The field for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year competition has been narrowed to 33 semifinalists, and it includes two teachers from Maple Grove Junior High! Mike Endres (8th grade earth science) and Charles Nelson (9th grade American history) are now in consideration for finalist status. A selection panel of 25 community leaders chose the semifinalists from an initial field of 128 candidates from across the state. Education Minnesota will announce the 10 finalists in March and the winner on May 4.
The ISD 279 School Board has directed administration to prepare a resolution to align grade spans districtwide to K-5, 6-8, 9-12. If approved at the March 18 regular school board meeting, the change would take effect beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.
Changing grade spans will relieve space pressures at the elementary level, primarily related to expansion of all-day kindergarten, and will provide better alignment for ninth-graders related to graduation requirements, curriculum, and high school activities.
Without grade span changes, elementary schools will be overcrowded and boundary changes will be required at approximately 7-11 elementary schools, affecting an estimated 400-plus students.
The grade reconfiguration plan also includes space additions at each of the three comprehensive high schools in order to avoid boundary changes caused by changing grade spans.
Moving 6th grade to the middle level will create needed space at the elementary level and will allow staff to design a program that offers more developmentally appropriate programming for students in this age range than the current junior high model.