The community of Edina, MN is committed to creating positive futures for its youth. Edina Public Schools has joined forces with the City of Edina, families, businesses, the medical community, the faith community and its residents to build support around youth needs. The joint venture, Connecting With Kids, was formed to connect individuals, families, organizations and other resources in Edina to help raise healthy children and develop a healthy community. It is their vision to be a community where all children have the support they need to grow up to be responsible, healthy and caring adults.
The Edina City Council appoints students to serve terms on all City Boards and Commissions. In most cases, they are invited to participate as full members, including voting rights. Taking a cue from the City Council, several other community organizations, such as Edina Day of Service and Connecting With Kids, invite students to join their Boards or steering committees. Another way the community of Edina collaborates to ensure positive outcomes for young people is through the work of the Edina Community Council (ECC). The ECC is a collaborative board made-up of school board and city council appointees, faith and business leaders, human service providers, hospital representatives and community members. The goals of the ECC include connecting youth to resources and information, helping families support the healthy development and school success of youth, creating working relationships among community organizations and holding schools accountable for ensuring the needs of all students are met.
While the Edina Public School system has a graduation rate of 98 percent, the district closely tracks students who do not graduate on time to ensure that they continue to receive services until they earn their high school diploma. The school district has developed a systemic intervention program to accelerate learning for all students. Edina High School boasts the largest Advanced Placement test program in a five-state area with more than 2,300 tests given this year. Meanwhile, a collaboration of South View Middle School, Valley View Middle School and Edina High School has created coursework in the area of study skills and mathematics intended to accelerate the learning of all students, so that everyone has the opportunity to take full advantage of the Advanced Placement coursework and testing.
In addition to programs that encourage youth to be involved in helping others, the Edina school district employs a Service Learning Coordinator who incorporates service into the curriculum. As part of Edina school district's strategic plan, each school at every level now has a service learning champion to support high quality service learning experiences. Outcomes of the program have been measured in partnership with the Minnesota Learn and Serve Program. Meanwhile, at the high school level, the Youth Serving Youth program at Edina High School encourages youth leadership, service, and social awareness while allowing students to connect with like-minded peers and put their ideas into action.