MREA has appointed Paul Schmitz, principal of Willmar Senior High School, to the Student Discipline Working Group at the Minnesota Department of Education.
The 2015 Supplemental Budget bill called for this working group to review the Fair Pupil Dismissal Act, which statutorily defines student suspensions and expulsions. MREA is among the 21 organizations listed to appoint representatives.
The working group is to provide a report to the 2017 legislature. While suspensions and expulsions have decreased significantly over the last five years in Minnesota, the disproportionality between student groups has not changed over that same period of time. This working group can help provide a comprehensive review of discipline incidents in schools and develop a plan to reduce discipline disproportionality in Minnesota.
Paul brings an experienced, rural perspective to the future of Minnesota education with an increasingly diverse student body. Before his time as principal, Paul served as dean of students at the middle school level, and activities director and assistant principal.
Willmar Senior High School has a graduation rate of 84 percent, slightly above the state average. It has a diverse student body with 43 percent students of color.
Paul will represent MREA’s membership of 215 school districts educating 225,000 students every day across the state. Willmar school is one of 31 rural regional center school districts which are members of MREA.