Harvest Network of Schools announces big changes for next year

 Eric Mahmoud, founder and CEO of the Harvest Network of Schools (HNS) spoke at a 2018 breakfast for HNS volunteers and community partners where they announced the future of HNS and its schools.  Photo by Cirien Saadeh

Eric Mahmoud, founder and CEO of the Harvest Network of Schools (HNS) spoke at a 2018 breakfast for HNS volunteers and community partners where they announced the future of HNS and its schools. Photo by Cirien Saadeh

Cirien Saadeh | Staff Reporter

The Harvest Network of Schools (HNS) has announced several big structural changes as it moves into the 2018- 2019 school year. According to a May 23 press release, the Harvest Network of Schools will cease operations and Harvest Preparatory Academy, a K-6 school founded in 1996, and Best Academy, a K-8 school founded in 2008, will merge into one school. The Mastery School, founded in 2012, will continue to operate under separate management and its own board of directors, though a partnership with the Harvest-Best school is expected to continue.

According to Eric Mahmoud, founder and CEO of HNS, the decision was not made lightly. HNS had announced an expansion plan in 2013, but the focus on expansion hurt the three school’s academic quality. Rather than continuing to risk test scores and student learning, Mahmoud says they chose to stop their expansion and reorganize.

“Our emphasis will be adult culture and school culture, making sure that the adults are fully engaged with the students and making sure the students know why they are here and are excited about learning,” said Mahmoud who anticipates having a leadership role in the new structure.

The reorganization which was voted on and approved by the HNS Board and school parents in April, was announced during an annual breakfast in May, honoring the network’s 43 partners and 250+ volunteers.

According to Mahmoud, parents and students should not feel the impacts of the reorganization, though staff layoffs are expected. The merger will be completed by July 1 in time for the 2018- 2019 school year.

HNS is currently celebrating its 25th year of operating in North Minneapolis. During the breakfast, which took place in the The Mastery School’s gym, Mahmoud and HNS were honored by Sondra Samuels, President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone. NAZ has been an HNS partner for years.

“What we’re doing together – volunteers, staff, partners  we’re building something. We’re building something in the middle of Minneapolis so our students can sail into a limitless future,” said Samuels.

Cirien Saadeh