BHS senior receives STEM award from Target group

Posted on November 28, 2017

Fiona Chow receives TWIST EPIC Award from Target CorporationBurnsville High School senior Fiona Chow is a recipient of the TWIST EPIC Award from Target Corporation's Women in Science & Technology this fall.

The award honored 25 young women in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas for their dedication to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “These young women demonstrate Engagement, Passion, Innovation and Curiosity with STEM fields and TWIST encourages them to continue pursuing this path,” according to a TWIST news release.  

As a TWIST EPIC award recipient, Fiona now has a mentor who works at Target in the cybersecurity field and will have the opportunity to job shadow him. She also participated in the Target TWIST Science and Technology Day recently which featured interactive presentations and demonstrations of how science and technology solutions are used at Target.

Additionally, Fiona has received other STEM recognitions. She earned a National Certificate of Distinction from the National Center of Women in Technology (NCWIT) Aspiration in Computing Awards of Minnesota. Fiona and a classmate developed a mobile application called Birdsong that earned first place in the U.S. Congressional App Challenge for the Second District.

Fiona has taken several STEM pathway classes at Burnsville High School including Mobile Computer Science Principles, Principles of Engineering, and Engineering Design and Development. In addition to continuously connecting with and job shadowing professionals in various fields of interest, Fiona has also advanced her study in the STEM field by attending a cybersecurity workshop during the summer at a local college.

“Fiona actively participates in many school activities and promotes female students in coding,” said Cindy Drahos, business and computer science instructor at Burnsville High School. “She is a diligent worker who is learning new technology and concepts daily in preparation for her success in college.”

Fiona is involved in several leadership roles and extracurricular activities at school, including sharing her passion for STEM as a leader of the new Burnsville High School's Women in STEM club.

Although Fiona has not yet made a final decision on which university she will attend next year, she plans to major in computer science or software engineering with a possible focus on artificial intelligence and/or cybersecurity.

“Because of Fiona’s motivation and enthusiasm for this career field and great business ethics, she has a bright future ahead of her,” said Drahos.

Posted in Achievement, Academics, Student Success | Tagged bhs, STEM, women, technology, business education, computer, TWIST EPIC, award, Target

Special Guest Day at Pond

Posted on November 27, 2017

Gideon Pond celebrated Special Guest Day on Wednesday, November 22.  Guests were able to participate in a fun activity in classrooms.  PTO held their Book Fair and guests were able to enjoy beverages and treats in the Hospitality Area.  Many thanks to the PTO for sponsoring this event and thank you to all the special guests who attended.  A great time was had by all!

MWS International Night is Dec. 8

Posted on November 27, 2017

Join us at MWS to celebrate and explore our diversity as a community! We will have so much to do and see!



TIME    6 – 8 PM






MWS International Country Sign Up English Version

MWS International Country Sign Up Spanish Version



Yes, help is needed for the Passport Scavenger Hunt and International Buffet.

MWS International Volunteer Sign Up



  • 7:00 – Kindergarten
  • 7:10 – 1st Grade
  • 7:20 – 2nd Grade
  • 7:30 – 3rd Grade
  • 7:40 – 4th Grade
  • 7:50 – 5th Grade


Here are some highlights of what to expect at this year’s  International Night:

  • International buffet for only $5/per person
  • Country stands and exhibits hosted by MWS families from 6 - 7 PM
  • International music performed by MWS students
  • Passports country scavenger hunt for students
  • Plus lots more….


MWS International Night Invitation

Posted in Parents | Tagged international night, marion w savage

Winter concerts slated for Dec.11-12, 14 and 19

Posted on November 27, 2017

The Burnsville High School bands and choirs will perform Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Mraz Center for the Performing Arts, located at 600 E. Hwy 13. 

On Monday, Dec. 11, the Blaze Band and the Wind Ensemble will perform, while the Freshman Band, Symphonic Band and the Jazz Ensemble will perform on Tuesday, Dec.12. 

The band concerts will provide listeners with some great traditional band repertoire, as well as a few holiday selections. 

There will also be a bake sale each night in the foyer outside the Mraz Center. Though there is no admission fee, there is a recommended $3 per person donation which funds the music department. 

On Thursday, Dec. 14, there will be a concert featuring the Blaze and Symphonic Orchestras. Performances begin at 7 p.m.

Entitled "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," the choir concert is Dec. 19 at 6:30 and 8 p.m. It will feature holiday classics like "Let it Snow!" and fun new selections like "Take Me Home." The choir will be singing works by various composers, including Palestrina and Pentatonix.

The 6:30 p.m. concert features FreeStyle, BroCanto, Freshmen Choir and Blaze Choir. The 8 p.m. concert features FreeStyle, BroCanto, Bel Canto and Concert Choir.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $3.


Posted in Community | Tagged bhs, winter concerts, choir, band, bake sale, music department

Burnsville High School to host 'Hour of Code' night for K-12 families

Posted on November 22, 2017

Burnsville High School will be hosting a “Family Hour of Code” night on Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m., as part of the worldwide Computer Science Education Week on Dec. 4-10.

This is the first time that BHS will be hosting a family-oriented Hour of Code event. The goal is to have District 191 families with students who are interested in computer science get together and try coding.

Coding is when you tell a computer exactly what to do by giving it step-by-step directions. It’s also known as computer programming.

“With computers everywhere, we need to encourage and engage our students’ interest in computer science,” BHS computer science teacher Cindy Drahos said. “Every student deserves the chance to learn computer science to access the best careers of the 21st century.”

Drahos also noted that in the manufacturing field, there are more job openings in software than production for the first time, as reported by Burning Glass.

The event is open to all families throughout the school district. Families will have a chance to use the website, along with coding programs such as Codeable, Scratch, App Inventor and put together a Raspberry Pi for coding.

Another goal with this event is to show how students in the school district are getting the opportunity to learn coding in various classes available at all of the district’s schools from kindergarten through grade 12.

“We want to showcase how all students in our district have opportunities to learn coding,” District 191 instructional technology coordinator Rachel Gorton said. “All students learn how to code in elementary school and middle school students continue to code in exploratory courses. In high school, students have many classes they can take to further enhance their skills.”

There will be more than 40,000 Hour of Code events throughout the world with tens of millions of people trying out code over the span of Computer Science Education week. If you would like to learn more about the Hour of Code event and Computer Science Education week, visit

Note: Story by Justin Amaker, Burnsville High School senior and District 191 communications intern.
Posted in Community, Academics | Tagged technology, coding, bhs, hour of code, computer science

District 191 educators to be honored as TIES Exceptional Teachers

Posted on November 22, 2017

paul connell and mary casserly-smithMary Casserly-Smith and Paul Connell, both teachers in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, have been named TIES 2017 Exceptional Teachers and will be honored during the TIES Education Technology Conference in December.

They are among teachers selected for modeling best practices in using technology to engage students in learning. School districts participating in the award program are members of TIES, an education technology consortium of 48 Minnesota school districts.

“Mary and Paul have embedded technology in their classrooms to differentiate instruction, expand learning and prepare students to be future ready,” said Superintendent Cindy Amoroso, who nominated the teachers for the award. “They're also leaders in the use of technology in our school district and we thank them for their contributions and congratulate them on this recognition.”

When it comes to her work, Mary Casserly-Smith is right where she wants to be. As the Rahn Elementary digital learning specialist, her role combines teaching students using International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards and coaching fellow teachers on how to strategically integrate technology into their curriculum.

“Mary is not only talented and knowledgeable when working with students, but is a huge to support to our staff as they work to integrate technology,” said Principal Barbara Borer. “Having a digital learning specialist teaching vital technology skills to students and staff members has made integrating technology more efficient and productive.”

Though Casserly-Smith notes there are challenges, including keeping up with technology changes and ensuring equitable access to tech tools, she says this work is essential for schools to prepare students for their futures. All students have the opportunity to learn coding, digital literacy, and how to use learning technologies.

“We will never know another time when computers are not a part of our life,” said Casserly-Smith, who holds certificates in educational technology and cognitive coaching, and is earning a second licensure in media literacy, “and if we don’t prepare our students for a digital world, we would be failing them and society as a whole.”

Paul Connell says that providing Chromebooks to all students has had an exciting impact on teaching and learning at Burnsville High School.

The language arts/creative writing teacher had started his master’s degree in Learning Design and Technology when the 1:1 began last year and was well-positioned to make the most of it.

"Paul is a teacher leader in using our Schoology online learning system to create blended learning for students with a mix of online and classroom learning," said Principal Dave Helke. "I appreciate that Paul is always willing to share his knowledge with colleagues."  

Devices facilitate differentiated learning, says Connell. When studying a novel, for example, he can provide it in several formats: pdf digital, abridged, audio and play scripts so students can access the version that suits their learning style. Connell finds that students who have typically been quiet in classroom discussions are active contributors to online discussions.  

Devices also save lots of time. No longer does Connell have to search for computer labs, spend time at the copy machine, or collect and hand out papers. This provides more time to develop learning activities and spend more time with individual students. He’s also able to provide feedback to students so much faster than before. Most importantly, he knows that ALL of his students have access to devices, resources and tools, which he couldn’t count on before.

Posted in Achievement | Tagged technology, TIES, bhs, rahn

Eagle Ridge students are top three winners in VFW essay contest

Posted on November 22, 2017

Three 8th grade students at Eagle Ridge Middle School earned awards in the Patriot's Pen essay contest sponsored by Burnsville VFW Post 5833 recently.

Students in the community in grades 6-8 were invited to submit essays related to the theme of “America’s Gift to My Generation.” Members of the Post evaluated the entries and selected three winners, said Bob Hansen, commander of Burnsville VFW Post 5833.

All three winners are students at Eagle Ridge Middle School:

  • 1st Place - Cynthia Kerubo received $100.
  • 2nd Place - Susan Nguyen received $75.
  • 3rd Place - Hayden Mathews received $50.

Now Cynthia’s essay moves on to district-level competition. Read it here.

The three students are in an honors literacy arts class taught by Mike Blair, who introduced the essay contest to students by talking about the theme and the intended audience. They reviewed the rules and parameters (300-400 words) of the essay and how best to introduce, support and summarize the "gift" within those parameters.  

“Each student had the opportunity to reflect on the theme and write to express their gratitude for that ‘Gift,’” said Blair. “They learned to write for an audience and to express their thoughts clearly and concisely.”

Every student in the class was required to write an essay and 17 of them chose to submit theirs for consideration in the contest.

“I was impressed with the students' depth of understanding of the impact the men and women of our past, present, (and future) have on our country,” Blair added. “Students really seemed to ‘get it’.”

Hansen agrees. “The students did a really good job on their essays,” he said. Twelve members of the Post assisted him with judging.

Entries are due by Nov. 1 every year for the Patriot’s Pen Essay contest for students in grades 6-8 and the “Voice of Democracy” speech contest for students in grades 9-12. For more information, contact Hansen at or (952) 388-3956.

Photo: From left, Howard Lundin, senior vice commander; Hayden Mathews, Susan Nguyen, Cynthia Kerubo, and Bob Hansen, commander of Burnsville VFW Post 5833.

Posted in Student Success, Community | Tagged community, vfw, essay contest, eagle ridge

Nicollet & Metcalf Theater presents 'Singin' in the Rain'

Posted on November 21, 2017

Join the cast and crew of Nicollet and Metcalf Middle School theaters as they present the classic musical "Singin' in the Rain."

Shows are Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-2 at 7 p.m. at the Mraz Center for Performing Arts at Burnsville High School. All seats are $5.

Posted in Arts | Tagged metcalf, nicollet, theater, drama, arts

Gifted Magnet information night is Nov. 27

Posted on November 21, 2017

Parents are invited to join us for the first of two Magnet School Information Nigths on Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Harriet Bishop Elementary meets the needs of all learners.

Harriet Bishop Gifted and Talented Elementary School's mission is to provide a rigorous curriculum within a flexible environment for a diverse population of students to develop the gifts and talents of each child. Children flourish in an environment that allows them to become self directed learners and socially responsible citizens. By engaging in various learning experiences that promote cognitive, emotional, physical, social and artistic growth, students will develop an identity and a global awareness. Our students will learn to capitalize on their potential through learning experiences, choices and collaboration with peers. We foster and recognize critical thinking and accomplishment, and expect excellence. 

Learn more and download application materials online.

A second Magnet School Information Night will be held Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Posted in Academics, Parents | Tagged magnet schools, gifted and talented, applications, harriet bishop

Burnsville running back selected to play in Minnesota Football Showcase

Posted on November 17, 2017

Burnsville High School senior Tre Thomas, a running back for the Burnsville football team, has been selected to play in the 45th Annual Minnesota Football Showcase on Saturday, Dec. 9 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“This is a great honor for Tre to represent the Burnsville football program and community by participating in the Minnesota Football Showcase,” said Vince Varpness, varsity football head coach. “He has worked hard the past few years to put himself into position to become one of the top athletes in Minnesota.”

Varpness added, “Tre is a diverse athlete who has the ability to play offense or defense in college (LB or RB) due to his combination of agility, size and strength. Currently, several colleges are recruiting him from both the DI and DII levels. This is a testament to his character and abilities. We are very excited to see Tre move onto the next level and watch his progress though his college years.”

Developed in partnership between the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA), the Minnesota Football Showcase All-Star football game features outstanding senior players from the current year’s high school football season.

Players and coaches representing 89 schools and nearly 40 sub-districts will participate in this year’s game.  

For additional information about the Minnesota Football Showcase, please visit

Posted in Athletics, Achievement | Tagged bhs, football, minnesota football showcase, minnesota football coaches association, tre thomas