287 News

  • Meet Lynda Benkofske, December Above & Beyond Employee Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/Lynda_Benkofske_Sandyweb.jpg Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski presented Lynda Benkofske with the December Employee Recognition honors during a Monday morning meeting. (click on photo at left) The surprise event took place at the District Service Center.

    Here is part of Lynda’s nomination:
    "Lynda has been highly instrumental in moving the early learning centers to a new and higher level of quality early childhood education, by initiating the process of seeking accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This is a rigorous process involving the creation of new policies, gathering of evidence for portfolios, and making sure that curriculum and materials are up to national accreditation standards, and it will ensure that all of the infants and young children in the district's early learning centers will receive the highest quality early childhood education, and the best chance at success in both school and life in their future." read more

    Congratulations Lynda!

  • MN DI participates in China Tournament Friday, December 12, 2014

     A local DestiNation Imhttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/BlaineTeam_China_web2.jpgagination team competed in China this month and brought home the gold. 

    According to Minnesota Affiliate Director, Pamela Schroeder, our team from Blaine High School brought home a First Place in the structure challenge, and a First Place in Instant Challenge. This was the second Beijing International Invitational, and the team's second (and third) victory there. The team name is "If I told you I would have to.....TOP SECRET". The members are in grades 7-11. (click on photo)

    It was a very competitive environment. In addition to 575 Chinese teams performing in their country's tournament, there were 25 international teams from Canada, Qatar, Mexico, Turkey, Poland, Korea, and three US teams. Winners at this event will advance to Global Finals in Knoxville, TN in May.

    Taking first place in the Instant Challenge was especially significant because this was the first time a trophy was issued in China for Instant Challenge.

    Congratulations go to the Blaine DI Team!

  • ASL Students Rock during Pep fest Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/EPHS_ASL_Pep_Fest_web.jpg District 287 has a big presence in the American Sign Language (ASL) Department at Eden Prairie High School (EPHS). For many years, instructors Albert Walla and Lynn Fiscus, and Interpreter Cynthia Dzimian, have taught the skills needed to be fluent in ASL.

    During the last few years, the skills of 3rd year ASL students are demonstrated by signing songs during EPHS Pep Fests. On Friday, the Pep Fest included the accomplishments of students in academics, sports and outside activities. Half way through the announcements,11 "accomplished" ASL students signed the song Don't Stop Believing (Journey 1981) to the entire student body. One of the students did an impressive "air guitar” solo while others signed applause. All of which received a standing ovation by the thousands of students and staff who attended the event.

    Last week’s event was a particularly big occasion. EPHS football team won their 4th straight State Football Championship.

    Nice work ASL students and staff!

  • Chad Maxa named Technology Leader of the Year Monday, December 8, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/ChadMaxa_Intermediate_District_287.jpg Congratulations Chad Maxa for being named the state-wide Technology Leader of the Year. This award goes to a district technology leader who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in implementing technology to improve education. Chad received this prestigious award this morning during the annual TIES Technology Conference.

    Chad is our Executive Director for Technology and Innovation. He has been with our District since 2006. Here is a summary of his nomination:
    “His leadership and technical skills have helped build and maintain IT in a large, complex, and innovative organization. Among his many contributions, Chad led a process to acquire tools for a comprehensive safety and communication system …. This has helped reassure staff and parents that students’ needs can be met quickly and efficiently .… Chad was instrumental in the design of the North Education Center, which is customized for highly unique learners. He understands that integrated and accessible AV and technology systems are the foundation for successful teachers and learners.”

    TIES produced a video about Chad's work. See video.

    Congratulations Chad!

  • Congratulations TIES Exceptional Teachers Monday, November 24, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/Gail_Morris_Intermediate_district287_11_20_14_web.jpg https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/Benjamin_ Drewelow_Intermediate_District_287_web.jpgThis week, TIES announced that two District 287 instructors have been named 2014 TIES Exceptional Teachers. They are Gail Morris and Benjamin Drewelow. (see photos at left)

    Gail is an Itinerant Instructor of Blind/Visually Impaired Program. Ben is a CIP Program Instructor at the North Education Center. They are among 91 “Exceptional Teachers who have made a positive impact on students.”  This is the 11th year that TIES has noted exceptional educators from across the state of Minnesota.

    Gail and Ben will be honored on December 9 during the annual TIES Education Technology Conference in Minneapolis.

    Congratulations Gail and Ben!

  • Cindy Brose named MN ESP of the Year Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    “I have always liked new challenges. That’s who I am. I grew up with a strong work ethic. If there is a need, I will be raising my hand.”        -Cindy Brose, MN Education Support Professional of the Year

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/CindyBrose4web.jpg During official ceremonies this morning, Para Professional Cindy Brose was named the 2014 Minnesota Education Support Professional of the Year. Education Minnesota President Denise Specht presented Cindy’s award to her in front of students, staff and family who had gathered in the gym at Edgewood Education Center.

    “Today is the day we set aside for recognizing the work of education support professionals nationwide,” Denise told everyone. “Cindy is both a remarkable individual, and an example of how important education support professionals are for preparing every student for a successful life.” (read more)

    According to Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski, Cindy has played a key para professional role in our classrooms for more than 21 years.clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/Cindy_Brose_6.jpg

    “Cindy, you are a rock star because of your great attitude and your hardwork in the classroom and around Edgewood Education Center,” Sandy said. “Thank you for providing active and positive support for our students." 

    Just one year ago, Cindy Brose received our employee “Above and Beyond” award for November 2013. This recognition is for employees who use initiative in finding innovative tools for students and staff.

    Following all of the excitement, Cindy took her new IPad, given to her by Education MN, and returned to her classroom where students were waiting for her.

    Congratulations Cindy!

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  • Meet Kathy Enselein, Employee Recognition Winner for November Friday, November 14, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/KathyEnseleinabive&beyweb.jpg Kathy Enselein is an Edgewood Education Center Instructor and was chosen as our Above and Beyond Employee for November. Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski presented her award this afternoon.

    Here is Kathy's nomination:
    "Kathy is a master at planning individually for each student in all of the classes she teaches, and enabling the students to engage as independently as possible in various activities. She communicates in a variety of fashions ... This enables parents or group home staff to know what the student is working on at school and collaborate with Kathy to be ‘on the same page when it comes to expectations and strategies used with the students." read more

    Congratulations Kathy!

  • Learn-learn-learn Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/Curriday_1web2.jpgTwenty-six curriculum groups met across the district on Thursday. The half day meetings are late start days for students while our classroom staff share resources, and receive updates in their area of instruction and learn more about specific areas.

    At the Hennepin Tech Campus, 30 Career & Tech and Work Experience licensed staff spent time with our Reading Specialist, Mary Slinde. District Reading Specialists will work with teams during the Curriculum workshops throughout the school year. The topic this year is “Writing Every Day, in Every Class.” (read more)

    When Mary asked our Career & Tech instructors “How often do students write in your classes?”, they responded “at least twice per class.”https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/Curriday_4.jpg

    “Writing in Career and Tech classes is very important as we are preparing our students for college and/or careers,” Principal Rose Hobson said after the workshop. “To compete in today's world a student needs to have good writing skills because it is all about communication with customers and/or peers.”

    The next scheduled Curriculum Group sessions are scheduled for February 5.

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  • Experts share expertise on BVI tools Thursday, November 6, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/romeo50_web.jpgThe Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) Team held an Equipment Fair and Open House in June.

    During the event, our staff demonstrated a wide range of equipment currently being used by our itinerant team when they work with students who are blind or visually impaired.

    Check out the array of equipment demonstrated at the open house.  Play video.

  • BVI receives $15,000 Grant Thursday, October 30, 2014

    This week our Blind & Visually Impaired (BVI) Department received a $15,000 grant from UMOGD (Upper Midwest Optical Golf Day) Sight Preservation Foundation.

    The Sight Preservahttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/BVIcheck_3.jpgtion Foundation raises funds “to enhance the lives of visually and physically disabled children so that they to reach their full potential.” The check was presented by Foundation Board President - Craig Giles and Board Treasurer - Nancy Klaers to our Melissa Mendick and Jennifer McIntyre. (see photo)

    read more

    The award is a result of an extensive application process that began last January with our BVI staff putting together information about District 287 and the BVI Programs. We are using the grant to purchase five Romeo Pro-50 Embossers. A Romeo Embosser is a portable single-sided braille embosser that produces braille for those who need a mobile or desktop station. 

    In collaboration with classroom teachers, textbook publishers and others in education settings, our staff produces 3,000 hours of braille materials each year. This includes braille materials from books, charts, maps, web content, games and science labs. These projects are especially important because the focus of our BVI instructors is to facilitate access to educational materials at the same time as their student peers.

    Congratulations BVI Team on another great innovative idea!

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  • WSSS Part 2: Itís a Secret! It Really is Math! Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/WSSS_mathphoto.jpgThe world is made of math, and we don’t mean workbooks and packets. Almost everything we do each day has a component of math. 

    During West Suburban Summer School, It Really is Math class studied logic problems, the stock market, creating your own board game, food, finance, and sports statistics. They even went to a bowling alley to study math. All of these activities used math and math equations.
    Follow the stock traders using math skills.
  • Report Features our Superintendent Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Supt. Sandy Lewandowski was featured on Channel 12 News on Wednesday evening. While visiting classrooms at the North Education Center, the reporter talked with Sandy about her Superintendent of the Year Award.
    To see her story, click here.
  • WSSS was largest turnout - ever! Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/WSSSBRAIN.jpgOne of the Gifted Education Programs here at District 287 is West Suburban Summer School.
    2014 was WSSS's 36th year. Registration numbers were impressive: 948 students attended and accounted for 1627 registrations. This was our biggest year ever. As the program has evolved over time, so has the innovative subject matter and tools. This week we will feature two of the 110 classes held during WSSS 2014.
    During “Thinking with Your Hands”, students made cool construction projects as they learned how their imagination works.

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/video_icon.jpgSee video.

  • Supt. Sandy Lewandowski named Superintendent of the year Monday, October 13, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/About_287/Photos_about287_new_layout/MissSandyHorizontal.jpg Congratulations Sandy for being selected as the 2015 Superintendent of the Year! The Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) made the announcement this morning.

    Supt. Lewandowski was nominated by the District 287 School Board. 

    Watch Sandy's Introduction video. 

    UPDATE 10/20/14: Read the MASA News Release
  • Meet Julie Kent, October employee Recognition winner Monday, October 13, 2014

    clientuploads/Employrecog/JulieKent_Sandyweb.jpg Teacher Julie Kent from the West Education Center has been chosen as our Employee Recognition Winner for her efforts that go "Above and Beyond". Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski presented her award this morning. (photo at left)

    Here is her excellent nomination, a compilation of three separate nominations:
    "Julie Kent is actively committed to enhancing the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports) commitment to staff and students. She has teamed to design and build lesson plans and activities that enrich our PBIS matrix to ensure that all students are actively taught building expectations and ways to be better citizens out in our community. She's tirelessly worked to raise money through a variety of activities and programs to better our program. Ms. Kent is a tireless worker on behalf of staff, families and especially the students she serves."  (read more)

    Congratulations Julie!

  • District 287 Authorís Love of Nature Leads to Setting for his First Novel Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/Geoffrey_Saign.jpg Congratulations to Geoff Saign, Education Assistant at South Education Center VECTOR Program, who has just self-published his first novel. He is receiving lots of attention in the press for the novel written for middle grade readers to young adults called WhipEye. Saign has written several other children’s books including The African Cats and Green Essentials: What You Need to Know About the Environment.

    Geoff has a background in biology having spent time as a field researcher and he has a passion for nature and wildlife. The setting for WhipEye is near the Superior National Forest. Twelve year old Samantha, a thousand year old, very wise parrot, and friend Jake have twenty four hours to save two worlds.

    Saign says, “I wanted kids to see this character who loves wild animals and yet be wrapped up enough in the story to have that be the underpinning, so it’s not a preachy thing. After 30 years of writing (and finishing a dozen novels), having 6 New York agents, and recently experiencing a failed contract with a small publisher, I decided to self-publish WhipEye, and am glad I did! I plan to publish two other young adult series in the next year, but am searching for publishers for them.”

    On Nov. 2nd, Sunday, 9-9:30PM, Geoff will be interviewed by WGN Chicago radio host, Rick Kogan, a national radio columnist. He has been featured in an article in the Highland Villager Newspaper.

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  • It's flu season. Here are tips for staying healthy Friday, October 3, 2014

    Each year, the flu season is unpredictable. But according to the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, 5 to 20% of us will get the flu this year.

    Thanks https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Human_Resources/flue_web.jpgto the researchers who have studied the flu viruses for more than 100 years, the Centers for Disease Control has prepared some tips.
    • Get a flu shot because the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. District 287 has scheduled six flu shot clinics for our employees and their families. See the dates, locations and other information.
    (read more)

    During flu season, it is wise to follow simple personal measures such as
    • Wash your hands often;
    • Practice flu etiquette by covering your nose and mouth when you are ill;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and
    • Stay home from school, work and other activities for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

    Also available are the F.A.C.T.S. about the Flu. This document has a list of of signs and symptoms to help you determine if you have the flu or a cold.

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  • WEC Teacher's essay published Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/teachingwithheart_cover.jpgOur own West High School Language Arts Instructor, Hannah Cushing, is featured in the book - Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach (2014). 

    The Center for Courage and Renewal published Teaching with Heart. Educators submitted poems and essays that focus on “How poetry can help to sustain the courage to teach.” (read more)

    A diverse group of ninety educators describe the complex of emotions and experiences of the teaching life – joy, outrage, heartbreak, hope, commitment and dedication. Each heartfelt commentary is paired with a cherished poem selected by the teacher. More than 400 educators submitted essays and poems.

    Hannah submitted her own reflections about the poem - Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye and the intimate interconnectedness of pain and loss with learning to be a kind and empathic person; and how our difficult moments have the capacity to draw us together. Read Hannah's essay.

    “This is a doubly humbling because it reflects both the opportunities I've had to learn from some of the strongest and most resilient kids throughout my career, as well as the honor to be chosen for a Parker Palmer project,” Hannah said recently. “Mr. Palmer’s work is largely responsible for me finding myself in the classroom.”

    Congratulations Hannah!

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  • The National Anthem turns 200 Saturday, September 27, 2014

    This weehttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/FLAG.jpgkend marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Over the years, many debates have surrounded the national anthem including its meaning, its quality and the circumstances under which Francis Scott Key came to write it.

    What we know is that Daniel Stewart, who attends North Education Center, did not leave a dry eye when he sang the Star-Spangled Banner for our Back to School event this fall.  Listen to Daniel again.

    To read more about the history of our nation's anthem, click here.

  • Meet Jonas Sjoberg, September employee Recognition winner Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/Jonas_SandyL_web.jpg Jonas Sjoberg received the Employee Recognition Award this month during Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski's Java report. (see photo at left) He is the Network Building Engineer in our District 287 Information Technology Department.

    The following is his nomination: "Jonas is responsive to the individual needs of all programs across our district, and he goes above and beyond by giving 1000% of himself to ensure that our technology infrastructure is secure and reliable for staff and students. Jonas does a large portion of his work at the least disruptive times for our staff and students, which means that he is often working in the middle of the night and on weekends. Read more.

    Congratulations Jonas!

  • Our Classroom staff keeps learning & innovating Friday, September 19, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/CurricDay1web.jpg On Thursday, we held our first Curriculum Group meetings of the school year. It is a late start for students so that our classroom staff can work together on many aspects of classroom learning.

    Licensed Staff, Early Learning Center Educators, and Instructional Administrators met in their assigned curriculum and professional groups such as art, science or math. See photos.
    (read more)

    According to Dr. Jon Voss, Director of Teaching and Learning, this year’s curriculum groups will have 3 parts to their meetings, and the other professional groups will have a 2-part meeting (omitting #1 below):
    1. Professional Learning: Presentation by a Reading specialist on the background and resources for the district’s initiatives in literacy and learning intentions.
    2. Peer Review and Evaluation: Presentation by a Peer Coach on the background and process for peer review this year.
    3. Curriculum improvement: Continuing the work of your group to share resources and collaborate on curriculum or other resource needs through the Curriculum Hub. We will ask that each group review and update their outcomes for the year.

    Our education assistants participated in a workshop presented by Nancy Riestenberg, from the Minnesota Department of Education. She is School Climate Specialist and talked with Education Assistants about the effects of maltreatment on the brain during stages of development. She also identified practices in the classroom; hallway and office that help promote resilience in students.

    Great sessions everyone!

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  • Bus Safety art competition winners go to Twins game Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Three North Education Center students received top honors for the 2014 Minnesota School Bus Safety Poster Contest sponsored by the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportahttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/TWINsGame_web.jpgtion and the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association. Two of the school bus safety poster winners were guests of the Minnesota State Patrol at a Twins game this summer.

    Students Leo (right) and Eric (left) attended the Tigers-Twins match up on August 21 where they met Lieutenant Brian Reu with the Minnesota State Patrol. Their exciting day included walking on the field while their posters were projected on the big screen and their names announced.

    “Be Smart. Be Seen. I Wait In A Safe Place” was this year’s theme for the 173 young artists’ competition. Our students took First, Second and Third in their category. The First Place poster goes on to national competition.

    Certificates were presented to our students by Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski and Transportation Coordinator Amy Tiedens who was instrumental in working with classroom teachers to prepare and submit entries. See posters.

    What a great way to wrap up the summer!

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  • Congratulations Sherry and Sam: Above and Beyond Employees Monday, September 8, 2014

    Sherry (Scharrhttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/Sam_Kast_Sherry_Krause_WEB2.jpgel) Krause and Sam (Sandra) Kast were surprised to be a part of the Back to School event. Sherry and Sam were recognized as August’s Above and Beyond recipients for their work to create a unique Mentor Program for education assistants at the North Education Center.

    Many of the new education assistants that are hired for NEC come to orientation already knowing who their assigned mentor is and Sherry and/or Sam have already connected with them. Sherry (left) and Sam (right) put new staff’s needs first and make sure they feel welcomed and supported from the moment they are hired. That is above and beyond what they are asked to do coordinate as Mentor Leads. The Mentoring Program is their passion and that passion is evident in everything they do to make it such a success at NEC!   (read more)

    Additionally, they have served as a resource to another Mentor Lead in the district this year.  The other Mentor Lead had not experienced as many new hires throughout this school year as she had in previous years. Since Sherry and Sam have much experience with this they were the perfect people to provide support and guidance. Read more about Sherry and Sam.

    Congratulations Sherry and Sam!

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  • Welcome Back Students Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Classeshttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/welcomebackstudentssec.JPG officially started throughout the district today.https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/SECA_firstday_web.jpg

    Starting at 7:15 a.m. students started arriving with expectations for their new school year. These photos were taken at the South Education Center.

    See video from North Education Center. The title is "Images of the first day back to school at NECA."

    Have a great school year everyone!

  • Welcome Back highlights are here Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Chehttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/video_icon.jpgck out the new video featuring the back to school staff events on August 25. https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2014_2015_NEWS/B2S2014/BS7sm.jpg

    This selection of clips is a condensed version of the entire day. If you would like to see the entire session, please contact Linda Rees for a DVD. See video.

    We also have the information from Brave New Workshop. See handout.

Media Inquiries

Linda Rees
287 Communications Liaison
Ph: 763-550-7185

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