LearningWorks Creates Community, Positive Learning Environment


Photo submitted by Natalie Owens-Pike

Addison Anderson ’19 works with students during the summer.

Nora Fox , Contributing Writer

“I learn so much from my students because we all create a community together through LearningWorks. It feels like Blake transforms into a new place during the summer even though it’s the same building,” explains Addison Anderson ‘19, a teacher at LearningWorks.

LearningWorks, a private and public partnership between Minneapolis Public Schools and Blake, strives to provide academic acceleration and college prep to those who may not have the resources, preparing them to thrive in college and beyond. Made up of over twenty schools and a number of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, LearningWorks fosters a diverse learning environment where all kids can excel.

LearningWorks offers two programs. The summer program is a 29-day academic enrichment, skill building, and leadership development program, while the school year program provides academic support and community building through teacher-designed academic workshops on 12 Saturday mornings between October and April.

LearningWorks’ summer program, which Addison is a part of, allows students and teachers to form especially strong bonds with each other. Addison explains, “My bonds grew a lot more during my time working in the summer because I was with my students every day for a couple of weeks, compared to just a few hours every other weekend during the school year.” 

In a learning environment with a large variety of ethnicities and cultures, students learn how to collaborate and work together, strengthening the community and relationships within it.  “A diverse community is really important in learning,” explains Natalie Owens-Pike, Director of LearningWorks. Anderson is devoted to creating a strong community which shows in her encouraging and uplifting teaching approach at LearningWorks. She explains, “I’ve learned how much more there is to teaching than just the curriculum. I teach eighth-grade math, and the majority of my students came into class hating math. My biggest goal throughout the summer wasn’t teaching algebra skills, it was to get my students to believe in themselves.”  

“Blake transforms into a new place during the summer even though it’s the same building””

— Addison Anderson

Not only did Anderson’s encouraging words allow her students to become stronger versions of themselves, but her relationship with each student also grew exponentially. “I am really close with my students. I feel like the bonds are different because compared to a regular teacher/student relationships, I’m closer in age to my students so I feel like I can relate to them more.” Ian Acheson ‘21, a teacher at LearningWorks, adds, “It’s the little things that make everyone closer in a community.”

Photo submitted by Natalie Owens-Pike  
Natalie Owens-Pike, the Director of LearningWorks, greets students as they walk into the school each morning.

Because of its encouraging and inclusive environment, LearningWorks fosters a strong community where each student is able to successfully learn and grow. Owens-Pike gushes LearningWorks’ motto: “It’s cool to be smart, it’s cool to be you, it’s cool to care.”