POINTS OF PRIDE

MAY 2016

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Osseo Area Learning Center students earned five top 4 finishes and numerous additional Gold and Bronze ribbons at the 2016 MAAP STARS state conference. Students competed as individuals or in teams, in college, career and life skills-based competitive events, and were evaluated by business leaders.
  • The 2015 Osseo Senior High yearbook staff was recognized by Balfour yearbooks for excellence in design and coverage. Their coverage is featured in a nationally distributed publication of superior student work that serves as inspiration to others.
  • Five students from Park Center Senior High have earned either a Gates Millennium scholarship or Wallin Education Partners scholarship, and one student has earned both. The Gates Millennium scholarship is a full-ride scholarship and the Wallin Education Partners scholarship provides $4,000 each year for four years, as well as professional advisors and college and career planning, mentorship and internship opportunities.
  • Each year, the Osseo Area Retired Educators gives a $1,500 scholarship to one senior from each of our district’s three comprehensive senior high schools. This year’s recipients are Danielle Vo from Osseo; Michael Lu from Maple Grove; and Grace Arel from Park Center.
  • Belle Hulne, pictured with Congressman Erik Paulsen, won Grand Prize/Best of Show at the 3rd District Congressional High School Student Art Exhibit for her portrait entitled “Samuel,” which will be displayed in the nation’s Capitol for one year. Mihika Murdeshwar earned Honorable Mention in the same contest for her illustration entitled, “Self Portrait after Dead Pool,” which is pictured at right. Hulne also earned a Silver National Medal in Art in the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Award. Both students are from Maple Grove Senior High.
  • Park Center student Martha Oware was featured on News Channel 12 as a standout student. She shares about her experiences as an immigrant from Ghana in 2012, and how her friends and teachers helped her get to where she is today. Martha is an aspiring architect who plans to attend the University of Minnesota’s College of Design.
  • Maple Grove Senior High's Junior Achievement Company Program, Crimson Corner, participated at the Junior Achievement regional competition. Conor Friedmann was named the Otto Bremer Student Entrepreneur of the Year, and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. The Crimson Corner team, which includes Conor, Joe Graves, Jesse Heinen, Sujeet Kohli and Alli Orta, tied for third, and each team member was awarded a $250 scholarship.
  • Pictured third from the left, Christopher Kwon, sophomore at Maple Grove Senior High, was cellist in a quartet that took second place in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Youth Chamber Music Competition. Chris is also a member of the Maple Grove Senior High Symphony Orchestra.
  • Select band students from Maple Grove Middle School performed at this year’s annual West Suburban Solo and Ensemble Festival. Students prepared music on their own and performed for a judge.  Pictured here are some of the 22 students that participated from Maple Grove Middle, many of whom earned either excellent or superior ratings.  

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Osseo Area Learning Center staff and students participated in a variety of Earth Day-related activities planned in collaboration between the Student Leadership Group and teachers. Activities included planting flowers, grounds cleanup, and participating in a Lifesmarts quiz on environmental issues.
  • Fair Oaks Elementary recently recognized its volunteers with a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. Third graders performed a special song and the staff donated food to show their appreciation.
  • A record number of 875 participants attended Community Education’s 9th Annual Once Upon a Time Dance. With the support of more than 85 student and community volunteers, elementary-aged girls and their fathers or special adult in their lives enjoyed dancing, princess bingo, crafts, karaoke, cupcakes and more. The event raised more than $8,200 for scholarships to support youth participation in out-of-school time enrichment programs.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • Osseo High School staged the play, “The Italian Straw Hat” this spring. It is the first spring play at Osseo Senior in 10 years and allowed a large number of cast members to participate.
  • Basswood Elementary students won the fourth-grade division of the Fermi Off-the-Wall winter competition. The team included Adriana Dunn, Paden Knowles, Karsten Kautzman, and Nathan Stienessen. The Fermi Off-the-Wall Math League is an internet-based math competition in which individuals and teams compete by answering math questions using estimation, rounding numbers, guessing and writing about math.
  • This summer, ten Park Center Senior High students, along with Spanish teacher Valerie Neri, will experience a weeklong cultural immersion program in Guatemala, where they will live and work side-by-side with the Maya people in Cantel. The experience will be made possible through an Xperitas Global Learners grant, which will fund 80 percent of the cost of the program. Students are fundraising the remaining costs.
  • Students in Osseo Senior High's Real Life 101 class have been participating with E-mentors at Donaldson Company. The program connects students with e-mentor volunteers via professional email correspondence and a subsequent in-person visit. The goal is for students to understand that what they learn in school is important for their future, and to increase their knowledge of business and career skills for future workplace success.
  • French food truck Crepe and Cake visited Osseo Senior High recently to provide a tasty and interactive learning experience for Elizabeth Byron’s French 1 students. As part of their food unit, students practiced ordering food and holding conversations in French.
  • Edinbrook Elementary and Fair Oaks Elementary celebrated Every Kid Healthy Week, an annual event to celebrate school health and wellness through Action for Healthy Kids. Students completed fitness circuits working on their strength, agility, and cardiovascular endurance.
  • More than 65 students, volunteers and employees were recognized at the District 279 Foundation “An Investment in Youth Gala.” Each of our 33 sites identified honorees who were recognized for their investments in their own learning, betterment of education, helping the community, modeling for youth, overcoming adversity, and developing their own talents.
  • Our Early Childhood & Family Education program has received a two-year grant of nearly $240,000 through the Greater Twin Cities United Way “Screen @ 3” initiative.  The grant will allow the expansion of Early Childhood Screening to include summer, weekend and more evening appointments. Screening locations will also increase in the Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center communities. Early Childhood Screening is required for all children prior to enrollment in public school kindergarten in Minnesota.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Fair Oaks Elementary teachers Michelle Asche, Julie Ostlund, Michelle Kennedy, Cheryl Piotraschke, Cathy Rawitzer, and Doris Lemanski presented "Movement, Manipulatives, and Math Talks" to preschool and elementary teachers at the 2016 Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference.
  • Park Brook Elementary Principal Scott Taylor upped the “fun factor” for the school’s spring mile run by rolling a piano outside and serenading student runners with his rendition of “Chariots of Fire.”
  • Michael Lehan, principal of Osseo Senior High School, was guest speaker for the graduate student commencement ceremony at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development. Lehan spoke to the 550 graduates about “Process, Product and Purpose,” describing how life experiences and defining moments can be used to guide our moral imperative – our purpose. 

APRIL 2016

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • For the second consecutive year, Maple Grove Senior High has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's “Best High Schools,” earning a silver medal in the 2016 rankings. This award program recognizes high schools based on their performance on state assessments, graduation rates, and how well they prepare students for college.
  • Evan Skaja, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High, has been named a candidate in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Inclusion in the program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.
  • Ariana Pope, a senior at Osseo Senior High, is among 15 students selected as a winner in the fourth annual Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing Awards. The awards program honors young women in grades 9 through 12 for their computing-related achievements and interests.
  • Malcolm Lawson, a senior at Park Center Senior High, received a Dease Scholarship from the University of St. Thomas. Each year, the Dease Scholarship program provides four-year, full-tuition scholarships for up to 15 well-qualified, underrepresented, first-generation students and graduates from urban high schools.
  • Maple Grove seniors Kaycee Peek and Mackenzie Lund won Best Position Paper at the Model UN State Conference. Kelsey Frizell and Conor Friedmann won Best Delegation at the conference by spearheading the winning resolution. Representing the Republic of Congo, all four addressed the issue of child soldiers.
  • The “DIdeas Keep On Coming” Destination Imagination team took first place at the state tournament and will advance to the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee in May. Destination Imagination is a leader in project-based learning opportunities that blend STEM with the arts and social entrepreneurship. Students on the team attend Osseo Middle, Osseo Senior and Maple Grove Senior.
  • Mackenzie Barta from Maple Grove Senior High, Ari Jones from Osseo Senior High and Maddie Heitzig from Park Center Senior High have been named Athena Award winners based on their athletic achievements. Mackenzie is a basketball standout who was a Ms. Basketball finalist and will attend Harvard University and play basketball there. Ari is a three-sport athlete, excelling at tennis, basketball and lacrosse. Maddie is a talented soccer and track and field athlete. They will be honored at a ceremony in May along with approximately 50 female athletes from schools in and around the Twin Cities.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Maple Grove Senior High student Allie Rudin teamed up with classmate Connor Scheidler to host a benefit showcase to raise funds to help send a child with neuromuscular disease to camp. Several students performed in the show.
  • During spring break, 30 Maple Grove Senior High students and their chaperones traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to serve the township community of Nomzamo as part of the school’s Global Outreach and Leadership Development program, also called G.O.L.D. In South Africa, the G.O.L.D students worked at a local primary school and facilitated a music, dance and art program for 6th and 7th-grade students. G.O.L.D. students also created a large garden to help provide vegetables and some income for a local orphanage.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • WCCO news anchor Kim Johnson recently shared in a Maple Grove Magazine interview that she credits her experience serving as the editor-in-chief of the Maple Grove Senior High newspaper as a crowning achievement that lit her fire for a career in news. Johnson is a 2001 graduate of Maple Grove Senior High.
  • Hiren Patel, a junior at Park Center, was selected for a scholarship offered by the Minnesota Association of International Baccalaureate World Schools to attend the IB World Student Conference in Switzerland this summer.  At the conference, students will discuss global responsibility, citizenship, sustainability and social responsibilities.
  • Thanks to Google Expeditions, hundreds of second through fifth graders in the district enjoyed a collection of virtual reality field trips taking them to museums, oceans, and even outer space. The 360-degree photo and video panoramas are enhanced with details, points of interest and questions so they can be integrated into the class curriculum. Eight school sites participated in this program.
  • When the City of Brooklyn Park issued a fun challenge for the community to adopt a fire hydrant, two of our schools answered the call. Brooklyn Middle School’s Project Community Club and Zanewood Community School’s after school art club both participated by keeping their chosen fire hydrant clear of snow and ice while also temporarily dressing them up and naming them. Both groups earned a visit from fire department representatives who taught a mini fire safety lesson and brought mementos of appreciation for the students.
  • The middle school model is allowing for students to experience enrichment and challenge in new ways. For example, at Maple Grove Middle School, all 8th-grade students are participating in enrichment and stretch projects that allow them to apply their learning in math, social studies, science and English/language arts at a higher level through real-world experiences. One 8th grade team, including the students pictured here, chose the “20 Time” approach. The concept is based on companies such as 3M and Google, which encourage their employees to spend 20 percent of their work week on something they are passionate about that is outside their job description. During 20 Time, which takes place during the advisory period, students are challenged to set a goal or make a product connected to learning about anything of their choosing. This year, students developed college and career readiness skills such as how to set goals, research, organize, create, problem-solve and more. Advisors have reported that the students’ work has been impressive, with projects varying from creating gifts for patients at a children’s hospital to inventing a new product and starting a business.
  • Students and staff from several of our elementary schools, including Basswood, Birch Grove, Crest View, Fair Oaks and Elm Creek, attended the 2016 Minnesota Fuel Up to Play 60 Reward Summit at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. The Summit is a celebration of achievement with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The event included a day of physical activities, a nutritious lunch, educational nutritional games, a visit from a dairy farmer and other special guests.
  • Nearly three dozen staff members at Brooklyn Middle School recently took advantage of an opportunity where students taught the teachers. Five 8th graders hosted a Celebration of Culture staff meeting with the objective of raising awareness of cultural diversity. Students shared details about their background, family and culture with experiences ranging from being adopted, persecution from foreign governments, immigrating to the U.S. and learning English as a third language. Staff also participated in an interactive discussion, a discovery activity and enjoyed different cultural foods.
  • Kidstop recently held its first annual STEM Fair at Maple Grove Middle School. Middle school students in our after-school program, The Spot, hosted the event for 48 students in grades K-5. Kidstop students from Basswood, Fernbrook, Oak View, Weaver Lake and Zanewood Elementary schools participated either as exhibitors or attendees who voted for their favorite exhibit.  
  • The District 279 Children’s Chorus was selected to perform at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Clinic. The 89 student singers from all 17 of the district’s elementary schools were proud ambassadors of Osseo Area Schools as they shared their talents.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Kristin Pengra-Anderson, a fifth-grade teacher at Edinbrook Elementary, will be honored as a semifinalist at the Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet in May. She has been a teacher for ten years and believes every child can be successful. She strives to inspire a love of learning in her students and builds community by focusing on students' strengths and allowing their voices to be heard. 

MARCH 2016

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Birch Grove and Weaver Lake Elementary Schools have each been named a 2016 National Magnet School of Excellence. Only six schools in Minnesota earned this award for 2016. This is Birch Grove’s eighth time and Weaver Lake’s ninth time earning recognition from Magnet Schools of America.
  • Four Osseo Area Schools seniors have earned Act Six Scholarships, which are full-ride scholarships awarded to students who are emerging urban and community leaders. Scholarship winners were Juliann Cole and Angela Smith from Osseo Senior High and Hodo Dahir and Grace Arel from Park Center Senior High.
  • Maple Grove Senior High student Paige Even was featured as a Channel 12 News Standout Student. They highlighted her work ethic, academic excellence, and positive attitude. Paige plans to attend the University of St. Thomas to major in psychology and education.
  • After top performances at the regional competition, Fernbrook Elementary and Osseo Middle School will send teams to the state Destination Imagination competition in April.
  • Maple Grove Senior High student Kelsey Frizell was appointed to the United States Military Academy of West Point. Less than 10 percent of applicants receive this prestigious appointment each year. West Point provides a 4-year leadership development program steeped in academic rigor, military discipline, and physical challenges.
  • Several Maple Grove Senior High students competed at the state DECA competition earlier this month. Jenna Miller earned first place in Principles of Marketing and qualified to attend nationals in April.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Maple Grove Senior High’s Crimson FIRST Robotics team was honored with the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor achievable, at regional competition and will now advance to the World Championship. The Chairman’s Award is presented to the team at each competition that has made the biggest impact on its community and has done the most to further STEM education, help others, and make the world a better place.
  • Several Osseo Middle School students participated in a recent Feed My Starving Children event where they collectively packed more than 239,000 meals for children in other parts of the world.
  • Maple Grove Middle School 8th graders Janelle Hyde and Nathan Lasselle were selected for the Minnesota Band Directors Association state honor band. Janelle, who plays baritone, and Nathan, who plays clarinet, will perform with the grade 6 through 8 state honor band in April.
  • At the state Model United Nations conference, Park Center Senior High students maintained a winning record by bringing home nine awards for Best Position Paper. The students, who all attended North View, represented their assigned countries and addressed the issue of Child Soldiers. Since the program began at North View nearly ten years ago, North View and/or Park Center students have won awards every year.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • Park Center students staged a successful run of the musical, “Tarzan” which featured flying effects from Foy Flying, the premiere theatrical flying service from Las Vegas.
  • Many of our schools held special celebrations in the past few months to encourage reading:
  • Crest View Elementary students enjoyed a visit from an author, dressed up as favorite storybook characters and celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
  • Elm Creek Elementary’s Student Council collected more than 600 books in a book drive.Every student in Mrs. Paige's class participated in a challenge that led to a drawing for a tall Bob the Minion made out of paper mache by a volunteer.
  • Early Childhood students received free books through a collaboration between District 279 Foundation and Macy’s Reading is Fundamental program.
  • Garden City Elementary participated in an all-school read around with staff and volunteers reading their favorite stories to students.
  • Other schools also held special reading activities, including:
    • Basswood Elementary students almost met a school wide reading goal of 550,000 minutes during February.
    • Maple Grove Middle School hosted live, Skype and video-recorded readings with authors. They are also planning a Battle of the Books this month.
    • Oak View Elementary participated in Dr. Seuss-related activities.
  • Boston Scientific engineers visited Maple Grove Middle School for an innovation-themed day of bridge building. Students worked in teams to build the strongest bridge possible using straws and tape and then measured the weight it could hold.
  • Fair Oaks Elementary collaborated with The Works to host a Family STEM night with activities including robotics, circuit-building, rocket-building, magnets and more. Older students demonstrated robotics projects and students of all ages shared their computer programming and coding knowledge with parents.
  • Basswood Elementary’s Fuel Up to Play 60 student team was selected as one of 40 winners nationwide in a national video contest. Basswood is now a designated Fuel Up To Play MVP School.
  • Once a month, Rush Creek Elementary offers makerspace activities before school, providing students additional opportunities to create, invent and learn. Students explore stations that may include circuit building, 3-D printing, coding, crafts and more.
  • With the help of orchestra teacher Rick Drake, Maple Grove Middle School 8th grader Caden LeVahn created a composition that was recently performed by the 8th grade orchestra. The piece can be viewed on the district’s YouTube channel.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Maple Grove Middle School Health and Physical Education teacher Cheri Meyer is featured as the Editor’s Pick for best junior high teacher in Maple Grove Magazine’s “Best Of” issue. Meyer was selected for her commitment to helping students grow as a whole person socially, academically and physically.
  • Osseo Area Schools has earned the 2016 School Finance Award from the Minnesota Department of Education, recognizing the district’s timely submission of financial data, compliance with Minnesota statutes, fiscal health and accuracy in financial reporting.
  • The Minnesota Safety Council awarded Osseo Area Schools a Governor’s Safety Award for Outstanding Achievement in Occupational Safety, which recognizes superior performance in workplace safety and health. This is the seventh consecutive year that the district has received an award for its exceptional safety performance.
  • Osseo Area Schools earned three 2016 Readers Choice Awards as determined by Osseo-Maple Grove Press readers:
  • Rush Creek Elementary was named Best Public School
  • Maple Grove Middle School’s Julie Spanier was named Best Teacher, and
  • Maple Grove Middle School’s Sara Looby-Morris was named Best Assistant Principal

FEBRUARY 2016

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Maple Grove Senior’s Evan Skaja has advanced to National Merit Scholarship Finalist status. To earn this honor, finalists score in the top one percent on the PSAT among 1.5 million test takers. Finalists are eligible for one of approximately 7,600 National Merit Scholarships.
  • Maple Grove Crimson Dance Team placed second in the Class AAA State Tournament for Jazz and fourth place for high kick.
  • Thomas Beskow rose above nine other competitors to finish first in the Maple Grove Middle School Geographic Bee. He also took a qualifying test to advance to the state Bee where the top 100 scorers will compete on April 1st.
  • Thirty students from our three comprehensive high schools collectively earned 41 awards in the 2016 Minnesota Scholastic Arts Awards competition. Recognition is awarded in a number of categories earning a Gold Key, Silver Key or Honorable Mention. Gold Key and Silver Key artworks are on display through Feb. 20 at the Regis Center for Art, West Gallery in Minneapolis.
  • Maple Grove Senior High DECA made an impressive showing at the District 4 conference with 21 students qualifying for the state competition to be held in March. DECA is an international student organization that promotes the concepts of business, finance, marketing, hospitality, and entrepreneurship through competitions that include problem-solving role-plays and prepared oral and written events.
  • Osseo Senior’s Michael Tieku was featured as a Channel 12 Standout Student for his internal motivation, positive outlook, and leadership qualities. Michael hopes to pursue a career in business after college.
  • Five student athletes from Osseo, Maple Grove, and Park Center Senior High were named to the 2015 All-USA Minnesota football team. Players recognized include Defensive Player of the Year Amani Hooker, from Park Center.
  • Maple Grove Senior High hockey player Taylor Wente recently won a gold medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation U18 World Championship with Team USA.
  • Two of our high school musical theatre productions received recognition from the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Awards. Maple Grove Senior’s production of “Les Miserables” earned Outstanding Overall Production and Outstanding Overall Performance. Osseo Senior High’s production of “Wizard of Oz” earned Honorable Mention for Overall Performance. Both productions, along with several individual students, earned additional recognition. Students will now have the opportunity to work with professionals in the Spotlight Education program at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.
  • Twelve student ambassadors from North View Middle School visited Zanewood Community School to read with second graders. The activity helped build positive relationships while encouraging mentoring and leadership skills for the older students and reading skills for all.
  • Eight students from Park Center Senior and Osseo Senior are in the running to become Act Six Scholars and receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend their choice of select local colleges. Candidates will participate in a half-day interactive event where they will demonstrate their academic and emerging urban and community leadership potential. The process will culminate in final selections of scholarship recipients in March.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • On Friday, February 12 the District 279 Foundation hosted its 16th Annual A Night Out Gala with 243 people in attendance. This year’s theme was school spirit and included an evening of appetizers, silent auction, performances by district student groups, guest presenter Jason DeRusha, and a new video which shared the good work the Foundation does. This year’s event raised $24,000, which will go toward classroom grant opportunities for our students.
  • The Community Mosaic Project, on display at Osseo Senior High until April, is an artistic collection of canvas tiles created by community members from adult artists to young children. Canvases are meant to represent all parts of the community. Visitors to the display can make a donation toward the Osseo Senior High Counselors Fund, which is used to help families in need. Those who donate will receive a tile at the conclusion of the exhibit. Teacher Elise Bengston and the Osseo Lions have been instrumental in creating the Community Mosaic Project.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • A group of Osseo Senior students has participated in a Reader’s Choice English Workshop designed to increase reading levels by getting students to read more books cover to cover. First trimester results indicate that 81 percent of the group increased one whole year or more of normal reading growth and more than half the group advanced reading growth by two years or more. Students also discovered benefits in areas such as writing formal papers, personal motivation and pride in accomplishment.  
  • Park Center’s Asian Club hosted its second annual Asian New Year celebration. Participants were exposed to a variety of Asian cultures while enjoying performances, entertainment, food and more.
  • In order to build relationships and bridge school-to-home learning opportunities, the preschool program at Fair Oaks Elementary hosts monthly parent days. Parents are provided information and given time to practice related skills with their child in the classroom. Take-home materials support continued practice at home.
  • Park Center hosted six National Guard members to show how the replacement of a large boiler plant is planned and completed. This offered a valuable opportunity to contribute to community while serving as an example of a well-planned large-scale boiler replacement project.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Three Osseo Area Schools teachers have been named candidates for the 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. They include: Dennis Loeks, vocal music teacher at Palmer Lake Elementary; Kristin Pengra-Anderson, 5th-grade teacher at Edinbrook Elementary and Lisa Wisti Schutte, 4th-grade teacher at Basswood Elementary. They will participate in a selection process that culminates with the Teacher of the Year being announced in May.

 JANUARY 2016

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Six seniors from our three comprehensive high schools have been named this year’s Triple A Award nominees. Triple A Award winners are students who are recognized for excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts. Nominees include Molly Caven and Evan Ditter from Maple Grove Senior High; Meghan Correia and John Nguyen from Osseo Senior High; and Grant Engeman and Heather MacMurdo from Park Center Senior High.
  • Additionally, Park Center’s Heather MacMurdo, a straight-A IB student, National Merit Semifinalist, and musician, was recently featured as a Channel 12 News Standout Student. She’s also a three-sport athlete, on the National Honor Society and has participated in four mission trips. MacMurdo is considering a college degree in chemical engineering.
  • Fernbrook 5th grader Ariam Aman recently won the 5th and 6th-grade division of the Fermi Off-the-Wall Math League global competition. Individuals and teams competed for six weeks answering math questions using estimation, rounding numbers, guessing, and integrating writing about math.
  • Elm Creek fifth-grader, Samantha Longenecker, achieved a perfect score of 20 in the difficult Blue Division of a recent WordMasters Challenge. The challenge is a national vocabulary competition challenging students to become familiar with new words and use them in analogies.
  • As semi-finalists in the Dream It. Do It. Metro Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament held last month, two Osseo Senior High VEX Robotics teams will advance to the state tournament in St. Cloud where they will compete for invitations to the World Championship Competition. Osseo Bro-Bots and Project: Osseo competed against 48 teams at the regional tournament.
  • Cameryn Bailey, a 7th-grade student at Osseo Middle School, won first place at the local level of the annual Patriot Pen writing contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Cameryn’s essay responds to the theme, “What Freedom Means to Me.” She is now entered in the state competition with a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C.
  • Park Center grad Olivia Maccoux was recently featured in People magazine for her perseverance as an athlete while enduring 120 brain surgeries throughout the first 20 years of her life. Olivia is currently a dean’s list student at Augsburg College studying toward a communications degree.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Students at our three comprehensive high schools were living examples of our mission as they contributed to community over the holiday season.
    Several Park Center students volunteered at Toys for Tots by helping unload, sort and distribute gifts.
    Osseo Senior’s Opportunities in Emergency Care students raised over $700 to purchase blankets, pillows, hats, mittens, winter jackets, boots, and toys for families at Zanewood Community School. The students coordinated all efforts from fundraising to shopping for the purchases, wrapping and delivering the gifts.
    And Maple Grove Senior High student Jake Sexton donated gift money he had received over the holidays to the Casa de Dios foundation in Colombia, an organization he visited on a school trip last year. Jake’s donation will help build additional rooms to help more people at Casa de Dios. AP Spanish students Skyped with staff at Casa de Dios so that students who hadn’t visited Colombia could see what the Foundation looks like and learn more about what they do to help people in their community.
  • After their experience attending We Day, a daylong celebration of contributing to community where hundreds of students from all over the state gathered last fall, Edinbrook student council members participated in Scare Out Hunger. Students collected food while trick-or-treating and hosted a food drive at school. They donated more than 1,200 food items to CEAP, which helps local families in need.
  • Students at two of our elementary schools participated in projects to provide blankets for patients at local hospitals.
    — Oak View Student Council members learned the joy of doing something kind for others by assembling fleece tie blankets and making get-well cards for patients at Maple Grove Hospital
    — Students at Woodland Elementary participated in a pillow and blanket-making project with help from District 279 Foundation, Gillette Children’s Hospital and several volunteers. In addition to contributing to the community, the project offers older students a leadership opportunity as they work with their younger buddy rooms.
  • The Maple Grove Ambassadors visited Cedar Island first graders to read "Brontorina," a story about a dinosaur determined to dance even when the odds are stacked against her. Two of the Ambassadors have ties to Maple Grove Senior High. Lauren Krasnoff is a senior and Alex Ducosin is a recent graduate.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • Park Center freshman Kimberly Zayzay, who is front and center in this photo, participated on a planning team for the City of Brooklyn Park recently.  The team reviewed the work that has occurred over the past five years and provided input into the components of a broader community plan to be developed for the City of Brooklyn Park. Superintendent Maguire also participated in the planning event.
  • More than 30 Osseo Area Schools students were honored at the Star Student Awards presented by the Business Education Partnership Committee of North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce. These students were recognized for their outstanding achievements in career advancement, employment or volunteerism. 
  • Palmer Lake’s Asian New Year celebration included performances by more than 30 students to an audience of nearly 240 friends and family members. The evening offered an opportunity to enjoy student entertainment while learning about Hmong culture.
  • Crest View hosted its annual Culture Day, a celebration that included classroom activities, a multicultural lunch, a parade of cultures and student performances. The media center was also transformed into a cultural museum displaying artifacts from the Northwest Suburban Integration District and staff members, and student artwork.
  • Before winter break, Senator Chris Eaton, employees from Luther Toyota and other volunteers visited Garden City to read with students and construct gingerbread houses.
  • Garden City students kept up their reading skills over winter break by keeping track of reading minutes and recording book titles on paper mittens that currently decorate school hallways. Collectively, students logged more than 600 minutes of reading over break.
  • As part of the Latino Circle at Park Center Senior High, students worked with equity specialist Jesus Ramirez to discuss cultural identity and symbols that represent different Latino communities. Based on those discussions, the group created a mural that hangs in Park Center, with plans for it to travel to other schools in the district for temporary display. As part of this project, students also developed leadership and speaking skills as they shared their knowledge with teachers to encourage greater integration of Latino culture into the curriculum.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Assistant Superintendent Astein Osei and equity teacher Courtney Caldwell gave a presentation at the 2015 AMSD Policy Conference in December.  The theme of this year’s conference was about promising practices to close the achievement gap and building partnerships to reach all students. The Osseo team collaborated on a presentation entitled: “But we’ve always done it this way: How good intentions perpetuate racial disparities in our schools.” 
  • Woodland teacher Amy Goodrich was featured in a video produced by the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum to celebrate its Local Government Innovation Award from Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Several of our teachers have participated in writing curriculum and many use the digital curriculum in their classrooms.

DECEMBER 2015

ACHIEVING DREAMS

Our student athletes continued to pursue excellence and achieve dreams this fall. The following are just a few highlights of the 2015 fall sports season provided by each school's activities department:

At MAPLE GROVE SENIOR HIGH—

  • CROSS COUNTRY placed 4th in sections and 2nd in the conference. Alex Miley placed 7th at state.
  • GIRLS SWIM, GIRLS TENNIS & GIRLS SOCCER placed 2nd in their respective sections; two members of the swim team and a relay team qualified for state.
  • FOOTBALL ended the season as state semifinalists. Several individual athletes earned All-Conference, Academic All-State and more. Isaac Collins was a Mr. Football candidate.

At OSSEO SENIOR HIGH—

  • FOOTBALL won the Class 6A state championship, with several players earning individual accolades.
  • VOLLEYBALL placed 3rd in the conference.

At PARK CENTER SENIOR HIGH—

  • CI ADAPTED SOCCER won the state championship.
  • PI ADAPTED SOCCER participated in the state tournament.
  • FOOTBALL attracted a record number of participants and became the Class 5A Section 5 runner-ups with several players earning individual accolades.
  • BOYS SOCCER won sections and participated in the state tournament with four players earning all-conference status.
  • CROSS COUNTRY achieved the Gold Academic Standard for both the boys and girls teams.
  • American School & University Magazine recognized the Maple Grove community gymnasium, which is attached to Maple Grove Middle School, with an Outstanding Design award. The community gym is the result of a partnership among the City of Maple Grove, the Osseo Maple Grove Basketball Association, and the school district.
  • Sisters Ava, Jessica and Lauren Lee, all students at Fernbrook Elementary, were featured in Maple Grove Magazine for winning the AAU Nationals and USA Taekwondo Nationals last summer. These are the two largest United States tournaments sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
  • Maple Grove Middle School 6th grader Sunny Choi was back on the podium taking gold in the Minnesota State Figure Skating Championships in the juvenile girls division.
  • Maple Grove Middle School 8th graders Nathan Lasselle, Janelle Hyde and Ceci Wold were selected to perform in the Minnesota Band Directors Regional Honor Band along with other middle school students from throughout the northwest suburbs.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Osseo Senior High received a generous $2,000 donation this fall from the Kevin Messer Memorial Fund to help provide cleats for football team members. Kevin Messer was a student in Robbinsdale but his extended family includes current or former students at Osseo.
  • Boston Scientific employees donated gifts, gift cards and gently used clothing for 132 of our students in need. School social workers Melody Hahn-Merges and Kendra Kuhlmann are in the process of sorting and distributing the gifts to students.
  • A group of North View Middle School students enjoys volunteering after school at Maranatha Nursing Home. The weekly volunteering provides mutual benefit to students and residents by providing an opportunity to learn about different cultures and generations while building communication and teamwork skills.
  • Maple Grove Middle school band students contributed to a festive shopping atmosphere by performing at Barnes and Noble in Maple Grove to provide entertainment and garner support for the band program.
  • Weaver Lake Kidstop students made cards and Maple Grove Senior High students baked cookies to send in holiday care packages to soldiers. Weaver Lake Kidstop employees Nancy Jansen and Karen Skagerber helped assemble the packages through Maple Grove's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon community group.
  • Woodland Elementary Eagles Choir members regularly share their musical talents with our community. Today, the choir performed for staff at the Education Service Center.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • Weaver Lake students spent the fall investigating many different topics related to STEM. The study culminated in the STEM in Action Fair where students showcased their scientific and engineering expertise with projects and displays.
  • Students at thirteen of our schools are participating in the Hour of Code, which is a global initiative that provides an opportunity to expose students to important 21st-century computer science and programming skills.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Maple Grove Senior High Principal Bart Becker was featured in a blog for his alma mater, Bethel University. In the article, he shared how important it is to learn about the role of race and culture in education and to improve the quality of education and meet the growing needs of students.
  • Basswood Elementary Principal Patrick Smith will participate in a Fuel Up to Play 60 session at the national Society of Health and Physical Educators conference to be held in Minneapolis next spring. He also recently recorded two public service announcements to promote health and wellness that will run on the Vikings Radio network during live game broadcasts throughout the rest of the season.
  • WCCO recently visited Basswood Elementary preschool teacher Mary Gilbertson's Four Star Express classroom to feature her in their Excellent Educator series. The segment highlighted her efforts to help students learn necessary social skills to be ready for grade school and her work to teach personal responsibility and respect through leading by example.

NOVEMBER 2015

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Osseo Senior High’s football team won the Class 6A state championship in a thrilling 14 to 13 finish. This was Osseo’s first state finals appearance since 1986 and first ever Prep Bowl championship.
  • Maple Grove Senior High’s football team also performed exceptionally well, ending the season as state semifinalists. We’re proud of both teams for their outstanding state-level accomplishments.
  • The College Board named a record number of 153 Osseo Area Schools students as AP Scholars. In addition to posting the highest ever number of AP Scholars, the district saw more students earn higher scores on the qualifying AP Exams. All three of our comprehensive high schools offer AP classes.
  • Two Osseo Area Schools students were recently named Channel 12 Standout Students. Osseo Senior High’s Dani Vo  was featured for her ambition and heart for service. Her goal is to become an Army officer by the time she completes college. Maple Grove Senior High’s Ian Ssuna was recognized for his motivation and exceptional academic performance. He aspires to be a commercial pilot.
  • Nine student athletes from our district have signed letters of intent to play their chosen sport in college. Several more students have received offers and will add to our growing list of student athletes who are achieving their dreams on and off the field.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Park Center sophomore, Alex Bush, is the youngest person ever to be honored with the City of Brooklyn Center’s Random Acts of Kindness Award. He was recognized for his work in raising money to clean up debris from illegal dumping at the Brooklyn Center Little League field.
  • Osseo’s Opportunities in Emergency Care interns are teaching free CPR classes this week. The classes allow students to advance their skills while contributing to community.
  • Nearly 100 students from across the school district earned a trip to WE Day this year by participating in at least one local and one global service project during the year.  WE Day is a celebrity-packed event designed to inspire and motivate young people to contribute to community.
  • As a kick-off for its H20 for Life fundraising effort, North View Middle School invited adventurer and safe water advocate Katie Spotz to visit and share about her world record-breaking solo row across the Atlantic Ocean. North View’s goal is to raise $1,500 for H20 for Life this year.
  • The Maple Grove Rotary Club has made another annual donation of 1,000 sets of hats and gloves to help keep students warm this winter. Every building in our district, including Adult Basic Education, receives hat and glove sets for distribution.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • Fourteen Park Center seniors are participating in a leadership class with teacher Jeff Huth. As part of the class, students work with the One2One Mentoring Program to gain leadership skills and mentor a group of 6th graders at North View Middle School.
  • Woodland Elementary celebrated Unity Day, PACER’S Anti-Bullying Day, by wearing orange, integrating anti-bullying messages into their lessons, creating a school-wide art project and hearing a presentation from an anti-bullying activist.
  • Several of our schools recognized servicemen and women on Veterans Day. Some of these activities included:
    — Osseo Senior High Band presented their fifth annual Veterans Day program honoring the military.
    — At Woodland Elementary, Sergeant First Class Chad McNiesh visited second graders and veteran Mary Yunger visited Jeanne Heer’s [HAIR’S] third-grade class to share what Veterans Day means to soldiers and civilians.
    — Palmer Lake Elementary Skills class students made a flag and thank you cards that were sent to Maranatha Care Center.
    At North View Middle, teacher Deanna Duncan shared her father’s experiences as a soldier in Korea, and teacher Dennis Gunther facilitated some activities around the book, “America’s White Table.” The White Table is set in many mess halls to remember service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty.
  • Garden City participated in the 10th anniversary of Read for the Record, the world's largest shared reading experience. Volunteers from Target Corporation volunteered as readers and activity guides.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Marilyn Trouth, Park Center chemistry teacher, and Andrea Wilson Vazquez, Weaver Lake technology integration specialist, have been named our district’s 2015 TIES Exceptional Teachers. Every year, TIES acknowledges educators who model best practices in using technology in education and engaging students in learning.
  • Equity specialist Sydney Chang and Park Center teacher Pang Yang were members of a Minnesota Department of Education work group that planned a summer program called “Families for Student Success.” The event brought together parent and community leaders from ethnic Asian communities and Minnesota school districts to focus on helping children succeed in school. Assistant Superintendent Astein Osei also attended the program.
  • Park Center Library Media Specialist Dhaivyd Hilgendorf presented at two recent national meetings: the American Association of School Librarians conference and the Treasure Mountain Research Retreat. He participated in professional development sessions at both events, bringing back valuable information on student portfolio creation, documenting work, interaction and learning through video, flipped instruction, and more.

OCTOBER 2015

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Six Maple Grove Senior High students earned National Merit Commended Student status in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. Students earning this distinction are recognized for placing among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who participated in the 2014 PSAT. The students include Erik Tillman, Arpan Pal, Michael Lu, Nicholas Collins, Allie Rudin and not pictured here, Alexandra Orta.
  • Four members of the Park Center Class of 2015 who earned the full International Baccalaureate Diploma recently returned to the school to share their perspectives on the IB program with current diploma candidates. Kumayl Lakha, Alec Reginato, Mohit Uppal and Luke Strom are all currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota. As they reflected on the value of the IB diploma, their comments included “Worth the effort;” “Prepared me well for college;” and “The rigor sets us apart from other college students.”
  • 2008 Osseo Senior High graduate Kyle Schlick is a member of the Quantico Marine Corps Band as a trumpet player. On September 11, he performed at the Ground Zero Memorial in New York City. He has performed with the band all over the world, most recently in the Netherlands. His experiences in band at Osseo were influential in his decision to audition for the Marine Corps Band. 
  • Maple Grove Senior High sophomore Madeline Sheard was featured on the tpt television program, Minnesota Original. She performed in The Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition 2015 Winners Recital.
  • Sunny Choi, a sixth-grader at Maple Grove Middle School, recently won the 2016 Minnesota State Figure Skating Championships in the juvenile girls division.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Duane Helms-Boyd, an Osseo Senior High freshman, and owner of Blue Moo Ice Cream, caught the attention of news media for his entrepreneurship and charitable intentions when he donated profits of $225 from his 2015 sales of Jonny Pops to the Ronald McDonald House.
  • Over the past 6 years, staff and students from Park Center Senior High and Brooklyn Middle School have collaborated on the Connections at Shingle Creek trail project along with the cities of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota, the federal government and the Shingle Creek Watershed. This project is now officially under construction. It will create a connection to the regional trail system and provide outdoor learning spaces for Park Center and Brooklyn Middle students.
  • Approximately 200 Osseo Senior High students participated in Osseo Reads, a literacy and relationship-building program that connects high school and elementary students. Osseo Senior High collected and donated more than 900 books to the district’s elementary schools. High school students visited elementary schools earlier in the year to meet students and give them bookmarks, and they’ll make return visits to continue modeling the importance of reading. The Osseo Reads program supports the World's Best Workforce goal of reading at grade level by third grade.
  • Approximately 40 students in Osseo Senior High’s Opportunities in Emergency Care program volunteered at the first aid station at the Twin Cities Marathon. Students gained hands-on experience helping with heat exhaustion cases, wound care, and other medical issues while working alongside professional doctors and paramedics.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • Weaver Lake Elementary was recently featured in a National Association of Elementary School Principals publication for earning a Champion Creatively Alive Children grant to support its makerspace program. The program brings an artistic approach to the engineering design cycle, with assessment focusing on the rigor of the process rather than the end product. Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals sponsor the grant.
  • In collaboration with Ayenna Davis from Northwest Suburban Integration School District, Crest View Elementary staff and students started the school year learning about the history of African and Hmong story quilts. Each student and staff member created their own section of a school-wide story quilt, reinforcing that everyone has a story, talents, and strengths that they bring to school each day.
  • Park Brook Elementary was featured in the Brooklyn Park Sun Post for its focus on fitness as a strategy to boost academic success and reduce negative behaviors. The school hosts a fall boot camp, outdoor winter activities such as snowshoeing and skiing and a spring morning move program. Participants also have the opportunity to run in the Twin Cities 5K and snowshoe in the Luminary Loppet. 
  • Osseo Senior High held a fall retreat for freshmen and sophomores to build their respective classes and start defining what they want to get out of high school, individually and collectively. They learned about Osseo traditions, stress management, and goal setting. Juniors and seniors built their leadership skills by serving as retreat leaders.

MISSION-DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • The Information and Technology Educators of Minnesota named Media Processing Technician Joanne Wald the 2015 Media Assistant of the Year. She was recognized for assisting in processing thousands of iPads for the district’s 1:1 initiative and for her work in supporting the district’s media centers; overseeing and administering the Follett Destiny library management system; and fostering positive relationships with others.
  • Godfrey Edaferierhi and Michelle Mazanec were featured in a Channel 12 News two-part series about tackling the cost of college. They described how our college and career resource centers support students in achieving their dreams after high school including preparing for college entrance exams, exploring college and career options, tackling college applications, and deciphering the scholarship and financial aid process.
  • Nominations are now open for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Education Minnesota. A video featuring our district’s three nominees for last year’s contest is now showing on the district website, which allows viewers to hear Kris Campea, Jennifer Hairrell.and Jeanette Lepore, share their reflections on their roles as teachers. Osseo Area Schools teachers are honored through a variety of other recognition programs, as well. For example, social studies teacher Nancy Ziemer was named 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Middle School Level, by the Minnesota Chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

SEPTEMBER 2015

ACHIEVING DREAMS

  • Heather MacMurdo from Park Center Senior High and Eric Skaja from Maple Grove Senior High have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists based on their junior year PSAT scores. This means they are among the highest scoring entrants in the state, representing less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors. They are among 16,000 semifinalists who will compete for 7,600 scholarships.
  • Park Center graduate Dr. Andrew Steffl was recently featured in the local news for his work on the New Horizons mission to study Pluto.
  • Osseo Senior High’s six Opportunities in Emergency Care teams swept the Youth Division of the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association’s national Basic Life Support competition. Shown here with their coaches are the winning teams. Aleck Beck, Tyler Audette, and Max Olson took first place. Taylor Batsche, Danielle Steinke, and DeMarquez Frazier took second. Amanda Pals, Amber Ho, and Mike Reiss took third.
  • Maple Grove graduate and current Harvard student athlete, Ben Shoults, has been named a finalist for the 2015 National Football Foundation National High School Scholar-Athlete Award, one of the most prestigious national honors bestowed on high school students for their academic achievement, athletic accolades, and community involvement. He is among 40 finalists nationally from a pool of 3,500 nominees who all graduated from high school in 2015 and are currently playing college football.
  • Former Park Center student Troy Jones was recently featured on Channel 12 News for his success as a Muay Thai combat fighter. He represents the U.S. when he competes and he holds two national title belts, two North American title belts and one Extreme Striking Promotion belt.
  • When the Star Tribune named its preseason metro football dream team this fall, the list included athletes from all three of our comprehensive high schools. Maple Grove’s running back Isaac Collins, Osseo’s running back Prince Kruah and Park Center’s defensive back Amani Hooker were named to the dream team in recognition of their achievements on the field.

LIFELONG LEARNING

  • To welcome students and families to the new school year, our schools held open houses and orientations, many of which featured barbecues, picnics or free meals served by nutrition staff.
  • Maple Grove Senior High art teacher Chad Manders had a prize-winning piece titled "Steampunk Tech Junkie" on display in the Fine Arts Building at the Minnesota State Fair. In other Minnesota State Fair news, Rush Creek Elementary students Caraline Schwartz and Deacon Schwartz each earned recognition in the Kindergarten Color Photography Division. Caraline placed first and Deacon placed third.

CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY

  • Kidstop, Cosmic Club, and the SPOT celebrated one of our most successful summer programs yet with almost 1,500 students enrolled. Some highlights from this year's summer program include a concert by The Voice semifinalist Kat Perkins, a continued partnership with athletes at the University of Minnesota, a STEM exhibit on aquaponics at the Minnesota State Fair, visits from local police departments and our program-wide service project with Sweet Dreams for Kids, with Kidstop participants collecting 300 sets of pajamas and $2,451 for children who are facing extended stays in hospitals.
  • Approximately 400 student leaders at Park Center, Maple Grove, and Osseo Senior Highs participated in leadership training to help provide a smooth transition for new students at their respective high schools. These leaders will continue to promote positive school culture this year by serving as peer mentors to incoming freshmen and sophomores. Maple Grove and Park Center’s program are called Link Crew and in Osseo, it is called FOCUS Group.
  • Sixteen students from Brooklyn Middle and Park Center have been named to the Brooklyns Youth Council, which is coordinated by Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth. Members of this group collaborate with the community and local government in order to raise awareness of problems facing youth.

MISSION DRIVEN EMPLOYEES

  • Gary Leafblad received the Murray Smith American Rescuer Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee. He was recognized for his leadership of Osseo Senior High's Opportunities in Emergency Care program, his outstanding dedication to the lifelong instruction of emergency personnel, and his commitment to the advancement of emergency care. He has taught in the OEC program for 28 years, demonstrating a commitment to one of our core values — engaging in a lifetime of learning. This award is given to one person nationally each year.
  • Maple Grove Middle School sixth grade language arts teacher Sandy Otto has been chosen to deliver a presentation at the 2015 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, where thousands of educators from around the world who teach at all levels participate in professional learning. Otto will present as a member of the panel, “Poetry, Picasso, Rhetoric, and Radio: New Conversations in Middle Level Composition.”
  • More than a dozen of our new teachers this year 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.