A Minneapolis Public Schools teacher seized an opportunity that changed the entire climate of a school for the better. It started when one school in North Minneapolis Franklin Middle School was reopened last year after being shut down for several years. After a turbulent start to the reopening of the school Michael Bratsch a teacher at Franklin saw an opportunity to bring the entire school community together. He thought a school song could be a way to build morale and pride at the school. He brought the idea up to a diverse group of students in an academic & leadership program he founded titled “The Futureboys and Girls” and immediately students took ownership of the project and began brainstorming, writing, collaborating, and preparing for the recording of the song. This not only gave students an opportunity for project-based learning, but also gave students an opportunity to learn real life career skills. “The impact interest based and project based learning can have on students is remarkable.” Says Bratsch. He is passionate about wanting educators to not be afraid of trying new strategies for learning.

He also stresses the importance of school leadership. “I am thankful to have an amazing Administrator in Principal Karon Cunningham that supports innovation, has high expectations, and treats her staff as professionals.”

As a teacher modeling leadership has been a key to long-term success with students as they begin to become motivated from within. “When you develop leaders not only are you covering academics, you are also covering socio-emotional learning, social skills, and college and career readiness skills students will need to have as 21stCentury learners.

Before the school song and video was released in May of 2016 there was an average of around 10 behavior calls an hour at Franklin Middle School, but after was a different story. The following day after the assembly there was only two behavior calls the entire day. The trend continued for the remainder of the school year with minimal behavior issues and an increased attitude of success and respect for their school.