What Are Our Student Learning Programs?

The goal of WMEP Student Programs is to provide opportunities for youth to:

  • Build bridges across multiple identities
  • Engage in history and participatory action research
  • Develop anti-racist student leadership skills
  • Access intergenerational learning from multiple perspectives
  • Develop into our next generation of educators
  • Advise policy around education

All of our student programs are designed to increase student engagement, achievement and college/career readiness in order to increase student success. All of our student programs are aligned to academic standards and subject best practices.

Civil Rights Research Experience (CRRE)

Formed in collaboration with a cross-racial group of community members, districts, the U of M, and parents CRRE is a powerful opportunity for students and staff to impact the way history and ethnic studies are taught in the region. The experience combines academic prep courses, a research collection tour, and post-production sessions . With a more diverse group of people at the table, CRRE 2016 increased its tours to include, African American, Native/Sovereign, Latino, and cross-cultural (White, African American, and Latino) strands. The program has grown from 40 students from 4 different districts to over 180 students from 7 different districts.

Student Testimonials:

  • “I often don’t get to be my true self when I’m around friends at school because my school doesn’t look like me. Here not only do I get to be myself, but I see others like me have done brilliant things. –Papa, 11th Grade
  • “People don’t always acknowledge your beauty and knowledge, if it’s not inside your textbook and doesn’t involve getting good grades.  Just because I have a 4.0 GPA doesn’t mean i can draw as good as you, or paint, or dance as good as you.  We are all gifted and we just have to find that thing where we can be a leader.” –Kelly, 12th grade

Dare 2 Be Real (D2BR)

One of WMEP’s popular student learning programs, Dare 2 Be Real, promotes, addresses and discusses racial equity and leadership. Students undergo intensive training and structured discussions that are intended to prepare a new generation for global readiness.  Through cross-cultural coalitions, student use their knowledge, skills, and voices to become actively involved in the community.

In the Dare 2 Be Real program, students explore their own racial and cultural identity through their:

  • Study of critical race theory, United States history, and the development of racial identity
  • Attendance at Courage Retreats for Leadership
  • Development of discussion facilitation skills and tools
  • Experience in the Underground Railroad Simulation (a 30-year-old program founded in MN)
  • Immersion in cultural experiences
  • Development of school programs and events to engage their school communities in a larger conversation about equity and inclusion

Students in Dare 2 Be Real have made presentations at local and national educational conferences including the Summit for Courageous Conversations about Race™ in Baltimore, Maryland.

These students have also led retreat experiences for elementary students to help them address issues involving racial conflict and bullying. Individual Dare 2 Be Real groups have partnered together to form a larger regional discussion and to share best practices.  

The D2BR network has grown as WMEP trains more adults to support the program at their sites. Over 700 students across the twin cities are participating in a group that is part of the Dare 2 Be Real Network.

Who Is Able to Attend Our Student Learning Programs?

Our programs are grade specific to students who attend the public schools of our member districts: Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony/New Brighton, St. Louis Park, and Wayzata.

How Do You Get Involved in One of Our Programs?

If our student programs are not already available through your school, contact our WMEP Services Administrator Kara Richardson at kara_richardson@wmep.k12.mn.us or 612.752.7204.