By Sarah CR Clark
The University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts in late May honored Murray Middle School Principal Jamin McKenzie with the Civitas Community Partner award.
The Civitas Award is given to community members and/or organizations that partner with the CLA “for the betterment of society,” according to CLA officials. Two local organizations were also recent Civitas Award winners: the Pioneer Press and Mixed Blood Theatre.
The U recognized McKenzie’s support of the Classroom Partners program. Classroom Partners is a collaboration between Murray and the University that places CLA students and staff in Murray’s classrooms as teachers’ aides, tutors and mentors.
In a press statement, CLA officials said, “In his time as principal, McKenzie has created and supported an environment that fosters positive identity development and critical consciousness. As the program expanded … it needed more resources. McKenzie brought in his leadership team to provide volunteer supervision and to offer training courses in racial justice and positive behavioral intervention.
“This integration of Classroom Partners with existing student support systems at the school creates an ideal two-way learning and support system.”
For his part, McKenzie said Classroom Partners “is a wonderful example of community entities partnering and supporting the families and young students of their neighborhood school. On behalf of Murray, we are grateful for this opportunity and our vision is that this partnership becomes a lasting bridge that remains for the benefit and growth of our young Pilots. We look forward to partnering for many years to come.”
Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance contributor to the Bugle.