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Mays Cafe & Title I NIght

 It takes a village to raise a child.

Mays Cafe is an opportunity for our community to have honest, open conversations about working together for our children.


During our Mays Cafe & Title I Night, Thursday, October 22, we explored Title I’s impact on Mays. Title I is the United States Federal Government’s largest education program to support public schools. The Purpose of Title I is to help every child receive a high quality education and to achieve the high academic standards set by the State of Minnesota.


Title I at Mays provides for a Math & IB Content Coach, Restorative Practices (RP) and Positive Behavior & Intervention Supports Coach (PBIS), a licensed School Counselor, and a Family Engagement Liaison. The work of these staff members supports three key documents; the School Continuous Improvement Plan (SCIP), the Family Engagement Plan (FEP), and the Grade Level Compacts.


These three documents are created by parents and teachers working together. The SCIP is the plan for student achievement, defining specific strategies to reach academic goals. The FEP is the roadmap for family engagement, outlining how and what Mays communicates to families and the events that are held. The compacts describe how the school and parents will work together to support students’ learning.


You can find the Title I presentation here.


One of the tools Mays uses to gather input on the SCIP, FEP and Compacts is the Mays Café. The Mays Cafe is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to discuss student success. The theme for this Café was, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Some things that were discussed were:

  • Our changing roles during the pandemic
  • Demands on time and the difficulty of achieving balance
  • Benefits and challenges of being dependent on technology
  • Pleasure of spending more time with family and being more of an education insider
  • Relying heavily on parents to help students login to work, attend Meets, and complete assignments
  • Social development of our children when they are not face-to-face with peers
  • Enjoying more communication between home and school
  • Synchronous time with classmates and teachers is good
  • Disparities and systemic racism

Notes were collected using the Jamboard app. You can find the notes here.


Read on for a history of CAFE and parent voice at Mays.


The CAFE is a place to meet other parents, community members, and Benjamin E. Mays staff members who are interested in making Mays the best education experience possible. During CAFE, we talk about what our children need to succeed and we share ideas. Your voice is needed around our table. Each CAFE builds on the conversations from past CAFEs. 


During our fall 2019 Mays CAFE/Title I Night we learned about Title I at Mays and looked at the IB PYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme). There are four main tenants of an IB PYP education. IB is concept-based, inquiry-based, transdisciplinary, and internationally-minded. We discussed what an IB education means for our children. We also began to explore ways to better involve parents in the IB program at Mays. Here is the IB presentation that was shared during CAFE.



 CAFE Posters

The winter CAFE of January 24, 2019 saw a smaller than usual turnout because of the chillly weather. We took advantage of our smaller group and changed the CAFE format to a Circle format. Parents, community members, teachers, and administrators shared ideas on how to create a welcoming environment. We also laughed together as we recalled what has changed in education since we were in school. We ended the evening with ideas to help us partner as we experience changes in education. Ms. Walker, our talented art teacher, is creating posters to reflect our conversations. Find the notes from the event by clicking here Harvest from Mays CAFE 1-24-2019..


Thank you to all of the parents, community members, and teachers who took part in the fall Mays CAFE and Annual Title I Night Thursday, September 27. We had a presentation on Title I at Mays and then launched into conversations inspired by these words from Benjamin E. Mays, "I believe that everyone is born into the world to do something unique and distinctive." What were you born to do? How do we help our children find and develop what they are supposed to do? Once again our group discussed the need of being a model and example to our children and to each other. The support we provide for our children comes in many forms. Listening, observing and providing opportuniites are all important things we do for each other and for our children as we develop and share our gifts. It is also good to embrace failure as part of learning. 


Our previous Mays CAFÉ was our winter CAFE on  Thursday, January 25, 2018. The 4th and 5th grade student performers from the Center for Culture, Families, and Learning (CCFL) culture classes did a fantastic job opening our evening. We had a quick conversation about winter weather policy in St. Paul and then discussed what we wanted to accomplish during the year, for both our ourselves and our children. One of the things we decided as a group is that attaining one’s goals and helping our children attain their goals takes planning, commitment, and encouragement. The best plans are reviewed and adapted along the way. As parents and teachers, it is important to model for our children what we want to see. It is also important to share our history and our struggles. We hope our children can stand on our shoulders and go further than we have. We are their stepping-stones to a better tomorrow.



During our fall Mays CAFE on Thursday, October 26, 2017; parents, teachers, community members and administration met to talk about educating our children. Building on past CAFEs, we examined the idea that, "it takes a village to raise a child." Below are the questions we asked and the answers that we came up with collectively.

  • What is your role in the village?

Our roles are to identify and support the needs of our children and help them operate within different systems.

  • What are challenges to your role?

When families and schools work together, one of the big challenges is understanding your role within the other system and how to step into that role. One of the other challenges is limited resources: time, money, people, emotions.

  • How can we support each other’s role?

To understand our role within the other system we have to communicate (listen and speak), be vulnerable, ask questions, and seek other perspectives. We have to clearly identify needs and common goals and ask for help. If we are encouraging people to ask for support, we have to have a safe and respectful environment. Before people ask for support they need a relationship based in trust. We acknowledge building a trusting relationship is a process of small steps.


For each question at our CAFEs, a poster was created. The posters are shared below. The posters from the most recent CAFE will appear here when they are completed.


9-27-2018 Mays CAFE Poster 2

9-27-2018 Mays CAFE Poster 3

Mays CAFE 10-26-2017 posters


Mays CAFE Fall 2016 What Makes a Strong Home/School Partnership

Mays CAFE Fall 2016 The Importance of Home/School Parnterships

Mays CAFE Fall 2016 Strengthening Partnerships at Mays