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 CommunityRelations@district279.org


JUNE 2014

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Four Park Center students earned Wallin Education Partners Scholarships. They include Kathryn Doan, Raveena Malhotra, Passang Tsering and Amy Yang. These four-year $16,000 scholarships are awarded to students who have challenged themselves academically in college preparatory courses, demonstrated leadership and shown a commitment to service.

Tasha Feigh, a 2014 graduate from Osseo Senior High, was named the 2014 Minnesota CI-Adapted Athlete of the Year. Since 7th grade, Tasha has found great success participating in CI-Adapted soccer, floor hockey and softball.

Maple Grove Crimson softball won sections, earning its third straight state appearance. They went on to finish in second place at state. Team member Sydney Smith was named Gatorade’s Minnesota Softball Player of the Year and the Star Tribune’s Metro Softball Player of the Year.

Park Center seniors Latisha Townsend, Sierra Watkins, Wesley Whitfield, and Hodo Dahir each received an African-American Academic Achievement Award. Awards recognize high school seniors who are African-American or, of African descent and have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater. 

Maple Grove Senior High student Paymon Rafian won a Minnesota Department of Education’s Scholar of Distinction Award in Science. To earn recognition, a student must complete required work in Minnesota’s academic standards, demonstrate mastery of complex subject matter, and apply his or her knowledge and skills on challenging projects. Rafian’s project is titled, “Crowd Sourcing as a Method of Indoor Navigation for People with Low-Vision.”

Having earned “Outstanding Overall Production” and “Outstanding Overall Performance,” Maple Grove Senior High students performed a selection from their fall musical, “Guys and Dolls” at the Hennepin Theatre Trust SpotLight Musical Theatre Showcase. Individually, Kevin Brown made it to the Top 24 and Ryan Haff made it to the Top 12 in the Triple Threat competition, which seeks out the state’s most talented students in voice, dance and acting.

Two more of our district’s National Merit Finalists have earned college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships. Emma Folke, from Osseo Senior High, earned a National Merit Drake University scholarship where she plans to major in actuarial science. Emily Leonard, from Maple Grove Senior High, earned a National Merit North Dakota State University Scholarship where she plans to major in engineering with a minor in music.

Four of our students earned recognition in the Minnesota School Bus Safety Poster Contest. Basswood students Allison Kiewatt and Emily Ries earned first place in their respective grade-level divisions. Maple Grove Junior High’s Chandra Baviera earned second place and Cedar Island’s Adriana Dunn earned an honorable mention.

Fernbrook Elementary sent six students to the Global Destination Imagination competition in Knoxville, Tennessee where they participated in many creativity and engineering activities. The Dee-Einsteins team placed 19th in Team Challenge and 32nd in overall performance in competition with other students from all over the world.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

Students and staff participating in Maple Grove Junior High’s H2O for Life’s service organization have raised more than $3,800 to provide a fresh water well and sanitary facilities for students at a school in western Uganda. 

Several of our students were recognized by the Brooklyn Park City Council for exhibiting the following outstanding qualities:

  • Osseo sophomores Dylan Dunbar and Daija Nelson for Outstanding Growth
  • Brooklyn Junior ninth grader Tiaryn Daniels and Park Center senior Mario Chacon-Castellanos for Outstanding Leadership
  • Osseo eleventh grader Hamzeh Salti and Park Center eleventh graders 
  • Taren Vann-Lawrence for putting Others Before Self
  • and Carnell Payne for being an Inspiring Role Model

LIFELONG LEARNING

Maple Grove Senior High was represented by Junior Baillie Frizell at Girls All State and Junior Trevor Gifft at Boys All State. Katie Murphy, Christopher Omer and Rory Calabria served as alternates.

Osseo Senior High Health Sciences students collaborated in their respective science classes to process a CSI-style crime scene investigation. Chemistry, physics and biology students tied together concepts learned throughout the year and used them in a real-world application while developing teamwork and critical thinking skills. 

Basswood Elementary students earned a visit from the Minnesota Twins after having the highest participation among larger elementary schools in the Hennepin County Step To It Challenge. Team strength and conditioning coach Perry Castellano, outfielder Sam Fulds and T.C. Bear visited the school and shared their thoughts on health, nutrition and exercise.

Cedar Island held its annual Vocabulary Parade with students dressed to exemplify a word they learned that year in reading, math or another subject. Debra Frasier, author of “Miss Alaneus: A Vocabulary Disaster!” made a surprise visit to the school. Frasier’s book was the inspiration for the parade at Cedar Island.  

A representative from Senator Al Franken’s office visited Park Brook Elementary to learn more about the school’s success related to fitness initiatives such as Morning Move and after school Boot Camp.

Woodland Elementary held its first annual Career Fair for fifth and sixth graders. About 20 volunteers gave presentations about their jobs to students, providing an insider’s look at a variety of different careers.

Park Center student Sam Melby was featured on Channel 12 as a Standout Student for his music and arts-related accomplishments. He has participated in Park Center’s band and music programs as well as performing the lead role in the school’s spring production of “Shrek: The Musical.” Sam is heading to Columbia College in Chicago where he plans to pursue his dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker.

North View Junior High students were featured on Fox 9, Channel 12 news and in the local newspaper for their efforts to create art that provides a new perspective of Minnesota through the eyes of the school’s 8th and 9th graders. The artwork was on display at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center. Art teacher Rachel Latuff has made a pitch to Governor Mark Dayton to consider the artwork for display at the state capitol.

A group of Osseo Senior High students collected nearly 400 signatures on a petition called the Minnesota Youth Speak Out on Regulating E-Cigarettes. This petition was sent to the state legislature in support of regulating e-cigarettes the same way real cigarettes are. The Osseo students gathered the second highest number of signatures of any high school in the state. Students have also been communicating with Brooklyn Center City Council as the council makes changes to the city’s tobacco sales ordinance.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Our district is partnering with St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development to provide school-linked mental health services to children recommended for the program. The program is being funded in part by a five-year grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Children’s Mental Health Division. 

After seeing Rice Lake teacher Drew Gernand’s tweet of student Neveah Torma and her letter inviting him to the school, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson paid Mr. Gernand’s class a visit.

Palmer Lake staff planned a special 6th grade luncheon as a special sendoff for the students who will enter junior high next year. Staff decorated the media center and dressed up to serve the students a specially prepared lunch.

MAY 2014

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Maple Grove Senior High was presented with three character education awards from Synergy & Leadership Exchange. These include the School of Character Honorable Mention, recognizing the Crimson Way program, and two Promising Practice Awards recognizing the school’s Link Crew and Action for Reaction student groups.

Three students earned an Honorable Mention for their artwork at the Third Congressional District High School Art Competition sponsored by Congressman Erik Paulsen. Honorees include: Julie Yang from Park Center Senior High, and Casey Pflipsen and Linda Xiong from Osseo Senior High.

Maple Grove’s Malavika Suresh was named a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winner. She plans to attend Carleton College where she will major in biochemistry and economics.

North View Junior High 9th grader Alex Marihart received an Honorable Mention at State History Day for his research paper. The paper is titled, “Alexander Berkman: Promoting Anarchy & Fighting for Rights.”

Maple Grove Junior High student Dan Du qualified for the state National Geography Bee last month, where he made it through the semi-final round with a perfect score. While he was eliminated in a tie-breaker round, he earned the second highest state finish by a Maple Grove Junior High student in the school’s history.

Maple Grove Junior High sent 21 entries to this year’s West Suburban Middle Level Solo and Ensemble festival. Eleven groups earned a superior rating, which is the highest rating possible. Another three ensembles earned an excellent rating.  

Osseo Junior High’s MATHCOUNTS team came in third place out of 8 schools at the regional competition. Regional team members included J.P. Lyon, David Nguyen, Josh Tomczik and Bryce Ferrin. In the individual competition with a field of 80 competitors, J.P. Lyon placed 10th while Michael Ly and David Nguyen both finished in the top 25.

Two students from Osseo Area Learning Center earned top 10 finishes at the recent MAAP STARS Spring Events Conference. Mai Moua earned 5th place in Career Portfolio, and Dallas Letellier earned 7th place in Public Speaking.Collectively, OALC students earned 17 gold ribbons, signifying achievement of 90 percent or higher in their respective category.

Maple Grove Senior High student Lindsay Breidenbach was named runner-up in the Guthrie Theater’s “Discover Shakespeare” Art Contest.

North View’s Model United Nations Junior Level team earned numerous awards at the state Middle School Conference. Caroline Clink and Sondos Ibrahim’s position paper took Overall Conference honors. Additionally, the team brought home three honorable mentions and had two representatives appointed to leadership roles, assisting with organizational tasks of the conference.

Maple Grove Senior High student Anthony Bogachev was one of 21 area students to receive a Rose Rees Peace Award this year. In his application essay, Anthony highlighted his experience with the Model United Nations and high school debate team as contributors to his viewpoints on the importance of discussion and productive debate to promote world peace.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

Rush Creek third grader Gracie Kermisch was recently featured on WCCO-TV for her entrepreneurial spirit and desire to contribute to community. She has sold her homemade dog treats at community events in order to raise funds for the Animal Humane Society.

Second and fourth grade students at Weaver Lake Elementary contributed to community by making and donating fleece blankets to Pet Haven cat and dog rescue, and Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota. 

Garden City Elementary third grader Maya Sanders received the Dennis Winfield Leadership Award at the City of Brooklyn Center’s Police and Citizens Awards Ceremony. Maya was chosen because she works hard to befriend new students and to include others who may feel left out.

Fernbrook students participated in the Walk for the Cure during their physical education classes. In conjunction with the walk, students raised more than $11,000 for the Susan G Komen Foundation.

Park Brook Elementary partnered with Allina Health’s “New Shoes, Healthy Kids” program, which distributed 10,000 pairs of athletic shoes to kids, including some students at Park Brook.

Dozens of Basswood Elementary students and staff packed food at Feed My Starving Children as part of the Basswood Gives Back initiative to help contribute to community. They packed enough food to feed 37 families for one year.

Members of the Zanewood Elementary Boy’s Leadership Club opened a Free Library outside of the media center and Zanewood Recreation Center. They held a book drive and Kick-4-Books game to stock the library. 

Last month, a group of students traveled to Mexico as part of Students Connecting Through International Service to deliver school supplies to children in the village of Sasabe Sonora. School Board member Tammie Epley and Park Brook Elementary Principal Scott Taylor led the group. Students, families, and local civic organizations and businesses sponsored the trip. This is the 8th year Osseo Area Schools students participated in this project.

Osseo Junior High student Kylie Kasprick received a Certificate of Excellence from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and a President’s Volunteer Service Award. She received these honors for her volunteer work as a Minnesota State Ambassador for Fuel Up to Play 60.

LIFELONG LEARNING

Crest View recently held Culture Day. Each classroom created a cultural project for display. Activities included dressing in cultural attire; participating in games and art projects; and sampling a variety of lunch items and music from around the world.

One hundred-eighty-two Weaver Lake students voted for their favorite book in the 2013-2014 Maud Hart Lovelace awards. They were eligible to vote by reading three or more books nominated for the award. Sixty-eight of those students read all 12 nominated books.

Over spring break, 24 Park Center Senior High Symphony Orchestra students traveled on an educational tour to Memphis and New Orleans. Students performed at Graceland, the National World War II Museum, and an assisted living home. They also participated in a clinic held at Tulane University.

Cedar Island third graders hosted a grandparent’s day. Grandparents and guests were invited in to participate in a number of educational activity stations.

Birch Grove second graders performed a spring concert called, “Where’s Waldo?” featuring songs and skits about the popular hard-to-spot character.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Brooklyn Junior High Social Studies Teacher Laura McGowan [LAR-ah] was named Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for grades 6 through 8. She was selected for her demonstrated efforts to promote patriotism and civic responsibility in the classroom.

Transportation ESP Julie Paulsen was recognized as a top Minnesota Special Education Bus Assistant at an awards ceremony sponsored by Minnesota Special Education Transportation Committee and the Minnesota Association of Pupil Transportation. Her compassion, creativity and quick problem solving were cited as some of the reasons she earned the award.

About 20 Educational Support Professionals recently showcased their work in a “Final Goal Achievement Fair” held for administrators and school board members. Presenters shared information on a wide variety of topics, including working with challenging students, building strong relationships with students, technology, fetal alcohol syndrome, basic sign language, and more.

The Minnesota Safety Council awarded Osseo Area Schools with a Governor’s Safety Award for Meritorious Achievement in Occupational Safety, which recognizes superior performance in workplace safety and health. This is the fifth consecutive year that the district received an award for its exceptional safety performance. We are the only school district that received the award.

The Minnesota Association of School Business Officials named Director of Business Services Kelly Benusa the 2014 School Business Official of the Year.

The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning has recognized Brooklyn Junior High for its remarkable implementation of the Strategic Instruction Model. This model helps students learn and teachers teach more effectively. This summer, Brooklyn Junior representatives will visit the University of Kansas to do a short presentation about their work and be recognized at a formal award ceremony.

More than 60 students, volunteers and employees were recognized at the District 279 Foundation “An Investment in Youth Gala.” Honorees were recognized for making significant investments in one of several areas such as personal learning, betterment of education, developing person talents, contributing to community, modeling for youth or overcoming adversity.

APRIL 2014

 ACHIEVING DREAMS

Thirty-two graduates participated in the Adult Basic Education Center GED Graduation ceremony last month. Humberto Espinoza Morales and Anthony Fulford were featured as student speakers.

The NAMM Foundation has named Osseo Area Schools one of the nation’s “Best Communities for Music Education” in recognition of our district’s commitment and support of comprehensive music education. Only five Minnesota districts earned the designation this year, and our district is the only one in the state to earn the designation in each of the past six years.

Park Center Senior High Girls Basketball team members achieved their dream of winning the 2014 Class 3A State Championship. The game went into triple overtime before the Lady Pirates came away with their 73-71 victory. This is the first girls basketball state championship for Park Center.

Fernbrook Elementary’s Destination Imagination team dEinstein’s  placed second at the state tournament and will advance to the Global Finals in Tennessee next month. The team includes: Adamson Novak, Gideon Heroux, Jenny Leonard, Brynn Moncur, Leah Bell and Paul Kochenderfer. Three additional ISD 279 teams from Fernbrook and Osseo Junior earned spots as global alternates in their respective divisions.

Woodland Elementary students Owen Douglas, Mason Klemm, Grace Marshalek and Sophie Tharp won first place in the Junior Team Global Issues Problem Solving Division of the State Future Problem Solvers competition. They will advance to the international competition in Ames, Iowa in June. This is only the second year the school has had a Future Problem Solvers team, so this is an exceptionally strong result. The team is led by Sandy Otto.

Four students competed at the state speech tournament last week. Mia Smutney represented Osseo Senior High while Anthony Bogachev, Neda Pourhassan and Raeshawn Payton competed for Maple Grove Senior High.

Weaver Lake Elementary third grader Ben Jameson is the second Osseo Area Schools student to earn a perfect score on a WordMasters Challenge national vocabulary competition this school year. He joins an elite group of only 66 third graders nationally who achieved this result on the second of three contests. Lauren Recker, also a third-grader at Weaver Lake, earned the score of Outstanding, meaning she scored 19 out of 20.

Twenty-seven students from Maple Grove Senior and Osseo Senior earned recognition at the Minnesota State High School League Section 5AA Visual Arts Festival. Two students from Maple Grove and six students from Osseo earned Superior Ratings and medals for their artwork, the highest honor awarded. The rest of the students earned an Excellent rating, which is the second highest honor.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

Osseo Junior High students have contributed nearly $2,500 to charitable causes recently. The Serving Our Community student group raised more than $880 for the American Heart Association by hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and raised $910 for the Animal Humane Society in Coon Rapids by conducting a Penny War fundraiser. Student Leadership Council coordinated a school wide food drive donating $600 and 1,295 pounds of food to CEAP.

During spring break, 20 Maple Grove Senior High students spent 11 days volunteering in Jamaican schools developing and implementing curriculum for students ages 2 through 12. Teacher Matt Detloff and other chaperones facilitated leadership and character development for the students while on the service trip.

Oak View Elementary hosted a Tech Dump fundraiser to recycle old electronics. Members of the community were able to properly recycle old computers, televisions, phones and more while also helping raise funds for the school. 

LIFELONG LEARNING

Six of our schools have events planed for Every Kid Healthy Week. Manya re working with their Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassadors to promote the importance of breakfast, conduct healthy food taste tests and more.

Vlad Lelyukh, a senior at Osseo Senior High, has been admitted to the Bühler Apprenticeship Academy with Bühler North America in Plymouth. The Academy includes college classes and employee training. Upon graduation from this three-year program, Vlad can expect to work as a customer service engineer traveling the world to help Bühler customers.

Crest View Elementary students recently learned about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss. Starkey Hearing Foundation generously donated more than 500 sets of earplugs for students. 

Elm Creek Elementary is partnering with Steeple Pointe Senior Living in Osseo to provide intergenerational, educational and relationship-building events such as creating crafts, sharing stories, reciting poems and more.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Band teacher Kevin Rassier was recognized by WCCO as an Excellent Educator. In the news segment, WCCO highlighted Rassier’s 32-year teaching career and how he enhances students’ education outside of classroom time by making CDs for his students to play along with during practice on their own.

District Homeless Liaison Jenny Weinholzer spoke to more than 100 people at the Think Again Brooklyn Community Forum, where she described services the district provides to students in need through the federal McKinney-Vento grant. 

Kristen Smith Myers, a Special Education Building Coordinator at North View Junior High, was recently recognized by the College of Education and Human Development Alumni Society at the University of Minnesota as one of its Rising Alumni for 2014. Myers was recognized for starting a new junior high level program for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Our nutrition staff is working with Chef Marshall O'Brien as part of a yearlong grant to inspire students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Chef O’Brien is teaching staff new ways to make and season veggies to make them more appealing to our students. 

Rice Lake fifth grade teacher Dennis Biljan is the only teacher in the state selected to attend the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teachers Academy this summer. Participants are joined by math and science experts from the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions. The weeklong Academy deepens participants’ understanding of science and math and how children learn, and helps them discover innovative ways to teach.

Maple Grove Senior High choir teacher Beth Hellstedt was recognized as the “Best High School Teacher” in Maple Grove Magazine’s “Best Of” contest. Our school age care program, Kidstop, earned “Best Summer Program/Camp.” Readers of the magazine voted for the winners.

MARCH 2014

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Our winter athletic teams are having great success this year:

  • When Park Center Girls Basketball won their section, they also secured their first trip to state in school history. They were seeded No. 1 heading into the Class 3A state tournament and won their first game in the state quarterfinals on March 18.
  • All three of our comprehensive high schools sent wrestlers to state last month. Osseo’s Carson Brolsma finished 2nd at 145. Park Center’s Julius Ogunti finished 8th at state at 195. Maple Grove’s wrestling team won their section and competed at state as a team. Four Crimson won individual conference titles including: Brad Osatiuk at 106; Jack Herbes at 120; Logan Dick at 132; and Jebah Doe at 160. Theo Gee took 2nd at 126 in conference. All five wrestled individually at state.
  • Maple Grove Senior High boys swim and dive team took 10th place at the state swim meet. Top 10 finishes included Brenner Hohenstein’s first place in the 100-yard breaststroke and 9th in the 200-yard IM. Mike Rouleau took second in the 100-yard backstroke and 10th in the 200-yard freestyle. The team’s 200-yard medley relay took 6th.
  • Osseo Senior High Boys Basketball finished the season as section champs and made an appearance at the state tournament. Captain Wheeler Baker was named to Star Tribune’s All-Metro First team and was nominated as a Mr. Basketball finalist.
  • All three of our comprehensive high schools have named their Athena Award winners.
  • Tasha Feigh, from Osseo Senior High, is a six-year three-sport athlete in adapted soccer, floor hockey and softball. She is captain of all three sports this year, a nine-time MVP winner and is the first adapted athlete to win the Athena Award at Osseo. 
  • Maple Grove Senior High’s Jordan Mauch’s high school athletic career includes softball, basketball and cross-country. She has excelled taking high rigor courses and is an academic letter winner.
  • Cayla McMorris is the Park Center girls’ basketball captain, is a 2014 Ms. Basketball finalist and was named to the Star Tribune’s 1st Team All-Metro. She has participated in track and field and has earned academic achievement accolades.

Osseo Senior High’s automotive program will celebrate the honor of being the first high school in the state to be NATEF-certified under its new regulations. This means Osseo is an accredited Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair High School. Students in the automotive program have the opportunity to achieve their dreams by earning college credit and participating in internships working alongside professional mentors.

Osseo senior Sandy Yimbo was named the state finalist for the Minnesota Student Readiness Award and will represent Minnesota in the national awards competition in Washington D.C. in June. Nominees were selected based upon factors including college readiness scores in English, mathematics, reading and science; academic growth; and high school grade point average.

While competing at the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair, Maple Grove senior Jack Egert earned the 3M Inventor Award, recognition from the United States Marines, Advanced Scientific Materials, a Renewable Energy Award and the right to compete at the state science fair and an international science fair.

There have been some exciting opportunities and successes in our career and technical education programs recently. Some of these include:

  • Park Center students Joe Shafer, Tanya Pounds and Sangay Barduway worked with two top Minnesota chefs as they competed in the ProStart Culinary Competition. Students were judged on a 60-minute three-course meal preparation and numerous culinary skills.
  • For the first time, Osseo Senior High culinary arts and health for medical careers students collaborated to bring deeper meaning to their studies. Students learned about dietary needs of specific health conditions, then selected recipes and created meals following guidelines for diabetics.
  • Osseo Senior High’s Opportunities in Emergency Care students recently competed at state. One of the teams took 4th place and another took honors for Most Professional Team.
  • Rush Creek Elementary, Fernbrook Elementary, Maple Grove Junior High and Osseo Junior High sent Destination Imagination teams to the West Metro Regional Tournament. Several teams will advance to the state competition next month.

Osseo senior Ekene Ikegwuani was recently named a Channel 12 Standout Student. His passion for music was highlighted in the segment. He plays trumpet in Osseo’s Concert Band, is the drum major for Marching Band and volunteers his time playing calming music at a hospice center. He also challenges himself academically, taking rigorous courses such as Calculus to prepare him for his post-secondary plans to study biomedical engineering with a minor in psychology. He dreams of becoming a neurologist.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

Palmer Lake Elementary recently hosted a school visit for 25 Concordia University - St. Paul students from Saudi Arabia. These students are on scholarship from their government and are working towards a master’s in education. While at Palmer Lake, they visited various grade level classrooms, special education, media, and the “What I Need” (WIN) room, where students have the opportunity to engage in academic enrichments and interventions.

Park Center senior Olivia Maccoux was named a Distinguished Finalist in the 2014 Minnesota Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Since she was nine years old, Olivia has dedicated nearly 1,000 hours serving on the Youth Advisory Council at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, working to help make the hospital a more comfortable place for children.

Thanks to his wonderful coloring skills, Elm Creek Elementary kindergartener Caleb Ordner won the Pentair Foundation coloring contest at Twins Fest that included a $250 prize to use toward the school’s recycling program.

Palmer Lake Elementary students have contributed to community by raising more than $4,600 in recent weeks for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and the American Heart Association.

LIFELONG LEARNING

Edinbrook Elementary wrapped up I Love to Read Month with a “Read All Day” event. Students and staff read or did reading-related activities all day long. Guest readers included state legislators, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Superintendent Kate Maguire, School Board Vice Chair Tammie Epley, Brooklyn Park Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen, Gopher athletes, Target volunteers and many more.

We have had a number of wonderful performing arts presentations recently. Some examples are:

  • Shrek: The Musical, which is currently underway at Park Center Senior High. More performances will take place this coming weekend. Details can be found online at parkcentermusical.com.
  • Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts presented live performances of Peter Pan, Jr., starring 65 student actors and 12 students on tech crew.
  • More than 250 students from Brooklyn Junior, Maple Grove Junior, North View Junior and Osseo Junior participated in the district junior high orchestra festival last month.
  • Our schools continue to find creative ways to accelerate learning through technology. Some recent examples include:
  • During February’s I Love To Read Month, several elementary schools used technology to connect with authors. Basswood, Rush Creek and Oak View are among schools that Skyped with authors while Weaver Lake students video conferenced with authors.
  • Crest View 5th and 6th graders video conferenced with students in Canada and Vermont exchanging information on their respective educational experiences, and Osseo Senior High staff and students learned how to use a Google speech extension that converts any text on the computer screen including eBooks, database articles, web pages and more into audio.

Across our district, students are deepening their learning through STEM education, often in collaboration with community partners. Some recent examples include:

  • Boston Scientific and The Works sponsored a Family Fun Science Night at Garden City offering several hands on math, science and engineering activities.
  • Weaver Lake Elementary students are learning the basics of electrical engineering and computer programming with the use of a new 3D printer, Squishy Circuits, conductive thread and other engineering materials. The purchase was made possible thanks to a grant from Education Minnesota Foundation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
  • Basswood is partnering with Boston Scientific to teach students more about STEM. Fourth and fifth graders participated in a classroom presentation where they enjoyed hands-on activities and learned about what engineers do at Boston Scientific. Sixth graders will take a field trip to Boston Scientific in May.

Students from Brooklyn Junior High and Park Center Senior High helped lead activities during the “Building Champions Afterschool Summit.” The summit, which included policy makers, youth leaders and other stakeholders, such as Osseo Area Schools, was convened to increase awareness and build partnerships to grow afterschool programs that provide safe spaces for kids and foster physical, emotional and mental health.

In celebration of African American History month in February, Mixed Blood Theatre presented, “Daughters of Africa” at Zanewood Community School. The performance brought history to life as it highlighted the accomplishments of Mary McLeod Bethune, Madame C.J. Walker.

Fox 9 meteorologist Steve Frazier visited Rush Creek Elementary to talk about weather with first graders. Frazier said he had a fun time and enjoyed fielding the students’ great questions.

In the Pop Quiz section of the latest St. John’s University Magazine, Osseo Senior High grad Kevin Curwick was featured as a “new freshman fellow classmates can be proud of” because of the anti-cyber bullying social media campaign he started at Osseo. Curwick is the creator of Twitter account @OsseoNiceThings.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Superintendent Kate Maguire and Board Chair Teresa Lunt thanked bus driver Al & nurse Rebecca for their courageous action ensuring student safety when a bus transporting students to Elm Creek Elementary caught fire this month. Thanks to their outstanding response, no students or staff were injured. Elm Creek Principal Jim Meyer, Brooklyn Park Police and the bus company were also on hand to show their appreciation.

Rice Lake Elementary Principal Mark French attended the National Association of Elementary School Principals conference in Washington D.C., where he had an opportunity to visit with Congressional leaders and talk about education issues.

Park Center’s gymnastics coaches Bruce and Amanda Smith were voted by their section coach peers as section head coach and assistant coach of the year.

Both of our elementary magnet schools have been named 2014 National Magnet Schools of Distinction by Magnet Schools of America. This is the 7th consecutive year Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math & Technology School has been nationally recognized and the sixth time for Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts. The Magnet School Merit Awards recognize schools for their commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation and diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs, and parent and community involvement.

FEBRUARY 2014

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Three seniors have been named Finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. Osseo Senior High’s Emma Folke and Maple Grove Senior High’s Emily Leonard and Malavika Suresh have earned this prestigious distinction, which places them among the top one percent of all seniors nationwide.

Competing in the difficult Blue Division, Oak View Elementary 5th grader Kaylee Wingness earned a perfect score on the first 2014 WordMasters Challenge Meet national vocabulary test. A team from Weaver Lake Elementary also competed and placed 8th in the nation. Weaver Lake Elementary 3rd grader Grace Bunge earned the score of Outstanding, meaning she scored a 19 out of 20.

Five students from Osseo Area Schools earned awards in the 7th Annual High School Art Exhibition sponsored by North Hennepin Community College. Alexandra Soth’s digital photo, “The Untold Story,” earned Best in Show. Amanda Bowers from Maple Grove Senior High; Steven Gunderson from Osseo Area Learning Center; Austin Berry from Osseo Senior High and Berhane Kibrat from Park Center Senior High also won awards.

Four teams from Osseo Senior High’s VEX Robotics Obotics competed recently. Three of them made it to the finals where the Osseo Destroyers were part of the winning team. The Osseo Destroyers also received the sportsmanship award. The Osseo G-Force team won the design award and programming challenge.

Talented musicians from all three of our comprehensive high schools earned accolades in recent competitions: Twelve Maple Grove Senior High students, 9 Osseo Senior High students and 4 Park Center students were named to the 2014 All Conference Orchestra. Twenty-two Osseo Senior High students and 4 Park Center Senior High students were named to All Conference Band. Nine Maple Grove Senior High students, 10 Osseo Senior High students and six Park Center Senior High students were named to the 2014 All Conference Choir.

The Maple Grove Crimson Dance team won 2nd place in the Section 2AAA Jazz competition and went on to win 3rd place in the Class AAA State Jazz competition. Seniors Haley Feyereisen and Sydney More were named to the All-Tournament team at State.

Park Center’s Nathaniel Johnson qualified for the Nordic Ski state meet and Maple Grove’s Connor Koch qualified for the Alpine Ski state meet.

Maple Grove wrestlers won their section and five wrestlers qualified for the state individual tournament coming up this weekend. They include Brad Osatiuk, Jack Herbes, Theo Gee, Logan Dick and Jebah Doe. Each was the section champ in his respective weight class. Additionally, junior Brad Osatiuk was named to the 2014 Minnesota State Wrestling Coaches Association All-State Team, based on athletic and academic achievement.

Maple Grove Boys Swim and Dive Team is the Section 5AA Runner-Up and is headed to the Minnesota AA State Championship meet Feb. 27 – March 1. The Crimson qualified six swimmers and three relays for state. Senior Mike Rouleau was the section champ in the 200 Freestyle and 100 backstrokes. His efforts this year earned him the title of Section 5AA Swimmer of the Year, an honor bestowed by vote from all section coaches.

Park Center’s gymnastics team took fifth place at their Section meet with a season high score of 130.85. Hailey Illi qualified for state on beam and Alexa Masters qualified for state in vault. Both are 8th graders at Brooklyn Junior High.

The Osseo Cheerleading Competition squad ended its season on a high note at the Wow Factor Sports National Competition. The squad took first place in the Small Tumbling Division, and Grand Champion in the High School Division.

The Maple Grove JV and Varsity Cheer teams competed in the National High School Cheerleading Championship, the most esteemed cheerleading championship in the country. The JV team is ranked 7th in the nation and the Varsity team is in the Top 25.

Park Center’s Cayla McMorris was selected to the Elite Showcase Basketball Classic’s High School Girls Basketball All-American game in Washington, D.C. She was also nominated to participate in the McDonald’s High School All-American game. Both of these are prestigious high profile national all-star basketball events.

Each comprehensive high school has named its AAA nominees for 2014. Nominees are selected based on a combination of participation and success in academics, athletics and the arts. They include: Park Center’s Alexi Peterson and Param Yonzon; Osseo’s Ashley Sis and Cody Werner; and Maple Grove’s Sean Heaton and Kendall Johnson.

Our growing list of students that have signed letters of intent to play sports in college includes: Park Center’s Tessa Lander and Cynthia Deleon who signed to play softball. Osseo’s Jordan Hollie and Jaimen Hampton will continue their football careers in college. Maple Grove athletes signing letters include football players Emmanuel Ehrich, Tahi Nomane, Tyler Coyne, Jake Engelken, Peder Olson and Noah Croaker. Blake Whitecotton signed to play baseball and Nick Adams signed to play golf.

Park Center student Linda Pham participated in the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association All-State Orchestra concert, a program that develops the finest musicians and leaders among Minnesota's most accomplished high school students. Linda is one of only 40 violinists in the state of Minnesota to be accepted this year. 

Park Center student Luke Strom and Osseo student Gloria Moua had their poems published in “Universal Community,” an anthology that features the best student writing from the COMPAS Arts Education program. They wrote the poems last year while they were students at North View Junior High.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

More than 70 Maple Grove Senior High singers, instrumentalists, and members of the dance and hockey teams will lend their talents to present, “Perform to Defeat ALS” on Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. at the MGSH Auditorium. Maple Grove senior Elliot Britt is the creator and director of this charity event, and will donate its proceeds to the ALS Association.

North View Junior High students participated in Dial-A-Story where they trained to read stories live to young callers. The event was fun for the little ones and provided junior high volunteers an opportunity to practice their reading aloud and public speaking skills.

LIFELONG LEARNING

In recognition of Black History Month, Zanewood Elementary hosted a theater company performance of the play, “Daughters of Africa,” celebrating influential black women in history.    

In continuing with their focus on fitness to increase student engagement and increase academic growth, 37 Park Brook Elementary students participated in the Luminary Loppet two-mile snowshoe walk. Another 37 Park Brook students traveled to the University of Minnesota for a 1-Mile Fun Run sponsored by Twin Cities in Motion. 

Recently, Fair Oaks third-graders worked with Ms. Annie, a grandparent volunteer artist, during cold weather recess time to learn about drawing and painting. They made T-shirts showing their pride about being in Ms. Annie's Art Smart Class and practiced assertiveness, focus and positive self-talk.

2013 Park Center grad Lacy Myrman was invited to the White House arrival ceremony for French President, François Hollande. Myrman participated in our International Baccalaureate program at North View Junior and Park Center, where she earned her IB diploma. She is currently a student at George Washington University. 

Brooklyn Junior High freshman Tiaryn Daniels participated in a youth summit to help address the achievement and opportunity gaps in Minnesota.

The Zanewood Elementary Techno Girls participated in their Twin Cities Robotics Lego League Competition, which included completing a mission judged on technical performance and delivering a speech on core values. The all-girl Lego Robotics team is new to Zanewood this year and is sponsored by Boston Scientific.

For the 3rd consecutive year, Brooklyn Junior High invited students from the Shanxi province of China to experience life in an American school for two weeks. The boys enjoyed many aspects of life in an American junior high and the Brooklyn Junior community was enriched by the opportunity to interact with students from China.

Osseo Area Schools has joined Robbinsdale and Hopkins School Districts in partnering with Parents United for Public Schools to offer a three-part workshop series for parents who wish to effect change and have a positive impact on their schools. The second session was held earlier this month at the Educational Service Center.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Two of our teachers have been named candidates for the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. Mike Endres teaches 8th grade Earth Science at Maple Grove Junior. Charles Nelson teaches 9th grade American History at Maple Grove Junior. The field will be narrowed to 10 finalists in March with the winner being announced on May 4.

As a part of our district’s strategic work to recruit and retain a workforce that is more reflective of the racial and gender diversity in our student population, Osseo Area Schools hosted its first-ever Elementary Teacher Interview Fair at Garden City Elementary on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Approximately 150 candidates attended the fair, where about half of them had on-site interviews. As a result of the fair, a racially diverse group of high quality teacher candidates is now moving forward in the process of consideration for potential teaching positions in our district.

Director of Business Services Kelly Benusa has been appointed by the Governor Dayton to the Minnesota Department of Education’s Advisory Committee on Financial Management, Accounting and Reporting. The committee’s purpose is to advise the department on matters of school accounting, reporting, budgeting and financial management. 

Retired music coordinator for Osseo Area Schools, Dr. Wendy Barden, has been named to the Minnesota Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. An awards ceremony was held Feb. 14.

JANUARY 2014

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Maple Grove Senior High’s Dance Team earned its 11th consecutive conference title earlier this month. They will compete at the Section Finals on Feb. 1 at Wayzata High School, where they hope to earn another trip to state. They are currently the defending State Jazz champs.

Three Maple Grove Senior High students competed at the State Debate Tournament. Aldrin Clement and Aditya Parikh proved they are a winning team as they brought home the first place trophy in the Public Forum category. Jason Fotso made it into the top 8 of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate category.

Park Center Senior High student Kai Hui was featured as a Channel 12 News Standout Student. His accomplishments include earning the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, membership in National Honor Society and leadership in student government. Hui is passionate about science and plans to study pre-med at the University of Minnesota next fall.

Twenty-five Maple Grove Senior High students competed at the District 4 DECA Conference. Fifteen of them qualified for state with a number of them placing in the top 3 of their respective events at Districts. This is only the third year Maple Grove Senior High has operated a DECA group, which strives to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Osseo Senior High’s Ian Thiesen broke the school’s basketball scoring record in a home victory over Coon Rapids on Jan. 9. In that game, he scored 18 points, moving him ahead of the previous scoring record by one point to achieve 1,493 career points.  He scored an additional 15 points against Elk River on Jan. 14.

Maple Grove Senior High student, Adrianna Belinski, earned an Honorable Mention in the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards for her drawing, “How You See the World.” 

Osseo Senior High’s Sarah Bezdicek is currently the number 5-ranked Nordic skier in the state. Earlier this season, she posted the fastest sprint qualifying time at the Junior Olympic qualifiers.

Nearly 500 Maple Grove Senior High seniors took part in mock interviews with business professionals from our community this month. These mock interviews have been a Maple Grove Senior High practice since the school opened in 1996 and were recently featured on a “What’s Cool in Our School” segment on KARE 11.

More than 30 junior and seniors from our school district were recognized at the Star Student Awards for their achievements in career advancement, employment and volunteerism. The awards were presented by the Business Education Partnership Committee of the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Weaver Lake Elementary STEM magnet students earned an Outstanding Display award at the 2013 University of Minnesota Insect Fair. Approximately 60 students from Weaver Lake attended and a total of 256 students presented 105 projects at the event.

Osseo Senior High’s VEX Robotics team made it to the final round of the first ever VEX Robotics Event.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

Osseo Senior High junior Benjamin Miller recently earned his Eagle Scout ranking. In order to earn the ranking, Benjamin led a safety-focused painting and restoration project of 217 fire hydrants in the city of Champlin.

The Maple Grove Lions Club presented a $27,000 grant to District 279 Foundation’s Literacy Program. The funds will be distributed for use to purchase materials for our 27 media centers.

 Osseo Senior High participated in several fundraising events to assist families in need during the holidays. The Senior Leadership Team collected more than 1,100 pounds of food for CEAP. Students and staff also contributed more than $2,000 towards Adopt-A-Family. A number of students participated in the Osseo’s Got Talent show, which raised funds for Osseo families in need. 

LIFELONG LEARNING

Maple Grove Senior High juniors Trevor Gifft and Baillie Frizell were selected to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, DC. The Congress is an honors-only program developed to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top high school students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists, to stay true to their dreams and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.

Approximately 70 Target employees from 7 of their buying teams helped build gingerbread houses with more than 450 students at Park Brook, Zanewood, Garden City, Oak View, Crest View, and Rice Lake. Target supplied all of the supplies for the event which one Target employee said was “hands-down the best volunteer event I have ever done in my 11-plus years at Target.”

Osseo Junior High saxophone player Jake Walters composed a piece of music called, "The Miners." Using a program he found online, Jake printed music for each instrument and a score for Band Director Beth Baker. His fellow band members loved it and after working together to make some minor adjustments, the band rehearsed and performed the final composition at its first concert. 

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Thanks to a $76,000 grant from State Library Services, students at Oak View Elementary are seeing more mobile technology in their classrooms. Some will even have the opportunity to take devices home on loan. Oak View Library Media Specialist Dawn French submitted the grant proposal.

Fernbrook Elementary Library Media Specialist Kim Haugo recently organized a special learning opportunity for students to participate in the Hour of Code. Twenty-eight students met during a lunch/recess period to learn how to write computer-programming code. Within the hour, three students had created apps ranging from a game to animation.

At the Minnesota School Boards Association Leadership Conference luncheon earlier this month, Supt. Kate Maguire was recognized as the 2014 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year. Board members Jim Burgett and Teresa Lunt also attended the conference. Director Lunt, Assistant Superintendents Kim Riesgraf and Teri Staloch, and Supt. Maguire co-presented a session that highlighted our system’s strategic continuous improvement work in the areas of standards-based instruction and grading, and long-range financial planning.

DECEMBER 2013

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Our three comprehensive high schools finished successful fall sports seasons. Here are some highlights:

  • Maple Grove and Osseo’s football teams won their respective conference division championships and then made it to the state tournament;
  • Maple Grove boys soccer, girls soccer and girls swim and dive each finished second in the conference;
  • Maple Grove girls tennis and boys cross country finished third in the conference
  • Multiple sports from both Osseo and Maple Grove sent individual athletes to state-level competition
  • Osseo’s volleyball team finished third in state;
  • Park Center football had its most successful season since 2004;
  • The Adapted CI soccer team placed second at state
  • And ten seniors have signed national letters of intent to play sports at the collegiate level.

This January, Rice Lake fourth grader Zoe Carter will be performing in a production of “The Mitten” at Stages Theater in Hopkins.

Students from Park Center’s culinary arts and restaurant management program participated in the Stars of the Future fundraiser where they enjoyed a glimpse of what it’s like to work as a professional chef. With training from professional chef Diane Yang, they created six varieties of chocolate dessert recipes for the event. 

On Dec. 6, the Park Brook Choir will perform at Macy’s in Ridgedale as part of the store’s Believe campaign. They will be the exclusive entertainment at the store, performing from 5 to 7 p.m. that evening.

District 279 Foundation awarded 25 grants totaling more than $23,000 to our schools and early childhood education centers. The grants will fund a variety of educational opportunities including: technology equipment, guest speakers, visiting artists, field trips, reading projects and more. Staff was required to submit grant applications in order to be considered for the funding.

2001 Park Center grad Rob Lundquist will be competing on NBC’s show the Sing Off as a member of the a capella group Home Free. Park Center assistant principal Heather Miller-Cink was his choir teacher when he was a student at Park Center. The show begins airing on December 9.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

Kidstop students at Fernbrook Elementary made 1,028 sandwiches and donated them to Sandwich Project Minnesota. They were delivered to local homeless shelters and food shelves.

More than 70 North View Junior High students stuffed 500 teddy bears, which will be sent to children affected by HIV/AIDS. The bears will go to comfort children all over the world, including many countries in Africa. The project ties into the International Baccalaureate World School curriculum, which includes developing caring and compassion as one component of its learner profile traits.

Fulfilling their commitment to the National Honor Society’s pillar of service, Park Center’s National Honor Society hosted a blood drive for Red Cross.

Osseo Senior’s Marching Band provided entertainment at the Maple Grove Whole Foods Market in an effort to help Team Randy in the KARE 11 Food Fight, which collected thousands of pounds of food for those in need.

2006 Park Center grad Darion Harding visited Crest View first graders to read from his published book, “Can Henry Make It.” The book explores the life lesson of accepting yourself for who you are.

LIFELONG LEARNING

With the help of parent volunteers, Weaver Lake kindergarteners engaged their natural curiosity during a STEM Day. They explored magnets, gears, objects that sink and float, and built creations with K’Nex and Clix Blocks. The budding engineers made observations, sorted and classified, and noted the characteristics and properties of the hands-on materials. The day served as a great foundation for upcoming science investigations.

Thanks to a generous donation by the PTO, Basswood Elementary students are enjoying a new Learning Lab equipped with science tables and two new SMART tables. Any class that wants a space more conducive to science experiments and other more involved activities can use the room. The SMART tables function like large iPads on legs, allowing several students to collaborate while developing technology, academic and communication skills.

Technology allowed Rush Creek fourth graders the opportunity to Skype with Tom Angleberger, author of several children’s books. The books vary from mysteries to teaching life lessons and all include photographed artwork of Angleberger’s origami creations. For many students, Angleberger’s books spark an interest in reading and the art of origami.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Several of our coaches have received recognition for their accomplishments during fall sports. At Maple Grove Senior High, football coach Matt Lombardi was named Northwest Suburban Conference North Division Coach of the Year, and Gregg Leininger and Chad Morse were named Section 5AA Soccer Coaches of the Year. At Osseo Senior High, football coach Derrin Lamker was named Northwest Suburban Conference West Division Coach of the Year, and Bill Quan was named Northwest Suburban Conference Volleyball Coach of the Year.

Basswood Principal Patrick Smith was recently selected as one of 18 advisors to be part of the Midwest Dairy Program Advisory Council. Advisors provide leadership and feedback on how Fuel Up to Play 60 is working in their respective buildings. Under Smith’s leadership, Basswood has received approximately $10,000 in grant funding from Fuel UP to Play 60 and GENYOUth Foundation to implement programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Research shows these efforts are linked to improved academic performance.

Ryan Bisson, who teaches at Weaver Lake and Dhaivyd Hilgendorf, who teaches at Park Center will be recognized as TIES Exceptional Teachers at the TIES 2013 Education Technology Conference on Dec. 17. Every year, TIES acknowledges educators who model best practices in using technology in education and engaging students in learning. Additionally, several Osseo Area Schools employees will be workshop presenters at the TIES conference.

NOVEMBER 2013

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Students showcased their talents in the spotlight and behind the scenes while performing in school musicals this fall. Osseo Senior High just wrapped up performances of “Godspell,” while Maple Grove Senior High finished up its run of “Guys and Dolls.” Earlier this month, Maple Grove Junior High staged a production of “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jr.”

Osseo Junior High 7th grader, Kylie Kasprick, received the Brooklyn Park Good Citizenship Award for her work as a student ambassador with the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program. She is now an alumni student ambassador.

Weaver Lake Elementary celebrated ten years of STEM magnet programming in the district at its annual Monarchs & More Fair. The event celebrated a school-wide educational unit on pollinators. Students learned about a variety of pollinators such as Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies and native bees; the basics of pollination by birds, bats, bees and butterflies; the life cycle of a butterfly; and all of the varieties of milkweed. Student work, including artwork, research and videos, was on display along with a variety of hands-on family-friendly activities.

Edinbrook celebrated its 25-year anniversary with an ice cream social and time capsule opening. The contents of a time capsule buried when the school first opened its doors were revealed at the ice cream social, providing those in attendance with a nostalgic look back at memorabilia related to the school’s opening in 1988.

American Dental Partners of Roseville has stepped forward with another generous donation of printers and several boxes of paper valued at approximately $5,000 to North View Junior High. The supplies will be used by both students and teachers to support student learning. American Dental Partners provided a similar donation to Garden City, which brings their total contributions to about $10,000 just this fall.

Students from Osseo Junior and Edinbrook Elementary were selected to participate in tapings of a new show called “Vikings Huddle” on the CW network. Students attended tapings at the Mall of America, where they had the opportunity to ask questions and learn more from Vikings players. Osseo Junior’s shows can be found on the CW Twin Cities website and Edinbrook’s shows are scheduled to air after college football on December 7 and 21 and January 4.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

On Veterans Day, Park Center Senior High’s Positive Leadership class honored veterans by creating a “Flag of Leadership.” Each star and stripe was made from cutouts of students’ own hands. In an effort to thank veterans for their sacrifices, the students are creating post cards and signing holiday cards to send to veterans through the Holiday Mail for Heroes project, sponsored by the American Red Cross.

Osseo Senior High presented a free band concert on Veterans Day to honor and recognize members of the military. Several Park Center staff and students participated in a television ad for Education Minnesota talking about the importance of extracurricular activities, the value of competition and how these activities bring the community together. The ad will start running on November 29th, during the television broadcasts of the Prep Bowl on Channel 45. It will also run next spring during broadcasts of the boys’ and girls’ basketball and hockey tournaments.

Students from three of our schools participated in the We Scare Hunger Campaign. On Oct. 31, students volunteered to collect non-perishable goods for food shelters in lieu of trick-or-treating for candy. We Scare Hunger Campaign participants included students from Basswood, Osseo Senior and North View.

More than 35 Park Center Senior High students volunteered their time through the Student Advisory Council and other organizations to help out at the Brooklyn Center Halloween Party, providing a safe and friendly environment for children to participate in games and activities.

LIFELONG LEARNING

Extending its education leadership to the global community, Osseo Area Schools recently welcomed visitor Monen Duoe, Chief Education Officer of Rivercess County, Liberia. In Rivercess County, Duoe oversees 126 schools and 5 educational districts in a rural part of Liberia that is rebuilding after years of civil war that demolished much of its education infrastructure. During her five-week visit, funded by a local Liberian community organization, Duoe visited 15 of our district schools and the Enrollment Center. Duoe said she took away many new ideas from her visit. She plans to model programs and services in her own districts after our Enrollment Center and Adult Basic Education program, and the structure of our human resources team.

Maple Grove Rotary members have visited several of our schools to donate dictionaries to third graders. This is a program the Rotary Club has been participating in for five years with the intent of supporting a love of vocabulary, reading and overall learning for our students.

Rice Lake Elementary students engaged in interactive character-building performances presented by Climb Theater. The theme “How to be a Good Friend” was presented to kindergarteners through second graders. Third through sixth graders learned about the theme “Friendship Versus Popularity.”

Osseo Senior High’s Opportunities in Emergency Care students offered free CPR training to more than 45 individuals during CPR Week. Not only does CPR Week offer a service to the greater community, it allows our OEC students to continue to polish their own CPR trainer skills.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Osseo Area Schools hosted its annual Kindergarten Information Fair at Fernbrook Elementary. Hundreds of excited future kindergarteners and their families spent the day learning about kindergarten in our schools. They also met some of our schools’ principals and kindergarten teachers, and got an up-close look at a kindergarten classroom.

Three Osseo Area Schools teachers have been selected as “best teacher” finalists in this year’s Maple Grove Magazine’s “Best Of” reader survey. Mark Cook and Matt Detloff are both social studies teachers at Maple Grove Senior High, and Steve Borgstrom is a veteran music teacher at Osseo Senior High. Voting on the Maple Grove Magazine website for the “Best Of” survey is available through tomorrow.

Fernbrook Elementary hosted its annual staff variety show, bringing fun to the stage while raising funds for the school. Staff showcased their talent during two shows, attended by hundreds of students and their families. The event raised $3,085 to support the Caring Committee, which provides assistance to Fernbrook families in need.

In order to help students be more independent and successful in finding books related to topics of interest, Basswood Elementary Library Media Specialist Jennifer Perusse enlisted help from colleagues to rearrange the fiction section of the library by genre versus by author. This “book store model” of organization supports student success in searching for a book they are more likely to enjoy reading. Signage in the media center reinforces terminology used in the classroom to teach about different genres by using the same descriptions.

OCTOBER 2013

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Maple Grove Senior High was featured on the WCCO Morning Show as its host Jamie Yuccas returned during Homecoming week to visit her alma mater. Students and teachers shared what it means to be Crimson Classy and talked about The Crimson Way, which integrates responsibility, respect and high expectations into Maple Grove Senior High’s school culture.

Park Center Senior High student Sarah Aladetan recently received the state and national “Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing” Award for encouraging young women in the computing field. It is an honor given to only 35 students throughout the nation. Prizes for award winners include scholarships, cash rewards, tech devices and software and mentoring opportunities at Minnesota technology firms. Sarah, who is a senior, took a web design class at Park Center a few years ago and told the Brooklyn Sun Post in an interview earlier this year that she hopes to find a career that will allow her to combine her loves of technology and music.

About 80 students and 12 staff from Park Brook Elementary School started back to school this year with fitness in mind. By participating in a fitness Boot Camp the first week of school, they began training to run in the Twin Cities 5K, in Minneapolis. Staff and students realized their goal when they ran the 5K on October 5. As a designated President's Challenge Demonstration Center, Park Brook continues to find ways to focus on fitness, which research suggests improves concentration and academic achievement. 

Osseo Area Schools’ Early Childhood and Family Education programs have been given a four star rating, the highest rating possible, from Parent Aware. Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in coordination with the Minnesota Office of Early Learning, the rating system helps parents find programs that go above and beyond to prepare children for school and life. Our early childhood programs that have received the four star rating include: Preschool for Threes, Preschool for Threes with Parent Connect, Prekindergarten for Fours, Title One Preschool, and Prekindergarten for Fours with Parent Connect. These programs run in multiple sites throughout our district.

Woodland Elementary School staff and students celebrated Unity Day this month. Unity Day calls attention to anti-bullying efforts. Staff and students participated in character building activities centered on the theme of “We are all Linked.” They also wore orange, the color that has become known to represent anti-bullying. Near the end of the school day, everyone gathered outside and linked hands around the school building while singing the school song in a demonstration of unity and support for one another.

Maple Grove Senior High’s football team defended its title as Northwest Suburban North Division Conference Champs. The Osseo Senior High football team is Northwest Suburban West Division Conference Champs. Both teams will have home field advantage when they meet their first section playoff opponents at 7 p.m. this Friday. Maple Grove will face Anoka and Osseo will square off against Champlin Park. Park Center Football travels to Fridley tonight for their section playoff game.

Park Center graduate Ricardo Vasquez won the Emerging Artist Award at the 9th Annual Ivey Awards program which recognizes excellence in Twin Cities professional theatre. In an article for the Brooklyn Park Sun Post, Vasquez credited Osseo Area Schools music teachers Christine Weatherman and Barb Auer with helping him become more confident in his singing while at Brooklyn Junior High. He also acknowledged Heather Miller-Cink, who was his Park Center choir teacher, for motivating him to keep singing.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

More than 18,000 Minnesota teens packed the Xcel Energy Center on October 9 to participate in Minnesota’s first We Day. Dozens of Osseo Area Schools students experienced the celebrity-packed event, which featured a lineup of entertainers and inspirational leaders including the Jonas Brothers and Martin Luther King III. The day was filled with inspirational messages, encouraging those in attendance, to make a difference through their time and talents. Students from North View Junior High, Basswood Elementary, Osseo Senior High, Brooklyn Junior High and our ACHIEVE program were present. These students have pledged to participate in volunteer work in the year ahead. The We Day movement aligns with our mission to inspire students to contribute to their communities.

Mario Chacon Castellanos, a student from Park Center Senior High, assisted Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth Executive Director Rebecca Gilgen in delivering a presentation about the Alliance to the Brooklyn Park City Council. The Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth is a joint powers agreement between the City of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Hennepin County, and the school districts of Osseo, Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale and Anoka-Hennepin. Ex officio members include Hennepin Technical College & North Hennepin Community College. Our shared vision is to assure the success of all youth by challenging the conditions that diminish their hope, and by ensuring that all youth are connected to a trusted adult who is vested in their success.

More than 60 Osseo Senior High students in the Opportunities in Emergency Care program volunteered their time as part of the Medtronic Twin Cities 10-mile and marathon races this month. Students were on-hand to offer first aid services to the 29,000 runners who participated in the event.

Students in the Service Learning Class at ACHIEVE are giving back to the community one yard at a time. Students are currently completing fall clean-up projects for members in the community who requested assistance. The students marketed their volunteer efforts to the community under the name, “Students By the Yard.”

Park Center Senior High, Hennepin County, the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission and the cities of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center have received the Partnership in Planning award from the Minnesota American Planners Association for their collaboration on The Connections at Shingle Creek project. The award recognizes planning efforts that involve organizational partnerships that facilitate an outcome that could not be accomplished by an individual organization. 

LIFELONG LEARNING

Jason Fotso, a student at Maple Grove Senior High, was named a National Achievement Scholarship semifinalist as well as a National Merit Commended student. The National Achievement Scholarship recognizes academically promising black students across the country. Jason is competing with about 1,600 select students nationwide for one of approximately 800 Achievement Scholarship awards. Jason was also recently featured on Channel 12 as a Standout Student for his accomplishments.

Nine students from our district have earned National Merit Commended Student status from the 2014 National Merit Scholarship program. Students from Osseo Senior include: Kerry Bloomfield and Rory Stiller. Students from Maple Grove Senior include: Jessica Barry, Jason Fotso, Sofia Maltseva, Allen Miller, Vivian Nguyen, Michael Rouleau and Olivia Trudeau. 

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Several of our employees are voluntarily participating in a year-long book and film study on refugee and immigrant concerns. Our school district serves more than 400 refugee students, so this experience will expand the participants’ knowledge and understanding on issues that are relevant in their daily work. This is the sixth year the book and film study has been offered on a volunteer basis.

Osseo Junior teacher Elizabeth Halbur co-presented at the Education Minnesota Professional Conference last week. The topic of the presentation was, “Mindfulness in Education: Creating a Calm Classroom.”

Earlier this month, two Osseo Area Schools teachers were honored by a surprise visit from Office Max representatives as part of the annual “A Day Made Better” campaign. The program is designed to help erase teacher-funded classrooms by supplying more than 1,000 educators with more than $1,000 each in school supplies. Debbi Anderson is first grade teacher at Cedar Island Elementary. She was honored for dedicating more than 30 years to teaching, for her countless hours of extra effort and a constant willingness to ensure that each child learns and has the tools needed to do so. Ann Hollencamp is a teacher at Osseo Junior High. She earned this award because of her tireless dedication to her students. Hollencamp has helped establish a building-wide recognition program to support students who are displaying positive behaviors at school. In addition to supplies provided to teachers, Office Max shared donations of school supplies, worth approximately $1,000 each, to both schools.

SEPTEMBER 2013

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Osseo Senior High student Tanner Wetzel was featured on Channel 12 as a Standout Student. In addition to taking high-level courses like AP Calculus, Tanner is the National Honor Society President, a student ambassador and three-sport varsity athlete, as well as Captain of the Nordic Ski Team.

Three Osseo Area Schools seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists: Malavika Suresh and Emily Leonard (Maple Grove Senior High) and Emma Folke (Osseo Senior High) will now be considered for Finalist status. Congratulations to all three students for earning this prestigious recognition.

Maple Grove’s Tahi Nomane was featured as a Star Tribune Prep Athlete of the Week for his standout performance in a varsity football game against Robbinsdale Armstrong. WCCO also named Tahi their U.S. Army Reserve’s Most Valuable Player of the Week for the Crimson’s game against Hopkins.

Park Brook Elementary was featured on Channel 12 for outfitting 9 classrooms with stability balls this year, which research demonstrates can help improve students’ concentration in class. The stability balls are taking the place of traditional chairs, thanks to a $10,000 grant from Allina.

Zenon Dance Company will visit Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts during the week of September 23rd. The weeklong dance residency will culminate in a performance for friends and family.

The Osseo and Maple Grove Senior High Robotics teams were featured in the September issue of Maple Grove Magazine for their value in offering students a hands-on avenue to apply critical science, technology and engineering skills.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

On August 21st, Helping Hands and Boston Scientific provided huge volunteer support and service at Zanewood Community School. They cleaned up the playground, mulched and planted bushes, painted murals and washed windows.

Osseo Senior High alum Jeremy Wolfsteller is one of 25 Veterans’ Voice Award recipients. He earned the award from the Humanities Center for his work connecting veterans with the help they need.

On September 9th, members of the Park Center Pirate football team volunteered at the Brooklyn Park Athletic Association Youth Football Preview Day. They worked with youth teams consisting of kindergarteners through 8th graders, providing the older football players experience in roles of leadership, while building connections between the community, the high school and future Park Center students.

American Dental Partners of Roseville donated approximately $5,000 in goods to Garden City Elementary. The donation includes three Hewlett Packard printers and ten cases of printer paper forstudent work and to replace printers in the special education department. American Dental Partners also donated hundreds of dollars worth of backpacks and school supplies for students.

Just before summer ended, members of the Maple Grove Dance Team joined together to pack food at Feed My Starving Children. The team packed 78 boxes of food, which holds 16,848 meals. That’s the equivalent of feeding 46 children for one year.

LIFELONG LEARNING

On August 27th, dozens of Park Center student leaders and athletic team captains spent one of their last summer mornings attending a leadership workshop led by team-building motivational leader Rick Rassier.

Former Osseo Area Schools teacher Carly Jarva was recently featured in the Brooklyn Center Sun Post as she steps into her new role as principal at Brooklyn Center High School. Years ago, Jarva’s aunt worked for now-superintendent Kate Maguire. Jarva shared with the Post that Maguire is one of her role models who inspired her to become an educator.

The Park Center Senior High Orchestra students were treated to a visit by Elvis Presley tribute artist and Park Center Orchestra parent Todd Anderson. He talked about Elvis’ role in music history, sang some Elvis hits, and shared what it means to be a performer and entertainer. The Park Center Orchestra will embark on a spring educational tour this March to Memphis and New Orleans, which will include a performance at Graceland.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

Career and Technical Education Coordinator Julie Halverson has been appointed by Commissioner Brenda Cassellius to the Minnesota Department of Education Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force. The task force is charged with recommending ways to redesign secondary and post-secondary education to better serve all students.

Carol Brendal was featured in the September issue of Maple Grove Magazine for her work as a crossing guard at Rush Creek Elementary. Brendal oversees the school’s 5th and 6th grade student patrols who help the student walkers make it to and from school safely.

Zanewood Community School Principal Carol Rowan was featured in a Brooklyn Park Sun Post and Osseo Maple Grove Press editorial about principals setting the tone for their schools. The piece highlighted Rowan’s example to her students by learning to play the clarinet alongside them during weekly band classes.

Nearly a dozen of our 150 new teachers are former students of Osseo Area Schools. Many of these teachers have shared that their positive experiences as students in our district inspired them to become educators. We welcome them back as teachers and look forward to the work they will do in furthering our mission.