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Seven new and cool things for 2018-19

We hope you're getting excited for the new school year - we sure are! Here are just a few of the new things happening in 2018-19 around the district. 

1: College-credit classes for future teachers

Burnsville High School seniors will be able to take two education courses and earn seven college credits through Normandale Community College, all without leaving the high school.

The courses, “Introduction to Education” and “Multicultural Education and Human Relations in School,” are made possible in part through a “Grow Your Own” grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. Although the school is actively recruiting students of color to participate, the classes are open to any senior who meets academic requirements or gets a recommendation from a teacher.

More on future teachers

2: Bus fleet includes host of safety features

District 191 students will be riding to and from school in all new buses this school year. The district’s new transportation provider, Schmitty & Sons, is building an entire fleet for the partnership. Along with being new, the buses will include several safety features, including interior and exterior cameras, a public-address system that helps drivers easily communicate with students, and a GPS tracking system. Plus, the buses will be easy to identify with our district name printed on the side.

More on buses

3: Updates for elementary media centers

Elementary schools will receive new modern furniture that is flexible and moveable to promote interaction and collaboration among students. The updates were needed because media centers are used differently now to align with how workplaces function. Schools that will receive new media center furniture this summer are Marion W. Savage, Hidden Valley, Harriet Bishop, Gideon Pond and Vista View. Other schools (Rahn, Sioux Trail, Edward Neill and Sky Oaks) received media center updates a few years ago when Vision One91 updates took place in their buildings.

4: Healthcare club

A new chapter of the HOSA-Future Health Professionals (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America), has started up at Burnsville High School. It’s the largest student organization preparing students to enter the healthcare field. HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition for secondary students enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs with interests in pursuing careers in health professions.

5: National Junior Honor Society expands

This fall, the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) will have chapters at all three middle schools. It honors students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship and character. It also challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and volunteer community service.

More on NJHS

6: Hidden Valley Hawks

Hidden Valley Elementary has a new mascot (Hidden Valley Hawks) and slogan (SOAR - Safe, On Task, Act Responsible, Respectful).

The school also started a Little Free Library this summer, and kicked it off with a book give away to all students. The goal is to increase reading throughout the summer and into the new school year. The Little Free Library is located inside the front entrance, near the main office.

7: Elementary Schools to Move Mindfully

Several District 191 elementary schools, including Neill, Sky Oaks and Vista View, are adding a program to encourage students to "Move Mindfully." It’s a national program called Yoga Calm that was developed for classroom use by a school counselor who observed her students’ varied needs for movement, mindfulness and social-emotional learning. Studies suggest that school-based yoga may have a number of positive effects on students’ mental health, behavior and academic performance.

See more important back-to-school information, including advice from elementary students, at

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - 14:20