Colleges honor seven outstanding juniors at BHS

Posted on May 25, 2017

Seven high-achieving juniors received Junior Book Awards from prestigious colleges during a ceremony at Burnsville High School on May 25.

2017 Junior Book Awards

Colleges present the awards each year across the country to 11th grade students in recognition of their outstanding academic accomplishments, dedication to learning, leadership, school involvement and community service. Each award recipient receives a book that is connected to the college in some way, often written by a professor or alumnus.

Burnsville High School students who received Junior Book Awards this year are:

  • Alexander Gude - Columbia University
  • Gregory Johnson - University of Minnesota, Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award
  • Albert Liu - Yale University
  • Katie Lyon - Smith College
  • Elizabeth McCormick - Dartmouth College
  • Bailey Pekar - Wellesley College
  • Victor Sanchez Villegas - Harvard University

"The award is a testament to everything you have done inside and outside of the classroom during your entire academic career," said Principal Dave Helke. "You have worked hard, strived to do your best and have found success in many ways. Congratulations on this recognition."

Junior Book Awards are a nationally-known distinction, according to school counselor Becky Akerson, who advises students to include it on their college applications.

Posted in Achievement, Student Success | Tagged bhs, junior book awards, prestigious colleges, academics, distinction

Chess teams bring home hardware, including national title

Posted on May 24, 2017

Chess players from Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 came back from the national scholastic chess championships with more than a few trophies, among them a first-place title for the Burnsville High School U1200 team.

The team of Chance Persons, Samantha Stadick, Mark Huttman and Nikolas Slemp won BHS’s first national chess championship, competing in the U1200 rating category. Chance, a ninth-grader, finished 9th individually, while senior Nikolas took 16th.

The Metcalf Middle School U750 team placed 2nd in the nation. Team members were 6th grader William Moe (7th place), 8th grader David Wilkens (24th place), and 7th graders Max Fox and Zachary Friedmann.

Ninth-grader Lyla Lichliter turned in the top individual performance, placing 6th in the U800 rating category.  

Other standout results included sophomores Zander Gorton and Jack Reichert, who placed 21st in the U1900 team ranks, despite having just half a team. In the U1200 category, Metcalf 7th grader Ava Piccolino placed 9th and 8th grader Sam Kielas placed 10th.

The Burnsville High School team is coached by Craig Heirigs while Metcalf teams are coached by Brian Ribnick.

Posted in Student Success, Activities | Tagged chess, metcalf, bhs, national champions

Spring concerts are slated for May 25 and May 30-June 2

Posted on May 23, 2017
The Burnsville High School choirs, bands and orchestra will hold performances May 25 and May 30-June 2 at 7 p.m. in the school's Mraz Center for the Performing Arts, located at 600 E. Highway 13.
Jazz, FreeStyle and symphonic orchestra will perform May 25. Freshman band, Blaze band, wind ensemble and symphonic band will perform May 30-31.
The choir concert, called "On Justice, Truth, and Peace," is slated for June 1-2. The music will include classical pieces, African American spirituals, freedom songs and favorites such as "Colors of the Windand "Somewhere over the Rainbow." Alumna Cory Bukkila has created a superb senior slideshow for the concerts.  
The bands are directed by Molly Holmes and Keith French while the orchestra is conducted by Hope Grover. The choirs are directed by Martha Schmidt.
Tickets are $3 and can be purchased in the main office or at the door on the night of the performance.
Posted in Arts | Tagged bhs, choir, band, orchestra, mraz center, spring concert

New program prepares BHS students for careers in health care

Posted on May 19, 2017

In the Burnsville High School healthcare lab, life-like mannequins Hazel, Alice and Ed are well taken care of by students in the new Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program.

Students use them to learn and practice skills such as dressing, applying compression stockings, cleaning dentures, placing hearing aids, washing and brushing hair. Students also learn to modify patient positioning for decompression of pressure, measure urinary output and provide catheter hygiene care. In the CNA program, students gain basic nursing care skills and understanding of concepts necessary for delivering high-quality nursing assistant care to a variety of patients.

New this year, the CNA program is designed to prepare students for success with the state written and practical exam to earn certification. Burnsville High School students are learning the skills they'll need through a combination of classroom work, practice on mannequins, and eventually a 16-24 hour clinical experience with real patients at a long-term care facility.

Upon completion of the program and a passing score with placement on the nursing assistant registry, students could walk right into good-paying, high-demand jobs.

The CNA program is part of the Health Sciences pathway, one of several pathways at BHS created with Vision One91. A pathway is a series of classes that BHS students can take that will help them follow their interests and prepare for further study, training or work opportunities with a career field. Students in the CNA program may also earn college credit though Normandale Community College.

“The CNA programs offers incredible hands-on, real-world learning for our students,” said Principal Dave Helke. “Right at Burnsville High School, these students are preparing for certification that can lead to good-paying jobs in health care, or be on the career path to becoming a nurse, doctor, physical therapist, or other health care professional.”

As part of the Health Care Core Curriculum class that was offered as an introduction to healthcare, students create online portfolios that showcase their work and reflect on their learning. They can modify and update their information throughout their learning process and have ways to showcase themselves in a fun and current platform. They also produce a resume and cover letter to use in the job search.

The class is for 11th and 12th grade students. It’s limited to 20 students because a 10-1 ratio of students to instructors is required.

“The program is highly regulated and audited by the Minnesota Department of Health,” said teacher and chiropractor Dr. Anne Werner-Dempsey, who was part of the team at BHS that created the Healthcare Core Class and CNA program. Other team members include Lori VanderWoude, a health and wellness teacher at BHS, and Rachel Tushaus, a registered nurse. Together they bring more than 25 years of teaching and 25 years of healthcare experience to benefit students and their learning.  

A partnership with Ebenezer Ridges Care Center (associated with Fairview in Burnsville) has been an essential part of the program in providing equipment and real-world learning experiences for students.

Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, certified nursing assistant, health services pathways, real world ready, Vision One91, ebenezer ridges care center, fairview, minnesota department of health

Reality Fair gives Burnsville High School students a ‘reality check’

Posted on May 18, 2017
Reality Fair at BHS

In collaboration with Wings Financial Credit Union, Burnsville High School (BHS) students received a reality check through a life simulation event on May 17.

When students arrived to the event, they randomly received an occupation and then had to figure out how to survive based on their job’s designated salary. Each student was assigned a credit score, required to find housing and transportation, and pay for all their expenses, including rent, transportation, food and insurance.

There was even a “fate wheel” for students to spin if they were willing to take a risk to help with their circumstances. The wheel did include some unlucky prizes, however. Students were not excited when the wheel ticker stopped on a spot requiring them to withdraw money from their bank account to pay for an unexpected expense.

“Many of the students found out that they would have to sacrifice something in order to pay their bills and have a positive balance,” said business education teacher Meggan Malone. “As you looked around, students faces were filled with frustration or elation depending on their specific scenario.”

BHS senior Callie Gudmonson commented, “The fair made me think about aspects of my budget that I wouldn't have normally considered.” Per Olson, also a senior, said “The Reality Fair made me realize that the best part of being a kid is not paying bills.”

This was the second year working with Wings Financial on this event. Trysh Olson, education and youth programs manager at Wings Financial, worked with the students a day before the event to prep them on their budget sheets and help them get started. Volunteers working the different stations, such as the Savings & Investments and Housing stations, were from Wings Financial, which also provided all the working materials and scenarios for students.

“The Reality Fair was designed to provide a ‘real life’ simulation for high school students to practice budgeting and make financial choices based on their life scenario,” said Olson. “This was a hands-on experience for students that engaged them in the budgeting and financial decision making process.”

Olson added, “Wings Financial Credit Union believes strongly in the value of financial education and providing students with the resources and tools necessary to become financially independent in the future.”

Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, business education, AVID, financial literacy, budget management, wings financial credit union

Byrne 50th anniversary celebration video

Posted on May 17, 2017

Happy 50th birthday William Byrne STEM Elementary! 

On Friday, May 12we celebrated our 50th year! It was great to see and meet a few of the teachers and students who began here when it was first opened in 1967. Thanks to the students and staff for representing Byrne through our motto REACH, which stands for Respect, Empathy, Achievement, Citizenship, and Hopes & Dreams.  

Tagged william byrne, 50th anniversary

BHS seniors' successes highlighted at ceremony

Posted on May 16, 2017

Scholarships, awards and recognitions were presented to students during the 2017 Senior Honors Recognition Ceremony at Burnsville High School (BHS) on May 15.

Burnsville Breakfast Rotary winners with police chief B.J. Jungman, pictured at left.

"This evening is all about the commitment that our students have made and the dedication they have shown to their education," said Principal Dave Helke. "All of these seniors have made their learning and academic success a priority."

Local businesses, civic organizations and community members donated a total of $89,500 in scholarships for Burnsville High School seniors.

“We are very fortunate to have a community that places a high value on education and gives generously in so many ways from the early childhood to senior years,” said Helke. “We are grateful and appreciative to be part of a community so supportive of education.”

Several scholarships were presented in memory of former teachers, students and community members (see the complete list of award winners here).

For example, the family of Burnsville community leader Ken Slipka presented two scholarships. Scholarships were also presented in memory of Taylor Ziebol, Mary Lenhardt, Lon Hitch, Renae Gustafson and Robert Naffziger.

The Class Acts annual teacher variety show raised funding to provide $1,000 scholarships to 14 Burnsville High School seniors this year. Over the past 28 years, Class Acts has raised over $250,000 for scholarships to graduating seniors.

Two alumni, Scott Kadrlik and Joe Reger, presented scholarships from the Hanson Foundation, established to honor retired teacher and coach Dick Hanson.

Each academic department at the high school presented an outstanding senior award. Seniors also received specific awards for their achievements in academics, athletics and the arts.

For the first time, Foundation 191 hosted the event and is overseeing the disbursement of the scholarships. Foundation, a not for profit organization, began in 2005 to enhance, enrich and expand educational opportunities within the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

Posted in Academics, Achievement, Activities, Arts, Community, Parents, Student Success | Tagged bhs, senior awards, scholarships, awards, recognition

District 191 teachers present at Coding in the Classroom Summit

Posted on May 16, 2017

Five teachers in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 shared their expertise at the Coding in the Classroom Summit, a statewide conference where teachers are exploring ways to bring computer science opportunities to all students.

Lisa Christen’s students use Spheros to tell time.

Nancy Meyer, media specialist at Nicollet Middle School, did a presentation on middle school makerspaces, which are new places in District 191 schools where students can be creative, collaborate and problem solve. Meyer is a member of the group that planned the conference. 

Sky Oaks Digital Learning Specialist Lisa Christen and districtwide elementary Media Specialist Katie Salmela presented “Creating and Connecting Content Areas with Codable Robots.” Just as students would, participants in their seminar used several different robots to complete a challenge that connected coding with math, language arts, science or social studies. Teams then presented and demonstrated how their projects worked.

Lexi Rollie and Beth Raebel, digital learning specialists at Gideon Pond Elementary and Hidden Valley Elementary, respectively, presented on using the website with their students. During their session, they demonstrated how can be used to develop problem solving, communication and collaboration skills. Attendees left with ideas on how to track progress using the website’s courses, as well as offline lessons.

Cindy Drahos, business IT/programming instructor at Burnsville High School, along with Rachel Gorton, the district’s Instructional Technology Coordinator, shared the district’s curriculum for including coding/computer science at all grade levels -- which few districts have.

Drahos discussed opportunities for teachers to be part of the Computer Science Teacher’s Association of Minnesota (CSTA) at the national and state levels.

As part of Vision One91, digital learning specialists were added at each elementary school to provide students with direct instruction on technology skills and applications, as well as support teachers in using technology for instruction.

With the addition, students in District 191 are now learning coding in all grades K-12. The expansion has caught the attention of educators and media, including KSTP-TV, which recently featured District 191 schools.

Partnership will provide students with access to county library systems

Posted on May 16, 2017

Students at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School will have instant access to the vast resources of two county library systems — without having to worry about overdue fines — through a new collaboration that begins May 22.

Both Dakota County and Scott County public library systems have worked with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to make this happen.

Learn how to use the card

“Students will benefit from access to incredible resources including online one-on-one homework help, research tools, eBooks, audiobooks, movies/TV DVDs, music CDs, electronic magazines and print books,” said Doug Johnson, director of technology for District 191. “Student cards will make public library resources a part of every student’s learning experience and leverage existing public resources to support student learning.”

The card can be used online and also in library buildings. The no-fine cards will expire when students graduate.

“Through this partnership, our students will learn about and have access to all the wonderful resources our public libraries offer for both academic and personal use,” said Johnson. “In return, the public libraries will be cultivating a new generation of library users and supporters, as well as encouraging a more informed citizenry.”

Students who will be in grades 9-12 at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School next year will be part of the pilot project, which will expand to additional grade levels at some point. All high school students now have Chromebooks as personal learning devices, which give them the ability to maximize use of the public library’s resources.

Students will receive information about this opportunity from their language arts teachers at school. Johnson will share information with parents through an email sent via the district’s SchoolMessenger system.

For more information, email

The opportunity is voluntary and students/families can opt out either by not activating their accounts or by contacting Johnson at

Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, scott county, dakota county, library, online access, resources

Senior Carnival slated for Friday, May 26

Posted on May 15, 2017

Burnsville High School is hosting a senior carnival on Friday, May 26 for all seniors. The event is free and will be held during school hours in Bob Pates Stadium. 

Featuring a tropical theme, the event will include the following:

  • Inflatables 
  • Yard games
  • Food trucks (optional food purchases; students can bring a bagged lunch)
  • Kickball tournament
  • Dunk tank
  • Pedal Go-Carts

This is a great opportunity for students to hang out with their friends, relax and reminisce about their years at Burnsville High School.

Congratulations, Class of 2017 and best wishes for the future!


Posted in Parents, Activities | Tagged bhs, senior carnival, Class of 2017