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Minnesota Middle School Gets Rid of ‘F’ Grades

Plus: COVID in Minnesota schools, a rogue Park Board painter, and an Indigenous investigation in today's Flyover.

Jeswin Thomas

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

This Middle School Doesn’t Give an F

At Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, F grades are a thing of the past. “We are replacing the ‘F’ with an ‘I’ for incomplete, so when you get a poor grade, you’re not done and there is more learning to do, it’s still important,” principal Christina Pierre told KSTP. The idea is that by retaking tests rather than failing outright, students—especially students on the margins—actually learn the material rather than getting disheartened and giving up. But of course, there are a bunch of back-in-my-day, uphill-both-ways people on Twitter and at Fox News boo-hooing about participation trophies and snowflakes. To them we say, evaluate the following expression involving mixed numbers: (3 4/7 – 1 1/2) ÷ (2 3/8 + 2 1/4).

COVID Surges Through Schools

If you’re looking for an education story that’s worth being upset about, COVID is ripping through Minnesota’s schools. More than 400 buildings now have outbreaks, an increase of 74% over the last week, according to the Department of Health’s weekly report. Seven staff members and seven students were hospitalized with COVID over that seven-day period, with four staff members entering the ICU and one dying from the virus. Meanwhile, as the Pioneer Press reports, hospital beds—especially for children—are getting scarce.

Who Was Here First?

The latest episode of the Star Tribune’s Curious Minnesota podcast asks an interesting question: Which Indigenous tribes first called Minnesota home? The short answer is that it was the Dakota, followed by the Ojibwe, according to archeological evidence. But the episode gets deep on the when, why, and how of each tribe’s arrival to the state, addressing everything from Minnesota’s oldest human remains to the oral traditions of the Dakota.

Minneapolis Park Board is Way Out of Line

On Thursday, photos started circulating of the new paint lines on Victory Memorial Parkway—and these actually do deserve an F grade. Tag yourself! I’m the first one (almost holding it together but wobbling and breaking under the pressure). The Park Board has responded to say that “The striping was completed by a contractor as a part of a trail sealcoating project. The striping does not meet MPRB standards/specs and will be re-done to MPRB standards. Covering the existing line and re-striping will start asap.”