Nominations sought for 7th Annual Inclusive Education Practices Award

Posted on January 24, 2018

Nominations are being sought for the 2018 Inclusive Education Practices Award to recognize outstanding school staff members whose work ensures students with all abilities have inclusive education opportunities in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

The award was created by the district's Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC), which is comprised of parents, community members, school staff and administrators. The group advises the special education department on policy and program planning.

SEAC is seeking nominations of school staff members who put the qualities and words of the District 191 Strategic Roadmap — Expectations, Respect, Integrity and Partnership — into action in support of inclusive education practices.

Individual staff members or school teams, such as a group of staff members representing a grade level, program or committee, may be nominated for the award. Nominations are due by Friday, Feb. 23.

Submit Your Nomination Online

Inclusive education is:

  • Children with all abilities participating and learning together;
  • Ensuring that each and every student feels welcome and part of the school community;
  • Opportunities for academic achievement and social involvement for all students.

Previous recipients of the award are teachers Mark Riggs of Burnsville High School, Leanne Banks of Eagle Ridge Middle School, Barbara Gierada of William Byrne Elementary, Lori Haggerty of Rahn Elementary Tiny Tots Preschool, Oluwatoni Adedeji of Sioux Trail Elementary, and Kari Spry of Early Childhood Special Education.

For more information, contact Stephanie White at Download a nomination form below or submit your nomination online.

Posted in Parents, Community | Tagged special education, inclusive education, awards

Vista View students’ artwork will adorn Beargrease trail mail envelopes

Posted on January 24, 2018

To honor the race’s namesake, who delivered mail along the North Shore of Lake Superior for more than 20 years in the late 1800s, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has a tradition of mushers carrying mail with them along the course from Two Harbors to Duluth. This year, a little piece of a Vista View Elementary classroom will be making the 400 mile trek, too.

A collage of sled dogs created by students in Amy Tucci’s second grade class last year was chosen to adorn the envelopes of all the trail mail at this year’s race, which starts Jan. 28.

Tucci said she had displayed the artwork at both the Iditarod and Beargrease races, and that led to in invitation to submit it for consideration. Being selected, she said, was a huge honor.

The artwork is not the students’ only connection to sled dog races. Tucci uses the races to engage students in lessons about wildlife, science, writing, mathematics and more.

“We tracked the weather and hours of daylight and snow amounts. We researched animals that mushers might see along the North Shore and wrote friendly letters to mushers,” she said about last year’s race, adding that musher Ryan Redington shared a video of an Arctic fox from when he was racing the Iditarod.

The learning experience makes such an impression that former students will even come back to Tucci’s classroom during the races to check on mushers’ progress.

Learn more about trail mail at the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon at

Beargrease Trail Mail Artwork
Posted in Arts | Tagged vista view, art, science, sled dog, john beargrease, iditarod

BHS junior elected as Youth in Government presiding officer

Posted on January 22, 2018

Burnsville High School junior Alyse Dees has always had an interest in government and how it works, so joining Youth in Government (YIG) was an easy decision for her. That interest turned into leadership at the Minnesota YIG Model Assembly in Minneapolis in January, where she was elected to be presiding officer of the National Issues Forum at next year’s model assembly. It’s one of just 16 major student roles for the entire state.

Youth in Government is a nationwide program by the YMCA. The Minnesota branch of YIG has 1,600 students in grades 8-12 throughout the state gathering at the state capital in St. Paul and at the Hilton in Minneapolis. There, they can see how the state government works in a realistic and complex simulation by arguing court cases, debating state and national issues and learning how to agree or disagree respectfully. This year’s Burnsville contingent included 85 members, one of the largest delegations.

“I feel fantastic about being elected to this position,” Alyse said. “I love the National Issues Forum, so being able to run the program and making sure that everyone gets to enjoy themselves is what I am looking forward to.”

Alyse has been involved in Youth in Government since she was in eighth grade. She says she doesn’t see herself working in the government or in political science in the future, but does enjoy being involved in government.

BHS senior Olivia Brammer served as the delegation leader for Burnsville this year.

“Alyse has continuously proved herself as a leader through appointed positions and desire to lead an entire program area,” she said. “She and her campaign team worked tirelessly to get her elected. Because of this, people saw her as someone who is responsible and an effective leader.”

Olivia added that Alyse is constantly striving to learn more about how the government works and how she can play an active role. Her guidance counselor, Rebecca Akerson, agrees.

“Alyse is passionate about being an informed community member and citizen,” she said. “She enjoys staying educated about government issues and politics. While it may not be her career path, she is interested in staying active and having a voice in government decisions.”

Justin Lassen, a Youth in Government representative from the YMCA, also noted that Alyse truly cares about what is happening in YIG and is not a delegate who sits quietly on the sidelines.

“She is active and involved in seeking great change,” he said. “I do believe her activism and pride for government will always stay with her.”

Learn more about Youth In Government by going to

NOTE: Story and photo by Justin Amaker, Burnsville High School senior and District 191 Communications intern.
Posted in Student Success, Achievement | Tagged bhs, youth in government, politics, government, alyse dees, YMCA

Eighth-grader earns kudos for peace poster

Posted on January 22, 2018

A poster about peace created by Hailey Erickson, an eighth-grader at Metcalf Middle School, is getting attention.

First, Hailey’s poster won the District 5 Lions Club Peace Poster contest. Then it won the regional multiple-district contest (which included Minnesota and Canadian areas) and earned cash prizes. Now it’s on the way to the Lions Club International competition in Chicago.

“I am very impressed with Hailey's work ethic and with her being so open to a challenge,” said Aimée Plueger, art teacher at Metcalf Middle School in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. “She took the contest theme of ‘The Future of Peace’ and seamlessly blended ideas of peace in her artwork with images of the future, time and our world.”

Plueger said that Hailey's attention to detail in the artwork and her ability to create motifs is impressive for such a young artist.

Judges commented that Hailey’s artwork is unique, full of so much thought, deeper meanings and beautiful colors. One judge commented, “You have to study it to see all the concepts in it, you don’t see everything the first time you look at it.”

Hailey is a member of the after-school art club at Metcalf Middle School that Plueger advises. Art has always been an important part of her life, and always will be, said Hailey.   

She thought about various ideas for the poster, then sketched parts and pulled them together to create the finished product. She used her favorite mediums of acrylic, pastels and charcoal to create it.

One thing she loves about art is that people can look at the same piece of art and draw different interpretations and their own meaning from it.

Posted in Arts, Student Success | Tagged art, metcalf, peace, poster, burnsville lions

Nominations open for One91 Community of Excellence Awards

Posted on January 16, 2018

Nominations are now open for the 2018 One91 Community of Excellence Awards to honor employees in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize the extraordinary contributions of One91 staff members who are working to ensure each student is Future Ready and Community Strong.

“We are fortunate to have many talented and dedicated staff members who are fully committed to our students and each other,” said Superintendent Cindy Amoroso. “It’s so important to recognize and celebrate their work, and these awards are one way we do that.”

Nomination categories include Collaboration and Partnership, Innovation, Community Engagement, Excellence in Educational Support, Teaching Excellence and Leadership in Action.

In addition, a Spirit of Excellence award will go to an individual or team that exemplifies the best of what the district seeks in its employees.

Students, parents, community members and colleagues are invited to submit nominations. Nominations are due by Monday, Feb. 12, and can be submitted online at Paper nomination forms are also available in schools and at the Welcome Center at Diamondhead Education Center, 200 W. Burnsville Parkway.

Selections will be made in March and recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 17 at the Burnsville High School Mraz Center.

Posted in Achievement, Community | Tagged awards, Community of Excellence

From fan to scholarship winner to participant, teacher’s ties to Class Acts are deep

Posted on January 16, 2018

In one way or another, Meghan Jermeland has been part of Class Acts since it began 30 years ago in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

She grew up with it and has continued her commitment to the annual teacher comedy variety show, which has raised a total of $345,000 for scholarships for graduates at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School.  

When she was young, her parents Wes and DeeDee Hanna took her to Class Acts rehearsals because she and her sister could not stay at home alone. She didn’t mind going because, “It’s fun to see your parents and teachers being part of something funny, and entertaining people.”  

Then as a senior at Burnsville High School, Jermeland received a Class Acts scholarship.

When she started teaching at M. W. Savage Elementary 14 years ago, she joined the Class Acts choir and also performed in comedy skits.  

She scaled back her involvement a bit when she had children, but has continued her long-time commitment in other ways. Currently, she’s the Class Acts rep at Sky Oaks Elementary, where she teaches third grade.

“Singing, dancing and acting on stage may be out of the comfort zone for teachers, but they do it anyway to benefit their students,” said Jermeland. “We know the scholarships make a big difference to our students and that’s what has kept Class Acts going for three decades and that’s truly awesome.”

Posted in Alumni, Arts, Community | Tagged class acts, meghan jermeland, sky oaks, marion w savage, bhs, alumni

District 191 Board elects officers for 2018

Posted on January 12, 2018

Members of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Board of Education unanimously elected officers to one-year terms as part of their annual organizational meeting on Jan. 11.

Board member Jim Schmid was elected as chairperson while DeeDee Currier was elected as vice chairperson. Bob VandenBoom was elected as clerk and Dan Luth as treasurer. Others serving on the seven-member board are Abigail Alt, Eric Miller and Darcy Schatz.

Board members kept their pay at $550 a month. The chairperson will receive an additional $50 per month in recognition of expanded duties and responsibilities.

Board meetings take place on the second and fourth Thursdays of most months. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place in the Burnsville Room, upper level, Diamondhead Education Center, 200 W. Burnsville Parkway. Meetings are cablecast on Educational Channel 18 and are also streamed and archived on the district’s website at

Listening sessions take place from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. prior to board meetings as opportunities to speak informally with board members and Superintendent Cindy Amoroso. Anyone planning to attend a listening session is asked to call Jami Kenney, the superintendent’s secretary, at (952) 707-2005.                                                                                                                          

Meeting agendas, board packets and minutes are available on the district’s website at

Tagged school board

BHS Snow Week kicks off Jan. 27

Posted on January 11, 2018
2018 Snow Week


During a pep fest on Monday, Jan. 29, Burnsville High School crowned seniors Chris Maina and Talori Dunsworth as their Snow Week King and Queen! Members of Snow Week Royalty include:

  • 9th Grade: Ethan Voss and Gabby Gromacki
  • 10th Grade: Ryan Mokandu and Sara Tozier
  • 11th Grade: Noah Helke and Jenna Hartung
  • 12th Grade : Justin Amaker, Noah Gagliano, Brock Schultz, Chris Maina, Eyakem Yilma, Ryan Jacobson, Max Fox and Lucas Moreno
  • 12th Grade: Nawal Abdiwahed, Olivia Bendickson, Allie Dennstedt, Talori Dunsworth, Jenna Lichty, Niki Le, Mallory O'Brien and Megan Kortenhof

Burnsville High School Snow Week kicked off Saturday, Jan. 27 with a dodgeball tournament. The fun will last for an entire week, culminating with a Neon Dance on Feb. 3 from 8-11:30 p.m.

The festivities include themed dress-up days, trivia, a medallion hunt, boot hockey, volleyball, relay races at the boys' basketball game versus Shakopee and the dance.

You can view and download photos from the 2018 Snow Week Pep fest here!

Click here to see the schedule of events and themed dress-up days!

Posted in Parents, Community | Tagged bhs, snow week, medallion hunt, athletics, dress-up days, student council

‘Music Man’ draws top marks from Hennepin Theatre Trust program

Posted on January 11, 2018

Many audience members called Burnsville High School Theatre Guild’s fall production of “The Music Man” outstanding, but it was also the official rating of the show according to Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program.

Spotlight Education is a program by Hennepin Theatre Trust in Minneapolis that honors and supports high school theater students in 94 high schools throughout Minnesota, including Burnsville High School. This is BHS’s first year being part of the program.

BHS theater Director Amy Stead praised both the program and the theater students.

“I was wonderfully surprised and proud that ‘Music Man’ received an outstanding mark from Spotlight,” she said. “The one thing I am very pleased about is that they sent two experts out to our final dress rehearsal, and they gave very detailed and constructive notes to the cast and crew.”

Along with the production’s overall “Outstanding” rating, BHS seniors Maddie Stuart and Daniel Akah received “Outstanding” ratings for their performances as Marian Paroo and Harold Hill, respectively. Senior Sofia Versalles-Duffert also received an “Outstanding” rating in her role as Eulalie Shinn.

In technical roles, BHS senior and production stage manager Shealyn McMahon received an “Outstanding” rating for her work, as did senior and lighting designer Greg Johnson and senior and sound designer Thomas Dang.

Because the production earned an “Outstanding” mark, the entire cast will be performing a 4 minute medley at the Spotlight Showcase in June at the Orpheum.  In addition, the individuals who earned “Outstanding” and “Honorable Mention” ratings will also perform in an opening number with other Spotlight school outstanding and honorable mention recipients.

Not only did the students receive professional critiques, but they have also participated in several other real-world opportunities this year, including attending a Broadway show, “Aladdin,” at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Students had the opportunity to arrive early and meet with the show’s stage manager and running crew, ask questions, and watch as the professionals conducted sound and stage checks.

On Jan. 20, a group of technical crew students in the theater guild will take a master class at the Orpheum Theatre about technical roles. Later this spring, the entire guild will take a class with Broadway performers about how to audition for shows.

The theater guild plans to work with Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program in future theatrical productions in the coming years.

“Our experience with Hennepin Theatre Trust has been wonderful this year. We are excited to hear what feedback they will have for “Mary Poppins” and our future shows,” Stead said.

Learn more about the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Education program at  

List of awards received by Burnsville High School Theatre Guild:

Overall Production: Outstanding

Overall Performance: Honorable Mention

Achievement in Musical Theater: Honorable Mention

Ensemble Performance: Honorable Mention

Vocal Performance by an Ensemble: Honorable Mention

Movement/Dance Performance by an Ensemble: Outstanding

Student Orchestra: Outstanding

Overall Technical Team: Outstanding

Costume Crew: Outstanding

Technical Crew: Outstanding

Light & Sound Board Operators: Outstanding

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role: Daniel Akah as Harold Hill and Maddie Stuart as Marian Paroo

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role: Sofia Versalles-Duffert as Eulalie Shinn

Honorable Mention for Performance in a Supporting Role: Andre Finney as Olin, Jon Butler as Jacey, Maxwell Taylor as Ewart and Sam Schuneman as Oliver

Outstanding in Technical Leadership: Stage Manager Shealyn McMahon, Sound Designer Thomas Dang and Lighting Designer Greg Johnson

Honorable Mention in Technical Leadership: Gavin Oliveras as Deck Captain, Aviva Leverty as Hair/Makeup Designer, Jayde Grass as Costumer and Mikayla Moss/Elianna Panos as Prop Designers.

Evaluator Shout Out*: Will Alvey and Isaac Nelson

*Shout Outs are a new new distinction to give recognition to students who caught the attention of the evaluators. It is not an honor that results in a performance in Showcase, but rather just another way that the evaluators can recognize all performers that are doing stand out work.



Posted in Student Success, Arts | Tagged theater, bhs, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Spotlight, the music man, amy stead, theatre guild

Burnsville High School junior aces the ACT in first attempt

Posted on January 11, 2018

Burnsville High School junior Will Trussell has earned quite the distinction for himself. He received a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam, an accomplishment that less than 0.1 percent of students nationwide obtain.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam consisting of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36. The composite score is the average of the four test scores.

What’s even more astonishing is that Will took the test just one time and didn’t really prepare for it.

“I figured I would take it and see how I did. If I didn’t do well, I knew I could always take it again,” he said. “After taking the test, I felt like I did well but had guessed on some questions. I thought I maybe got a 30 to 33 on it.”

When test results became available online, he had to reload the page three or four times before he believed the score. “I was in disbelief!” said Will. Since he was at school, he texted his mom to tell her the news. Will said, “She wanted me to call her right away, but I had to get to class!”

“Will is extremely motivated,” said Kristina Aars, American history teacher at Burnsville. “He is naturally, extremely intelligent, but he also works very hard. In AP/CIS American History, he completes the voluminous readings in advance, every time."

At Burnsville High School, Will is involved in quiz bowl and math league. He’s also in the marching band and theater pit band.

“Being on the Quiz Bowl team and involved in math league definitely helped with taking the test," he said. "I’m used to working under pressure and within time constraints while trying to remember theorems and formulas.”     

Will joked at the notion that he has now set the bar high for his five younger brothers, which include a set of twins in ninth grade and a set of triplets in sixth grade at Metcalf Middle School. His parents are Patrick and Jeanne, who are Burnsville High School graduates with deep family roots in the Burnsville community.

Will eventually plans on applying to the University of Minnesota and is interested in studying engineering.

Posted in Academics, Achievement, Student Success | Tagged bhs, william trussell, perfect score, ACT, quiz bowl, math league, college-ready, engineering