Harriet Bishop, Eagle Ridge 6th grade orchestra concert is Jan. 11

Posted on December 13, 2017

The Harriet Bishop & 6th grade Eagle Ridge Middle School orchestra students invite you to their Winter Concert on Thursday, January 11th, at 6pm in the Eagle Ridge Auditorium. 

The concert will feature beginning and advanced students in 5th through 6th grade, who have been studying their instruments for 1 – 5 years.  You will hear a variety of selections, including Serenata, Marching Along and Evening Scenes.  The students have been working very hard and are excited to share their music with you!  We hope you can join us, even if just for a bit!

Posted in Activities, Arts | Tagged orchestra, strings, eagle ridge, harriet bishop, concert

Kindergarten tours scheduled at Sioux Trail

Posted on December 13, 2017

Parents of future kindergarteners are invited to attend one of two tours at Sioux Trail Elementary School in January. 

Parents will have an opportunity to walk around the building with Principal Shannon McParland. She will highlight what students experience at Sioux Trail, including classroom visits. Parents will be able to pose questions during the walk. This is an informal tour for parents to see Sioux Trail and become familiar with our school. 

Tours Dates:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 16, 9:30-10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 18, 3-3:30 p.m.

Sioux Trail will also be hosting a Kindergarten Information Night on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. This event is a great opportunity to learn more about our school, ask questions, visit classrooms and complete your child's enrollment process if you haven't already done so. Learn more at 

Posted in Parents | Tagged kindergarten, tours, sioux trail

BHS students put engineering skills to practice developing new Chromebook case

Posted on December 13, 2017

BHS Design & Engineering - Chromebook Case

A group of design engineering students at Burnsville High School are working to design a new protective case for the Chromebooks that are issued to all students and staff in District 191’s secondary schools.

The idea comes after a school wide survey showed that the majority of BHS students are not satisfied with the cases currently issued with the district’s Chromebooks. Students have noted that the cases have a tendency to crack easily, failing to protect the Chromebooks.

“Our survey showed that the majority of students want an increase in durability and usability in the cases,” said BHS junior Josh Holtzleiter. “Our class hopes to do what we can to address those points and make a solution.”

Holtzleiter is one of four BHS students in the design engineering class working on this project, along with Zachary Matthews, Tim Johnson and Raymond Kwong.

“This project and class helps them prepare for the workforce by allowing them to follow the design process from start to finish, collaborate with peers and collaborate with professionals,” said BHS engineering teacher Orion Patrie. “I want the students to get a rich learning experience filled with difference challenges, successes and failures.”

The group is working together with Acer, the manufacturer of the district-issued Chromebooks, along with District 191’s technology department to build a case that is more robust than the existing cases given to students and staff. The project entails coming up with the problem on their own and going through both digital and physical sketches and modeling to develop a viable solution to the problem.

The group is expecting this project to go through most of the school year, and they hope to build a prototype of their solution within the next few months.

“They're practicing the skills and gaining the knowledge that they'll need in the future if they pursue careers in engineering,” Patrie said.

Note: Story by Justin Amaker, Burnsville High School senior and District 191 communications intern.
Posted in Student Success, Academics | Tagged #futureready, design, engineering, fab lab, bhs, orion patrie, chromebooks

District 191 winter break begins Dec. 21

Posted on December 12, 2017

Students in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will be on winter break from Thursday, Dec. 21 through Monday, Jan. 1. All schools will be back in session on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

During winter break, school buildings will be closed, with the exception of those schools hosting Project KIDS school-age child care programs (Gideon Pond, Rahn, Harriet Bishop), pre-scheduled events through the district’s Community Education department, and activity/athletic practices and events at Burnsville High School. For specific Project KIDS information, go to

The Community Education office (downstairs) will be open Dec. 26-28. Ready to Grow/Ready to Learn programs and other Community Education classes will be taking place.

District offices (upper level) will be closed to the public from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1, and will reopen on Jan. 2. Messages may be left at the main switchboard at (952) 707-2000 or e-mailed to and will be answered when staff members return.


Tagged winter break, 2017

Power of thinking on display at 34th annual District 191 chess tournament

Posted on December 11, 2017

2017 District 191 Chess Tournament

A total of 113 competitors, ages 5-18, participated in the annual Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 chess tournament at Metcalf Middle School on Dec. 9. It was the second highest attendance in 34-year history of the tournament, according to district chess coordinator Brian Ribnick, who organized and directed the event.

“District 191 is the only district in Minnesota – and one of just a few in the nation – that believes in the power of the thinking skills that chess provides such that we teach chess in all elementary schools during the school day,” said Ribnick. “Plus nearly every school in the district also has an after-school chess program to enhance these skills.”  

“This year’s tournament was a huge success thanks to all the coaches, parents and youngsters who believe in celebrating the great power of the human mind and the fun of thinking,” added Ribnick. “Congratulations to all the participants. You are all winners.”

In the elementary section, co-champions were Harrison Stage and Mitchell Kellen, both of whom attend William Byrne Elementary. Rounding out the top 10 were Jack Bellin, Jeenal Sharma, Joseph Ong, Gavin Allen-Wetterlin, Aakash Thurairajalingam (just a 1st grader!), Presley Martchev, Aiden Bellin and John Graham.

William Byrne Elementary won the team championship – a title they have won more than any team in the history of the district. Stan Kegel is the head coach at Byrne.

In the secondary section, Burnsville High School won the team title under head coach Mike Fellman. The individual champion was Gavin Kellen, a 7th grader from Metcalf. Second place went to Jackson Reichert of BHS, and third place went to Adam Stadick of BHS.

Other hardware went to grade level winners:

  • 8th grade: Justin Joubert,
  • 7th grader: Audra Johnson,
  • 6th grader: Isaac Smith,
  • 5th grader: Owen Krick, 
  • 4th grader: Cedric Boos,
  • 3rd grader: Ashwin Thurairajalingam, 
  • 2nd grader: Emery Gehrke,
  • 1st grade and younger: Ziran Yu. 
Posted in Activities | Tagged chess, bhs, metcalf, william byrne

Students create fashions from newspapers, then share on stage

Posted on December 8, 2017

Stacks of newspapers were transformed into unique designs by Burnsville High School students who shared their creations in a unique runway fashion show on the Mraz Center stage Dec. 7.

Students in the Design Studio class, taught by Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teacher Sarah Schram, were assigned to create a wearable fashion item that met five elements/principles of design. Another requirement was that 80% of the item had to be newspapers.

“Students took this ‘Newspaper Runway’ project as an opportunity to express their creativity and imagination,” said Schram. “They were so engaged throughout the designing process and it was very impressive how they took this project and ran with it.”

Schram loved watching their critical thinking process as students evaluated their work and planned their designs. “Then it was very rewarding to see them display their work,” she said.

In the course, students develop their personal and career interest in the areas of fashion design and housing and interior design. They explore the elements and principles of good design and theory and then express themselves in fashion and their surroundings in various class projects.

Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, family and consumer science, newspaper runway, fashion design, design theory

BHS students assist principal with high-tech project for Byrne Elementary

Posted on December 8, 2017

When William Byrne STEM Elementary Principal Lyle Bomsta needed technical support for a project at his school, he turned to three Burnsville High School students.

Fiona Chow, Josh Johnson and Garrett Riedesel are in the Engineering Design and Development Class taught by Orion Patrie. This Project Lead the Way (PLTW) course requires students to work in teams on a real-life project of their choice.

“It’s very important for students to have the experience of working for a client other than themselves or me as the teacher,” said Patrie. “This gives them perspective on what clients expect and how to work with others on a professional level. It’s real-world experience that prepares them for work and careers.”

Bomsta’s project is an augmented reality sandbox that his students raised money for last year. The augmented reality sandbox was originally created at the University of California-Davis. View video

“It’s an awesome interactive learning  tool for a STEM school to have because it combines science and technology,” he said. “It’s hands-on learning about water use, erosion, landforms, weather, and concepts like cause and effect, and much more.”

Bomsta secured some of the pieces needed for the project including software, projector and camera. Byrne parent Tom Schneider helped to build the sandbox, and the Byrne PTO contributed funds for materials.

Fiona, Josh, and Garrett’s task is to design the most efficient mount for the projector and camera. In addition, they will program the software and calibrate the equipment. There are several factors they must take into consideration such as ensuring the wires will be hidden for safety. There are also height and width constraints because the sandbox will be mobile and will have to fit through classroom doorways. The team will also have the sandbox ¨kid-tested¨ to make sure it can withstand the use it will get.

“We ran into a lot more problems than we had expected,” Garrett said. “We had to come up with a better design. It’s making me think out of the box which will help me later in my engineering career.”

“It’s great to have an opportunity in high school to work on a real-world project that will impact others. And not only do we get to grow our skills, we will also be giving back to our community,” said Fiona, who attended William Byrne Elementary. “Working on this project, I’ve gotten to improve my teamwork and leadership skills as well as my technical skills -- all which will help me later in my career.”

The augmented reality sandbox will be unveiled and launched during an assembly in early 2018.

“My students are going to be excited about this,” said Bomsta, who is grateful for the help of the BHS students. “This is the kind of interactive exhibit you’d see at a science museum. It’s going to get a lot of use at our school!”

(Photo at top) William Byrne Principal Lyle Bomsta conferred recently with BHS students who are working on a special technology project for his school. The students are, from left, Garrett Riedesel, Josh Johnson and Fiona Chow. 
Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, STEM, Project Lead the Way, augemented reality sandbox, real-world experience, University of California, William Byrne PTO

Kindergarten tours scheduled at Rahn Elementary

Posted on December 6, 2017

Parents of future kindergarten students are invited to attend one of our specialized tours scheduled in the coming months. The tours are a great way to see kindergarten classrooms in action, meet school staff, and learn more about Rahn Elementary School of Arts & Technology. Stops on the tour will include an all-school assembly, watching "Morning Meeting" in a classroom, the school's new computer lab and recently renovated media center.

Tours are scheduled for:

  • Monday, January 29th from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m.
  • Thursday, February 8th from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday, March 2nd from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m.

For more information or to register for a tour, contact the school at 952-707-3600.

Posted in Parents | Tagged kindergarten, tours, rahn, parents

BHS senior receives full-ride to Ivy League university

Posted on December 6, 2017

Burnsville High School senior Victor Sanchez Villegas has been selected to receive a full four-year scholarship to Columbia University in New York City next year worth over $200,000. The scholarship covers the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses.

Columbia is among Ivy League schools, which are generally viewed as the most prestigious and highest-quality in the world.  

Victor is an outstanding student who has taken many Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and College in the Schools (CIS) courses and has already accumulated many college credits at Burnsville High School.

He earned National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board for his performance on the National Merit Qualifying Test in his junior year in conjunction with his grade point average.

Last spring, Victor was among seven high-achieving juniors at Burnsville High School who were presented with Junior Book Awards from prestigious colleges in recognition of their outstanding academic accomplishments, dedication to learning, leadership, school involvement and community service. Victor received the Junior Book Award from Harvard University.

Victor discovered a strong interest in engineering when he was a student at William Byrne Elementary School and Metcalf Middle School and plans to study engineering in college next year.

In addition to his academic success, Victor is involved in National Honor Society, DECA, Math League and Quiz Bowl. He volunteers after school to tutor other students.

“Victor is a dedicated, well-above-average student who has a drive to understand more than just the concepts that are being taught,” said his chemistry teacher Liz Davidson. “He also wants to understand how everything is connected together in science.”

Victor does not give up easily on difficult problems. He is a great problem solver because he can see “the big picture,” she said.  

According to his school counselor Angie Markham, “Victor is an exceptional young man focused on his academics. He is kind hearted and often volunteers his time and talents to help other students with their studies. With his determination and persistence, Victor will go far in life. I can’t think of a better person who is so deserving of this amazing scholarship opportunity.”

Posted in Academics, Achievement, Student Success | Tagged bhs, college, scholarship, Columbia, honors, Advanced Placement, national merit, national hispanic recognition, junior book awards, national honor society, DECA, math league, quiz bowl

District 191 staff to present at statewide tech conference

Posted on December 5, 2017

ties conference logoNine staff members from Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will be presenting their work, experience and knowledge at the TIES 2017 Education Technology Conference Dec. 9-12 in Minneapolis.

Alex Tofte, a digital learning specialist (DLS) at M.W. Savage Elementary, is leading a session about his first year as a DLS, a position that was newly created as part of Vision One91.

Rahn Elementary digital learning specialist Mary Casserly-Smith is sharing her experience on two topics. One is on using the digital portfolio program Seesaw as a tool for student assessment, while the second is an introduction to Makerspaces, which are being used in all District 191 elementary schools.

Sky Oaks Elementary digital learning specialist Lisa Christen will be presenting in the TIES Playground in a  Playful Learning session. This is a hands on session. She will be sharing two activities, one on binary numbers and the other on a coding program called Bitsbox. 

Cindy Drahos, computer science teacher at Burnsville High School, is collaborating with fellow CS teachers to share resources that will help schools create and grow their computer science curriculum.

Digital learning specialists Katie Ness, Katie Salmela and Rachel Walgenbach together are presenting “The 4 Cs + One: Computational Thinking,” a presentation that covers what computational thinking is and how teaching it ensures students are also working on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

Lexi Rollie, the digital learning specialist at Gideon Pond is presenting “In-Class Flipped Learning: The Why and How.”

District 191 Technology Director Doug Johnson will share ideas on how traditional library spaces in schools can be repurposed at a time when students and teachers are relying more on digital resources that can be accessed in the classroom, at home or on mobile devices.

TIES is an  education technology collaborative of 48 Minnesota school districts. The TIES Education Technology Conference has been a leading conference in the Midwest for more than 30 years, covering subjects including classroom technology, digital citizenship, and technology support and infrastructure.

For more information about the TIES Education Technology Conference, go to

Posted in Achievement, Academics | Tagged technology, TIES, leadership, staff honors, computer science, coding