Hamline Elementary and Hamline U celebrate 125-year collaboration



HU to He walkCollege begins in kindergarten.

Craig Anderson, principal at Hamline Elementary, 1599 Englewood, explained that this phrase is the school’s motto. And with its connection to Hamline University, the school definitely lives up to it.

“Last year we celebrated 125 years of collaboration between Hamline University and this school,” Anderson said. “And the beauty of it is that it started with a handshake. We stand on the shoulders of many, many fantastic people. Both schools commit to be wonderful neighbors and work with each other.”

The Hamline to Hamline Collaboration entails strong connections between the college students and the elementary students that take place throughout the school year. It also includes a scholarship which started four years ago that is awarded to an individual who has at some time attended Hamline Elementary and becomes a student at Hamline University.

“Somewhere between 2005 and 2007 Rita Johnson, a professor at Hamline, won an award from the University. Part of the award was a $5,000 prize, and she donated that prize as seed money to start the scholarship fund,” Anderson said. “The scholarship could not be in place until it was endowed, and the endowment level used to be $20,000,” he continued, “and a $20,000 endowed scholarship would generate $1,000 per year for a student. So we needed to raise $20,000.”

With the $5,000 start from Johnson’s award, Hamline Elementary spent the next few years doing fundraisers and having silent auctions to reach $20,000.

The scholarship is open to any student who has attended Hamline Elementary. Anderson said the same person has received it for the last three years, as a freshman, sophomore and junior at Hamline.

“Obviously, we want it to be more. A thousand dollars is not a lot, but it does go a little way in helping the student,” Anderson said.

He noted that three years ago an idea was developed to have a Hike for the Health of the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration.

“It combines healthy living and walking with the idea that we need a little bit of money, too,” he said. “So we ask for pledges on our walk, and the kids raise money to go towards the scholarship. It’s not as much about the kids raising money as it is the community, so the teachers on this side of the street throw into the hat and the professors on the other side of the street do the same, and we encourage all the Hamline University students who work on the collaboration to donate to the scholarship fund.”

This year the walk took place on May 5, and all of the sports teams at Hamline University decided to support the hike and healthy living. They set up events on the Klas Field, and the elementary students walked from the school to Hewitt and across the street to the Field. They walked the track, and as they were walking the Hamline athletes pulled out classes to do an activity, such as relay races, hula hoops or catch and toss.

As the kids finished one activity and went back to walking, they would do another activity as it opened up.

“The hike takes place over the convocation hour at Hamline, so students and instructors are not in class,” Anderson said.

HU to HE collaborationAnderson said that both the University and the elementary school have liaisons that work on the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration.  “They get a course release so they don’t have to teach a course, but then they do have to work with the committee to keep all things collaborative between the two campuses,” he explained.

Margot Howard, who is currently working on her master’s degree at Hamline, was formerly a University liaison.

“The collaboration between the elementary school and the university was definitely one of the first in the country,” she said. “Now it’s becoming more popular. And, it doesn’t just focus on the School of Education, but involves the whole school.”

She cited as an example the School of Anthropology. The anthropology class goes to the elementary school and teaches the younger students about an archaeological dig, and then they take them to a dig on campus.

“I knew as an undergraduate I wanted to work with kids, but not as a teacher,” Howard said. She said working with the Collaboration gave her that opportunity to connect with them.

“It energizes my soul to work with kids,” she noted.

Hamline Elementary currently has its technology instructor, Jodie Wilson, serving as its liaison.

“We have pairings of students at every grade level,” Anderson stated. “Our most famous pairing is 5th grade students paired with the law school. We have law students come to Hamline Elementary and teach us all about the law process, and then our students do a mock trial, taking on all the roles over at the courtroom on the Hamline campus. There’s a Ramsey County judge who comes to preside over the proceedings. It’s just a fantastic way to learn in a real setting and see what’s available post-secondary. These are real things you can learn how to do.”

Another pairing is kindergarten students with the Hamline female gymnasts. “The girls do a big demo for them so they get to see how all the equipment works, and they get to play with, and touch, some of the equipment,” Anderson related.  He said kindergartners also get to go over to the Bush Memorial Library and listen to a story read by the Hamline University librarian.

Another program involving collaboration between the two schools is the federal work-study America Reads and America Counts.  Anderson said 70-100 college students earn their work-study by being tutors at the elementary school, working with the kids and teachers.

He added that the university’s student council has as its largest activity a college access mentorship program called Hand in Hand, similar to Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

“An elementary student and a university student are paired, and the Hamline student comes over to spend 45 minutes a week with a kid who is in need socially. They also hold three big events a year.”

He said the Hamline elementary students play games and talk about college access with their college mentor buddies. “We currently have about 50 pairs,” he noted.

He said one other event involves the kindergarteners going on a tour of the Hamline University campus in the spring, getting to see dorms and have some ice cream. They get a certificate for having attended their first day of college.

“We really try to instill a desire for post-secondary education,” Anderson stated. “Not necessarily just at Hamline, because we know kids have other interests; we have a fifth grade class going to St. Paul College and visiting their shop department.”

“We really are a shared campus,” he added. “Hamline University uses us for learning about education and giving its students a place to serve, and we get from them learning opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist.  It really is pre-K through 16 in the Hamline Midway neighborhood.”


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