The challenge

Minnesota is home to the nation’s second-highest achievement gap between white students and students of color in reading and math.

  • Among the class of 2017 in MPS, the four-year graduation rate among students of color and Native students was 58%. For white students, it was 86%.
  • Among Hispanic/Latinx students in the class of 2017 in MPS, the four-year graduation rate was 57%.
  • Among the graduating MPS seniors of 2016, 73% of white students went on to enroll in college, compared to 60% of students of color and Native students.

These outcomes are the unacceptable result of an Opportunity gap: the unequal and inequitable distribution of educational resources and opportunities that results in radically different levels of academic success for children based on their race, background, and socioeconomic status. Opportunity gap is a much more accurate description of what is happening in Minnesota than the commonly used “achievement gap,” which ascribes lower rates of school success on the children themselves rather than on the unequal opportunities they receive.



Our solution

Hiawatha Academies is focused on closing the opportunity gap and creating a more equitable system of education. We offer our scholars the opportunities and resources necessary for them to grow to their full potential. Our schools are intentionally built around their needs to ensure 100% of our scholars graduate from high school college-ready.

We achieve this through:

  • an unwavering belief in our scholars’ potential
  • doing whatever it takes to ensure they succeed
  • incredible teaching and continuous improvement of our instructional methods
  • a rigorous and well-rounded curriculum
  • more time in the classroom
  • strong school leadership
  • a safe, welcoming space for scholars and their families in which their language and culture are embraced

We’re not just preparing our scholars academically, cultivating the next generation of leaders, and paving a pathway for intergenerational wealth and opportunity for countless families: we’re showing exactly how it can be done. Hiawatha Academies is proof of what happens when we give every child the opportunities they deserve.