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Addressing “Talent Loss” in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area: Understanding the Local Development of Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Minority Students’ Academic Mindsets

This project adopts an innovative and powerful approach to remedying a persistent challenge that has adversely affected the competitive position of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area: “Talent Loss,” or young people not reaching their full potential. Talent Loss is most pronounced among students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, and leads to low educational and occupational returns, which affects the productivity and competitiveness of local communities. Drawing on a unique partnership between the University of Minnesota; St. Paul Public Schools Department of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment; and the New Lens Urban Mentoring Society (NLUMS), the project will investigate promising new approaches to developing this heretofore “lost” student potential. The project’s mixed-method ethnographic design will enable it to capture the creative efforts of teachers, caregivers, school leaders, and community members who lead minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire these skills and dispositions in a particular Twin Cities Metro Area high school. Finally, part of the project will be dedicated to training African American researcher-evaluators who can collaborate in the design and conduct of an evaluation of the uniquely “in-house” or racially specific relationships between NLUMS mentors and mentees. Researchers: Peter Demerath (Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development), Marian Heinrichs (Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment, Saint Paul Public Schools), and Gayle Smaller, (New Lens Urban Mentoring Society, Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation).

Project Award Date: 
2014-03-28
Community organization or agency: 
St. Paul Public Schools Department of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment and the New Lens Urban Mentoring Society (NLUMS)
Sponsoring CURA Program: 
CURA Contact: 
Edward Goetz Co-Director (612) 624-8737
Thomas Fisher Co-Director (612) 626-9068