This is an ongoing list of just some of the many accomplishments of ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools students and staff. Additional submissions always welcome; send to WeListen@district279.org


Student Confidence, Courage, and Competence

June 2012

About a dozen Weaver Lake Elementary 6th graders have been so excited about studying the moon that they have given up recess time this spring in order to participate in a NASA initiative dedicated to education and public outreach. Through NASA’s MoonKAM project, students used cameras that were onboard the spacecraft to take photos of the Moon’s surface.

Basswood Elementary students won high honors in the national WordMasters Challenge – a national language arts competition. Coached by Laura Jensen, Basswood’s team of 3rd graders tied for third in the nation at the April meet. Three Basswood students: Sophia Kormann, Elizabeth O’Callaghan, and Owen Wold were among the 113 third graders nationwide to earn perfect scores.

Elm Creek first grader Jacob Wills was awarded second place in his category in the 2012 Minnesota Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Two North View Junior High students are now published poets. Joe Joe Kormah’s poem, “Life,” was selected for publication in Poetic Power’s Spring 2012 anthology, A Celebration of Poets. Gloria Moua’s spoken-word poem, “You Are Beautiful,” was selected for COMPAS writers’ 2011-2012 anthology of student writing.

Osseo Senior High hosted its second annual scholarship recognition event, honoring 18 seniors who have earned academic and athletic scholarships totaling more than $4 million.

Olufunmilayo Arogbokun and Elizabeth Johnson are Channel 12 Standout Students. Both are Gates Millennium Scholars who earned full-ride college scholarships.

Maple Grove Senior High student Rachel Bartelt has been named a Minnesota Department of Education Scholar of Distinction in recognition of her outstanding knowledge, skills, and creativity in theater arts. She also earned a Meritorious Performance award.

Jessica Sukharan a senior at Park Center Senior High, has earned a four-year National Merit Scholarship sponsored by the University of Minnesota. Jessica is a National Merit Finalist, student leader, community volunteer, and Channel 12 Standout Student.

Osseo Senior High senior Shannell McCoy hopes the song she wrote to raise awareness of teen dating violence will earn her the chance to record with Grammy-winning artists Carlos and Salvador Santana. Shannell is one of seven teens nationwide competing as part of the Preventing Abuse and Violence through Education Project.

Maple Grove and Park Center athletics reported several accomplishments:

The Maple Grove Senior High girls softball team earned the Section 5AAA title, which provides the Crimson with a trip to the state Class AAA girls softball tournament.
The Star Tribune named Maple Grove Senior High student Cayli Sadler the Metro Softball player of the year.

For the first time in school history, the Maple Grove Senior boys tennis team is going to state. Their coach, J.C. Lippold was named section 5AA Coach of the Year.

Maple Grove Senior High golfers Jake Herdine and Jill Larson are headed to state. Larson received a medal for earning the best score at the 5AA golf tournament.

Three Park Center track and field athletes qualified for the state track and field meet as follows: junior Treyton Daniels in the triple jump; junior Barinedum Kordah in the long jump; and senior Edwina Bestman in the 100 hurdles.

Future Oak View students from Cedar Island and Fair Oaks Elementary schools recently met at Camp Ihduhapi to complete challenges that promoted interdependence and build a strong school community next fall.

First through third grade students at Cedar Island Elementary recently participated in the 4th annual vocabulary parade, featuring costumes representing new words students learned this year.

Students at Crest View Elementary prepared for the school’s annual Career Day by completing interest inventories and discussing how their strengths and interests may fit with future career choices. Volunteers from Target Corporation, North Hennepin Community College, Brooklyn Park Police Department, Boston Scientific, the Minnesota Department of Education and others spoke with students about their higher education experiences and career choices. 

The Maple Grove Senior High Model U.N. team visited each junior high in our school district and then hosted a conference for junior high students. North View Junior High’s Model UN team competed at state, and two students, Rebecca Ernst and Sayyeda Karim, received Honorable Mention for their role in the Security Council. 

May 2012

Olufunmilayo Arogbokun and Elizabeth Johnson have been named Gates Millennium Scholars, marking the second consecutive year that Osseo Senior High seniors have earned this award. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program awards good-through-graduation college scholarships to 1,000 students selected from a nationwide pool of 23,000 applicants. The scholarship program promotes academic excellence and leadership development. Arogbokun will attend Butler University in Indiana, and Johnson will attend the University of Minnesota-Morris.

Jake Schultz and Michael LeRoy, both seniors at Park Center Senior High IB World School, have been named 2012 Medtronic Scholars. Medtronic Scholars are chosen for their academic records, demonstrated leadership, community service and participation in extra-curricular activities. Schultz and LeRoy will each receive a four-year scholarship totaling $16,000, as well as continuing support to help them succeed in college. Schultz will attend St. John’s University and LeRoy will attend Augsburg College.

Jordan Stroh and Nicola Tade were named Male and Female Athletes of the Year at Park Center Senior High IB World School’s awards night. Both are multi-sport athletes: Jordan plays hockey and baseball and Nicola plays tennis, basketball and softball.

Maple Grove Senior High student Evelina Knodel was the grand prize award recipient at the 3rd District Congressional Student Art Competition for her watercolor painting “Redefining Failure.” She received a $200 prize and two airfare tickets to Washington, D.C. where her work will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year.

Fifteen students from the Osseo Area Learning Center earned nearly 50 awards for their performance in the MAAP STARS Student Spring Events conference in April. MAAP STARS is a vocational youth program for students attending alternative schools in Minnesota. The annual conference brought together nearly 400 students from 38 alternative schools to compete in challenges such as workplace relations, public speaking and entrepreneurship.

On May 4, the Woodland Elementary School community celebrated being named a Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association 2011 School of Excellence. The celebration included an official presentation of the award by MESPA Executive Director Fred Storti and remarks from Minnesota Deputy Commissioner of Education Jessie Montaño. In addition to Woodland students and staff, School Board members, Cabinet members, state and city officials, and more than 100 parents attended the celebration.
The District 279 Foundation hosted its 14th annual Investment in Youth Gala in May. The event recognized and celebrated the many achievements and success stories of the students, volunteers, and staff of our district. More than 60 individuals were honored, and more than 350 people attended the dinner and the program that followed.

Elm Creek Elementary volunteer and artist Barbara Alldaffer is completing a mural for the Elm Creek Elementary community. Featuring wildlife and food native to Minnesota, the mural is part of Elm Creek's participation in the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative that encourages increased physical activity and healthy eating habits.

More than 400 people attended the Birch Grove Elementary PTO Ice Cream Social, Book Fair and Family Arts Night. Families engaged in poetry, origami, karaoke and improv activities. Families also enjoyed theater exercises and the photo booth.

The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary have selected 9 Osseo Area Schools high school juniors as delegates for Boys and Girls State. The students will participate in a week-long, hands-on government experience in which they campaign for office, elect government officials, organize and operate their own city, county and state governments, and argue their own bills in legislature.

Several hundred people attended Park Center’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Visual Arts show in April. More than half of the students in the program are pursuing an art career or further arts education.

Osseo Senior High senior, Dalton Charboneau was recognized as KARE 11 Athlete of the Week. Dalton recently signed a Division I golf tender with Southern Illinois University, capping an impressive high school career. Dalton has been a varsity golf member since 7th grade.

North View Jr High IB World School students Kelsey Einertson and Chau-Nhi Phan were awarded Honorable Mentions at State History Day for their extended research papers on historical figures Mother Jones and Upton Sinclair. They also created a documentary film to complete their rigorous History Day research.

Fifteen 6th-grade girls from Birch Grove Elementary participated in a Career Fair sponsored by Northwest Suburban Integration School District. The Birch Grove students met with women in a variety of careers, ranging from medical researcher to FBI agent. The students interviewed the professionals to learn about the education required for each career.

April 2012

For the fourth consecutive year, Osseo Area Schools has been named one of the nation's Best Communities for Music Education by the foundation of NAMM, the trade association for the music products industry. Osseo is the only school district in the state that has earned this honor in each of the past four years, which acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment and support for music education as part of the core curriculum.

The Park Center Senior High Symphony Orchestra enjoyed a week-long visit to Washington, D.C. in March. Students performed at the Lincoln Memorial, went to see the musical 1776, laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, and visited many of D.C.’s museums and monuments.

Only in its second year of competition, Park Center Senior High’s winter color guard team took first among 14 competitors at the North Star Circuit Winterguard Championships in March. Winter color guard is an extension of the competitive summer marching band program.

Eleven Osseo Senior High students won awards at the Minnesota State High School League 2012 Visual Arts Show at the Perpich Center for the Arts.

Fuel up to Play 60 has selected Elm Creek Elementary 5th grader Kylie Kasprick as a 2012-13 State Representative.  Kylie will lead her friends and classmates in making a positive impact on healthy eating and physical activity. In July, Kylie and Elm Creek teacher Kristin Lokken, will attend the Student Ambassador Summit in Washington, D.C. The trip is funded by Fuel Up to Play 60 and the local dairy council.

Former Minnesota Viking Donovan McNabb visited Brooklyn Junior High in March. He spoke to students in the morning fitness class about the importance of goal setting in achieving dreams.

Congratulations to Birch Grove Elementary student Ellen Johnson who won an award for her entry in the Osseo Area Schools Student Art Show. Her work “Siberian Tiger” will be on permanent display at the Education Service Center.

Birch Grove Elementary 6th graders participated in the VocalEssence WITNESS program, which celebrates the artistic contributions of African Americans to our shared American heritage. Visiting artist, Patricia Brown, also helped students prepare for a performance that dealt with the themes of struggle, growth, and peace.

The students in Diane Padrnos’ second grade class at Basswood Elementary created informational posters based on animal research. The posters show the students’ favorite facts and an image of the animal they researched in the wild. Their posters were displayed in the Basswood media center.

Congratulations to Nicola Tade for earning Individual Academic honors from the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association. Senior softball players must have a GPA of 3.75 or higher to receive this award. The Park Center fastpitch softball team also received Team Academic honors earning the Silver Award for having a team GPA of 3.674.

Osseo Junior High School students in Katie Flam’s High Performance 8th grade government class toured the Minnesota State Capitol Building in April. While at the Capitol, students met State Senator Warren Limmer. The day concluded with a visit to the Minnesota History Center where students explored a variety of exhibits, including a view of the first official printing of the U.S. Constitution.
The Osseo Junior High Math Team competed in the St. Cloud State University 45th Annual Math Contest in March. More than 1,700 secondary students from 46 schools competed. Some highlights for each grade level: 7th grader Collin Sham came in 6th out of 464 students; 8th grader Jeremy Mattson came in 10th out of 601 students; and 9th grader Cyndi Heck came in 10th out of 222 students.

On Saturday, April 28, from 1-6 pm, Osseo Junior High will host the 17th annual American Indian Education Day and Wacipi. This is a signature event for our American Indian Education program, which provides classroom curriculum on indigenous peoples of Minnesota and has earned a 100% success rate in graduating American Indian students. New to the event this year is a traveling exhibit called, “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations," which explores the relationship between American Indians and the United States government through land treaties in Minnesota. Osseo Area Schools was one of two Minnesota districts to win the competitive process to obtain the exhibit.

Congratulations to the State Boys' Basketball Class 4A Champions, the Osseo Orioles. They won a close game against Lakeville North, 49-47. Three Orioles also were named to the Class 4A All-Tournament Team.

Eighteen Disrict 279 seniors have earned Wastebasket Revue scholarships. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, involvement in activities, leadership, honors and awards, service, and financial need.

Park Center IB World School senior Jessica Sukharan was featured as a Channel 12 Standout Student in March. Jessica is a National Merit Finalist, holds several school leadership positions and volunteers at a local hospital. An aspiring doctor, she has earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Minnesota and is awaiting an acceptance response from Harvard University.

The North View Junior High IB World School and Park Center IB World School Model United Nations team competed at the senior level state conference in March.  Park Center juniors Lacy Myrman and Jolene Rotich won Best Position Paper for their work on India’s position on the problems in the Horn of Africa. 

The Palmer Lake girls’ Future Problem Solvers team took 1st place at the state competition and will advance to the International competition in Indiana in June. The boys’ team also did well, placing 3rd at state. Students were judged on their ability to, within a 2-hour period, formulate and present a plan of action on the topic of trade barriers. 

Congratulations to Park Center senior Donte Allen who was recently recognized by the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum for achieving a milestone of 63 recitals over the past 13 years. Donte was featured in the Star Tribune for his feat.

Congratulations go to two Park Center athletes who have earned regional or state recognition:

  • Junior Quinton Hooker was selected for the Star Tribune All-Metro Basketball Squad, and
  • Sophomore Cayla McMorris was named to the All State Girls Basketball Team – Honorable Mention by the MN Girls Basketball Association.

Three Brooklyn Junior High students won the Brooklyn Park Human Rights Commission Essay contest. Oralyn Weah took 1st place, Kayla Hutchens took 2nd place and Jacquelina Studedmann took 3rd. The Human Rights Commission will present awards to three top finishers and those who earned honorable mentions at an upcoming Brooklyn Park City Council meeting.

Osseo Senior High art teacher, Dan Prody and special education teacher Deb Scranton collaborated this school year to establish peer mentors between general education students and students with autism. While working on ceramic projects together, the students are building relationships.

March 2012

District 279 athletes have enjoyed stellar season finishes. Here are some highlights:

  • For the third consecutive year, the Osseo Senior High boys' basketball team qualified for the state tournament and will compete against Duluth East.
  • The Osseo Senior High girls’ basketball team finished second in state to Hopkins.
  • For the first time in school history, the Maple Grove boys’ hockey team qualified for the state tournament, but lost to Hill-Murray in their first game of tournament play.
  • The Park Center girls’ basketball team won the class 3AAA semi-final, but lost the final to DeLaSalle.

Each of our comprehensive high schools has selected one female student to receive the Athena award: Danielle Rudin, Maple Grove Senior High, Mikayla Bailey, Osseo Senior High, and Megan VanHulzen, Park Center. The Athena Award recognizes senior female athletes for excellence in individual or team sports. 

At the February Hoops for Heart event, the Park Center Student Advisory Committee raised more than $2,000 for the American Heart Association. 

Park Center’s Invisible Rights group was featured in the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center’s spring newsletter.

Park Center presented its spring musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in March. The cast included more than 50 members including lead actors Angel Daley and Paul Lovhaug.

Sixty Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts students rocked the house with song, dance, and storytelling in the school’s production of "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." This is the seventh year Birch Grove has produced a musical.

Two Weaver Lake Elementary students earned top honors in the WordMasters Challenge, a national language arts contest. Third-grader Emma Leonard earned a perfect score of 20 out of 20 in this year’s second meet.  In the entire country, only 83 third graders achieved perfect scores. Third-grader Tovin Miller also had an outstanding result, scoring 18 out of 20. 

Thanks to District 279 Foundation grants and a partnership with Target, Fair Oaks celebrated literacy in March. Parents and students participated in rhyming bingo, Smart Board games, story time, and other literacy games. Each student took home a new book of his or her choice.

Several hundred students, family members, district staff and community members attended North View Junior IB World School’s second annual carnival and talent show. The event included activities for younger siblings, and a talent show hosted and judged by local radio personalities and Miss Teen Minnesota. Students managed the program’s sound, lighting, and video production. 

Crest View Elementary hosted its first annual Multicultural Family Night in March. The event featured traditional Hmong and Indian dances, and African storytelling and drumming. Parents and students also experienced arts, crafts and cuisine from around the world.

The Osseo Junior High Math Team had two strong showings in recent competitions.

  • At the Minnesota Junior High School Mathematics League competition, the team placed second. Danette Campbell and Bernie Stueve coached the team in its 13th year of competition.
  • In the February MATHCOUNTS Regional competition, the team placed fourth. Three Osseo Junior students competed individually and placed in the top 20: Aaron Wong, Yoshanna Sankar and Jeremy Mattson.

The Maple Grove Senior High Math Team, coached by Tim Gove, placed seventh among 30 schools participating in the state math competition. This is the 11th time in the past 12 years that Maple Grove has qualified for the state meet.

Four District 279 students were winners in the North Hennepin Community College High School Art exhibition. Collin Daugherty from Osseo, Sasha Alsmeyer from Maple Grove, David Stay from the Osseo Area Learning Center, and Jonathan Ezeokeke from Park Center, all received medals for their winning artwork.

Birch Grove School for the Arts 3rd grader Chloe Cink’s artwork was selected for display at Big Screen Plaza in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Chloe’s work was one of 500 pieces displayed on a 30 foot by 16 foot LED screen.

Eight North View Junior High students competed in the World Savvy Challenge at Macalester College. The World Savvy Challenge is a contest that explores pressing local and global issues. The North View students presented research and solutions regarding sustainable communities, and Dorette Neba was part of a group that won 1st place in the Action Round Table.

Erin Hagemeyer, senior at Osseo Senior High, was selected as a KARE 11 Academic All Star. Erin was recognized for being in the top five in her class for academics and for her school leadership.

Osseo Senior High senior Kathryn Reget was selected as a Channel 12 Standout Student in recognition of her academic excellence and her keen interest in medicine. Kathryn was among a select few students nationwide to attend a prestigious summer research program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

During an assembly in February, Elm Creek Elementary students sang songs, gave speeches and were on track to read 200,000 minutes in an effort to honor military members for I Love to Read Month.

District 279 athletes are having a terrific winter season. Here are some highlights:

  • Park Center sophomore and basketball forward Cayla McMorris was featured as a Star Tribune Athlete of the Week in February.
  • The Maple Grove Boys' Swim and Dive team won the Section 8AA meet, beating second place Brainerd by 134 points. The team also took second in the state for Class AA.
  • The Maple Grove Senior High hockey team will compete in its first state tournament game this week.
  • The Maple Grove Senior High dance team placed second in state at the Class AAA competition at the Minnesota State Dance Tournament in February.
  • Four Osseo Senior High swim team members, and three wrestling team members competed in their respective state tournaments.
  • Park Center’s girls basketball team will compete in the section 3AAA semi-finals this week. 

Park Brook Elementary celebrated Dr. Seuss’ Birthday by hosting a Passport to Reading tour. Students traveled with a buddy from room to room to listen to staff members read books. The day also included a musical production by Kindergarten through 2nd graders.

The Osseo Senior High yearbook, the Oriole, was selected by Balfour Publishing to be a national sample for sales and journalism training resources. Less than 4 percent of their books are chosen for this honor, and the Oriole yearbook has been selected for two years in a row.

February 2012

Maple Grove Senior High students Kathryn Phillips and Andrew Rehayem, Osseo Senior High student Kaitlin Kasprick, and Park Center Senior High student Jessica Sukharan have advanced to the Finalist stage of the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Of the 1.5 million annual entrants, only 15,000 nationwide make it to the Finalist stage.

Maple Grove Senior High senior Jonathan Dill has been nominated for the Minnesota State High School League Triple “A” Award, which recognizes high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts. Jonathan will now advance to the state level competition where he will compete for a 4-year $1,000 scholarship. 

The PBS science show, "SciGirls," recently filmed students from our STEM programs at Brooklyn Junior High and Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science Math and Technology School. “SciGirls” aims to transform the way tween girls look at science, technology, engineering and math and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The shows filmed this winter will air in 2013.

At Weaver Lake’s STEM Cultures and Careers Day, 30 community members and parents who work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math gave presentations to students about their STEM-related careers.  Weaver Lake students learned about surgery, lake water quality monitoring, food packaging engineering, and many other career options.

The Maple Grove Senior High varsity hockey team won the Northwest Suburban Conference title in February.

North View Junior High humanities teacher Nancy Ziemer and Park Center junior Lacy Myrman have been selected as one of 15 student-teacher teams that will do intensive research and reading about World War II over the course of the summer through the Normandy Institute. Myrman and Ziemer will travel first to Washington, D.C., and then on to Normandy, France.

At North View Junior High School’s celebration of Black History Month, three students in the High Achievers Program, Reyna Perry, Fatou Dibba and Imani Brown described influential African Americans in history. Osseo Senior High students volunteered their time to help with the event.

400 students and parents attended Zanewood’s annual Waffle Breakfast, during which students Inetta Port and Moses Karngbaye educating families about healthy eating. Zanewood also used the opportunity to highlight through songs, skits, and student writing the contributions of African Americans to our country’s history.

Park Center Senior High's Jessica Sukharan has advanced to the Finalist stage in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Jessica takes a full load of rigorous International Baccalaureate classes and holds numerous student leadership positions.

Minnesota Preps named Park Center junior Quinton Hooker “Player of the Week.” Hooker was recognized for his role in leading the Pirates in a 6-game winning streak as well as a 10-5 season.

The Maple Grove Senior High Competition Cheerleading team won the title of Division 1 Super Large State Champions at the Annual State Cheerleading contest in January. In February, the team will compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida.

Brooklyn Junior High and Park Center Senior High hosted Chinese students and teachers in a visit that reciprocated District 279 CLIMB students’ visits to China over the past two years. The Chinese guests also visited Rice Lake and Birch Grove to learn more about the U.S. education system and student life.

Maple Grove Senior High senior Phil Horn has been named a Channel 12 Standout Student, recognizing his academic success in math and science, as well as his stage presence. Phil is considering a career in engineering; he also played the comedic lead role in Maple Grove Senior High rendition of the “Drowsy Chaperone” musical.

Elm Creek Elementary’s video entry in the Fuel Up to Play 60 Video Challenge finished among the top 4 in the nation. The video, a cooking show featuring healthy snacks, is part of the school's effort to increase healthy eating habits and physical activity. School wellness team leaders Kelly Deines and Jill Benson worked with the sixth grade student wellness team to produce the video. Two other schools in our district, Palmer Lake Elementary and Park Brook Elementary, are also participating in the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative.

Osseo Area Schools earned five Brooklyn Park Sun-Post Readers’ Choice awards. Out of the seven preK-12 categories in education, schools and staff in our district claimed five awards. Best Preschool went to Fair Oaks Elementary; Best Principal went to Woodland Elementary’s Principal Linda Perdaems; Best PTA went Woodland Elementary’s PTA; Best Public School went to Woodland Elementary; and Best Teacher went to Julie Spanier at Maple Grove Junior High. In the Brooklyn Center paper’s version of the awards, Osseo Area Schools was named Best Public Schools in Brooklyn Center.

January 2012

To promote reading, Park Center students in photography and computer art classes created posters featuring Park Center staff reading their favorite books. The project called upon students to think of creative ways to promote reading within the school.

The Maple Grove Senior High boys swim and dive team won its True Team Section meet in January and scored 300 points ahead of the 2nd place team. The team also competed at the True Team State Swim meet and finished in 6th place.

The Maple Grove Senior High dance team won the Northwest Suburban Conference title. This is the 9th year in a row the Crimson dance team has won the conference title.

Park Center junior Quinton Hooker scored his 1,000th point in a basketball game vs. Elk River. Quinton has played JV/Varsity basketball since the 8th grade.

Nikki Chang and David Her were selected as Park Center’s 2012 Sno Daze King and Queen.

Several Basswood Elementary students were selected to read personal commitment essays during the school’s DARE graduation ceremony. The students received medals and were congratulated by Maple Grove Police Chief David Jess.

The College Board has given the ACHIEVE program an Honorable Mention for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts, along with $1,000 to expand arts programming. The judges said the program is a testament to the kind of positive impact that high expectations for all students can have on their learning.

Woodland Elementary students recently won high honors in the national WordMasters Challenge – a language arts competition that draws more than 200,000 U.S. participants each year. Coached by Nicole Ewing, Woodland’s team of 4th graders tied for 7th place in the December meet. Two Woodland Elementary students also earned highest honors for individual achievement in the WordMasters Challenge: 4th grader Anika Deshpande and 5th grader Amelia Lund were among the few who earned perfect scores.

Maple Grove Senior High sophomore Jin Chang placed third in the nation at the Leadership Prep Speech Contest in Los Angeles in December.  Jin was flown to Los Angeles to deliver his speech about Standards-Based Grading. In recognition of his achievement, Jin was awarded a journalism and leadership internship with a California media company.

Maple Grove Senior High junior Camren Hopkins competed against more than 1,000 students and received an Honorable Mention Award at the Chicago International Model United Nations Competition in December.  In the competition, Camren represented Poland in the Historical General Assembly. 

Birch Grove and Company Arts Troupes presented their annual Winter Troupe Performance to a full house in December. More than 130 students are members of dance, drama, visual arts, show choir and media arts troupes.  

Twenty-four staff members at Crest View Elementary are participating in a voluntary reading challenge in which each has committed to reading 20 children’s books by May 20th.  In addition, many of them will blog and meet to discuss the books. The goal is for staff members to become more familiar with children’s books from various genres in order to incorporate new texts into their teaching.

Osseo Senior High School recently named seniors Nick Dalton and Emily Spoden as nominees for the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple A – Arts, Academics and Athletics – Award. Both Nick and Emily are active in extracurricular activities and maintain GPAs above 4.0.

Five District 279 schools are participating in a grant-funded Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program that seeks to maximize academic and social behavior outcomes for students. These students at Zanewood Community School won their school’s GOLD behavior award for the first trimester. GOLD is an acronym that helps students remember to Give their Respect; Own their Actions; Listen and Learn; and Do their Best. At Rice Lake Elementary, the theme is “Rice Lake Roadrunners Model Respect, Learning, and Responsibility.” All Rice Lake staff members wore t-shirts reflecting the theme on their first day back from winter break 

Maple Grove Senior High swimmer Mike Lanz was named a Star Tribune Athlete of the Week. As one of the Crimson's top swimmers, Lanz was recognized for his win in the 100 butterfly. He was also recognized for his performance in two winning relay teams as Maple Grove beat Edina for the first time in team history.

December 2011

Park Center seniors Amanda Meissner and Aaron Heisterkamp won the Minnesota State High School League Triple “A” Award. The award recognizes seniors who excel in the arts, athletics and academics.

Maple Grove Senior High senior Alex Bare was named an Outstanding Boys Stater and awarded the Ambrose Koll Award Winner scholarship for his participation in Minnesota Boys State. The American Legion Boys State Director of Minnesota and representatives from the Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion presented Bare with his award and scholarship. This is the third time a Maple Grove Senior High student has earned this award.

The Maple Grove Senior High theater department received the 2011-2012 Hennepin Theatre Trust SpotLight Award for its musical production “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As award winners, members from “The Drowsy Chaperone” cast will perform a medley from the show at the Orpheum Theatre in June.

Bill Bauman’s AP Government class at Osseo Senior High has won the Minnesota We the People state competition and will advance to national finals next spring in Washington, D.C. The competition is a simulated congressional hearing during which groups of students testify as constitutional experts before panels of judges who act as congressional committees. 

Along with students from across the state, 65 Weaver Lake Elementary 6th grade scientists attended the University of Minnesota Insect Fair, where they defined their questions, hypotheses, methods and outcomes and presented their insect investigations to judges. The judges awarded 5 Weaver Lake students the “Outstanding Question” medal; 8 Weaver Lake students received recognition for “Outstanding Project.”

The Woodland Elementary Eagle Choir, funded by the Woodland PTA and supported by Woodland staff, recently performed for audiences at St. Therese at Oxbow Lake Assisted Living Facility, at the Educational Service Center and for the Woodland School community. The choir, consisting of 5th and 6th graders, has its largest participation yet --112 members.

Nearly 150 people attended Palmer Lake Elementary’s Family Fun Night, a collaboration between the Boston Scientific STEM Council, The Works, and Palmer Lake. The goal of the event is to increase student exposure to and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 

As part of a learning unit, the kindergartners at Crest View Elementary took part in the school’s annual Stone Soup feast. The feast, based on the Stone Soup books, sends the message that sharing makes us all richer. Students made the soup and other items, and then came together to share the meal.  

The Star Tribune recently featured the Maple Grove Crimson hockey team. In the article, the Crimson players reflected on the past year and shared their confidence about entering the current season.The Park Center adapted soccer teams placed at the state tournament in November. The CI team took third place and the PI team took fourth. Augie Wodrich was named to the All-Tournament team.

Park Center’s Invisible Rights student group recently presented on the conflict in Uganda and the Congo during a school-wide assembly at the Osseo Area Learning Center. Students made and sold bracelets to benefit partner communities in Uganda and served at Feed My Starving Children and the Mosaic Youth Food Shelf. Some members also attended a conference on race and equality at Metropolitan State University. 

November 2011

November 13-19 is American Education Week. Sponsored by the National Education Association and celebrated in schools across the country, the week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college. It also emphasizes the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. Highlights the week include Parents Day, Education Support Professional Day, Educator for a Day and Substitute Educators Day. 

Approximately 1,000 students and family members turned out for the annual Monarch Fair at Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math and Technology School. The fair featured student-created artwork, movies, brochures, video lab reports, and photography, all about the Monarch. Students also presented the results of their Monarch scientific investigations.

The Star Tribune recently featured an essay by Fernbrook 3rd-grader Ruby Mae Miller, who was named a runner-up in the United Way's "Everyone Counts" contest. Ruby Mae’s essay showed she clearly understands our school district's core value, "everyone has equal intrinsic value," and our strategic objective to have all students contribute to community.

Park Center students recently toured the Hennepin Technical College campus, where they learned about the wide range of post-secondary career training available and enjoyed a three-course meal prepared and served by Hennepin Tech culinary arts students. The campus tour was funded by a grant from the 279 Foundation.

Maple Grove Senior High junior Sasha Shilko is the only Minnesota student to qualify for the top 32 in the Bickel & Brewer International Public Policy Forum debate contest. Sasha will compete in a written debate with students from Taipei American School in Taiwan. If she makes it into the top 8, she will earn an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the oral competition, which culminates with a $10,000 championship award. The International Public Policy Forum is the only contest that gives high school students around the globe the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

Park Center Culinary Arts students Azia Berhe, Becca Carroll, Valentine Irungu, and Pheng Lee participated in the first Stars of the Future fundraiser sponsored by Hospitality Minnesota. The Park Center team was paired with the executive chef of the downtown Radisson Hotel to develop, prepare and serve a small plate appetizer for one hundred guests at the Prohibition Restaurant at the W Hotel.

J.D. Steele, of the Minnesota musical powerhouse family The Steeles, conducted the last of three vocal clinics that were held at Woodland Elementary as part of students’ preparation for the sixth-grade musical, “The Spirit of Woodland.” Steele helped students engage with the emotions of the music they will perform.

Elm Creek kindergarten held its annual Pumpkin Math Day. Dads, grandpas, and uncles were encouraged to come to school to work with a small group of kindergartners on activities involving pumpkins and math. Students answered questions about the pumpkin’s weight, circumference, vertical lines and quantity of seeds. The students drew designs to be carved by the adults, some of whom brought power tools to do the job.

Maple Grove freshman swimmer Erin Buck was recently featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Buck spoke about her two trips to state, the impact of a former teammate and her plans to make a name for herself in the backstroke.
The Maple Grove girls swim team won the Northwest Suburban Conference. The girls swim team also won the True Team Section 8 competition and took 5th at the State True Team Meet.

The Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association has selected Maple Grove senior Alex Niederloh for the Honorable Mention boys soccer team.

The Maple Grove boys soccer team won the section 5AA title and advanced to state, where they beat North High School but lost the semi-final today to Eden Prairie, 0-2. They’ll compete on Thursday of this week for third place.

The Osseo football team will compete in the Section 5A finals this Friday at Wayzata. If the Orioles win, they will advance to the playoffs at St. Cloud State University this Saturday.

Osseo senior Anders Evenson has qualified to compete in the State Cross Country Running Meet this Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Maple Grove Junior High Technology Education students had a strong showing at the Minnesota State Fair last summer. Nearly 30 students were chosen to display their wood production projects at the Fair.

Students and staff at the Osseo Area Learning Center recently participated in Red Ribbon Week, which is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation. Staff used videos, classroom discussions, presentations and print materials to help break the myths and misconceptions of drug use and its effects. Red ribbons were also distributed as a visual symbol of the pledge to be drug-free.

Park Center senior and adapted soccer co-captain Jack Dougba scored his 100th career goal in October. Jack is the 3rd Park Center adapted soccer player ever to score 100 goals.

October 2011

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts and Weaver Lake: A Science, Math and Technology School are two of nine schools named Magnet Schools of Merit by Magnet Schools of Minnesota. Birch Grove and Weaver Lake were recognized for their innovative instructional strategies, student assessment techniques, and parent and community involvement. 

Park Center senior, Chau-ly Phan is a Channel 12 Standout Student. Phan, who is also a National Merit Commended Student, is on track to graduate with a full International Baccalaureate diploma. She is president of the National Honor Society, captain of the tennis team and a student member of our system’s Core Planning Team. She is considering her college options, which include Yale, Princeton, University of Chicago, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Robert Fisher, who graduated from Maple Grove Senior High last spring, placed 1st in the state in the Basic Economics of Food Markets category of the 2011 Cargill Global Food Challenge. Under the guidance of social studies teacher Patricia Sheehan, Fisher studied the national and international apple markets.

Our three comprehensive high schools celebrated their homecomings with themed events, football and coronations. Park Center High School crowned homecoming king Vincent Vang and homecoming queen Julia Le. Osseo Senior High crowned king Adam Hammer and queen Mazie Comp. And Maple Grove Senior High crowned king Matt Curtis and queen Keighly Colangelo.

Madeline Thomas, currently a 7th grader at Osseo Junior High, is the winner of the 2011-2012 Xcel Energy Safety Calendar art contest. Madeline entered the contest as a sixth-grader at Elm Creek Elementary last year. Out of thousands of submissions, her artwork was one of 13 entries chosen to appear in the calendar, which is distributed to classrooms in a seven-state area.

Nearly 400 people attended Garden City’s Multicultural Night, which included food, traditional dress, music and art from India, Japan, Panama, Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Nigeria, Bosnia, Mali and more. The event also featured culture from American Indian and African American traditions.

September 2011

Osseo senior Shanell McCoy was named a Channel 12 Standout Student in recognition of her vocal talent and leadership skills. Her performance at the “Minny’s Got Talent” statewide talent competition won first place and a $500 prize. McCoy is also a teen director at the A-List teen center in Brooklyn Park.

Two other Osseo Senior High students performed in the “Minny’s Got Talent” competition and advanced to the finals, and in the end, Osseo students swept the podium.  Nipri Williams performed a spoken word rendition of an original poem, and Shaiana Pearson Saunders sang a cappella.

Kidstop students ranked 12th worldwide for the number of minutes they read during the Scholastic Summer Challenge - reading more than 659,000 minutes. Students from 22 countries logged the minutes they read in the competition, which helps students maintain their reading skills over the summer.

Sixteen students from Maple Grove Junior High and Maple Grove Senior High recently attended BestPrep's Minnesota Business Venture, a summer program focused on career planning and financial literacy. They joined about 300 other participants from around the state to learn about business topics such as entrepreneurship, market strategies and presentation skills.Kaylyn Busch, a fourth-grader at Basswood Elementary, appeared on KSTP's Twin Cities LIVE at the Minnesota State Fair. Kaylyn presented her recipe for crunchy pickle orzo salad in front of a live audience.

Students and families at Park Brook Elementary are harvesting the fruits of their labor in a summer garden, thanks to a partnership among the school, Northwest Suburban Integration School District’s Family and Community Empowerment program, VIA International, and the District 279 Foundation. Watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers and more will be shared by VIA International participants and Park Brook students.

Maple Grove Senior High students Lexi Hughes and Danielle Henke and Osseo Senior High students Taylor LaFave and Haylee Schumacher attended the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America conference in California over the summer. The students learned a strategic framework to diagnose problems in their community and to plan interventions for change. Some of their efforts include working with the cities of Osseo and Brooklyn Park to pass a social host ordinance and working with the City of Osseo to pass a tobacco-free parks ordinance.  

August 2011

Congratulations to the Park Center Marching Band for taking the Grand Champion Award at the Vikingland Band Festival Parade Marching Championship in Alexandria. The Park Center Marching Band won every parade that it participated in this summer and received more than 25 awards for its performances.

The Maple Grove Senior High Boy’s lacrosse team was voted by the Upper Midwest Lacrosse Officials Association as the winner of the Team’s Sportsmanship Award. The Crimson junior varsity team took second place.

The 2011 Maple Grove High School baseball team was recently honored for its outstanding season. The Crimson were the state runner-up with a record of 26-2 and won the Northwest Suburban Conference with a 19-0 record, the first unbeaten baseball team in conference history.

Brooklyn Junior High students Hannah Schaub and McKenna DuBois, who play for a community basketball team, placed 2nd in the National Amateur Athletic Union Wide World of Sports Tournament in Orlando. Jakob Kuppe, an Educational Support Professional at Park Center, coaches the team, which includes players from all over the metro area.

Fifth through eighth grade students in The Spot, a summer community education program, competed in a food competition called “Chopped.” Similar to Top Chef and other TV food shows, the contest involved judging students on several criteria, including cleanliness of their kitchen space, originality, and of course, taste.

Several Osseo Area Schools students were named Channel 12 Standout Students over the summer. Park Center senior and honor roll student Dominic Sudue was recognized for his volunteer service at Zanewood Recreation Center’s summer camp, where he supervises and teaches younger children. Brooklyn Junior student Jessica Thao was featured for being one of six Brooklyn Park ambassadors. In her official role, Jessica will ride in about 20 parades, do community service, and participate in a host of city events. Finally, Park Center senior Quinton Hooker was recognized for being a teen director of the A List, a teen center and snack shop in Brooklyn Park. Hooker also plays on the on school’s basketball team.

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Achieving Dreams

February 2012

Seven District 279 students recently signed National Letters of Intent to play collegiate sports. Osseo Senior High students include: Abdallah Bah and Heidi Hartmann, who both will attend the University of Wisconsin Green Bay; Abby Lindsay, who will attend the University of South Dakota; Matt Catton, who will attend the University of Minnesota Duluth; Cal Bloom, who will attend the University of Central Florida; Will Johnson, who will attend the University of West Virginia and DJ Hebert, who will attend the University of Northern Iowa. Park Center student Ty’Karius Brooks will attend Northern State University.

January 2012

Maple Grove Junior High student, Zachery Budde, has earned a spot on the USA Junior National Taekwondo team. In April, Zachery will represent the USA at the 2012 Taekwondo Junior World event in Egypt.

Maple Grove Senior High senior, Allie Kutz, has qualified for the Figure Skating Worlds which will be held in Sweden in March. Allie will leave for Figure Skating Sectionals in January and will also skate in the French Cup. 

Adam Mickelson, Park Center Class of 2011, will represent the U.S. Army Cadet Command at this year's Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York in April.

December 2011

Mikayla Bailey, a senior at Osseo Senior High, was recently featured in the Star Tribune. Bailey, who has committed to play basketball at the University of Minnesota next year, shared her strengths and weaknesses on the court and reflected on achieving her dream of playing for the Gophers.

November 2011

Several seniors at our comprehensive high schools signed NCAA National Letters of Intent to play collegiate sports. Four Maple Grove Senior High students signed letters: Mitch Bauer will play baseball at Mankato State University; Dan Lochner will play basketball at Bemidji State University; Cayli Sadler will play softball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth; and Mandi Mauch will play softball at Mankato State University. Osseo Senior High’s Mikayla Bailey will play basketball at the University of Minnesota; and Park Center’s Jordan Petersen will play softball at Winona State University.

October 2011

Thaddeus L. Jankowski, a 1985 graduate of Osseo Senior High School, was recently promoted to the rank of Colonel in the US Marine Corps. Col. Jankowski’s mobilizations have included deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and Bahrain. 

Maple Grove Senior High swimmer Mike Rouleau and Maple Grove Senior High alumnus Curt Carlson are featured in the October issue of Maple Grove magazine. The article highlights their successful coaching relationship and their accomplishments.

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Contributing to Community

June 2012

Fernbrook Elementary students raised more than $10,700 this year for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Since starting the Fernbrook Walk for the Cure, Fernbrook students have raised nearly $100,000.

Students at Edinbrook Elementary exceeded their Pennies for Patients campaign fundraising goal by more than 300%, collecting more than $3,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Thirty-five 7th graders in the STEM engineering class at Brooklyn Junior High recently used their engineering skills to design two bike racks, which were then donated to the Zanewood Community Center.

Members of the Osseo Senior High football team volunteered their time at the Church of the Nazarene in Osseo, clearing out old items in the church’s basement and installing new carpeting.

May 2012

Basswood Elementary students, families and staff volunteered to make items for several local charities as part of the newly launched Basswood Gives Back service project. Volunteers collected books and made bookmarks for the United Way, packed snacks for YMCA camps, tied fleece blankets for the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and made get well cards for the Minneapolis Children's Hospital. The effort is a joint project between the Basswood PTO and the Basswood Student Council.

The Palmer Lake student council honored members of our military by collecting items to assemble care packages for troops in Kuwait. Palmer Lake students collected letters, pictures, and poems to send to the troops. Representatives from the VA and VFW also attended the ceremony.

In April, six District 279 5th-graders delivered more than $10,000 worth of school supplies to children in the village of Sasabe Mexico, as part of Students Connecting Through International Service. The trip was led by School Board member Tammie Epley and Oak View Elementary principal Ann Mock. This year, the group raised a record amount of money to benefit the Sasabe school.

For the 4th consecutive year, Elm Creek 6th graders packed meals at Feed My Starving Children.  Inspired by the service project, 6th graders Sierra Ahlt and Katelyn Scherping proposed an all school fundraiser for Feed My Starving Children. They recruited classmates to make posters, collect and count money, staff a table at the school carnival and promote the project on Elm Creek TV. The fundraiser raised more than $900, which will provide more than 4,000 meals.

The Brooklyn Junior High Jazz Band performed at Target Headquarters as a thank you for the work Target volunteers have done at the school this year. Most notably, Target volunteers have worked with English Language Learners during reading time and helped with classroom set-up at the beginning of the school year.

Our Community Education program hosted the 5th annual “Once Upon a Time” dance, whose proceeds support scholarships for district students who wish to participate in before and after school enrichment activities. The event was designed for girls ages 5-12 and their dad or father figure, and included games, crafts, a jewelry shop, keepsake photos and food.

April 2012

In an effort to build community and help others, first graders at Zanewood Community School made clay pots and donated them to the 7th Annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. Proceeds from the sale of their creations benefitted the CROSS food shelf. 

Community members gathered at the Maple Grove Community Center for the 7th annual Empty Bowls event in March. In return for a donation to CROSS Food Shelf, members enjoyed soup, bread and coffee as well as music from District 279 students. Attendees were encouraged to choose an empty bowl as a reminder of those in the community who go home to empty bowls each day.

Park Center’s National Honor Society partnered with the Memorial Blood Centers to host a blood drive. The drive yielded enough blood to save 168 lives.

Staff and students in the Birch Grove Elementary community, along with Home Depot, are rallying to build a home playground for classmate Ashley Calhoun, whose fight with Leukemia was recently featured in the Osseo Maple Grove Press.

March 2012

Osseo Area Learning Center students and staff visited Feed My Starving Children and helped pack 126 boxes of food that held more than 50,000 servings. 

Approximately 80 families made blankets at the Fair Oaks Family Night blanket event in February. Each family took one home and the rest were donated to the Brooklyn Center Fire Department, which provides blankets to families affected by fires.

North View Junior High and Park Center Senior High students recently volunteered to staff the Dial-A-Story hotline. These student volunteers read bedtime stories over the phone to pre-kindergarten through 6th grade students from across the district.

Nearly 40 Woodland Elementary staff members and their families packed 14,000 meals at Feed My Starving Children to be shipped to Nicaragua. 

February 2012

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts is supporting 4th grader Ashley Calhoun in her fight against Leukemia. At an all-school assembly dedicated to Ashley, students and staff wore orange ribbons and apparel, along with Hope 4 Ashley buttons, crafted cards and signs, and sang songs. In addition, the Birch Grove Student Council organized a “Pennies for Patients” campaign that exceeded its fundraising goal by 400%, collecting nearly $2,500.   

Family and Consumer Science students at North View Junior High used the International Baccalaureate Design Cycle to create quilts that fold into a pillow, or a quillow. The quillows were then donated to Mary’s Place homeless shelter.

North View Junior High partnered with the American Heart Association to host the 1st annual school wide Red-Out event in January. Student Council sold red shirts to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease. North View also partnered with Park Center varsity basketball, Osseo competition cheerleaders and Miss Teen Minnesota International, and achieved more than twice its financial goal by raising $1,000 for cardiovascular disease education.

The Zanewood Boys Leadership group held a food drive and hosted a soccer game to help others in need. In all, the group gathered more than 175 items for the No Barriers Food Shelf at Brooklyn United Methodist.

The Park Center girls’ basketball team raised more than $1,000 at its Coaches vs. Cancer event in January.  All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

January 2012

The Osseo Senior High girls and boys basketball team raised $1,500 for Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The program empowers basketball coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Park Center students and staff collected 500 pounds of food for the No Barriers Food Shelf located at Brooklyn United Methodist Church. The items collected during the school-wide competition will go to area youth.

The activities coordinators from our three comprehensive high schools teamed up with local youth organizations to donate used junior high football equipment to players in need. The equipment was no longer in use and had been in storage for a number of years. Volunteers from the Maple Grove Youth Football Association, Osseo Maple Grove Football Association and the Brooklyn Park Athletic Association sorted helmets, pads, pants and various other items and then divided it equally among the three youth football organizations. This event demonstrated a collaborative effort and a commitment to community that will help all of our communities provide pads, helmets, and pants to youth in need. 

The Osseo Junior High Student Leadership Council wrote 300 holiday cards for recovering soldiers at three VA medical centers, including one in Washington DC. The student leaders thanked the men and women for their service to our country and sent warm holiday greetings.

A team of more than 20 volunteers from the Beverage Department at Target Headquarters recently helped Park Brook Elementary students create gingerbread houses. Target volunteers provided all materials, helped the students build the houses, and spent a full afternoon at the school.

December 2011

James Kleinke, a Sauk Rapids businessman who was inspired by a KARE 11 report about the rise in teen homelessness, donated 50 blankets to Park Center Senior High. Students from Park Center’s Human Rights Group then delivered the blankets to the No Barriers Food Shelf at Brooklyn United Methodist Church.

In December, Basswood Elementary student council members raised $700 for the Salvation Army by arranging for students, parents and advisors to sing and ring bells at the Maple Grove Cub Foods.

Students in Judi Mohr’s Family and Consumer Sciences classes at Brooklyn Junior High turned a class project into community service by sewing and then donating school kit bags to United Methodist Committee on Relief, a global humanitarian organization.  The organization will pack the bags with school supplies and send them abroad to children in need.

Boston Scientific granted Brooklyn Junior High $35,000 for its STEM program. Boston Scientific’s Community Relations Director, Marilee Grant presented the grant to principal Rob Mendolia and STEM integration specialist Dana Trouth.

Students at Rice Lake Elementary collected 1,000 food items, 77 toys and a gift card for CROSS food shelf. Rice Lake students hope that their collection will help local families during this holiday season.

The Chris Benz Foundation has awarded $2,000 to Osseo Senior High’s Action for Reaction student program.  The Action for Reaction program will use the grant money to promote sound decision-making and teen suicide prevention efforts.  

Forty percent of District 279 employees participated in this year’s Employee Annual Giving Campaign, raising nearly $35,000 for the District 279 Foundation and nearly $40,000 for the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Birch Grove and Crest View Elementary Schools achieved 100% employee participationin the campaign.

During the most recent grant distribution, the District 279 Foundation approved $23,000 in grant requests. Grants may be submitted in one of three categories: curriculum enhancement, performance and social development. 

Osseo Senior High National Honor Society members made 1,000 sandwiches that will feed the homeless in the Twin Cities. The student leaders teamed up with 363 Days, an organization whose mission includes serving 2,000 homeless individuals every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Brooklyn Park Library hosted the Fair Oaks Family Literacy Night. Thirty-seven of the more than 150 people who attended received a library card for the first time. In addition to offering a library scavenger hunt and giveaways, Fair Oaks Elementary staff engaged kids and parents in literacy activities. Every child took home at least two free books.

November 2011

Nearly 150 students at North View Jr. High IB World School stuffed 700 bears for the Mother Bear Project. The Mother Bear Project makes teddy bears for children around the world who have HIV/AIDS. Judy Johnson, parent of a former student at North View, knitted the bears and North View students stuffed them. This is a record number of bears since North View started with the project in 2009.

Park Center Student Assistance Counselor Mitzi Heath was interviewed on Channel 12 and will be featured on KARE 11 in early November speaking about the No Barriers Youth Food Shelf in Brooklyn Center, which serves young adults ages 14-21. The No Barriers food shelf, located inside Brooklyn United Methodist Church in Brooklyn Center, was started through a team effort involving two churches, Park Center High School and several service groups.

The Osseo Senior High hockey team received the 2011 Carol Dale Award for its volunteer work through the Community Emergency Assistance Program or CEAP. This is the fourth year the team has performed yard cleanup and leaf raking for senior citizens in Osseo, Maple Grove, Dayton, Champlin, and Brooklyn Park. 

Third-grade students at Fair Oaks Elementary joined Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) for a book giveaway and read-aloud event sponsored by Buddig lunchmeats. Brooklyn Park Police Cadet Officer Rafael Villamizer read to students and each received a free book for his or her home library. Fair Oaks was one of 10 schools in the nation selected to participate in the Reading is Fundamental book distribution.

Four students from Park Center were nominated by a local resident for the City of Brooklyn Center’s Random Acts of Kindness award. The resident was driving to work last year when she got stuck in a snowbank, and the Park Center students helped free her car. Unfortunately, the nominator did not know the boys’ names but she wanted to “publicly acknowledge their great act of kindness.”

October 2011

Park Center Senior High School’s cheerleaders earned a Community Spotlight Award from WCCO-TV and Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum and Carey. The squad will sell ribbons, wristbands, and other items at an upcoming game to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

Osseo Senior High School cheerleaders led a group of enthusiastic young cheerleaders as they prepared to cheer at the halftime of Osseo's homecoming game against Andover. The younger cheerleaders had participated in the Orioles' cheer clinic in September, and one of the rewards was to cheer in front of the crowd at the homecoming game. 

The Maple Grove Senior High Crimson football team earned the WCCO-TV High School Sports Rally Community Spotlight award, recognizing its volunteer work at Feed My Starving Children. The team received a check for $500 courtesy of WCCO-TV and Sieben Grose Von Holtum and Carey.

More than 270 runners and walkers participated in the first annual District 279 Foundation Reading is Fun Run/Walk. Proceeds from the Fun Run/Walk will benefit media centers in Osseo Area Schools.

September 2011

The Maple Grove Senior High Crimson Football team packed more than 44,000 meals at Feed My Starving Children. That’s enough meals to feed 121 children, one meal per day for a full year. The meals were shipped to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, where there has been widespread starvation due to a two-year drought.

The Osseo Orioles track team recently performed two community service projects. The team cleaned up trash along a 2 1/2-mile stretch along Territorial Road, and volunteered at Feed My Starving Children to pack meals.

Mary Beth Kissling who teaches the Stamp Out Breast Cancer class in our school district’s community education program, was featured in the September issue of Maple Grove magazine. Kissling has been teaching a stamping class for the Osseo School District for eight years. The same issue featured Maple Grove Senior High’s new football coach, Matt Lombardi.

Osseo Senior High has rededicated its stadium/field complex as "John Hansen Stadium at Carl A. Tonn Field.” John Hansen was football coach and lead choral director at the school for 40 years. The rededication ceremony included a reunion of Osseo Orioles football alumni and former choir members, and a presentation of a plaque commemorating the rededication. Members of the Carl Tonn family were also honored in recognition of Mr. Tonn's contributions as a School Board member.

Volunteers from Hands On Twin Cities and Boston Scientific worked on school beautification projects at North View Junior High and Park Center Senior High to help prepare for the new school year. The volunteers planted community gardens, painted signs and posters, and built benches to help welcome students back to another year of learning.

Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math and Technology School received a $2,500 donation as part of the celebration for the grand opening of the Maple Grove Big Lots store. Weaver Lake principal Gretchen Peel attended the event to accept the donation on behalf of the school.

August 2011

This summer, the Kidstop and Cosmic Club students at Weaver Lake Elementary decided to make a difference in other children’s lives. They collected new and slightly used books for the Read Indeed Program, and put in many hours selling donuts and cookies, raising more than $1,000. At the end of the summer, the students donated more than 2,500 books to the Read Indeed service-learning project.

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Leveraging Assets

May 2012

The Northwest Regional Family Services Center, a partnership among Hennepin County, the Community Emergency Assistance Program and Osseo Area Schools, won a prestigious Best in Real Estate award from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. The Family Services Center is being added to the existing Osseo Area Schools Adult Education Center on Brooklyn Boulevard and will deliver social services to thousands of families from a single, comprehensive site. The three building tenant partners (Hennepin County, CEAP, and Osseo Area Schools) will each play a key role in serving families in the northwest metro area.

The Cargill Foundation has awarded Osseo Area Schools a $35,000 grant that will allow for the extension of Project Lead The Way science, math and engineering education to students at Osseo Senior High. Osseo Senior High will be the seventh and final secondary school in our district to offer Project Lead The Way programming.

March 2011

Osseo Senior High plans to use a $1,600 donation from alumnus Ken Bailey to develop a display commemorating the school’s history.

Rice Lake Elementary is the recipient of a Tierney Brothers Classroom of the Future Technology grant that will provide several pieces of high-tech equipment.

Kindergarten through 4th graders at Basswood Elementary are participating in Junior Book Club, a reading enrichment program that pairs students with volunteers. Basswood 1st graders read “Lily and Miss Liberty” and modeled handmade Statue of Liberty crowns and torches. 

Zanewood Elementary recently hosted three videoconferences with students and experts in locations ranging from Minnesota to Canada. Topics included Canadian culture, animal communication, and dental health.

Park Brook Elementary has received a $4,000 grant from the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The funds will be used to purchase heart monitors and a smoothie machine for making healthy options at school events. 

Palmer Lake Elementary and North View Junior High partnered with several other districts across the nation to host members of the Tuskegee Airmen, their family members and historians, who shared important lessons about overcoming obstacles.

Students at all three of our comprehensive high schools are benefiting from rotating use of the Maple Grove Sports Dome. Open gym is held on Mondays and Fridays, and strength and conditioning programs are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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Lifelong Learning

October 2011

Becca Girvan, a 2010 graduate of Osseo Senior High, was named Rookie of the Year for the Luther College softball team. Girvan made an immediate impact her freshman year, earning second-team all-Iowa Conference and all-Midwest Region honors. She struck out 128 batters and tied for seventh in Luther's single season strikeout records.Tim Jackman, a former Park Center hockey player, was profiled in the Brooklyn Park Sun Post. Jackman, who has played eight years at various professional levels, is now a National Hockey League player for the Calgary Flames.

August 2011

Maple Grove Senior High School graduate, Will Dehn, was one of the 1,000 individuals, out of 11,000 applicants, accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy for the coming year. Earlier this summer, Rep. Erik Paulsen bestowed the appointment during a reception at the congressman’s office.

Maple Grove Senior High alumna Lindsey Kurhajetz graced the cover of the July issue of Triathlete magazine. The Maple Grove resident is also the director of the Maple Grove Triathlon and director of the Maple Grove Ambassadors program.

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Mission-Driven Employees

June 2012

Park Center’s Gerrie Lund has been named the first Osseo Area Schools Educational Support Professional of the Year. Lund will now go through an interview process at the state level and, if selected, will represent Minnesota at the national level of competition.

Wendy Tuominen, special education technology specialist, is among four educators in Minnesota who earned the Stenswick-Benson scholarship. Tuominen is pursuing a graduate program at the University of St. Thomas.

Osseo Area Schools has been recognized for Meritorious Achievement in the Governor's Safety Award program, which honors public and private sector employers for excellence in providing safe work environments. Osseo has earned the honor for three consecutive years and was the only school district recognized in this year's awards program.

May 2012

The Minnesota Boys Basketball Coaches Association has named Osseo Senior High boys' basketball coach Tim Theisen 2011-12 State Coach of the Year. Theisen is in his 11th season as the Orioles' head coach. Under his leadership, the Orioles have won two state championships, including this season, and numerous section and conference titles.

Osseo Senior High social studies teacher Bill Bauman will travel to Washington, D.C. in June to attend the prestigious Supreme Court Summer Institute. After a highly competitive application process, 60 teachers from across the country were selected to participate; Bauman is the only public school teacher in Minnesota to be chosen. The Institute offers teachers the opportunity to study recent Supreme Court cases in detail and learn innovative teaching methodology for conveying the information to students. 

All four of Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math, & Technology School grade 3 teachers have been selected as presenters at the national Magnet Schools of America conference this summer. Leanne Peterson and Janet O’Connell will co-present on the topic of Value Added Projects in a STEM Elementary School. Alicia Schumacher and Melissa Limesand will co-present on the topic of Blogging to Learn and Connect.

The Osseo Junior High orchestras performed on May 8 under the direction of teacher Jody Kinneberg with a special featured pianist. Accompanied by the 9th grade orchestra, 9th-grader Nick Love performed Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor. Nick played the 13-minute concerto by memory and received an extended standing ovation. The concert was one of more than 40 music events taking place in our schools this month, and is evidence of the outstanding music education that has earned our school district the distinction of being one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education award for four years in a row.

April 2012

Oak View Elementary counselor David Warner has been named president-elect of the Minnesota School Counselor Association. The vision of the Minnesota School Counselor Association is to actively promote excellence in the profession of school counseling.

Chief Technology Officer Tim Wilson and Instructional Media & Technology Integration Teacher Coordinator Dawn Nelson have been named 2012 Learning Commons Visionaries by the editors of Teacher Librarian: the Journal for School Library Professionals. Wilson and Nelson are the recipients of the Teacher Librarian Leadership Award, which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the profession and education while providing visionary leadership. In addition to the award, Wilson and Nelson will be featured in the April edition of the journal.

Maple Grove Magazine recently featured Osseo Area Schools as the only district in the nation that has joined the ranks of Adobe, Verizon, Intel, and PBS in earning the Seal of Alignment from the International Society for Technology in Education for the district’s professional development program.

The Minnesota Department of Education has awarded Osseo Area Schools Early Childhood Special Education program a $10,000 grant from the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children. The grant will provide professional development for Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood Family Education staff.

Osseo Senior High speech language pathologist Traci Ohlenkamp was featured in the April issue of The A.S.H.A Leader, the professional online journal for the American Speech Hearing Language Association. The article highlights Ohlenkamp’s innovative use of her therapy dog, Murphy. Ohlenkamp integrates Murphy into her work with students on reading, writing, and building vocabulary.

March 2012

Two Park Center girls’ basketball coaches were recently honored by their peers in Section 3AAA. Patty Sorensen was named Coach of the Year, and Dan Sellberg was named Assistant Coach of the Year.

Osseo Senior High business education teacher, Debra Becker, has been nominated to be featured on a website for finance educators as an Innovative Educator for Practical Money Skills.

February 2012

Rice Lake 1st grade teacher Laura Rodriguez was named KS95’s “Teacher of the Week.”  A parent of one of her students nominated her. Rodriguez and her students were interviewed live on the radio in February.  She will receive an engraved plaque and the chance to win $1,000 for Rice Lake.

The Osseo Area Learning Center has been selected to receive the 2011-2012 Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant from the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. Library Media Specialist, Holly Spanier, wrote the grant to create and maintain library materials that are relevant for youth in an alternative learning environment.  

January 2012

Governor Dayton declared January 16-20 as Paraprofessional Recognition Week in Minnesota, providing a special opportunity to honor our Educational Support Professionals, or ESPs. ESPs make up the second-largest contract group in our school district and they serve in many capacities that support the needs of students, staff and buildings. 

Dawn Nelson, instructional media and technology coordinator, has earned a 2012 Making IT Happen award from the International Society for Technology Education. The award honors educational technology leaders around the world for their commitment and innovation.

Park Center’s National Board Certified Teacher Mary Condon has been selected to present on effective curriculum implementation at the Asia Pacific International Baccalaureate Annual Conference in Singapore in March.  Ms. Condon will also be releasing her first published book on the same topic.

Cindy Meester, speech language pathologist at Fair Oaks Elementary, took 2nd place out of 44 nominations from around the world for her Edublog. Edublogs are education blogs for teachers, students and institutions. The purpose of the awards program is to promote and demonstrate the educational values of learner and teacher blog sites for educational purposes.

December 2011

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius has appointed Education Minnesota-Osseo President Jay Anderson to a 35-member panel charged with developing a new evaluation system for Minnesota teachers. Mandated by the legislature as part of the new teacher evaluation law passed during the 2011 special session, the Teacher Evaluation Working Group will develop an evaluation model to be used by school districts and teachers in the event they do not agree on a local evaluation model.

District 279 teachers Tiffany McGrath and Kelly Wilson have been named 2011 TIES Exceptional Teachers. McGrath, a business teacher at Maple Grove Senior High, was recognized for her positive and innovative approach with students and technology. Wilson, a 6th grade teacher at Zanewood Community School, was nominated for being one of the first teachers to welcome personal devices into his classroom. McGrath and Wilson will be honored at the TIES Education Technology Conference this month.

Thanks to the work of our Food and Nutrition Services staff, Osseo Area Schools is the only school district in the country that earned the national Whole Grains Challenge award from the Whole Grains Council, recognizing our schools’ creative whole grain menu offerings. Our Food and Nutrition staff’s efforts were also featured in a Star Tribune article, noting our system’s collaboration with the bakery technology group at Cargill to make whole-grain bread that students love.

The Osseo Area Retired Educators hosted its annual Scholarship Breakfast at Osseo Senior High in early December. The event featured a waffle breakfast, live music and performances by the Brooklyn Park youth group The A –List, and a craft sale. All proceeds from the breakfast will go toward college scholarships for one senior at each of our three comprehensive high schools.

November 2011

The Osseo Area Retired Educators will host its annual Scholarship Breakfast on Friday, December 2 from 6 to 9 a.m. in the Osseo Senior High cafeteria. All proceeds from the breakfast will be given as scholarships to one senior at each of our three comprehensive high schools. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Educational Services Center. 

Ten Osseo Area Schools representatives attended the AchieveMpls Education Partners Luncheon. The keynote speaker was Dr. Carol Johnson, Boston Public Schools Superintendent and former superintendent in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Memphis. Dr. Johnson explored the power of public education as a fundamental civil right and offered some new approaches to achieve greater success in urban education. AchieveMpls mobilizes community support and resources to ensure academic achievement, equitable opportunities, and career and college readiness for all students. 

Fair Oaks Licensed Media Specialist Sally Kimmes has earned the Lars Steltzner Scholarship. The scholarship, granted by Metronet, a state funded library network, is given annually to one staff person from a Metronet member library who is early in his or her career. The scholarship of $500 may be used for expenses for continuing library education.

Park Center track and cross country coach Dave Bauer was featured in the Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center Sun Post, in the Star Tribune and on Channel 12 for his retirement this fall after 48 years of coaching.

October 2011

Osseo Senior High girls soccer coach, Katie Ormsbee, won Section 5AA Coach of the Year from the State Soccer Coaches Association. Ormsbee has been the girl’s soccer head coach for two seasons.

Stacey Nelson, Crest View Elementary physical education teacher and Rachel Veenker, Cedar Island Elementary music teacher, received surprise visits and $1,000 worth of school supplies as part of Office Max’s “A Day Made Better” campaign. The campaign celebrates teachers’ extra efforts in the classroom, and helps alleviate the need for teachers to use personal funds to buy classroom supplies.

The kitchen staffs at Birch Grove Elementary, North View Junior High, and Park Center Senior High have won the Gold Tray Award from the Food and Nutrition Services Department. The Gold Tray Award recognizes kitchen staffs that connect with our students and support our mission.

Park Center Media Specialist Dhaivyd Hilgendorf has been elected President-elect of MEMO, the Minnesota Educational Media Organization. MEMO provides leadership and service by promoting professional growth, facilitating collaboration among its members, establishing standards, and advocating for 21st century learners. The vision of the organization is for all Minnesota students and educators to be effective users of information and technology.

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts has a new mural, thanks to art teacher and Birch Grove alumna, Kori Brown. The mural, which stretches across the Birch Grove main entry doors, reflects the art magnet's theme. In addition, Brown earned the Artsonia Leadership Award, which honors teachers who go beyond the classroom walls to encourage family and community involvement in arts education.

Park Center math teacher Justin Jacobs has been selected by the University of St. Thomas School of Education to participate in a fellowship program designed to produce extraordinary classroom teachers. Jacobs is among five teachers selected from 105 applicants from public and private schools in the Twin Cities metro area.

Osseo Senior High teacher, Bill Huston, was recently featured in the Brooklyn Park Sun Post, highlighting how District 279 teachers use student feedback, standards-based grading and relationship building to enhance student learning.

For their leadership in the College Prep program, Terry Jaakkola, instructor for Osseo Adult Basic Education and Coordinator for College Prep, and Mary Klis from North Hennepin Community College accepted the North Hennepin Medallion Award for 2011 Innovation of the Year. The College Prep program offers free college preparation to adults who wish to transition into college.

Weaver Lake teachers, Camey Kania and Lisa Koch, and Brooklyn Junior teacher Gina Keenan were recognized by SciMathMN for their contributions to the Mathematics and Science Frameworks that will help teachers translate the state's math and science standards into classroom practice. Across the entire state, only two math and two science writers per grade level were selected for the frameworks writing teams, and three of them were from Osseo Area Schools.