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“Love Them First” documentary offers firsthand look into successes and challenges at North Minneapolis school

MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) has a great story to tell, and over the course of the 2017-18 school year, allowed KARE11 news unprecedented access into Lucy Craft Laney Community School to help share the realities of education in an urban school district. What started as a series of news stories on Lucy Laney morphed into a documentary chronicling the ups and downs of life in the North Minneapolis elementary school.

“This film offers a raw and real look into the experiences found in many of our schools,” said Superintendent Ed Graff. “Our students, staff, and families are brilliant and bring so much to our schools each day. There’s a lot of work that goes into meeting each of their unique needs, and we hope this film helps showcase that while starting important conversations about what it means to educate all children, everywhere.”

Graff also noted a 90-minute film can only capture part of the story of MPS schools. Much more intentional work goes into providing each student with support to succeed, making sure all staff receive professional development that enhances their abilities, creating spaces where all students and families feel welcomed, and more. With time, MPS is confident those efforts will produce stronger academic outcomes districtwide.

Lucy Laney Principal Mauri Friestleben echoed his sentiments. While acknowledging the film focused on her school, she sees it reflecting all MPS schools and believes the film has power to be a vehicle for change.

“There are so many broken things about education as we know it in America. And yet there are so many beautiful things, as well,” said Friestleben. “It is our collective hope and deepest desire that this film encapsulates the breadth and depth of both. It is our hope this film gives a glimpse into the heart and soul of the dedicated and persistent and resilient and passionate educators in Minneapolis Public Schools and beyond. It is our hope Minneapolis sees this film as not Lucy Laney’s story—but the story of us all.”

Learn more about Lucy Laney at lucylaney.mpls.k12.mn.us, and more about MPS at mpls.k12.mn.us. For more information about the “Love Them First” documentary, visit www.lovethemfirst.com.