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 firstname.lastname@example.org
POINTS OF PRIDE
Four students from Osseo Area Schools were named National Merit Commended students last month. Maple Grove Senior High’s Nicole Campbell, Dhruv Gupta and Brenna Saladin and Osseo Senior High’s Eli Hoff received this honor after excelling on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in 2017. These four scholars may now become candidates for special college scholarships sponsored by organizations and businesses.
Thirty-six students from Park Brook Elementary laced up their sneakers on Oct. 6 and completed the Twin Cities 5K in St. Paul. Park Brook provides students with an opportunity to focus on fitness throughout the year, including the chance to participate in this annual event.
For the 11th year in a row, Osseo Area Schools had a record number of students earn AP Scholar recognition from the College Board. Our three comprehensive high schools had a combined total of 144 AP Scholars, 40 AP Scholars with Honor, and 48 AP Scholars with Distinction. Class of 2018 Maple Grove graduates Daniel Du, Lucas Jackson, Christopher Kwon, Mathias Martinez-Zamora and Alec Nilson and 2018 Osseo Senior High grad Gabrielle Holton earned National AP Scholar honors.
Hajaysen Kwateh, a senior at Osseo Senior High, was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on Oct. 10. “Jay,” as she’s known among her friends and teachers, has a full course load of AP classes and is a positive role model and leader in soccer, basketball, track, and band. She also serves as a student ambassador and focus leader at Osseo. After high school, Jay plans to pursue a career as a medical examiner.
The Maple Grove Senior High girls’ soccer team defended their Section 5AA championship on Oct. 16 with 3-2 victory over Centennial. Crimson player Brenna Saladin scored a hat trick and netted the game-winning goal in overtime.
In other state tournament news, three members of the Maple Grove Senior High girls’ tennis team are racking up more hardware this fall. Zoe Adkins is the Section 5AA singles runner-up, while the team of Maria Shoults and Victoria Epshteyn won the Section 5AA doubles title. All three student-athletes begin state tournament play on Oct. 25 at the University of Minnesota Baseline Tennis Center.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Staff, students and parents at several schools, including Rice Lake Elementary and Basswood Elementary, contributed to positive school communities by decorating the sidewalks at their sites for the annual Kindness in Chalk event. October is National Bullying Prevention Month in the United States, and the positive messages and inspiring pictures helped reinforce a theme of kindness throughout the district.
More than 650 students who participate in orchestra, band or choir from Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center senior high schools and Osseo Middle School experienced a performance of the world-renowned Minnesota Orchestra at Osseo Senior High on Sept. 28. The concert was designed specifically for secondary students, and the famed music director Osmo Vänskä conducted the orchestra. Afterward, members of the Minnesota Orchestra answered students’ questions and inspired them to stay involved with music.
Strong community partnerships have given students at Zanewood Community School a chance to take their learning outside. Thanks to supplies donated by Hands On Twin Cities and the help of 45 volunteers from Boston Scientific, Zanewood now boasts an outdoor classroom where students can expand their learning and dig deeper into the school’s focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). The outdoor classroom is available to all classes at Zanewood and features custom-built benches, flower boxes and an archway.
After 10 Maple Grove Senior High students visited Colombia for a week last summer, they had a chance to play hosts to 15 of their new friends in early October. During their time here, the Colombian students created classroom presentations for all Maple Grove students who are studying Spanish. They also prepared a 45 minute song-and-dance presentation. This cross-cultural exchange encouraged peace and built understanding between people of Colombia and the U.S.
In recognition of their Positive Behavior Intervention Systems theme of friendship this month, all students at Rice Lake Elementary decorated puzzle pieces that celebrate what it means to be a friend. Each student’s puzzle piece fit together in one large schoolwide display.
Educators from Palmer Lake Elementary and Osseo Middle School are featured in a new video from UNICEF where they discuss inclusion, equity and a personalized approach to instruction. The video highlights a partnership between the University of Minnesota and Armenian State Pedagogical University, and includes a segment on inclusion in U.S. schools. By participating in this project, the District 279 teachers contributed their knowledge and expertise to boost a greater global understanding of inclusive education best practices.
Edinbrook Elementary Principal Aaron Krueger welcomed 30 teaching students from the University of North Dakota to his school on Oct. 8 and 9 for an up close look into elementary education. Now in its fourth year, this partnership was designed to provide support to college students who will soon be seeking their first teaching jobs. During their time at the school, students observed the work of Edinbrook’s teachers and participated in a Q&A with Krueger to ask questions about everything from curriculum to applying and interviewing for teaching jobs.
Ann Mock, principal at Oak View Elementary, is a woman of her word. After students met their $15,000 fundraising goal at the school’s Fun Run in September, Mock kept her promise to camp out on Oak View’s roof on Oct. 4. While the evening was chilly, she stayed warm in her tent and even read students bedtime stories (via video) before settling in for the evening.
Osseo Senior High students Ty Hill and Kyle Konsela placed fifth out of 63 teams at the Student Angler Tournament Trail “Tournament of Champions” fishing competition at Lake Minnetonka on Sept. 9. Both students are members of the Osseo Senior High Fishing Club.
More than 60 students at Park Center Senior High shared the stories behind their favorite foods in a new book called The Cultural Dish: Behind Every Dish is a Story. Students in the Hmong for Native Speakers and Spanish for Native Speakers courses at Park Center collaborated on the book. This project was made possible through an Education Minnesota Foundation classroom grant, and it is one way student authors are able to preserve their families’ history and culture.
Forty-five seniors at Osseo Senior High can now call themselves members of the school’s “30 Club.” These students scored a 30 or higher on at least one section of the ACT.
Five individuals make up the inaugural class of inductees into the Maple Grove Senior High Hall of Fame. Craig Hansen, Chad Morse, Tia Battle Osei, Sonja DuToit Tengblad and CJ Woodrow will be recognized during a halftime ceremony at the Crimson’s homecoming football game on Sept. 21.
At Osseo Senior High, a group of seven former athletes and coaches will be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame this year. They are: Jennifer Bowman, Kelly Bowman Stuntz, Keith Lorenson, Ken Thompson, Dennis Heinen, Julian Morris and Tom Tripp.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
A group of former Park Brook Elementary students recently saw their hard work pay off. During the 2015-2016 school year, Renee Pelton’s third-grade class at Park Brook partnered with Three Rivers Park District to help redesign the play area at French Regional Park. Throughout the past three years, students met regularly with Three Rivers officials to provide input on play structures; choose equipment colors; and learn about the construction process. The new play area opened this summer and a grand opening celebration is in the works.
Student Ambassadors at North View Middle School collaborated with their advisor to help design some flexible seating classrooms at the school. Seating options in these classrooms include standing desks, high top tables, stability ball chairs, wobble chairs, tall stools and more. Flexible seating classrooms allow learners to choose the type of seating that works best for them and help promote community through choice. Some North View students have also said the flexible seating contributes to a more welcoming environment and helps them feel less stressed.
This fall, community partner Boston Scientific is sponsoring First Tech Challenge robotics at Park Center Senior High. Thanks to a $3,000 grant from the organization, four teams of students will be supported: three co-ed teams and one all-female team. The all-female team is one way Park Center is boosting engagement and retention of young women in its STEM programs by helping them build skills and confidence to take on larger roles on future co-ed robotics teams.
This summer, Maple Grove Senior High teacher Stacy Backstrom organized a group of staff to participate in the Maple Grove Triathlon. This event gave many staff members the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones to achieve their goals—just like they inspire their students to go after their own goals every day. Triathletes from Maple Grove Senior High included Principal Bart Becker, Stacy Backstrom, Rob Bennett, Peter Buller, Paula and Matt Caron, Pam Hennen, Jackie Howitson, Aaron Kadera, Per Lee, Erik Malm, Lara Peterson, Tamiko Thomas and Kim Zopfi.
Each summer, many of our principals participate in National Night Out events in communities throughout the district. This is one way school leaders in Osseo Area Schools connect with district residents and promote strong school and community partnerships. One of those leaders, Elm Creek Elementary Principal Beth Ness, attended the City of Osseo’s “Night to Unite” event on Aug. 7.
Our Instructional Systems staff processed and prepared more than 7,500 Chromebooks for distribution to students as part of our Digital Learning for All version 2 refresh. More than 400 licensed staff at our high schools received Chromebook training upon device delivery. Students in grades 9-12 received their Chromebooks during the first two weeks of school.
Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math & Technology School has been named a nationally certified magnet school by Magnet Schools of America. Weaver Lake is among 21 schools in 12 states to receive this honor this year. To become nationally certified, schools had to complete an intensive evaluation process and provide specific examples of how they are promoting diversity, closing the achievement gap, encouraging community involvement, and more. Weaver Lake will be recognized at Magnet Schools of America’s annual conference next April.
After a rigorous, two-year process, three graduates from Park Center Senior High’s Class of 2018 earned their International Baccalaureate Diplomas this summer. In order to earn their diplomas, Ziyne Abdo, Daija Hobin and Henry Huynh were each required to complete challenging coursework, take exams in six different areas, participate in community service learning projects, and write a 4,000 word essay.
Earlier this summer, Maple Grove Senior High’s Kevin Jacobson placed eighth at the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Jacobson competed in the Congressional Debate category. He is the first Maple Grove student to ever qualify for the finals at the national competition.
Tasha Feigh, an Osseo Senior High alumna, competed in gymnastics at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington, this summer. During the course of the competition, Feigh earned gold medals on the vault and uneven bars, and silver medals on the balance beam, floor exercise, and in the all-around.
Meredith Haakenson, a 2018 graduate of Maple Grove Senior High, was named the High School Girls Player of the Year by United Soccer Coaches. Haakenson was selected for this honor from a group of more than 50 female student-athletes who earned High School Scholar All-American awards. She is now a member of the women’s soccer team at the University of Michigan.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
In early August, First Student held its second annual “Stuff the Bus” event at Park Center Senior High. During this event, community members were encouraged to donate school supplies to help students in need in our district. When the event concluded, enough supplies were donated to fill 150 bags for students.
Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Park Center Senior High students will have opportunities to prepare for future careers through paid internships with local businesses. The district will share the $95,000 grant with five other partners to form one of five Youth Skills Training pilot programs in the state. Through this program, students who are enrolled in designated classes at Park Center can apply for information technology-related internships with local businesses.
Educational support professionals from Osseo Area Schools donated nearly 1,300 books to Freedom Schools participants this summer. Freedom Schools provides students with reading enrichment to help curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps. The ESPs aimed to collect at least 300 books—enough for each student to take one home—but they far surpassed that goal and, as a result, each student was given three books instead.
Pollen, an organization that strives to build community and create change through storytelling, honored Ramona Kitto Stately with its “50 Over 50” recognition for 2018. Stately, one of the district’s American Indian culture and language specialists, was honored as a community leader for the support she provides to students, including ensuring that all graduate from high school.
Osseo Area Schools received the Employer of the Year award from BrookLynk on August 17. BrookLynk is a local organization that partners with businesses to coordinate internships for youth in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, providing them with experience and support to help develop pathways to college and career. This summer, 12 interns worked with Osseo Area Schools in human resources, I2T2, custodial, Freedom Schools, Kidstop, and business office roles.