287 News


  • Meet Glenda, "a good nurse" at SEC Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Glenda Kibat, a school nurse at South Education Center, is the April District Employee Recognition recipient.

    When nomihttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/Glenda2web.jpgnating Glenda, her peers included the following observations:
    "Glenda routinely goes above and beyond in her daily activities. She attends to the needs of all students with a nurturing heart. She is as comfortable administering and monitoring complex medical procedures as she is with gently approaching and connecting with students when they are simply having a bad day. Staff routinely witness "nurse Glenda’s" patience and acts of selflessness on behalf of students, parents, and other staff members." READ MORE
    Congratulations Glenda!

  • Administrative Services Focus on Internal Customer Service Continues Friday, April 11, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/About_287/Photos_about287_new_layout/drColleenweb.jpg Executive Director, Dr. Colleen Baumtrog, reports changes have taken place as a result of feedback from the customer service survey administered last year. 

    The survey, sent out by Hanover Research to all 287 employees, indicated that staff members were generally satisfied with the customer service being provided by Administrative Services. While encouraged by the positive feedback, each department developed an action plan for improvement in an effort to provide even better service to customers. (read more)

    The Division has been using the Professional Learning Community (PLC) structure to address this important topic. They have defined customer service as “delivering an experience with dignity and respect that pleases customers by offering timely and responsive solutions.”

    To follow up on commitments to their customers, Administrative Services has invested in Process Education Model (PEM) training for all staff in the Division. One key area that all Admin Services staff members have been working on is to respond to emails, phone calls and school dude requests within 24 hours. Staff have also committed to following through with 287 employee requests rather than simply referring an inquiry to another staff person and assuming that the customer has been helped.

    In addition, each department has set its own customer service goals. For example, in response to requests for more visibility, Human Resources staff has scheduled two visits to each major site this year to meet with staff and answer individual questions. The IT Department has worked to improve communication related to customer IT issues and is providing more timely and complete resolutions. Student Information Systems has re-aligned SIS work throughout the District and some staff are now supporting each site with visits up to two days/week. Service level agreements have been completed with all customer groups. Special Projects has focused on offering Energize (Wellness) programs in both large and small sites with programs that are inclusive of all staff.

    The Finance Department has focused on communication with staff members using pre-communication emails for key finance or payroll items to remind staff of timelines, such as 403b due dates. Finance Department phone calls end with, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”, or “Please call me if you have any questions or need additional information.”

    Another Customer Service survey will be sent to all 287 staff members by Hanover Research on April 21st. We look forward to the opportunity to learn how we are doing so that our ongoing efforts to improve can be fine-tuned.  Look for the survey coming soon to your Inbox!

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  • Check out the WEC Art Class Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/WEC_hall_art.jpgArt classes at West Education Center provide multi-faceted experiences for high school students seeking an election credit. Student artwork lines the hallways of West Education Center.  It is an art gallery filled with art worthy of high praise for the talented students. There are drawings, photographs, sculptures, and wood designs. (Click on photo to see self portraits.)

    Art instructor, Jack Johnson, talked about the learning intentions for students in the year’s coursework and the talents of the students who are interested in pursuing art as a career path. 

    “I have encouraged one exceptionally talented student to attend graphic arts classes at Hennepin Technical College to fast-track her chosen career path,” Jack said. “She is talented, committed and eager to channel her artistic talent into a career.”

    During class, Jack works with students who are designing clay characters. See how he guides the students, step-by-step, from drawings to sculptures. 
    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/video_icon.jpg
    Play Video

    In another class, students were finishing tattoo-style logo designs. The intricate designs reflected the artistic skills and talent of the students. The process of creating a design begins with online research to find inspiration, and proceeds to an artistic logo drawn by the students.

  • Future College Graduates: Early Learning Center Children Monday, March 31, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/futurecollegegrad3web.jpgDuring Parent/Child Interaction time at the North Education Center Early Learning Center, the teen parents and their infants and toddlers have been talking about college and post-secondary education, for themselves AND for their children. This discussion along with college representatives visiting, are excellent opportunities for students to discover future options, and to begin defining their goals.

    According to Principal, Tonya Allen, the post-secondary experiences allow students to begin seeing their dreams become reality.

    “There is no greater benefit to our parenting students than the opportunity to interact with college and post-secondary staff,” Tonya said recently. “I know that the partnership betweenhttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/collegegrad5web.jpg high school and college is important and want to keep access available to support the desires of our students.”

    Along with the Interaction time, the infants and toddlers were each given “Future College Graduate” t-shirts that were designed and printed in our NEC classrooms.

    The Parent/Child Interaction time is held one period each week and is part of the Parenting Class that students earn credit for each semester. Other topics include healthy family relationships, self-advocacy, sleep safety, child development (social, emotional, physical, and intellectual), discipline, attachment, mental health, nutrition and goal setting. This time is led by District 287 staff who may be a parent child specialist, parent education teacher, school nurse, social worker or psychologist. Community agencies also send speakers for the Parent/Child Interaction time.

    See more future college graduates.

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  • Meet Kris Peterson, our Employee recognition Winner Monday, March 24, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/KRIS_Peterson_employRecog_web.jpgKris Peterson was nominated by her co-workers for our March Employee Recognition. The award was presented by Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski this morning.

    Here is part of her nomination:
    Kris has consistently gone above and beyond by willingly interrupting her workflow in order to help the team respond to a student’s mental health crisis or to a staff request for support. She makes a point of learning about the many initiatives coming out of our department and understands the purpose of each meeting, as well as the nature of our partnerships with others. Her clerical colleagues have also noted that they can count on Kris to lend a hand with large projects, especially if there is a time crunch.....Kristin often starts her sentences with, “I have an idea about . . .”    (read more)

  • Diploma On! Feature published Friday, March 21, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/diploma_on_sunsailor.jpgThis week’s Sun Sailor includes an article about DIPLOMA ON!

    The District 287 initiative began last year and is working to get students back in the classroom.

    Read story.

  • A Better Way Featured on MinnPost Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski met with MinnPost writer, Beth Hawkins, last week.
    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/minnpostforweb.jpgThe two hour conversation was about the increasing numbers of classroom suspensions across the country, and the District 287 “A Better Way” initiative.  Read story.
  • Student featured in a WCCO-TV news story Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/wccostory_nathan.jpgSince early childhood, District 287 has provided education support services for Nathan, a student featured during a WCCO TV story. Nathan and his family have worked with District 287 vision teachers and services. Throughout the years, this included braille instruction; orientation and mobility training; use of adapted technology and software; consultation with classroom teachers; and provision of braille copies of all classroom materials.

    Read more and see video:

    Don Vavrosky is one of 13 teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired serving 419 students in 31 school districts this year.

    “It has truly been a privilege working with Nathan over the course of the last eight years and he is, without a doubt, the brightest and most gifted student I have ever worked with,” Don said during a recent meeting. “Nathan also is the most dedicated and hardworking.”

    Production staff continues to provide transcription of countless pages of braille for Nathan that might include Spanish, physics, chemistry, calculus, computer code, maps, charts and music. Braille access to the education materials is provided by three Certified Braillists, Ronda Bystrom, Jay Maruska, and Robin Durand. Media specialist, Toni Zitzloff also is a key part of this team. The Braillists are certified by the Library of Congress. It is a Braillist’s mission to provide students with the most accurately formatted braille available, in a timely manner. 

    “One of the most challenging aspects of my job is to transform a building map into a tactile braille map,” said Ronda Bystrom. “I have enjoyed the challenge of the extremely intense and advanced assignments that Nathan has presented to our department. He is an amazingly brilliant student and it has been my honor to help him achieve his academic goals through braille.”

    See WCCO story.

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  • Supt. Lewandowski wraps-up Program Site visits Monday, March 17, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/OrgStructure_web.jpg Between February 25 and March 11, Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski made eight program site visits to talk with staff about current issues facing the district and next year’s organizational chart. Topics that were covered included: Key Retirements and the impact on the new organizational chart, Legislative impact on education, including mandates for teacher and principal evaluations and the World’s Best Workforce. (read more)

    Go to the 287 Staff page to find a link to a taped session. Questions were edited out because they were site specific. If you have a question, post it to the Responsive Forum.

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  • SEC Team Speaks at School Garden Conference Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    Five South Educahttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/Garden_Team_arboredum_websmall.jpgtion Center staff spoke during the “Cultivating the Future Conference” held at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in February. The Minnesota Schoolyard Garden Coalition and the Master Gardener Volunteer Program co-sponsored this year’s program. Educators from as far away as California participated in the workshops that focused on incorporating education objectives and whole child development into the K-12 school gardens. (read more)

    Representing the South Education Center gardens were SEC/SECA Principal-Jayne Tiedemann, Biology/Food Science Instructor and Garden Program Coordinator-Brian Wheat, Special Education Instructors-Retha Kraay and Karen Bendtsen, and Food Services Manager-Wanda Nickolai. (click on photo) Their workshop focused on what is necessary to build and maintain the rich (magical) community of support and learning that surrounds the garden.

    “Our team shared so many elements of our annual school garden,” said Jayne Tiedemann. “This information included practices and methods applied in the realms of workload, funding, building/district buy-in, planning, and developing curriculum.” 

    By sharing input from other staff during the past four years of cultivation, important roles and steps were more defined for participants who are doing long-term planning.

    When looking ahead to the 2014 growing season, Brian Wheat shared a few new things.

    “We are including food that can be integrated into our school lunches,” Brian said. “We hope to provide produce for all of our three lunch sessions and integrating at least six side dishes prepared by the food science class throughout the year.”

    “With the purpose of increasing Social Emotional Learning opportunities, experiential learning, and building community, we are also moving to conduct many more classes in the garden space when the weather permits,” Brian added.

    This is the sixth year the school gardens have grown at South Education Center. Many of our sites have had gardens six years or longer. Congratulations Gardeners!

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  • Meet our February Employee Recognition recipient Friday, March 7, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/Nate_Rowan_sm.jpg Congratulations Nate Rowan, our February District 287 Employee Recognition recipient. He is an Educational Assistant in the CIP Program at the North Education Center. Here Nate's nomination:

    "Nate always has a smile on his face and a calm and welcoming energy. Nate's compassion and caring for others is obvious. He is an employee who is "always on" modelling respectful, positive, upbeat interactions.

    Our students often have a difficult time understanding and following verbal directions. Coordinating gross motor movement to play a game, or complete a sequence of actions (such as warm up and cool down activities) is also challenging."  Read more

  • Thank you District 287 Social Workers! Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/SSWAA_Practice_Model Graphic_center.jpgNational School Social Work Week is March 2-8.

    Christina Houck, Assistant Director, Mental Health and Partnerships, meets with the District 287’s Social Workers to create and share common best practices across District 287, ensuring that services are consistent.

    “We are so proud of our School Social Workers!” Houck said this week.  (read more)

    Houck went on to explain why Social Workers are important to District 287 programs.

    “Schoohttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/ChristinaHouck_web.jpgl social work is a specialized area of practice within the broad field of the social work profession. School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the student services team. In particular, School Social Workers are trained in mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents and administrators as well as with individual and group counseling techniques," Houck told a group of adminstrators this week.

     "School social workers are instrumental in furthering the mission of the schools which is to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence," Houck continued. "School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district's ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school and community collaboration is the key to achieving student success.”

    We asked our Principals about the roles social workers play in student learning.

    "Students at the WEC often have very complex mental health needs. Our fantastic school social workers often go above and beyond in helping meet these student needs. Thanks for all that you do on a daily basis!”  -Jody Delau, West Education Center
     
    “School social Workers support our students by providing resources and assisting them with their overall social development. They encourage students who may appear disengaged to re-engage in school and teach skills to help students learn to calm down when they are agitated.  Social Workers are an invaluable resource to our schools.”   -Tonya Allen, North Education Center Alternative

    “Having worked in an ALC without social workers as part of the staff and now with social workers on the ALC staff, the hope has increased and students needs are addressed in a more comprehensive and thorough manner.  ALC students certainly need high quality academics and guidance as they plan their futures, but they also need social worker support in addressing issues that are getting in their way of being successful in school and life.  Hats off to our dedicated 287 social workers. I truly appreciate the work you do.”   -Lea Dahl, ALC Operations

    “As a liaison between parents and classrooms, the social workers can often help with the difficult conversations with  parents which preserves the relationship between teacher and parent. Often the SW is the nonjudgmental confidant the parent or student can talk to without fear of outside agency intervention. They are seen as a valuable support to students, staff and families. They connect and facilitate collaboration among educational teams. When necessary, they are the link to protective and other services for families in crisis."   -Amy Sward, North Education Center

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  • School cancellation on February 21 requires Board to adjust school calendar Friday, February 28, 2014

    Due to record cold and snow this winter District 287 has cancelled school and closed some buildings one additional day to stay consistent with the decisions made by the district in which the site is located.

    On Thursday February 27, the District 287 School Board voted to revise the district calendar to reflect the following:
    »  Change February 21, 2014 to a non-school day for the following:
    • Northwest Tech Center
    • Edgewood
    • North Education Center
    • West Education Center
    • Prairie Care – Maple Grove
    » To make up that day, starting March 10, seven minutes will be added to the instructional time for each of the remaining school days in the District 287-run Alternative Learning Center programs that were closed on February 21, 2014.
    »  If a future school closure day occurs, June 9, 2014 will be the designated make-up day.

    (read more)

    District 287’s original calendar had 175 student contact days and 1050 instructional hours. State requirements for secondary students in a general education program are a minimum of 1020 instructional hours. With the loss of the additional day on February 21, the Board added instructional minutes to the ALC programs that were closed, West Education Center Alternative (W-ALT) and North Education Center Alternative (NECA).

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Main/snowmanwebclosings.jpgOur District has the unusual challenge of having schools and programs in buildings located in multiple school districts which created the need to reflect added student instructional time for only some sites. The District Uniform Procedure SP160 linked to the picture of the snowman addresses decisions to cancel school and related staff responsibilities.

    Electronic communication allows information to be disseminated easily in real time. Severe weather changes rapidly and staff are directed through the Uniform Procedure to stay informed through monitoring the District website and WCCO Radio. In addition, the District’s Blackboard Connect system allows the Superintendent and Principals to deliver targeted phone messages to staff and families through phone messaging.

    The calendar says spring arrives on March 20!

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  • A Better Way Saturday, February 22, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/abetterwayvideophotosmall.jpg What if students were taught new behavior rather than being suspended from school? What if school were so relevant, engaging, and supportive that all students would want to graduate?

    Hennepin County Superintendents and County Commissioners have been meeting during the past three years to address increasing graduation rates in Hennepin County as a regional effort. Stakeholders from the region have identified barriers to graduation, one of which is current exclusionary practices and expulsions. (read more and see video)

    As part of this focus on increasing graduation rates, a series of trainings will be offered to principals and other school leaders to reduce exclusionary discipline practices and to prevent and recoup school drop-outs. District 287 will offer a four hour "tickler" session that will provide an overview of the upcoming training series will offer a four hour "tickler" session that will provide an overview of the upcoming training series with presenters, Dr. Charlene Myklebust, Psy.D. and Wendy Loberg, M.S. The session will include a summary of the research about exclusionary practices and school drop-out prevention and recoupment, and the disproportionate use of exclusionary practices with diverse ethnic and special education populations.

    Special topics will include social emotional learning, mindfulness and the brain, viable and successful alternatives to suspension, creating a positive school culture, restorative practices, engaging instruction, brain-based learning, child and adolescent brain development, and reducing the school-to-prison pipeline. See flier.

    Wendy and Char are experienced practitioners who have served in the capacity of licensed teaching and school counseling positions as well as school principal and district office administration roles. They have conducted an exhaustive review of the literature and have consolidated all of the information about a better way to teach students positive behavior, keep them engaged in school, and increase the likelihood of high school graduation. We look forward to working collaboratively with you and your team.

    "Traditional disciplinary practices that do not produce results are rooted in well-rehearsed habits and mindsets that are hard to change. Our goal is to share a rich toolbox of evidence-based, practical and easily implementable strategies and ideas that can improve school outcomes for all students."
    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/video_icon.jpg
    Watch this VIDEO
    to get more insight. 
    Visit the webpage www.district287/abetterway
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  • Thank you District 287 School Board Thursday, February 13, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/valentinedcombinedsmall.jpgStudents in Sandi Shetka’s class at North Education Center presented tokens of appreciation to the District 287 School Board.

    Since Minnesota School Board Appreciation Week is February 17-21, and the closest school board meeting fell on the day before Valentine’s Day, the students created special valentines of appreciation for Superintendent Lewandowski and the 287 Board Members.

    The valentines were not simply an art project. Students were encouraged to express their personal messages of how attending NEC has made a difference for them. And, the learning intentions were about creative use of language as well as understanding the purpose, responsibilities and structure of our school board.
    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/video_icon.jpg
    Watch the video to hear student messages and to see one student’s special shout out to his district’s representative, Dean Henke from Osseo.  Our School Board has 12 members, each representing one of our 12 Member Districts.
  • Clerical Meet the Experts Friday, February 7, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/clerical_2_6_13/Clerical4smallrevised.jpg

    Our clerical staff from around the District spent this morning “Meeting the Experts” who have various roles in Administrative Services at the DSC. This event was presented by the Clerical Staff Development Committee.  See photos  (read more)

    Department leaders from Student Information Services, Finance, Facilities and Human Resources introduced their staff and highlighted the roles they play. This was also an opportunity to let clerical staff know where resources, such as forms and links, are located on the website.

    “We could not do what we do without your assistance and support,” said Anne Becker, HR Director and General Counsel.

    “We want to take this opportunity to thank you for all of the great work that you do throughout the District.”

    Following the general session, there were tours of the remodeled first floor so that clerical staff not stationed at the DSC can locate staff while visiting.

    One reminder from the session this morning, let’s all put on our “Customer Service” friendly faces, both internally and externally.

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  • It is National School Counseling Week Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/school_counselorslogo2.jpg Six individuals at District 287 fill the role of School Counselor. Each is an integral part of site leadership when looking increasing graduation rates.

    The School Counselor mission is “to prepare and support all students in the areas of career, academic, and social/emotional development."

    Using the national professional organization to guide their duties, our counselors have developed a vision statement: “Given the successful implementation of an innovative school counseling program, every District 287 student will graduate with a meaningful diploma, achieve their fullest potential, be successful lifelong learners, self-advocates and productive citizens who respect themselves and others.”   

    Our School Counselors work with individuals, small groups and in classrooms to develop life skills; work on conflict resolution and anger management; and support the work of social emotional learning. 

    “SECA’s School Counselor, Melissa Winship consistently makes significant leadership and support contributions to the program,” said Principal Jayne Tiedemann. “Melissa has excellent relationships with the students and actively works to create a "college going culture" at South Education Center Alternative with a focus on arranging college tours, participation in MN College Knowledge Month, and holding financial aid sessions for students and parents.”

    West Education Center Principal Jody Delau is the convener of the District 287 School Counselor team. “We have a fantastic group of counselors in the District!” Jody said this week. She also recognized the daily efforts of WEC School Counselor Sherrie Dewey and her special leadership with graduation.

    At the North Education Center, Principal Amy Sward talked about School Counselor, Steve Higgins. “Steve has been instrumental in organizing an all building student council with representatives from both the North Education Center Alternative and Special Education Programs!” Amy said this week. “The group is respectful of each other and has a great role model in their leader. They are planning the first school dance and are very excited.”

    Thank you School Counselors! Enjoy YOUR week!

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  • Art at Edgewood Education Center Friday, January 31, 2014

    Edgewood Edhttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/artistnotebook2.jpgucation Center Education Assistant, Deb Edmondson, says “Art is my passion, my hobby and I love sharing art ideas with the students at Edgewood.”  She plans and manages weekly art classes for all students in the building. Some students come to the art room for class where Deb begins class with the question, “Who are we?”  The students answer, “We are public artists.” The Edgewood hallways are their public galleries. 

    As students enter the art classroom, they are greeted with a classic music video depicting beautiful scenes meant to engage the artistic side of the brain and to inspire creativity. They get ready to work by practicing deep breathing and an exercise to focus on the work ahead.  They listen to directions from Deb about what they will create and how it will be done. 

    Students in the classes have a wide range of cognitive abilities. Everyone creatively participates at his or her own pace.  The class is not just about creating a project although the end products are true works of art. The class taps into Social Emotional Learning as well as art history and exploration of many art mediums. Every class ends with a video about a specific artist with a review of artists studied previously.

    Students always write an “Artists Statement” about every project which includes: “My name is_____and I am an artist.”  They write about what they make and most importantly how they feel when they make art. In completing the statement, students used words like: happy, creative, courageous.

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/video_icon.jpg
    Click here to see students in class.

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  • Meet Our January Employee Recognition Winner Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/MezzangaTammywebsmall.jpg Tammy Mezzenga has been selected for the January, 2014 Employee Recognition Program. Tammy is the Work Experience Coordinator at the West Education Center.

    Tammy's award was presented by Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski during a WEC staff meeting. It was a surprise. (click on photo below)

    Here is Tammy's nomination submitted by her WEC coworkers.
    Tammy has helped families, students, the district and community in that she has taken struggling students (academically and behaviorally) and with the promise of employment, redirected their lives in such a way that they are motivated to stay in class, complete work and behave in a more respectful manner. Through work experience, Tammy has given hope to a number of students. She has helped teachers maintain their classrooms and given the reputation of District 287 a very positive image with the community.  (continued)

    Tammy has crehttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/Employrecog/SL_TammyM_Jan_14_websm.jpgated numerous solutions for students, our program, building and the district through her tireless work on behalf of the students. The simple act of obtaining a job, securing a role at Second Hand Hounds or enrolling at HTC has a profound effect on raising the hope, self-esteem and future planning for each student and program she works with. read more

    The Employee Recognition Program is in it's second year of honoring District 287 employees who go "above and beyond" in their classrooms, schools and work areas.

    Congratulations Tammy!

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  • MN Destination Imagination Competes In China Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/Merry_makers_web.jpg
    Four teams from Minnesota’s Destination ImagiNation program joined 614 DI teams from China’s 26 provinces and 13 international teams from Canada, Poland, Korea and the US to compete at the 2013 DI Asia Pacific Beijing Invitational during December. (read more)

    District 287 hosts Destination ImagiNation Minnesota (DI MN) which is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Its purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Annually, students from all over the world compete in seven new standards-based Challenges in STEM, Improv, Visual Arts, Service Learning, and Early Learning. Each Challenge enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Pamela Schroeder has directed DI MN for the past nine years. 

    The goal of inviting international teams to the Beijing Invitational was to offer an extraordinary cultural exchange and deepen the bonds between the international DI Affiliate teams as they solve the DI challenges around the world. In additional to competing, international teams toured the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Olympic Pavilion, and the Silk Market.

    This year is the first time China invited teams from around the world to participate. Chinese teams were competing for their chance to advance to Global Finals 2014; the international teams competed in an extreme two-day National Geographic challenge co-designed by DI, Nat Geo and Oracle. The Challenge was to design and create a system that would photograph endangered Chinese animals while minimally impacting the animal and its environment.

    In addition to solving the Nat Geo challenge, Blaine High School team “The Merry Band of Misfits” competed against an impressive field of 67 Chinese secondary level teams in the structure challenge. Happily, they came in 2nd place, earning a golden statue and advancing to Global Finals.

    MN DI teams were accompanied by MN DI Affiliate Director and DI Board of Trustees Chair Pamela Schroeder.

    See a media storiy of The Merry Band of Misfits.

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  • Para Professional Week is January 12-18 Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/Para_photos_story_web.jpgGovernor Mark Dayton has designated this week as Minnesota Para Professional Week.  Because of this proclamation, we set aside this week to say thank you for the excellent work done by our Education Assistants, Education Interpreters and Parent Child Specialists.

    Each day, activities in the classroom, gym, lunchroom and job sites are carefully guided by our 415 para professionals in District 287. Twenty-four are Education Interpreters, 15 are Parent Child Specialists and 378 are Education Assistants. (click on photo at left)          (read more)

    We asked some of our principals to tell us about their Para Professional staff.
    “Our students begin each day with a positive welcome from Education Assistants standing at the door. And, during the day, when things are difficult, EAs develop relationships with students as they talk about making good choices, problem solving and what each student can do to get closer to graduation.”  -Jayne Tiedemann, South Ed Center Alternative

    “Our Para Professionals are the pulse of NEC.  Job Coaches are an excellent example. Each day students experience on-the-job work training as they learn about the appropriate dress, customer relations, and priorities. I see this in the Jitterbug Coffee Shop, ATTAIN Lab, Classroom Resource Center and building operations. WOW!”  -Amy Sward, North Ed Center

    “The characteristic that makes EAs the most amazing is their ability to build positive relationships with students. They use this rapport to help students increase their independence and better reach their potential.”  -Jody Delau, West Ed Center

    “Para Professionals, in general, are partners with our licensed staff. This partnership provides the best programs for enhancing our students’ learning. Our EAs give freely of their knowledge, and are committed to our students."   -Renee Soule-Chapman, Edgewood Ed Center

    “I am proud that our Para Professionals provide instructional support in the Read 180 Program and other classroom settings. By understanding the student’s challenges, they are able to assist in small groups, one-on-one and during class time. That means we have student progress!”   -Tonya Allen, North Ed Center Alternative

    Congratulations Para Professionals! Thank you for all you do!

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  • A Summit of Experts Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Five District 287 students and several Ahttps://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/Metroyousummitlogossmall.jpgrea Learning Center staff along with Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski attended the Metro Youth Summit on December 10, 2013 at Hamline University. 

    This event was for young people and invited representatives from key organizations working to help young people stay engaged in school and overcome challenges that may interfere with graduating from high school. The Summit drew about 300 participants. (See video and read more.)



    District staff participants included: Lea Dahl, Area Learning Center Principal; Alexia Poppy, Diploma On! Coordinator; Tara Blackert, South Education Center Alternative Social Worker; and Sarah Christopherson, North Education Center Alternative Instructor.

    This Summit, for students from Congressional Districts 4 and 5, was hosted by Minnesota Alliance with Youth which supports Summits throughout Minnesota that are focused on raising awareness and finding solutions to dropout issues and the achievement gap. Two Alliance initiatives, GradMinnesota and the Minnesota Youth Council, engage various partners locally and statewide. GradMinnesota is a collaborative effort of the GradNation campaign led by America's Promise Alliance, an initiative aiming to end the nation's dropout crisis by 2020.

    See video.

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  • Chad Maxa Receives Two awards Thursday, January 2, 2014

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/About_287/Photos_about287_new_layout/Chadweb.jpgChad Maxa’s knowledge, leadership and service were recently recognized with two prestigious awards: The ALPHA Video 2013 Outstanding Minnesota High School AV/Media Coordinator Award and the District 287 December Employee Recognition Award.

    Chad is the Director of Information Technology and according to his ALPHA Video nomination, he has “built a stable and secure IT infrastructure … that has evolved to provide leadership and support in the area of instructional technology including integrated technology in the classroom and supporting mobile devices.” Staff in our classrooms and programs, understand what this includes. During the past few years, 200 Smart Boards have been installed in 287 classrooms (90% of classrooms); 1000 iPads are now in the hands of 287 staff and students, and all staff have portable radios for instant communications. Read more about Chad's nomination.

    Prior to receiving his ALPHA Video Award, Chad was chosen as our Employee Recognition Program. This nomination submitted by Chad’s peers included this statement describing his Responsive-Innovative-Solution Seeking work: “With unlimited energy, superior technical knowledge, an incredible desire to make a difference for students, Chad has led the technology team to successfully implement dozens of intricate technology initiatives that have put District 287 in the forefront of technology.”  Read entire nomination

    Congratulations Chad! Thank you for your innovative leadership!

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  • Kid Packs and Baby Care Kits filled by 287 donations Wednesday, December 25, 2013

    https://asoft11122.accrisoft.com/district287/clientuploads/2013_2014NEWS/kidpackphotosmall.jpg The Finance and Student Information Systems (SIS) Departments developed a gift giving program intended to directly impact students at 287. Two worthy programs were chosen as recipients: Kid Pack Program and Baby Care Kits. Two collection stations were set up at the District Service Center and all employees were invited to join in the spirit of giving to our students. 

    Click on the photo and you will see that employees donated hundreds of items for Kid Packs and Baby Care Kits. The items include cereal, crackers, diapers, baby clothes and toys. (read more)

    The Kid Pack Program was an Innovation Coach initiative created by Jason Backes at North Education Center (NEC) in 2012. The goal was to create a self-sustaining program that would provide meals for students and families in need over the weekends. Because of the diverse geographic population of District 287 students, Backes found that no one food bank was willing to adopt this project. Golden Valley Lutheran Church, GVLC, agreed to help. NEC organized an in-school service project for receiving and distributing the food. Classroom teachers are responsible for putting food inside student backpacks. Currently, 81 Kid Packs are distributed weekly. The program is available to any family expressing a need for assistance at the North Education Center programs.

    Baby Care Kits will benefit babies of students enrolled with District 287 at NEC and South Education Center (SEC). Many of the teen parents do not have basic developmental toys for their children. The kit is a gift to parents who will continue to help their baby stay on track developmentally.

    Nice work everyone! Happy Holidays!

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  • Students Produce Donation Messages Monday, December 16, 2013

     
     

    We have several holiday projects this year. One project is Kid Pack. We are gathering items students might need during the break.

    Students in the video class at West Education Center created some “public service announcements” messages to encourage participation. Each day, a new PSA will be featured here.
    PSA Player
     
     
     

Media Inquiries

Linda Rees
287 Communications Liaison
Ph: 763-550-7185
LKRees@District287.org

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