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Smart isn’t what you are, smart is what you get!

Brooklyn Center Community Schools - MDE Guest Blogger, Superintendent Mark Bonine
First in a five-part series

Published: April 14, 2014

Educating every one of our students so they are prepared for the workforce is important to our state and country. By 2018, 70 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require a postsecondary education.

Brooklyn Center Pre-K Students

Students who enter school but aren’t supported fall further behind as they advance grade levels, and—in many cases—drop out of school. A lot of children who enter Brooklyn Center Community Schools need additional readiness skills in personal and social development, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, and physical development to be prepared for school.

Community School Model

One of the ways that we are addressing these issues in Brooklyn Center is by providing the only full-service Community School model in the state. We are uniting communities, eliminating barriers, and transforming lives by working with families and the community to ensure that all of our children are socially, emotionally, and physically ready to participate in school.

As a Community Schools District, we have a growing set of partnerships between our schools and community organizations to provide birth to five programming, as well as educational, enrichment, and support services to all of our students and families so that our children can be safe and stable in school, at home, and in the community. Partnerships include mental health services, medical and dental services, academic supports, family resource centers, and other assistance designed to serve the whole child, including before- and after-school programs.


We have partnered with the McKnight Foundation and the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago to establish high-quality systems for literacy development from pre-kindergarten through grade 3. Ninety-eight percent of pre-kindergarten students in Brooklyn Center met or exceeded their literacy goals last year and we are on track for the same outcomes this school year.

We have been awarded Early Learning Pathway Scholarships that will allow us to offer a summer kindergarten readiness program for students that have limited or no prior pre-school experience and those same dollars are allowing us to run a family transition program from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten in English and Spanish. We are beginning to partner with local day cares by learning from them in their environment and inviting them to participate in professional development with our teachers.

Preparing Students for College and Career

This year, our kindergarten students and parents attended a college tour at Hennepin Technical College to expose them to postsecondary options to begin to develop the mindset at an early age that “Smart isn’t what you are, smart is what you get.”

Brooklyn Center Community Schools is deeply committed to leveraging our Community Schools model and our academic programs to support all of our students so they are college and career ready.