'Oobleck' gives students hands on lesson in non-Newtonian fluids

Posted on June 8, 2018

During the last week of school at Metcalf Middle, students were given an opportunity to take their shoes off for some science fun! For 6th grade science, student standards are for physical science. In order to better understand matter and properties such as elasticity, students were able to run across a kiddie pool of oobleck which is a non-Newtonian fluid.  

The oobleck was made using 25 pounds of corn starch and 1.5 gallons of water. Students learned how oobleck reacts to pressure such as running across it or pressing down upon it. Tracey Plante, 6th grade science teacher, explains “Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that reacts to a force such as pressure and has a very high viscosity since it is made out of cornstarch and water.  It is really easy to make as it is as equal ratio of water and cornstarch. You might need to add a little of each to get it just right”.

Carissa Chow sixth grader states, “It’s really fun to do something hands-on...It’s really a cool way to learn about matter like this.  You can feel the oobleck sucking your feet down...Science is so much fun!”

Suhayb Mahamed states, “When I first saw it, I thought ‘this is really messy’.  But, now I know if I could jump in a pool of oobleck I would!” Suhayb did not mind that oobleck was on his clothes as it easily washes out.  “If I have to do laundry--oh well!”

Alpha Dinos explained, “I thought it would be like slime and that I would sink into it.  I was surprised when I didn’t sink but then I realized it is non-Newtonian so it reacts when I push on it--like my feet stepping on it.”

Students were given the opportunity to go into the oobleck pool multiple times. Clean-up is easy and many students were going to go home to make oobleck with their friends and family to share what they have learned in science.  

Posted in Academics | Tagged science, oobleck, metcalf, tracey plante

BHS musicals earn recognitions from Hennepin Theatre Trust

Posted on June 7, 2018

The Burnsville High School Theatre Guild began participating this year in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education, a program that evaluates casts, crews and technicians as well as providing master classes for high school theatre students.  

The school’s two musicals, “The Music Man” and “Mary Poppins,” both earned outstanding rankings in recent recognition from Hennepin Theatre Trust. Along with these high ranks, came specific feedback for many individual performers both on stage and behind the scenes.

“We are one of a handful of schools that earned Outstanding ranks for two shows,” said theatre director Amy Stead. “The entire cast of each show is invited to perform a medley at Spotlight’s Showcase in mid-June, and the individual award winners are invited to participate in the opening number alongside the individual winners from other districts. Quite an honor.”

Recognition for “The Music Man”

Full Cast:

  • Outstanding Overall Production (high honors)
  • Student Orchestra - Outstanding
  • Overall Technical Team - Outstanding
  • Costume Crew - Outstanding
  • Light and Sound - Outstanding

Individual Awards:

  • Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role: Maddie Stuart (Marian Paroo)
  • Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role: Daniel Akah (Harold Hill)
  • Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role:  Sofia Versalle Suffert
  • Outstanding in Technical Leadership: Shealyn MacMahon (Stage Management), Greg Johnson (Lighting Design), Thomas Dang (Sound Designer)
  • Honorable Mentions: Andre Finney (Quartet), Jon Butler (Quartet), Maxwell Taylor (Quartet), Sam Scheuneman (Quartet)

Mary Poppins

Full Cast:

  • Outstanding Overall Performance
  • Ensemble Performance - Outstanding
  • Movement/Dance by an Ensemble - Outstanding
  • Overall Technical Team - Outstanding
  • Light and Sound Board Operators - Outstanding

Individual Awards:

  • Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role: Jon Butler (Bert), Sofia Kemeny (Jane) and Sophie Herzog (Michael)
  • Outstanding in Technical Leadership: Shealyn McMahon (stage management), Greg Johnson (Lighting design), Thomas Dang (sound design).
  • Honorable Mention for performance in a Leading Role: Kaitlin Johnson (Mary Poppins)
Posted in Arts, Student Success, Achievement | Tagged theater, mary poppins, Hennepin Theatre Trust, awards, amy stead, bhs, theatre guild

Art teacher receives Inclusive Practices Award in District 191

Posted on June 7, 2018

Art is a universal language that everyone can understand and all students are artists, according to art teacher Kelly Rae Vo.

Vo’s inclusive classroom and instructional practices have resulted in her being named as the recipient of the Inclusive Education Practices Award for the 2017-18 school year in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, according to Stephanie White, the district’s director of student services.

The award was created by the District 191 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) to recognize staff members who are fostering meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in classrooms and extracurricular activities. SEAC is comprised of parents, community members, school staff and administrators who advise the special education department on policy and program planning.

Students enjoy Vo’s art class and know they are honored as people and that all of them have an “art gift”  to share and express themselves, according to two teachers who nominated Vo for the award: Mary Borrell, a special education teacher at Vista View Elementary, and Emily Goldsmith, a speech pathologist at Vista View and William Byrne.  

“Kelly inspires her co-workers, families, and students to believe in themselves and to hold high standards for all students no matter their disability area,” wrote Borrell and Goldsmith. “She is the definition of inclusion and it is evident in how students, staff and families see her as a teacher. "

Vo provides clear and concise directions for students and will show a model of the finished product. She recognizes different learning styles, incorporates classroom behavioral contracts that include all students, and finds an "Art All-Star" everyday.

Vo is the daughter of an art teacher and has always had art as part of her life. She joined District 191 five years ago and taught this year at Gideon Pond, Vista View and Marion W. Savage Elementary Schools.

Her goal is to create classrooms where all students are accepted, feel welcomed and included and can participate.

“Students bring fresh ideas,” said Vo. “I’m inspired and amazed by their ideas and originality every day.”  

“I’m honored to receive the award and be noticed for dedication and passion for our students and their learning,” she adds.  

Others nominated for the award this year are:   

  • Amy Stead, Molly Holmes, Ann Bakken, and Jaclyn Anderson, members of Burnsville High School theater team
  • Jenn Carlson, Hidden Valley
  • Alexandria Wills, Hidden Valley
  • Stephanie Jorgenson, Burnsville High School
  • Jacqueline Parkinson, Eagle Ridge
  • Brionna Meisner, Edward Neill
  • Emily Rasmusson, Gideon Pond.
Posted in Achievement, Academics | Tagged special education, inclusive education, Kelly Rae Vo, vista view, gideon pond, marion w savage

District 191 graduates earn recognition for bilingual skills

Posted on June 7, 2018

Fifteen students are graduating with a new distinction in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 this year.

They have earned a bilingual seal or certificate of proficiency that will be noted on their transcripts.

“It’s one thing to say that I’m bilingual,” said graduate Christopher Fuentes Chevez, “but now I have tangible proof.”

State law changed a few years ago to allow Minnesota school districts to award bilingual and multilingual seals and certificates to graduates who demonstrate required levels of language proficiency in speaking, writing, reading and listening in languages other than English.

“This is a way to honor the bilingual skills of our students whose home language may not be English, and provide them with credits at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities,” said Julie Krohn, the district’s K-12 English Language coordinator. “We are proud of their mastery of their home language in addition to the English language.”

“This opens doors for our students in so many ways,” said Dr. Stacie Stanley, director of the district’s System Improvement and Student Achievement department. “Not only are these students college ready, they are also career ready, as being bilingual is an asset in every career field.”

These students also have the advantage of serving as interpreters, who are paid from $40 to $60 or more per hour. “For many, this is a living wage that opens opportunities that their parent’s generation did not have,” added Stanley.

“While this was a pilot year in which we focused on our Spanish-speaking students, we plan to expand this opportunity to more students and add additional languages in upcoming years,” said Krohn.

Members of the Class of 2018 who have earned bilingual recognition:

Platinum Bilingual Seal (4 semesters of college credit):

  • Maria Aguilera Araya
  • Christopher Fuentes Chevez
  • Cristian Pina Flores

Gold Bilingual Seal (3 semesters of college credit):

  • Leslie Becerra Medina
  • Melanie Gomez Mejia
  • Derik Pina Flores
  • Fatima Soriano Garcia

World Language Proficiency Certificate (2 semesters of college credit):

  • Lysandra Alvillar
  • Erick Blandon
  • Josue Lopez
  • Melissa Lopez-Angeles
  • Vanessa Lopez-Barrera
  • Litzi Rodriguez Torres
  • Manuel Ruiz Pineda
  • Pedro Ruiz Pineda
Photo: Seated from left, Derik Pina Fores and Christopher Fuentes Chevez; Standing from left, Melanie Gomez Majia and Cristian Pina Flores
Posted in Academics

New mural brightens lunchroom at Nicollet Middle School

Posted on June 6, 2018

A large colorful mural has transformed the lunch room at Nicollet Middle School this spring.

About 150 students in grades 6-8, who had art class with teacher Kacie Wilson second semester, helped create the new mural under the guidance of Twin Cities artist Shane Anderson.

Students brainstormed with Anderson about Nicollet concepts, programs and features that could be included in the mural which takes up most of a 60x12 foot wall. Worked into the design, are the words “AVID” and “Nice” along with academic, artistic and athletic items.  

Students learned about color theory and different painting techniques from Anderson and then painted the mural.

“The finished project is fun, bright and colorful,” said Samantha Schenkelberg, instructional behavior coach, who said the cost was funded by a grant. “It has a cartoony style that feels updated and just right for this age group.”

See more photos

Posted in Arts | Tagged mural, nicollet, arts

BHS teacher selected to attend seminar on Kennedy presidency at Boston University

Posted on June 5, 2018

Kathryn Wendling, a social studies teacher at Burnsville High School, has been selected to attend a week-long professional development seminar at Boston University this summer about the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

The seminar is sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and will be led by historian Barbara Perry, who is the director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia.

The seminar will ask the question: "More than fifty years after its tragic end, the presidency of John F. Kennedy continues to fascinate people in the United States and around the world. Why should a mere thousand-day presidency continue to attract such universal attention?"

“That really resonates with me and I am very excited to be able to look at JFK's presidency in a scholarly way with Dr. Barbara Perry, a biographer and Kennedy expert,” said Wendling.

Seminar participants will explore the successes and failures of Kennedy’s presidency more than 50 years after his assassination, including the Cold War, the Peace Corps, civil rights and the arts, through media, leadership theory and public policy. They will tour President Kennedy’s birthplace, the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, and the Edward Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Full room and board and a travel allowance are provided to all participants.

Wendling, who has a master’s degree in political science, has been fascinated by the Kennedy presidency since childhood. “I have always read anything Kennedy-related I can get my hands on and I have a collection of Kennedy books and magazines in my classroom,” she said.

She previously was selected to attend a professional development seminar at Stanford University on the U.S. Supreme Court -- also through the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, visionaries and lifelong supporters of American history education, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 education while also serving the general public. For more information, go to

Posted in Academics | Tagged bhs, kathryn wendling, Gilder Lehrman Institute, boston university

Gifted program position, some middle school athletics added back to proposed budget

Posted on June 4, 2018

At its May 24 meeting, the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Board of Education heard a plan to reinstate a gifted program position at Harriet Bishop Elementary, as well as middle school wrestling and tennis programs as part of the proposed budget for 2018-19.

The two items had been marked for elimination, with middle school sports combining with high school programs, in an original proposal presented earlier this spring. The proposal to create combined middle and high school (grades 7-12) cross country and dance programs is still in place.

To help cover the cost of continuing the middle school and other athletics programs, the proposal includes increases in fees across the district. The specific proposed increases are:

Middle School Sports

  • Fees for all sports increase from $80 to $105

High School Sports

  • Competitive cheer and spirit cheer, from $105 to $140
  • Olympic weightlifting and weightlifting, from $115 to $150
  • Cross country, adaptive soccer, dance team, tennis, adapted hockey and adapted softball, from $135 to $175
  • Soccer, volleyball, basketball, alpine ski, nordic ski, wrestling, track and field, from $155 to $205

At Harriet Bishop, the full-time teaching position to be reinstated supports the school’s gifted and talented program. Executive Director of Business Services Lisa Rider said the plan was to reinstate the position for the 2018-19 school year, during which time Principal Ken Essay would work with staff to develop a model for delivering a high quality gifted program moving forward.

The School Board will adopt a budget for 2018-19 before June 30. For more budget information, go to

Posted in Finance | Tagged budget, 2018-19

Community scholarships presented to graduating seniors

Posted on June 1, 2018

Burnsville High School seniors were awarded scholarships totaling more than $110,000 at this year’s Community Scholarship Awards Ceremony May 24.    

The event was sponsored by Foundation 191, the not-for-profit organization created to enhance, enrich and expand educational opportunities in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. Foundation 191 now oversees the Community Scholarships Program which provides scholarships to graduates funded by area businesses, civic organizations, clubs and individuals.   

“We are fortunate to have a supportive community that places a high value on education and gives generously in so many ways.” said Dave Helke, principal of Burnsville High School. “We are so grateful and appreciative of the scholarships that will help our students achieve their goals for higher education.”

Several scholarships were presented in memory of former teachers, students and community members. For example, the family of Burnsville community leader and businessman Ken Slipka presented two scholarships. Scholarships were also presented in memory of students Devin Delaney and Taylor Ziebol; teachers Mary Lenhardt, Lon Hitch, Renae Gustafson and Robert Naffziger, and administrator Howard Hall. The Dick Hanson Scholarship Fund, in honor of the former teacher and coach, presented scholarships to six students.  

The Class Acts annual teacher variety show raised funding to provide $1,000 scholarships to 11 seniors at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School this year. “We are totally a ‘community scholarship’ as the show has continued only due to the incredible support from our community businesses, community members and the entire staff of School District 191,” said Lucretia Jeffers, an organizer of the event. “In 30 years, Class Acts has given out $376,000 in scholarships to our graduating seniors wishing to further their education.”

Scholarship donors and recipients are:

  • American Legion Burnsville 1700 - Olivia Brammer and Samantha Panos;

  • Apple Auto Scholarship presented by the Minneapolis Foundation - Kelly Solberg;

  • BA191 Ken Slipka Baseball Scholarship - Garrett Gregersen;

  • Burnsville Association of Educational Assistants - Payton Handrahan;

  • BHS Student Council - Luke Haddorff and Malorie O’Brien;

  • Burnsville Athletic Club - Elizabeth Cummings, Mackenzie Duncan and Jack Kudra;

  • Burnsville Breakfast Rotary - Jacob Boatman, Kaitlyn Lakson and Chelsea Zerr;

  • Burnsville High School Tennis - Macauly Donohue, Allie Draper, Alex Gude, Kendra Gudmonson, Luke Haddorff, Payton Handrahan, Albert Liu and Sutton Strander;

  • Burnsville Lions’ Club - Samantha Brenes, Katherine Do, Michelle Dolan, Natasha Hassan, Vanessa Kiriago, Maxwell May, Davina Persaud, Sarra Suphavong, Falak Tawaklna and Julio Urgiles-Inamagua;

  • Burnsville Noon Rotary - Kaitlyn Lakson;

  • Burnsville Principals Association - Ayla Resendez;

  • Class Acts - Daniel Akah, Olivia Bendickson, Samantha Brenes, Kristine Brinkman, Princess Daniels, Vitoria Gueorguiev, Katlin Johnson, Shealyn McMahon, Lucy Mertens, Yevgeniy Bak and Spencer Harned;

  • Dakota Electric Association - Eyerusalem Abebaw, Lysandra Alvilar, Cameron Bedford, Jake Beeson, Jacob Boatman, Jeffy Jeffy, Dalatheon Legrand, Julia Machuchu, Christian Marineau and Murwoa Yusuf;

  • Devin Delaney Memorial Scholarship - Garrett Gregersen, Conner Mauck and Jonah Norling;

  • District 191 Employees - Jose Cazares, Elizabeth McCormick, Emily Reynolds, Ryan VanEps and Murwoa Yusuf;

  • Firefly Credit Union Firefly Credit Union Blood Drive - Jake Chudecke, Kaylee Martynow and Elizabeth McCormick;

  • Firefly Credit Union Great Savings Challenge - Elizabeth McCormick;

  • Hanson Scholarship - William Alvey, Olivia Brammer, Christopher Fuentes Chevez, Mitchell Huerd, Brock Schultz and Elija Worley;

  • Harriet Bishop PTO - Ali Mohamed;

  • Howard Hall Memorial Scholarship - Abeal Sinbero;

  • Ken Slipka Leadership Scholarship - Makaela Kallstrom;

  • Kopp Family Foundation - Madison Burk, Antonio Alvarez Cruz and Tiffany Preisinger;

  • Lifetouch Presidential Scholarships - Janessa Cook, Megan Osterhaus and Alessandra Genis;

  • Lon Hitch Community Involvement Memorial Scholarship - Falak Tawakalna;

  • Lon Hitch Education Memorial Scholarship - Vanessa Kiriago;

  • Mary Lenhardt Memorial Scholarship - Kaylee Martynow and Shealyn McMahon;

  • Metcalf PTO - Elizabeth McCormick;

  • National Honor Society General Scholarship - Sydney Dahl, Thanh Manh Dinh, Albert Liu, Megan Osterhaus, Cristian Pina-Flores, Derek Pina-Flores and Thomas Ryan;

  • NHS Officer Scholarship - Courtney Funk, Elizabeth McCormick and Emily Reynolds;

  • P.E.O. Chapters DP/EI Women’s Scholarship - Hannah Schliemann;

  • P.E.O. S.T.A. R. Scholarship - Elizabeth McCormick;

  • Renae Gustafson Memorial Scholarship - Fiona Chow and Albert Liu;

  • Robert Naffziger Memorial Scholarship - Abeal Sinbero;

  • Savage American Legion - Kristyn Loyva;  

  • Savage Rotary - Sereirotha Phay;

  • Taylor Ziebol Memorial Scholarship - Sameesha Harmon;

  • Timothy L. Correll (TLC) Foundation - Samantha Duncan;

  • Walser Foundation Driving a Stronger Community - Olivia Brammer.

Posted in Achievement, Community | Tagged bhs, community scholarships, seniors, class acts

Where in the World Do YOU show REACH?

Posted on June 1, 2018

We want to know where you show REACH during summer break!  

  • So pack your REACH t-shirt as you head off to your cabin, or summer camp, fairs, sporting events, or even traveling to another continent !
  • Take a selfie and email it to Ms. Henle at  

When you return to school, this fall, a bulletin board will have  All the places Byrne students found to show REACH !





Tagged globe, reach, william byrne

Vikings players ‘Team Up to Give Back’ at Rahn Elementary

Posted on June 1, 2018

Students at Rahn Elementary School of Arts and Technology in Eagan found their school invaded by Vikings on May 30. Thankfully, these Vikings were there to hand out backpacks with books and spend some time playing games with students both in classrooms and the gym.

As part of the Minnesota Vikings first Team Up to Give Back community service day, more than 30 players were on hand at the school, including running back Latavius Murray, linebacker Anthony Barr and safety Andrew Sendejo. Some visited classrooms, squeezing their professional athlete-sized frames into first grader-sized chairs, to read, color, play games and chat with students. Others were active with students in the gym, playing games of tag and team relays.

The community outreach effort actually kicked off the week before when Rahn third-grade students worked with artists to create pieces that will be installed at TCO Performance Center, the Vikings’ new training facility in Eagan.

Read more about Team Up to Give Back at

Photo at top: Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr talks with first graders during a visit on May 30.

Vikings Visit Rahn Elementary

Posted in Community | Tagged vikings, rahn, community, literacy, physical fitness