Minneapolis Schools Team Up With Local Radio

Written by Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

Fun Partnerships with KBEM

Minneapolis Schools have a unique relationship with local radio.  As radio is the voice of the people and the Minneapolis schools educate those same people, it seems a natural match.   Local radio station KBEM has had a long relationship with Minneapolis schools and been an active partner in community events to help students, teachers, and parents stay in touch and stay active in the Minneapolis school system.  

One of the most popular ways that this partnership is shown is in the National Night Out celebrations held this past summer.   KBEM was instrumental in gathering the community together for a festival of music, freedom, and getting to know each other.   The event has been a huge success in recent years and this year was no exception.   Minneapolis school students, parents, and teachers, gathered at this interesting community event to be entertained as well as informed about how to stay active in the community.

The evening kicks off with a performance by the Bruce Henry Band followed by a block party on Plymouth Avenue between Russell and Sheridan.   The band was won during a KBEM contest to design the most creative invitations to the National Night Out.  The winning entry was submitted by a north Minneapolis coalition who created a handmade miniature “Peace Shrine Storybook” to express their neighborhood challenges and story. The storybook invitation was created through a collaboration of the Asian American Community Center, Plymouth Avenue Art Studio, and the AIM (All in the Mix) neighborhood group.

Connections Throughout the Year

In addition to the fun times like the National Night Out, Minneapolis schools partner with local radio stations throughout the year to bring school information to the community.   Since 1970, KBEM and Jazz 88 have provided the driving directions to Minneapolis schools as well as broadcast important information about school closings and special events.    These services have proved valuable to the community as well as the students and teachers of Minneapolis schools. 

On a more creative side, KBEM and Jazz 88 have worked together to implement a jazz curriculum in Minneapolis schools to create an active interest in jazz music and radio broadcasting.   KBEM is also the voice of Minneapolis Public Schools and is the only FM broadcast service in the United States that combines a high school broadcast communications program with a jazz history curriculum and a 24-hour mainstream jazz format. The KBEM program is headquartered at North High School and directly impacts approximately 150 students each year by involving them in classroom, mentorship and partnership programs. 

This program is unique to nation and provides Minneapolis school students with a special place in the community as well as teaching the skills and training that these Minneapolis school students need to develop into strong professionals.   Through the KBEM program, students connect to history, to their communities, and develop a sense of pride in what the Minneapolis school system has to offer.    The partnership with KBEM has proven itself to be a worthwhile venture and creative opportunity to unite the Minneapolis schools with the community and beyond.