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Metcalf class project is real-life lesson in how change happens

Posted on November 2, 2018

Eighth-grade students who researched and then proposed some changes at Metcalf Middle School received real-life lessons through the classroom project.

It started with an assignment in Steve Orth’s Blaze Time class with Principal Shannon McParland invited to hear the students’ presentations. Blaze Time, which takes place at all middle schools in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, is one class period each day focused on enrichment, acceleration or intervention programming for students. For Orth’s class, the assignment was an opportunity for enrichment and authentic learning.

Students’ suggestions (in brief) were:

  • Advisory: Shorten it and make it like a study hall
  • Chromebooks/electronics: Let them be used at lunch
  • Passing time: Lengthen the current three-minute time by one to two minutes
  • Field trips: Increase them to at least two per school year
  • Stairwells: Open an additional stairwell during passing times

McParland took their suggestions to her school leadership team for discussion. In her return visit to the class, she announced that passing time would increase by one minute to give students four minutes to move between classes.

“Your voice matters,” she told students, “and when you propose changes the correct way with data and recommendations, you make possibilities become reality. That’s how change happens.”

She also gave updates on their other proposals:

  • Advisory period will not be shortened but it is evolving to focus more on goal setting, organization and other work and life skills that will benefit students now and in the future.
  • Chromebooks are banned at lunch by all three of the district’s middle schools to protect them from potential damage. “At Metcalf, you’re allowed to use phones by lockers, and that’s a privilege,” she said.
  • By law, the school can’t charge for field trips that are connected to the curriculum. She’s looking into grants or other funding to expand opportunities for field trips so there’s at least one per grade each year.
  • For the safety and security of students, an additional stairwell will not be opened, she said.

“I’m proud of  you,” Orth told students. “You did more than you had to do with this assignment, and you even got one proposal approved. Plus Principal McParland left the door open for more dialogue.”

Orth wanted this to be an authentic learning opportunity for students. The goal was for them to see the value of not just gathering information, but also sharing their suggestions in order to bring about change.

“You didn’t get everything you proposed, but that’s real life,” he said. “You used your voices to advocate for change and to make a difference. Your voices matter.”

While talking with McParland, students brought up other changes they’d like to see like having an 8th grade overnight event at the school and reinstating the school newspaper.

“If you’re passionate about something then do the research, gather the data, develop the presentation and come talk with me and share the information,” she said.

Posted in Academics | Tagged metcalf, middle school

Search for new superintendent will start with search firm

Posted on November 2, 2018

In its search for a superintendent to replace Cindy Amoroso next summer, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will start by finding a professional firm to support that work.

Human Resources Director Stacey Sovine presented a timeline for the process that includes requesting proposals from potential search firms in the first half of November and selecting that firm before the end of the calendar year.

The search process itself will begin after Jan. 1. More details about the process will be available after the search firm is selected.

Amoroso will retire after the 2018-19 school year, which ends June 30, 2019. She’s served as District 191 superintendent since July 1, 2017, and was assistant superintendent for four years prior to that.

Information about the search for the next District 191 superintendent will be available on the District 191 website at www.isd191.org/superintendent-search.

Posted in Superintendent Search

All District 191 families invited to coding event hosted by Burnsville High School

Posted on November 1, 2018

Children and parents can learn to code during a free event hosted from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 in the Learning Commons at Burnsville High School, 600 E. Highway 13, during National Hour of Code week Dec. 3-8.

This second annual Family Code Night will feature more than 20 interactive sessions for parents and students from kindergarten through grade 12 in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. Coding, also known as computer programming, is when you tell a computer exactly what to do by giving it step-by-step directions.

“We want to showcase how all students in our district have opportunities to learn coding,” said Rachel Gorton, the district’s instructional technology coordinator. “All students learn how to code in elementary school and middle school students continue to code in exploratory courses. In high school, students have many classes they can take to further enhance their skills.”

At Family Code Night, new activities are being added this year along with favorites from last year including binary bead bracelets, coding with Ozobots, a Dash wonder workshop, Sphero coding, app development, web design coding, Bitxbox, coding with Scratch on the Raspberry Pi and learning about the IOT (Internet of Things), Mindcraft, and more.

“Coding has become increasingly important in many jobs and careers,” said Cindy Drahos, information technology teacher at Burnsville High School. “Through hands-on learning at Family Code Night, students and parents will learn about coding and understand how important it has become in daily life.”  

In addition, families will leave with activities to do at home – both on computers and unplugged.

Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, coding, hour of code

Super Snacks boost after-school nutrition

Posted on November 1, 2018

Students need nourishment to do their best at school. That’s why schools in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 are adding entrees and vegetables to snacks that are provided to students in after-school programs.

The district’s Food and Nutrition Services has provided healthy snacks to students in after-school programs for years. But now in addition to milk or fruit/juice and a bread/grain, students will receive vegetables and an entree which makes this a Super Snack. Entees may include sandwiches, meat, or cheese and crackers. Many selections are different from what’s served during the school day.   

“We expect more of students each year, and with increasing academic rigor we need to provide increased support,” said Dr. Elizabeth Vaught, principal at Edward Neill Elementary School. “This is a positive and wonderful change to our after-school programming.”

Eight elementary schools in the district qualify to receive federal funding for the Super Snack program: Rahn, Sioux Trail, Edward Neill, Gideon Pond, Sky Oaks, Vista View, Hidden Valley, and M.W. Savage.

Students who attend after-school programs (Project KIDS and PALS) at these schools will receive the Super Snack as well as students who participate in Burnsville Youth Collaborative (BYC) programming at two middle schools in the district. Students must consume the food at school.

“We hope to expand the program in the future to make sure that all students who need Super Snack will receive it,” said Vaught.

Posted in Health, Academics

BAHS students begin year-long leadership academy

Posted on November 1, 2018

Thirty students from Burnsville Alternative High School (BAHS) are participating in a year-long leadership academy in which they will develop three service projects designed to have positive impact on their school and community.

The students were recommended for the academy by their teachers and other school staff members based on the leadership skills they’ve already demonstrated.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to gain skills, experiences and knowledge, and then demonstrate what they’ve learned by developing community service projects,” said Courtnee Jackson Floback, youth service coordinator with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Community Education. “I’m excited about the positive impact these students will have on their school and wider community.”

The academy kicked off on Oct. 25 with students working individually on ways to thank someone who has invested in them in a “big way” and made an impact in their lives.

The service project in December will emphasize teamwork by asking students to “Drive, Do and Deliver” during the winter season.

As the academy winds up in May, students will work together to identify a community issue they’d most like to address on a larger scale. Then they’ll apply the leadership skills they’ve learned to create and implement the service project.

The leadership academy was developed and funded by Chick-fil-a. Students from Burnsville High School participated in the program last year.

Posted in Academics, Student Success | Tagged BAHS, leadership

VIDEO: Chrome Music Lab at Rahn Arts & Tech

Posted on October 31, 2018

Music educator Rachel Lucius put the new elementary chromebooks to creative, musical use through the Chrome Music Lac project.

Chrome Music Lab at Rahn Arts & Tech from ISD 191 on Vimeo.

Posted in Academics | Tagged arts and technology, chromebooks, elementary, rahn

Veterans invited to program at Hidden Valley Elementary Nov. 12

Posted on October 31, 2018

Military veterans and community members currently serving in the military are invited to a Veterans Day program at 9:35 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Savage.

Students will present poppies and cards to veterans. Students will also be singing patriotic songs and some will be speaking.

“We would love to have a gym full of veterans attending our program,” said Kimberly Wood, music specialist. “It’s great for our students to see veterans and have the opportunity to honor them.”

The school is located at 13875 Glendale Road, Savage. If you need information, contact the school at (952) 707-3800.

Legacy Career Club helps students explore career pathways

Posted on October 29, 2018

Legacy Career Club is a new, exciting after-school activity that will be offered at Burnsville High School on Tuesdays. This club aims to teach students about the different pathways that are available to them.

Students in grades 11 and 12 are eligible to participate and will have the opportunity to meet with professionals from local businesses, including Thomson Reuters, Xcel Energy and more! Students will engage in hands-on activities while developing a variety of skills necessary for the workplace.

The video below explains Legacy Career Clubs. If you have any questions, please contact the Marcia Sexton in the Career Center for more information at 952-707-2339.

 

Posted in Academics, Community | Tagged bhs, career pathways, legacy career clubs, career center

One Word Project at Hidden Valley

Posted on October 26, 2018

Students in Jeff Schwenn's 5th grade class at Hidden Valley Elementary chose one word to guide their work throughout the school year.

One Word at Hidden Valley from ISD 191 on Vimeo.

Posted in Academics | Tagged hidden valley

Eagle Ridge teacher awarded grant for STEM research activities

Posted on October 25, 2018

Pat Mosey, a science teacher at Eagle Ridge Middle School, has received a $1,000 grant to support STEM research activities in her classroom.

She’s among 24 middle school science teachers across the country to be awarded STEM grants from the Society for Science & the Public in Washington, D.C.

“I’m excited to be providing this financial support to middle school teachers who encounter students at such an important point in their lives,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public. “During this crucial time, students start setting the stage for their future path in high school while some young people begin drifting away from their interests in STEM. By providing these teachers with the resources to build a meaningful STEM research program, we are helping to engage the next generation of leaders in engineering and science.”

Mosey said her funding will go towards supplies for water testing, germ samples and other hands-on learning activities that will be part of the school’s science/engineering fair on Jan. 17, during the school day and continuing until 6:30 p.m.  

The grant program supports educators who are implementing fresh and innovative teaching methods to shed light on discoveries that can be made through original STEM research projects. The one-time grants, in large part, are provided to educators in schools serving in low-income areas or underrepresented students.

Eagle Ridge Middle School is located in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

Posted in Academics | Tagged STEM, eagle ridge, middle school

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