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With referendum approval, changes coming to buildings, technology and learning

When students arrive for the 2016-17 school year, they will find changes throughout Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 thanks to voter approval of the two Vision One91 referendum questions on Feb. 24.

“The next 18 months will be busy with construction design, building projects and moving students, staff and programs,” said Superintendent Joe Gothard. “We’re really grateful that our community has given us this opportunity to expand opportunities and learning for our students.”

The goal of Vision One91 is to redesign the district to meet the needs of today’s learners and ensure the district’s mission of “Each Student Real-World Ready.” Among changes will be realigning grades so elementary schools serve grades k-5, current junior highs transform to middle schools with grades 6-8, and Burnsville High School will have grades 9-12. Remodeling will take place at some schools, especially at Burnsville High School. At William Byrne Elementary, aging portable classrooms will be removed and replaced with an addition. Security improvements will also be made at schools.

New funding available starting with the 2016-17 school year will allow the district to significantly increase student access to technology, online resources, collaborative problem-solving experiences and different approaches to learning. Teachers will receive ongoing training and support to embed technology into everyday learning and individualize instruction. A more robust, reliable and secure infrastructure will support the expanded use of technology.

“Vision One91 is OUR vision and it’s time for us to do some great work together,” said Gothard. “I’m thrilled with the election results and I’m even more excited to implement our plans alongside our staff, students and community. We will continue to work hard building off the positive momentum from the results of this vote.”

Gothard listed some of the work now underway in the following four categories:

Learning:

  • Design teams (of teachers and administrators) have been meeting since fall in four groups — early childhood, elementary, middle and high school — to research, explore and start to develop concepts of what schools will be like at each level when alignment takes place to K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
  • They will continue to solidify, for example, what high school career pathways will be offered, what the middle school model will look like, how space will be used in elementary schools and how and when early childhood offerings will be expanded.

Technology:

  • Focus is on availability of technology to enhance teaching and learning on an everyday basis.
  • The 2015-16 school year will be used to prepare for the expanded use of technology. Staff members will use the time to plan and prepare for 2016-17 school year and beyond.
  • A technology advisory committee has been established and has begun meeting. Students, parents and community members are sought to serve on the committee along with teachers, principals and other employees. Those who are interested can contact Technology Director Doug Johnson at (952) 707-2065. The group will meet three or four times a year and serve in an advisory capacity and provide input into technology planning.
  • The technology department is developing a three-year technology plan to submit in June 2015 to the Minnesota Department of Education for review.

Building Construction:

  • Aggressive timeline to complete building bond projects and have facilities ready to welcome students for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Sale of bonds at March and April board meetings, taking advantage of good interest rates.
  • Work with architects (and BHS alumni) Mark Hayes and Eric Anderson of ATS&R (architectural firm) to finalize details.
  • Construction will begin summer 2015 and continue all the way to August of 2016.

Continued Community Involvement:

  • Vision One91 was developed with input from students, parents, staff members and community members. Conversations and engagement will continue with many opportunities for people to provide feedback through meetings, online and social media.
  • Regular updates and ongoing information will be provided through the district’s electronic and paper newsletters, school newsletters, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the district’s website at www.isd191.org.

Connect with the district:

www.isd191.org
info@isd191.org
www.facebook.com/isd191
www.twitter.com/isd191
Instagram: isd191
Subscribe for electronic newsletter: www.isd191.org/enews
Phone: 952-707-2020

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Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 10:27