BAHS students raise funds for Colobus Conservation

Posted on March 13, 2018

A fundraiser at Burnsville Alternative High School (BAHS) exceeded its goal and raised $465 for Colobus Conservation Limited, a member of the Pan Africa Sanctuary Alliance. A match from TJ’s Painting brings the grand total to $715.

“I am so proud of the students’ dedication to this process,” said science teacher Angela Engelhardt. “Students were involved every step of the way, and took their leadership skills and used them to create a global impact.”

Students decided to sponsor seven orphaned monkeys and one Dwarf Galago. They will get information on them throughout the year as their rehabilitation progresses.

Colobus Conservation Limited is a not-for-profit organization designed to conserve, preserve and protect primates in Kenya. For more information:

Photo: Burnsville Alternative High School students collected donations in a number of ways, including by selling Candy Grams for Valentine’s Day.
Posted in Community | Tagged service, community, BAHS, Colobus Conservation Limited

Eagle Ridge spelling champ takes 4th at regionals

Posted on March 12, 2018

Eagle Ridge Middle School 8th grader Jessie Vogler, who won the school’s spelling bee last fall, finished in a tie for fourth place out of 42 spellers at the South Central Regional Spelling Bee in Mankato recently.

Eagle Ridge teacher and spelling bee coordinator Shelley Hermes called the regional competition fun, challenging and exciting.

“Jessie represented Eagle Ridge and District 191 in an exemplary way,” Hermes said.

Jessie came out on top of the Eagle Ridge competition after 143 words. Sixth grader Jack Morgan took second, and eighth grader Shrey Pothini finished in third.

Pictured: Eagle Ridge top spellers, from left, Shrey Pothini, Jack Morgan and Jessie Vogler
Posted in Student Success | Tagged eagle ridge, spelling bee

Thirty DECA students compete at State, one moves on to Nationals

Posted on March 9, 2018

Thirty Burnsville High School DECA students competed at the 2018 Minnesota DECA State Career Development Conference (SCDC), held March 4-6 in Minneapolis. One student qualified for Nationals and nine students were named state finalists in a competition that had more than 2,000 students compete.

Senior Ryan Horrocks was a state finalist in the Advanced Interview and Marketing Communications series. He placed third in the Marketing Communications series event and qualified for DECA Nationals, which will be April 21-24 in Georgia.

Other students who qualified for finals at the state level include Jake Chudecke, Kaylee Martynow and Elizabeth McCormick for their Public Relations Project (9th place); Ariana Driscoll-Cherland and Emma Hovde for their Financial Literacy Promotions Project (7th place);

Matthew Nguyen for his Principles of Marketing event (8th place and top 10% in his test category); Kayla Kallstrom for Sales Demonstration Hard Line (5th place); and Victor Sanchez for Business Services Marketing series (10th place).

In addition, Ryan Blackwood placed in the top 10% of his test category, Elizabeth McCormick was selected for the Minnesota DECA Scholarship, and Matthew Nguyen’s and Victor Sanchez’s project placed second overall in the Marketing Plan Project competition.

“This year SCDC was the most competitive I have ever seen, with more students and more sections in each event,” said BHS DECA advisor and business teacher Meggan Malone. “Burnsville students couldn’t have made me more proud with their professional attitudes and preparedness for their events.”

DECA is a leadership program that provides real-world experiences to prepare students for careers in finance, entrepreneurship, hospitality, marketing and management. Students in DECA-related classes, such as Introduction to Business and Marketing, Professional Sales and Marketing, and DECA Seminar, also have the opportunity to participate in competitive events that focus on demonstrating the skills they’ve learned.

Posted in Achievement, Student Success | Tagged bhs, DECA, State Career Development Conference, state, nationals

District 191 tech director selected as ‘Outstanding Central Office Administrator’

Posted on March 8, 2018

Doug Johnson portraitDoug Johnson, the director of technology in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, has been selected as the 2018 Outstanding Central Office Administrator – Metro Award by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA).

The annual award honors two non-superintendent MASA members (one from a metro district and one from Greater Minnesota) who are central office administrators exhibiting excellence in leadership.

Johnson received this award for exhibiting a willingness to take risks, possessing strong communications skills, being a progressive change agent, and having high expectations for himself and others. He was honored at the organization’s statewide conference in March.

Since he joined District 191 in July 2014, Johnson has assisted in the successful passage of a $25 million technology referendum levy, initiated a 1:1 technology program in grades 6-12, and implemented GSuite for Education, Schoology, MyOn Reader, and RapidIdentity SSO. The district was able to create a new position of digital learning specialist in all of its 10 elementary buildings to teach both students and staff about digital citizenship, technology skills and resources, and harness the power of MakerSpaces.

Under Johnson's leadership, the district has supported the use of computer programs for interventions and as adaptive devices for special needs students. The district has partnered with businesses and other organizations to create their own “geek squad” and to obtain a grant for 200 Internet hotspots that can be taken home by students who are financially disadvantaged.

Johnson has served as a professional educator since 1976, serving in a variety of capacities including classroom teacher, and school librarian. Johnson earned his master's degree in Library Science from the University of Iowa. He received a bachelor's degree in English Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Johnson has been an active member and leader in many professional associations and organizations including the American Association of School Librarians, International Society for Technology in Education, Minnesota Educational Media Organization, MASA, Rotary and Kiwanis.

He has written nine books and more than over 125 articles and has created seven columns in long-running national publications. His Blue Skunk Blog at averages over 50,000 visits a month. He has conducted workshops and given presentations for over 200 organizations throughout the United States and internationally.

Posted in Achievement | Tagged doug johnson, award, MASA

BHS students gain workplace skills in course taught by local business leaders

Posted on March 7, 2018

Employers commonly say that young people coming out of high school or even college aren’t ready for the workplace.

That’s why Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 has joined with the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, Burnsville Promise and the Greater Twin Cities United Way to provide a five-week workplace readiness class for students at Burnsville High School. The goal is to set students on a path for workplace success.

Students who complete the course will earn a certificate they can share when they apply for jobs. Opportunities to do this will be abundant during an upcoming student job fair at Burnsville High School from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, said Kathy Funston, the district’s director of Strategic Partnerships and Pathways.

Using a curriculum called “Bring Your ‘A’ Game” developed by The Center for Work Ethic Development, the after-school class focuses on developing foundational behavioral skills for success in the workplace in the areas of attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation.

“Almost every day I hear stories from employers about challenges related to lack of core skills in the workers they are hiring today,” said Burnsville Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Harmening. “I am excited to be partnering with District 191 to address this issue using a curriculum that is spot on with what employers are looking for. It is critical to let these students know how much we value them in the workplace and how important these core skills are.”

Facilitators of the course include representatives from the partner organizations and also from UTC Aerospace Systems, the Burnsville YMCA, Fairview Health Services, Bolton & Menk and the City of Burnsville.

“This course is one more way that our community supports the success of our students,” said Funston. “We truly appreciate their support and involvement.”

Photo: Hanane Kachman, center, of Fairview Health Services, is among business leaders helping prepare BHS students for success in the workplace. 
Posted in Community | Tagged Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, Burnsville Promise, Greater Twin Cities United Way, The Center for Work Ethic Development, Strategic Partnerships, Pathways, workplace skills

Minnesota Education Fair will showcase 120 colleges and universities from Midwest

Posted on March 2, 2018

Burnsville High School will host a Minnesota Education Fair (MEF) for students and their parents on Tuesday, March 20 from 4-6 p.m. in the Activity Center, located at 600 E. Hwy 13.

The fair provides students and parents an opportunity to explore a variety of options for continued education and technical training after high school. Representatives from nearly 120 educational institutions will be available to answer questions about degrees and programs, admission requirements, scholarships, tuition, and much more. Structured like a trade show, the fair will enable participants to look at various displays and speak to schools of interest to them.

Students can pre-register for the fair at This will provide students with a barcode that can be scanned at the fair to receive information from the schools they are interested in.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Posted in Community, Parents | Tagged bhs, college fair, activity center

Graduation rates up in District 191

Posted on February 27, 2018

Graduation rates table

The four-year graduation rates in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 continued to trend upward, rising by more than 1 percent overall from 77.8 percent in 2016 to 79.2 percent in 2017, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

Results for both Black and White students were above state averages, with 72.7 percent of black District 191 students graduating (state average of 64.8 percent) and 89.4 percent of white District 191 students graduating (state average of 88.1). Graduation rates rose for most other student groups, including Hispanic students, English learners, special education students and students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

These rates include Burnsville High School, Burnsville Alternative High School and the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Transitions program for students with special needs.

Across the state, graduation rates continue to trend upward, with the 82.7 percent of Minnesota’s class of 2017 graduating in four years, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.

District 191 Superintendent Cindy Amoroso said it was encouraging to see overall graduation rates rise and that the district is committed to continuing practices that support growth for all students.

“We’ve implemented a lot of important changes that increase rigor and expectations for all students, including the Pathways model at Burnsville High School and our work to be a culturally proficient school district,” Amoroso said. “I believe we’re beginning to see those changes make a difference for students. At the same time, it’s clear we still have work to do.  Many additional supports and changes have been made, from pre-kindergarten through middle school, to better prepare our student every step of the way, culminating in graduating with a plan.  We will continue to see the impact of those changes in the years to come as the students move through the grades in our system. ”

The Pathways model helps students think about and plan their high school experience with an eye on the future, while also providing real-world learning opportunities now so students can graduate with a better understanding of their potential careers, as well as professional certifications and college credits. Learn more at

Being a culturally proficient school system (CPSS) means all staff being able to build on each student’s strengths and respond to their needs so they are ready to succeed now and in their futures. Learn more about CPSS at

Other specific programs that have recently expanded to the high school level include the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college prep program, several intervention programs including Read 180 and Math 180, and a “push in” model that allows English language learners to receive language support without leaving their classrooms and missing core instruction from the content area expert.

This year, the Department of Education altered the way graduation rates are calculated to comply with new federal legislation. Prior year’s graduation rates have also been re-calculated under the new system so that comparisons are accurate. More information about graduation rates can be found at 

Posted in Academics | Tagged graduation, bhs, BAHS, BEST

BHS senior earns another technology award

Posted on February 27, 2018

Fiona Chow, a senior at Burnsville High School, is among recipients of a Minnesota Aspirations in Computer Award presented to young women for their technology-related interests and achievements.

Along with recognition, honorees are awarded prizes ranging from tech devices to job shadow experiences and mentorships to paid summer internships and more.

The award is presented by the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence to recognize and encourage the next generation of women in the state’s computer/IT industry.

“Fiona’s future aspirations include attending college and pursuing a degree in computer science/engineering,” said her teacher, Cindy Drahos, who nominated Fiona for the award. “Because of her motivation and enthusiasm for this career field and great business ethics, Fiona has a bright future ahead of her.”

Other recent awards and achievements of Fiona include:

  • Participant in the Advancing Sciences | Fusion Grant Challenge at Target Field in February. Fifteen high schools were selected to represent their school in the STEM field.

  • TWIST EPIC Award from Target Corporation's Women in Science & Technology this past October for her dedication to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

  • One of three founders of the Women in STEM Club that was created to encourage and support girls interested in STEM careers.

  • First place in the U.S. Congressional App Challenge for the Second District in 2015 for the mobile app, Birdsong, she developed with another student.

In addition, Fiona is actively involved in many school activities such as 2018 Senior Class Officers, Burnsville Interact Club, National Honor Society, BurnsvilleStrong Leadership team, and three-year captain of the Burnsville Alpine Ski Team.

“In addition to being a great student, Fiona is a very mature, responsible and conscientious student,” said Drahos. “She is a great leader by example both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Posted in Student Success | Tagged computer science, awards, fiona chow, bhs, information technology, technology

District 191 Children’s Art Show will take place at Ames gallery

Posted on February 26, 2018

A Children’s Art Show, featuring work from elementary students in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, will take place from March 7 to April 23 (closed March 15, and April 4-5), in the Ames Center, 12600 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville.

The free opening reception will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday March 8.

The exhibit will feature over 100 selected pieces of artwork by students in kindergarten through grade 5 at all 10 elementary schools in District 191. There will be drawings, paintings and a variety of three-dimensional works.

“Viewing, critiquing, and creating art is essential to building critical thinking skills and developing the whole child”, said Sara Merkel, art teacher at Hidden Valley Elementary School and organizer of the event. "It is exciting as an art teacher to see how our students grow artistically through the year. We see an expansion in their ideas and thinking processes, and this is their chance to show this to their families and community members. We can all be very proud of their artistic accomplishments.”

In addition to Merkel, elementary art teachers are Andrew Strano (William Byrne, Rahn), Kathryn Petri (Harriet Bishop), Kelly Knott (Marion W. Savage, Edward Neill), Jill Derouin (Sioux Trail, Rahn), Mara Schriver (Gideon Pond, Edward Neill), Kelly Rae Vo (Vista View, Marion W. Savage, and Gideon Pond), and Andrea Greamba (Sky Oaks).

The Ames gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. There is no charge to view the exhibit.

Posted in Arts, Community | Tagged art exhibit, elementary, Ames Center

Students present Black History Month Showcase

Posted on February 23, 2018

Led by the school’s Black Student Union, Burnsville High School students presented a Black History Month Student Showcase today for classmates and staff members. On the Mraz Center stage, students performed songs, dance, rap, poetry, an original skit and even beat box to celebrate black culture and highlight issues important to African Americans. In addition, students shared information about black leaders, artists and icons including Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Malcom X, Nelson Mandela and Michelle Obama.

Photo: Simone Hunter performs "Dear White America" by poet Danez Smith

See more photos and videos

Posted in Building Community at BHS | Tagged black student union, black history month, student showcase, bhs, mraz center