any classes that stood out to them. Students should receive intersession registration forms on Monday, and we will be revisiting some of the class trailers in advisory in the coming weeks. Thank you U of M students!

Then today, employees from Brooksource were here. Brooksource is an IT company that formed a partnership with LJA last year. Last year, we got very generous donations of school supplies, and today we received a donation of $10,000! To give back for this generosity, LJA students and Brooksource employees today participated in Operation Gratitude, where students made care packages to send to the families of service members. We stuffed 45 bears, wrote/drew 184 cards and made 50 bracelets. Thank you Brooksource!

As we think about all community partnerships that we are thankful for, it’s important to also be thankful for the work that scholars are doing to build our own Laura Jeffrey community. At our assembly this morning, we introduced our LJA principle of Practicing Individual Accountability and Mutual Responsibility (ask your scholars about the LJA Staff skit, and the “Helium Hula-Hoop” activity). One of the ways we work to demonstrate this principle is through the use of Restorative Practices. Through restorative practices, we approach each “behavior incident” in ways that we believe help us maintain and build community in the most authentic way. Working to repair harm, build relationships, and learn empathy can be a difficult process. It takes practice to be accountable to yourself and responsibly and respectfully hold your peers responsible. There may be bumps along the way, but we are really beginning to see our school turn into more of a community as we are learning and growing together throughout the Restorative process. Thank you scholars!


The Leadership Team


September 7, 2018

Happy Friday!

Quarter 1 is well underway! In addition to all the great learning happening in classes, from basic music theory in Music to government and our rights in LASS, this week scholars started their midday clubs. Clubs meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and offer engaging, hands-on learning experiences. Be sure to ask your student about their club and how it went this week.

Starting next week, we will begin highlighting one of our seven LJA principles each month. (Check out our principles at http://www.laurajeffreyacademy.org/our-promise/ ) This month we will be focusing on the principle of Practicing Mutual Responsibility and Individual Accountability. This principle instills the belief that we should work together to solve problems and are accountable for our own choices and our impact on the community and the environment as a whole. Throughout the month, scholars will engage in activities focusing on the principle during advisory and we will be keeping an eye out for scholars who are embodying the principle. We will be having a fun, whole school assembly next week to introduce the principle as our principle of the month.

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming New Family Picnic! This is an annual event we host in order to give families who are new to LJA a chance to meet each other and ask the questions that have come up in the first few weeks of school. This year we will also be inviting any returning LJA families who are interested to join us in welcoming and supporting our new families. And we will have a prize drawing for any LJA family who brings along a non-LJA student of middle school age! This year's picnic will take place on the evening of Monday, September 24th at Newell Park.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Your voice is always important to us.

Have a relaxing, rejuvenating and fun weekend,

The Leadership Team


8/31/18

Our focus this past week has been around growth mindsets and how these apply to our math abilities. Scholars started attending their math midday classes (math process, math skills, and math projects) and have been studying fixed vs. growth mindsets. Growth mindset, coined by Carol Dweck, describes the underlying beliefs we have about learning and intelligence. Teaching growth mindset fosters a belief that you can get smarter, and that effort makes you stronger. Therefore, as you put in extra time and effort, it will lead to higher achievement. If you have further questions about your scholars math midday class please connect with Jacob Bonde at jacobb@laurajeffreyacademy.org.

Something we do to meet the needs of our scholars’ desires to learn about new topics and gain new skills is our midday clubs, which were introduced and will start next week. Clubs are held during the midday on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please ask your scholar which was their club of interest: Knitting, Debate, Book Buddies, Drama, Spoken Word, or LJA Reports. If you notice or hear that your scholar is struggling please support them in their perseverance and sticking with the new activity for the entirety of 1st quarter, after which they can then choose to stay or try something new.

We have worked to set a solid foundation of community building during our daily morning meetings and extended midday meetings of advisory. As we are slowing adding layers of academia into our midday, we will continue our intentional morning advisory time to continually build community through a sense of belonging and ownership. If you would like to see a full list of your scholar’s schedule , including midday math and clubs, feel free to email Ms. G at gayef@laurajeffreyacademy.org.

Do not hesitate to connect with classroom teachers around your scholar’s academics, advisory teachers around your scholar’s social/emotional growth, and/or leadership as we can advise on who the best person is to connect with.

Hope you enjoy a restful weekend and are able to celebrate a few moments of the beauty in which MN has to offer during this time of year.

LJA’s Leadership Team



August 24, 2018

Happy Friday!

It has been an exciting second week at Laura Jeffrey Academy. Scholars have filled the hallways and classrooms with their energy, and enthusiasm for learning. Classrooms have started engaging in content, routines, and learning expectations. Our promise to the LJA community is to create an environment where students are free -- to explore their potential, to discover their brilliance and develop their intellect. This promise is evident as scholars travel from class to class. Ask your scholar their favorite part of the learning, which class they are most excited about, how they see themselves in the curriculum, you will be amazed to hear what they have to say.


Authentic community building is also at the forefront of our work. Advisories are continuing the work of creating a culture where our scholars are learning the balance of independence and responsibility, at the same time support and guidance. Specifically, advisories have been addressing adolescent needs: fun, autonomy, relationships, competence, and survival. Advisory teachers are working to support scholars in identifying their needs and how to get them met to ensure they are their best selves for learning.


FastBridge testing is complete and scholars have been placed into midday math classes. Your scholar will be bringing home a sheet which identifies the midday math class they have been placed in. If you have questions or concerns please contact Jacob Bonde jacobb@laurajeffreyacademy.org or 651-414-6000, to help you address your wonderings.


As always, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to support your scholars academic and social/emotional growth. We are honored to be a part of their journey in learning.


The Leadership Team


August 17, 2018

We"re back! And we're excited to begin a brand new year with your scholar. It is really fun to see how returning students have grown and changed since we last saw them, and we are thrilled to introduce all of our new scholars to the empowering culture and learning opportunities at Laura Jeffrey Academy.

This is going to be a great year at LJA as we continue to build upon the efforts we made last year in improving our academic programs and supporting the individual needs of all scholars. We are particularly happy about the new staff who will be joining us for 2018-19. They are:

    • Peggy Palumbo; Health and Wellness teacher
    • Eileen Lindstrom; 6-8 math co-teacher
    • Jean Fawver; Art teacher and Special Education Coordinator

All three have crossed over from the Minneapolis School District because of their attraction to the mission and vision of LJA. Each comes with a wonderful set of skills and experiences that have already had an impact on our school community. This will be a pivotal year for Laura Jeffrey as we continue to implement our innovative model of teacher led planning and decision-making. It is a model that demands commitment from staff to be part of problem solving teams that work openly and honestly to constantly improve teaching and learning, school culture, and relationships with caregivers. We feel that Peggy, Jean, and Eileen add tremendously to the capacity of LJA to be successful in these efforts.

We are making communicating with caregivers a priority again this year and that is why we are using a blog format to ensure the LJA community can easily access an ongoing thread of thoughts from the leadership team. This will be a weekly post from various members of the team and it will be used as general update of what is going on at school. We will also use the blog as a forum to address wider community concerns if they arise.

Welcome back, have a terrific weekend and thank you for all that you do for your scholar and LJA.

The Leadership Team