Pratt Elementary School
History as a School
In the fall of 2000 Pratt Community School reopened with Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. The community had worked for a number of years to support this reopening. Pratt Community School is dedicated to every child's success. Pratt strives to provide a small school, child focused, family-like atmosphere and offers extended-learning opportunities and before and after school care. The school has a commitment to integrating the arts into the curriculum and is a Peace Site. Pratt shares leadership and staff with Tuttle Community School in Southeast Minneapolis. Pratt is now a K-5 school within the Minneapolis Public School system.
Pratt Community Center has been at the heart of the community for more than a century! For its first 84 years, Sidney Pratt School was a neighborhood elementary school. The original six-room brick building was enlarged with additional classrooms in 1906, and in 1926 with a gymnasium which displaced the original front of the building (on Sidney Place).
Sidney Pratt's father was Robert Pratt who at age 21 came to Minneapolis in 1866 after fighting for the Union in the American Civil War. Robert served on the Minneapolis City Council for 3 years, the the Board of Education for 10 years and as Mayor of Minneapolis for 4 years. When the school opened in 1898 it was named after his son Sidney who was a graduate of North High School and the first Minneapolis public school graduate to die in the Spanish American War. Naming the school after Sidney was suggested in an editorial by the Minneapolis Tribune and won out over the original proposed name "Gladstone", then the British Prime Minister.
When the federally funded experimental program, Southeast Alternatives was introduced in 1971, Pratt became the "Continuous Progress" elementary school enrolling children from throughout the city (Marcy Elementary was the "Open School"; Tuttle Elementary was the "Traditional School", and for a time, Motley Elementary was the "Free School").
In 1982, the Minneapolis school system undertook a massive reorganization, shutting down 17 city schools and 5 out of 6 schools in Southeast Minneapolis including Pratt. Residents of Southeast Minneapolis were determined to preserve the venerable school building and use it for programs that would serve the entire community.
Largely because of neighborhood efforts, Pratt was transformed from an elementary school to a thriving Community Education Center. In the mid-1990's the Prospect Park East River Road's Neighborhood Revitalization Program's (PPERR NRP) Action Plan earmarked over $100,000 for capital improvements to the school and its grounds. Working with a number of grant agencies and the Minneapolis Public Schools, over $1.1 million has been invested in sandblasting the exterior, installing new doors and windows, refurbishing the entire third floor, installing an elevator and conforming with disabled persons access, installing computer networking cable infrastructure, redesigning the parking, front landscaping and recreation areas around the building and constructing a "village green park" where people can hang out and relax.
For more information about the history of Pratt, see: A School in the Country: The Early History of Sidney Pratt, by Susan Larson-Fleming, published By: Sidney Pratt School, January, 1998. See also the Sidney Pratt School Placeography page.