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
Osseo Senior High has been honored by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s “Best High Schools.” Osseo earned a silver medal in the 2018 award program, which recognizes high schools based on their performance on state assessments, graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college. The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 20,000 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Maple Grove Senior High received “Best High Schools” awards in each of the previous three years.
Two teams of students at Fernbrook Elementary took first place in this winter’s Fermi Off-the-Wall math competition. Fermi challenges students to use their math, communication and writing skills to come up with solutions to weekly problems. Competing against more than 70 elementary-level teams from across the U.S., Fernbrook’s third-grade team of “The Bacon Animals” and first-grade team of “Subtracting Maniac Attackers” each took top honors in their respective divisions.
Jake Wieneke, a 2013 graduate of Maple Grove Senior High, was a standout football wide receiver at South Dakota State University. Last month, Wieneke continued to achieve his dreams when the Minnesota Vikings signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Osseo Senior High’s Eric Lundstrom was featured as a Standout Student on CCX News last week. Lundstrom is a senior three-sport athlete and talented photographer; one of his photos won a silver medal in this year’s National Scholastic Art competition. After graduation, he plans to join the Army National Guard before enrolling at the University of North Dakota in 2019 to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot.
Each year, Osseo Area Retired Educators gives a $1,500 scholarship to one senior from each of our district’s three comprehensive high schools. This year’s recipients are Sydni Schulte from Maple Grove, Jackie Cvek from Osseo, and Mandisa Vang from Park Center.
The Maple Grove Senior High Junior Achievement team placed second at Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest’s Company of the Year competition last month. Students on the team developed Pocket Perks, a company that connects customers to discounts and deals at local businesses. Each team member received a $500 post-secondary scholarship from the Otto Bremer Trust.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
North View Middle School students had the opportunity to partner with One2One and Metropolitan State University to share input for the design of a new law enforcement education course. The middle school youth were joined by high school and college students; community stakeholders; local police officers; and One2One and Metro State staff. Together, they developed the core competencies they felt were needed for police to effectively serve and protect their community. (Watch a video about this partnership.)
For the fourth consecutive year, student leaders from Maple Grove Senior High’s Link Crew attended the annual prom for patients, hosted by Shriners Hospitals for Children–Twin Cities. Maple Grove students celebrated the evening with patients, many of whom traveled from throughout the Midwest to attend.
Shari Swanson, kindergarten teacher at Elm Creek Elementary, coordinated an opportunity for some of her school’s youngest learners to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the Osseo City Council meeting on April 23. Eleven kindergartners participated in this opportunity.
More than 160 kindergarten through fifth-grade students in Osseo Area Schools participated in the Kidstop STEM Fair on April 30 at Maple Grove Middle School. From robot cars to lava lamps to a coin sorter, many creative ideas were on display. Community partners from SciMathMN, Curious Minds, Boston Scientific and Geissler Technologies served as judges for the event.
Palmer Lake Elementary hosted a Carnival of Engineering for students and families last month. Through partnerships with Boston Scientific and The Works Museum, attendees explored concepts like magnetic bridges, circuits and robotics. Members of the Maple Grove Senior High robotics team volunteered at the event, helping families navigate the evening’s activities and assisting Palmer Lake students in running their competition robots.
Ideas were flying in the minds of 40 sixth-graders from Osseo Middle School when local author Abby Cooper led a full day of workshops and creative writing sessions on May 3. During her visit, Cooper inspired students to work hard and also discussed the process of writing and publishing books. This author visit was funded by a District 279 Foundation grant.
Rush Creek Elementary kindergarten classes recently hosted a reading café for parents. Students shared books they could read independently and showcased their writing skills by sharing books they had written. Superintendent Kate Maguire was a special guest at the event.
Pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Zanewood Community School spent time learning about careers rooted in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics on May 4. Zanewood staff led this day of student exploration and Kathryn Clingan, the school’s STEAM coordinator, said some of the most popular career choices were in the video game design and biomedicine sectors.
Several staff members from Palmer Lake Elementary have been selected to present at the national CAST Conference on Universal Design for Learning at Harvard Law School this summer. Stephanie Draayer, the school’s technology integration specialist, will host a digital and interactive poster session that focuses on using Google Apps to personalize student learning. First-grade teachers Jessica Skolnick, Sandy Jonason and Rachel Miller will present about their use of flexible seating, the learning studio model, and technology to personalize learning in the classroom.
Lenora Walz-Laidlaw has been named Osseo ESP Local 7325’s Educational Support Professional of the Year. She is a longtime employee of Osseo Area Schools and currently works at Oak View Elementary and Willow Lane Early Childhood Center as an early childhood special education ESP.
Sara Schreiner, Spanish teacher at Park Center Senior High, was awarded a $5,000 grant from CenturyLink last week to purchase virtual reality technology in her classroom. With this technology, her students will have the opportunity to virtually immerse themselves into Spanish-speaking cultures to improve their language skills.
Meredith Haakenson from Maple Grove Senior High; Emily Sjelin from Osseo Senior High; and Meghan DuBois from Park Center Senior High were named 2018 Athena Award winners in Osseo Area Schools. This award recognizes their outstanding athletic accomplishments. All three women will join winners from other area high schools at the 46th Annual Minneapolis Athena Awards luncheon in May.
Grove Area Percussion, the district’s drumline team made up of students from Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center senior high schools, had enough students for two competitive lines this year. Both lines performed at the state championship in early April. The “Pack” line earned first place at state and the “Wind” line placed fifth.
After a successful showing last year, Woodland Elementary fourth-grader Logan Fu once again earned a perfect score in the second meet of this year’s WordMasters Challenge. WordMasters is a national vocabulary competition that involves 150,000 students each year. Fu is one of only 24 fourth-grade students nationally to achieve this result.
The Park Center Senior High Model UN team had a strong showing at the state conference this spring. Eleven students won awards for their position papers and general assembly delegations. Nancy Ziemer, Park Center social studies teacher and coach of the school’s Model UN team, was recognized for her years of service with the Norma Rowe Teacher Award, presented by the United Nations Association of Minnesota.
Several teams of elementary, middle and high school students from Osseo Area Schools qualified to compete at the Minnesota State Destination Imagination Tournament this month. Teams represent Rush Creek, Brooklyn Middle, Maple Grove Middle, Osseo Middle, Maple Grove Senior and Osseo Senior. Students competing in DI events work to come up with a creative solution to a problem by incorporating STEM, improvisation, visual arts and performing arts skills.
Hats off to the talented student-artists who submitted posters for Osseo Area Schools 2018 Bus Safety Poster Contest. More than 175 entries were received. The 11 winning posters will now be judged against other entries from across the state.
Earlier this month, the Maple Grove Government Center sponsored the District 279 Student Art Show. Artwork was on display to the public for two weeks. In this photo, Park Center Senior High student Kaylee Fisher stands next to her art display with teacher Lori Taylor.
Joy Teah, a junior at Maple Grove Senior High, was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on April 11. Joy, who moved to Minnesota from Liberia four years ago, is thriving as a student leader in her school and serves as a guide to new students. In her free time, Joy is also passionate about art and fashion.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
In March, all students at Cedar Island Elementary participated in a schoolwide service project where they made fleece blankets for the Animal Humane Society and Secondhand Hounds. During the event, older students partnered with their younger peers to create 150 blankets for the organizations.
Maple Grove Middle School seventh-grader Eve Miller is inspiring courage and kindness among her classmates. For the past several months, Eve raised money and teamed with Assistant Principal Sara Looby-Morris to bring Youth Frontiers’ Courage Retreat to her school in March. More than 500 students participated in the retreat and engaged in activities around the concepts of courage and kindness.
Students at Crest View Elementary and Zanewood Community School participated in an early World Art Day celebration on April 13. From paintings to sculptures to chalk-art, students’ colorful creations adorned each school. Check out more photos from these events on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Thirteen students from Elm Creek Elementary who produce the school’s daily Elm Creek TV broadcast toured KARE-11 studios on April 6. During their visit, students had the opportunity to talk with KARE-11 anchors and learn about the different jobs they do. Library Media Specialist Joan Magnuson led students on this trip.
More than 50 ninth-graders from Osseo Senior High were invited to perform onstage at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on April 2. The Osseo orchestra was one of nine orchestras from across Minnesota to advance into tier two of the Minnesota Middle Level Orchestra Festival.
The student-led Spirit Squad at Woodland Elementary recently hosted the school’s first-ever art contest. More than 200 students submitted entries that were then displayed across an entire wall at the school. Six winners—one for each grade level—were chosen by the Spirit Squad.
Osseo Area Schools, in partnership with Brooklyn Center Community Schools, will host its 23rd Annual American Indian Education Day on Saturday, April 28, from noon to 6 p.m. at Osseo Middle School. This free event features artisan exhibits, demonstrations, Native American dance, food and more. Danza, the indigenous student circle at Park Center Senior High, will also perform, and a special ceremony to honor local American Indian graduating seniors will be held.
Employees and community members in Osseo Area Schools presented the 51st annual Wastebasket Revue from April 11-15 at Park Center Senior High. This year’s theme was “It’s a Wonderful Show!” and featured skits, songs and dances. This annual variety show raises money for graduating seniors in Osseo Area Schools. To date, Wastebasket Revue has raised more than $1.23 million for 840 scholarships for students.
Dr. Bart Becker, principal at Maple Grove Senior High, was named Best Principal by voters in the Osseo Maple Grove Press 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards competition. Voters also named Maple Grove Senior High as Best Public School.
Osseo Area Schools is excited to welcome three new elementary principals for the 2018-2019 school year. Dr. Ronald Salazar will take over at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts; Robert Nelson is the new principal at Woodland Elementary; and Adrain Pendelton will lead Zanewood Community School.
Many sports teams and individuals from Osseo Area Schools participated in state tournaments throughout the past month. Highlights include:
- Six wrestlers qualified for state, including Maple Grove junior Joey Thompson who won the school’s first-ever state wrestling title.
- Three gymnasts competed at state, with Maple Grove’s Nadia Abid winning the silver medal on balance beam.
- The Maple Grove Senior High girls’ basketball team, section 8AAAA winners, finished sixth at the state tournament.
- The Osseo Senior High boys’ basketball team won the section 5AAAA title, and the Maple Grove Senior High boys’ team won the section 8AAAA title.
- The district’s PI-Adapted floor hockey team finished third at the state tournament on March 17. The CI-Adapted team placed sixth.
Nearly 100 Osseo Area Schools elementary students took part in the Build ‘Em & Bust ‘Em event February 23 at the University of Minnesota. This event challenges participants to create a bridge out of toothpicks and glue. Bridges are judged based on their strength, creativity, weight and aesthetics. Eight Osseo students took home awards, including Woodland Elementary’s Michael Beasley and Abby Paloranta; Rush Creek’s Wyatt Bjugstad and Addison Sorbel; Basswood’s Lexi Hanna; and Fernbrook students Chloe Brown, Emma Horihan and Roman Longawa.
Jonathan Wackerman, a junior at Maple Grove Senior High, scored in the top 2.5 percent on the PSAT among all Hispanic/Latino test-takers in our region. Jonathan will participate in the National Hispanic Recognition Program, a prestigious academic honor that can be included on his college applications.
Jane and Renee Oh, sisters who attend Osseo Area Schools, are first-place winners in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s 2018 Aviation Poster Contest. Renee, a fourth-grader at Weaver Lake Elementary, won for the 6-9 age group, while Jane, an Osseo Senior High student, was the top finisher in the 14-17 age group.
Three Fernbook Elementary fifth-graders received recognition in the InvestWrite national writing competition for students participating in The Stock Market Game™. The Stock Market Game is an interactive learning experience where participants receive a virtual $100,000 to invest over a 14-week period, competing with other students for the highest-valued portfolio. Matthew Cornick’s essay placed ninth nationally among hundreds of essay submissions; he was also the top essay writer among elementary students in Minnesota. Fernbrook’s Juunah Kang and Celia Ramsey also received state-level recognition in the writing contest.
Two Osseo Senior High students earned medals in the National Scholastic Art competition, and their artwork will be on display at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Eric Lundstrom received a silver medal in photography and Ben Gilbertson received a gold medal in ceramics.
Last month, North Hennepin Community College featured artwork by three Osseo Area Schools students in its Northwestern High School Art Exhibition. Student-artists whose work was displayed were: Madison Stricker from Maple Grove Senior High; Ashley Yang from Osseo Senior High; and Mariam Abuisnaineh from Park Center Senior High.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Students from Park Center Senior High visited second-, third- and fourth-grade classrooms at Fair Oaks Elementary on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America Day. This community-building event provided elementary students with the opportunity to see high school role models. For the high school students, it was a chance to connect with younger learners and give back to the Osseo Area Schools community through reading.
Ten students from Park Center Senior High recently submitted 4,000-word essays to fulfill requirements of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Candidates for the IB Diploma are required to complete an extended essay on a research question of their choice.
Students from Osseo Area Learning Center recently visited the State Capitol Building to talk with legislators about innovative learning experiences. Students shared their stories with legislators, including Representatives Dennis Smith and Melissa Hortman, and Senator Warren Limmer. This opportunity was sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs.
Nine Maple Grove Senior High students participated in the American Heart Association’s Advancing Sciences Fusion event on February 28. At this event, students received mentoring from medical industry professionals and had the opportunity to present information about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiatives at Maple Grove Senior High. Event attendees then voted for their favorite initiatives; the Maple Grove students received the second-most votes and earned $7,000 to support STEM programming at their school.
Engineering was on display at Weaver Lake Elementary earlier this month as fourth- and fifth-grade students used wooden planks to build marble runs in the school’s Makerspace. When the structures were complete, K-3 students tested them out during visits to the media center.
Forty seventh- and eighth-graders at Osseo Middle School had the opportunity to co-author stories with professional writers as part of the Top Secret Unfinished Storybox Program. In this national program, students choose an unfinished young adult story and write as much or as little as they choose to continue the story—all while keeping the author’s “voice” intact. On March 8, students gathered in Osseo Middle’s media center to pack up the Storybox and send it to its next school in Kansas.
Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Fair Oaks Elementary received an inspirational boost March 1 from David and Mechelle Freeman, a husband-and-wife duo who spoke to students about using goal setting to stay on track, find their purpose, and achieve their dreams. Mechelle, a 2008 Olympian for Team USA in track and field, also relayed the importance of teamwork and positivity.
More than 60 student-actors at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts put a new spin on a classic tale and took audiences through the looking glass as they presented “Wonderland!” Four public performances were held from March 9-11. Director Kris Holsen said students began rehearsing in December and even helped develop some of the show’s choreography.
Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts and Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math & Technology School were recently ranked among the top magnet schools in the nation. Both schools earned the 2018 National Award of Distinction from Magnet Schools of America.
In partnership with Maple Grove Hospital, the Minnesota Department of Health, Fairview Health Services and Fairview Foundation, nurses from Osseo Area Schools participated in a staff development day on March 9 where they gained knowledge to help youth aged 12-18 who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. During the eight-hour course, nurses learned how to identify, understand and respond to mental health issues and crises in adolescents. District Nurse Elaine Forbes collaborated with Maple Grove Hospital to bring this training to Osseo’s nursing staff.
Members of the Maple Grove Senior High dance team had the experience of a lifetime as they performed in the Super Bowl 52 halftime show with music superstar Justin Timberlake. Crimson dancers rehearsed for several weeks prior to the Super Bowl and were joined by dance teams from other local high schools in the performance.
Four seniors from Osseo Area Schools have been named 2018 National Merit Scholarship finalists. They are: David Nguyen from Osseo Senior High; and Ethan Donaldson, Daniel Du and Ashvin Pidaparti from Maple Grove Senior High. These students will now compete with 15,000 other finalists from across the country for 7,500 available scholarships. Winners will be announced this spring.
Thirty-seven Osseo Area Schools students received awards from the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards program. This program recognizes creative teenagers throughout the state and provides scholarship opportunities for high school seniors. Osseo Senior High students Micah Beisner, Ben Gilbertson, Cooper Goodman, Alexa Paulson, Annalise Groff, Eric Lundstrom and Emily Staedy are Gold Key award winners in the competition; their art was displayed at the Regis Center for Art in Minneapolis earlier this month.
Paige Faber, senior at Maple Grove Senior High, scored her 100th goal in adapted floor hockey last month. By achieving this milestone, Faber became only the fifth District 279 student-athlete to reach the 100 goal mark in both CI-Adapted floor hockey and soccer. She’s also the first female athlete on the district’s CI-Adapted floor hockey and soccer teams to accomplish this feat.
The Osseo Weightlifting Team took second place at the Minnesota State Powerlifting Championships in early February. Seven students qualified for the U.S.A. Powerlifting High School Nationals, including: Ethan Ringold, Marcel Sloan-Brown, Calvin Harris, Cody Sisaket, Eric Oliphant, Ernesto Tablas, and Samahjay Hitchcock.
On February 15, Park Center junior Elizabeth Mattson made her second appearance at the Minnesota State Nordic Ski Racing Championship. Competing against 157 other athletes from throughout the state, Mattson placed 54th in 5K Freestyle and 80th overall.
Alexa Paulson and Emma Hauser, ceramics students at Osseo Senior High, will have their work displayed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the 21st Annual National K-12 Ceramics Exhibition. This exhibition is an annual juried ceramic competition for students in the United States. Paulson’s “Fluxing Sphere” and Hauser’s “Pierced Vase” will be displayed from March 14-16.
Darian Clark, a senior at Osseo Senior High, was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on February 7. A talented scholar and three-sport athlete, Clark is also involved in Osseo’s music and theatre programs. Last fall, he released his first musical album that features all original compositions.
Seventy high school students from Osseo Area Schools participated in the Northwest Suburban Conference Music Festival as part of the all-conference band, choir or orchestra on February 13. The purpose of the festival is to provide students the opportunity to pursue excellence in music performance and celebrate the achievements of their peers.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Students in the Opportunities in Emergency Care program at Osseo Senior High raised more than $3,000 for their annual adopt-a-family project in December. After raising the funds, students gathered wish lists from the children, shopped for gifts, and wrapped each item to make the holidays a little brighter for some of our community members in need.
On January 26, Osseo Middle School hosted a Hats for Hunger event to support families in paying off negative lunch balances. More than 300 students and staff donated $1 or more to wear a hat during the day and support the cause. When the final amounts were tallied, $500 was raised—enough to cover nearly all the negative lunch balances at the school.
Kindness is cool at Elm Creek Elementary—and students celebrated that sentiment in a big way last month by participating in their second-annual Great Kindness Challenge. Throughout the week, students were engaged in kindness-themed activities such as surprising classmates with kindness sticky notes and sending paper hearts to staff members. A kindness checklist, that included items like “thank a bus driver” and “hold the door open for someone,” also kept students in a kindness frame of mind during the challenge.
A student-led event at Osseo Senior High recently brought students, staff and community members together for an engaging and reflective evening. Osseo Speaks: A Black History Month Showcase was held on February 15 and featured a community dinner, book talk with local authors, and student performances.
At Park Center Senior High’s monthly Hmong Family Night on February 8, Minnesota Hmong comedian and community activist Tou Ger Bennett Xiong shared stories and inspired students to become agents of change. This student-led event was targeted to the families of those enrolled in Park Center’s Hmong for Native Speakers courses. Approximately 240 people attended the event to hear Tou speak.
A partnership with The Loppet Foundation has provided students at Park Brook Elementary with many exciting opportunities this winter. In addition to learning cross-country skiing, students had the chance to participate in the Minne-Loppet on January 27. While at the Minne-Loppet, Park Brook students also got some “air-time” as they were featured in the background of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s Super Bowl welcome video.
On February 1 and 2, storytelling came to life at Osseo Middle during the school’s second-annual World Read Aloud Day. The event, which connected 25 authors from across the United States with Osseo students, seeks to inspire young people to fall in love with reading and writing. Through Skype chats with the authors, students learned about the writing process and had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the profession.
To celebrate World Read Aloud Day at their school, fourth- and fifth-grade Student Council members at Edinbrook Elementary read books aloud to all kindergarten through third-grade classrooms on February 1.
As part of its Super Bowl coverage earlier this month, KARE 11 produced several segments highlighting Native American culture in Minnesota. One segment featured the Indian Education Program in Osseo Area Schools. The story focused on the program’s beadwork and regalia class to show how Osseo supports the teaching of Native American traditional knowledge to students.
Aaron Krueger, principal at Edinbrook Elementary, was awarded the North Suburban Division Leadership Award from the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association. This award honors principals whose exemplary leadership has allowed them to make positive contributions to effective school learning programs—ultimately improving education, their communities and their profession. Krueger received his award February 8 at the “MESPYs.” Also at the MESPYs, Principal Beth Ness was recognized for her leadership of Elm Creek Elementary, which was named a Minnesota School of Excellence in August.
Two Osseo Area Schools teachers recently achieved the status of National Board Certified Teachers by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Kristi Elmquist, social studies teacher at Park Center Senior High, and Sara Schreiner, Spanish teacher at Park Center, earned their NBCT distinction in December. They join three other teachers in the district who currently hold NBCT status: Melissa Engel, sixth-grade teacher at Maple Grove Middle School; Donna Ohlgren, library media specialist at Rush Creek Elementary; and Pamela Kohlhepp, special education teacher at Cedar Island Elementary.
Earlier this school year, North View Middle School teacher DeAndra Knighten volunteered her time to chaperone a college tour and encourage students of color to pursue a lifetime of learning. The students participated in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities tour, offered by the Progressive Baptist Church Education Ministry, and visited colleges in Texas and Oklahoma. As a graduate of a Historically Black College, Knighten has a passion for educating students about college life, financial aid, and how to prepare for college.
In addition to being a passionate advocate for education, Rush Creek Elementary Principal Tim Brown is also a talented artist. Later this month, one of Dr. Brown’s pieces, titled “Bubblegum Typhoon,” will be exhibited at Gallery HaRang in Seoul, South Korea.
Seven teachers from Osseo Area Schools are nominees for the 2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. They are:
- Debra Amelse, instructional assistant at Basswood Elementary
- Jessica Carr, first-grade teacher at Fernbrook Elementary
- Rich Johnston, sixth-grade teacher at Osseo Middle School
- Ann Kozarek, physical education teacher at Edinbrook Elementary
- Jaquinetta Mitchell, English teacher at Osseo Senior High
- Jennifer Paulson, second-grade teacher at Woodland Elementary
- Lisa Thompson, fifth-grade teacher at Basswood Elementary
Semifinalists and finalists will be announced this spring, with the winner announced on May 6.
Forty-three students from Osseo Area Schools were recognized for their achievements at the Star Student Awards, presented last month by a committee from the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce. This committee helps build a connection between students and local businesses. Students were chosen for the awards based on their applications and letters of recommendations.
After a successful run of “The Pajama Game” last fall, the Maple Grove Senior High theatre department recently received several Spotlight Education honors from Hennepin Theatre Trust, including: Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre; Outstanding Overall Production; Outstanding Ensemble Performance; and Outstanding Overall Technical Team. Students Sam Irvin and Tim Edwards were also recognized with Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role honors.
Theatre students at Osseo Senior High also have a lot to be proud of this winter. Their production of “Hairspray” racked up many Spotlight Education honors, too, including: Overall Performance Honorable Mention; Student Orchestra Honorable Mention; and Ensemble Performance Honorable Mention. Garmunee Phillips was also recognized with Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role honors.
Caleb Truax, a 2002 graduate of Osseo Senior High, can add “world boxing champion” to his already impressive resume. In December, Truax claimed the IBF world super-middleweight championship in London. This victory marked the 30th win of his professional boxing career.
The Maple Grove Senior High debate team qualified six students for the state tournament this weekend. Anjali Balakrishnan and Saranya Putrevu will compete in the Public Forum category; Alex Chun and Adithya Balakrishnan will compete in the Lincoln Douglass Debate category; and Kevin Jacobson and Kara Svercl will compete in the Congressional Debate category. A special shout-out to Alex and Kevin who are section champions in their categories.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Students at Weaver Lake Elementary are benefiting from some recent donations made by local scouts. Earlier this school year, a group of four Girl Scouts from Maple Grove Middle School built a new lost and found container for Weaver Lake in fulfillment of their Silver Award requirements. The Girl Scouts—Emily Achenbach, Maddy Ahlquist, Katherine Brandt and Julia Graves—donated the structure to Weaver Lake in November. Last spring, Weaver Lake alumnus Carter Holthaus earned his Eagle Scout honors by designing and creating iPad charging stations for the school.
Last month, Boston Scientific employees donated gifts, gift cards and clothing to 53 Osseo Area Schools families in need. Thanks to our friends and community partners at Boston Scientific for helping make the holidays brighter for families in our district! We also appreciate the hard work of our school and district social workers who serve these families year-round and helped coordinate the donations.
Students at Basswood Elementary collected 700 toys for a SPARK-sponsored holiday toy drive in December. SPARK, which stands for Serving People with Acts of Random Kindness, is a local organization that empowers students to serve families and individuals in the Maple Grove community.
Staff at Maple Grove Middle School are collecting personal hygiene items, new and gently used clothing, and school supplies for students in need. Donations are provided from staff, community members, and through partnerships with St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, the Maple Grove Lions, and Maple Grove Rotary.
The Maple Grove Rotary donated 1,400 sets of winter gloves and hats to our students last month. Through this partnership with our schools, they’re able to keep students warm in what has been a chilly start to winter.
Minnesota Department of Education State Library Services awarded grants to Zanewood Community School and our four middle schools to improve access to library services and build students’ 21st century skills. This will allow Zanewood to develop STEAM-focused reading materials and lesson plans for pre-kindergarten students. At the middle school level, Brooklyn, Maple Grove, North View and Osseo will look to enhance student learning with “engagement and creation centers” that feature a 3D printer, modeling software, and more.
On Dec. 19, 40 second-graders from Garden City Elementary listened to former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page read his book, “Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack,” at Brookdale Library. Some students even received their first library cards during the visit! Thanks to Brooklyn United Methodist Church and the Minnesota Methodist Conference for supporting this special opportunity for students.
Students in Jennifer Phillips’ second grade class at Fair Oaks Elementary have a golden opportunity this year thanks to Classroom Champions, a program that connects world-class mentors with students to help children achieve their goals. Phillips’ students are paired with Sophia Herzog, a 2016 Paralympic swimming silver medalist. Herzog and the students stay in touch throughout the year through video chats and information sharing on a Google Plus page, all while exploring themes like diversity, goal setting, character building and creating community.
Local partner Boston Scientific is supporting learning at Zanewood Community School through donations of money, time and science supplies that help the school offer a STEAM-focused curriculum to students. A $1,500 donation this year allowed Zanewood to pursue a number of initiatives, including creating a Textiles Lab and Virtual Reality Lab in the MakerSpace area. The organization also supports Zanewood’s Lego Robotics League Teams throughout the year.
For the last three years, Osseo Area Schools Food and Nutrition Services has been partnering with Hennepin County to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits. One way the partnership seeks to accomplish this goal is to introduce new vegetable recipes to students. All school nutrition managers are trained by professional chefs on the new recipes. This collaboration with Hennepin County is made possible through the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership grant awarded to Osseo Area Schools in 2015.
Jessica Gillespie, French teacher at Park Center Senior High, and Donna Ohlgren, library media specialist at Rush Creek Elementary, have been named Osseo Area Schools 2017 TIES Exceptional Teachers. This award recognizes educators who incorporate technology into their teaching and effectively engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. Additionally, Anthony Padrnos, executive director of technology, received the TIES Minnesota Technology Leader of the Year award for his excellence in leadership, innovation, community building and more during his time at Richfield Public Schools.
After the district hosted special education professionals from Ukraine, Armenia and India last May, Joy Fredrickson—student services coordinator for Osseo Area Schools—had the opportunity to travel to India last fall. During her time there, Fredrickson followed up on the country’s inclusion-based projects; engaged in conversations around inclusion; and conducted workshops on inclusive education. The partnership and experiences in India have contributed to continued examination and actions to support improvement of inclusive practices in our district.
Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center senior high schools have announced their nominees for the Minnesota State High School League’s 2017-2018 Triple “A” award program. These students excel in academics, arts and athletics, and will compete with other students statewide for college scholarships. Maple Grove will be represented by Jenna Benson and Christopher Kwon; Osseo will be represented by Darian Clark and Gabrielle Holton; and Park Center will be represented by Rachel Huser and Aaron MacMurdo.
For the 10th 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 103 AP Scholars, 38 AP Scholars with Honor, and 41 AP Scholars with Distinction. Class of 2017 Maple Grove graduates Allan Khankari, Kevin Nguyen, Alyssa Risch and Sikai Yang and 2017 Osseo Senior High grad Jack Ewing earned National AP Scholar honors.
Congratulations to the Osseo Area Schools CI-Adapted soccer team for its state championship “three-peat” on Nov. 18. The Pirates were victorious against Chaska to win a third consecutive state title. The PI-Adapted soccer team also competed at state, placing third after defeating the team from St. Paul Humboldt.
In early December, teams of engineers from Osseo Area Schools competed at the FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge tournament at Park Center Senior High. Students represented Basswood; Garden City; Palmer Lake; Zanewood; Brooklyn Middle; Osseo Senior and Maple Grove Senior. These FIRST competitions are part of a global robotics and engineering program.
Precious Kennedy, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High, was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on Dec. 6. Kennedy, who excels in Advanced Placement classes, is described as resilient by her teachers. She is involved with DECA, Model United Nations, and National Honor Society, and has her sights set on majoring in biology.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Kindergartners and second-graders at Cedar Island Elementary partnered to create Veterans Day cards for vets at the Maple Grove-based Arbor Lakes Senior Living Center. Students also made cards for veteran family members of their fellow Cedar Island classmates.
Last month, 250 Fair Oaks Elementary students and their siblings received bicycles as part of a donation event sponsored by nonprofit organization Free Bikes 4 Kidz. In addition to receiving the bicycles, each child was also fitted for a helmet to help ensure they ride safely.
A group of third- and fifth-graders at Basswood Elementary led a successful “Stuffed with Love” stuffed animal drive in November. These teddy bears are just a few of the items that will be donated to patients at the Minnesota Children’s Hospital.
After a similar event last spring, Zanewood Community School hosted its second Scholars’ Choice Day on Nov. 15. With 30 classes offered throughout the day, students had the opportunity to learn new skills and were exposed to a variety of concepts that support the school’s STEAM focus.
For the third consecutive year, Osseo Area Schools Community Education is partnering with Stages Theatre Company to provide more than 300 students across six elementary schools with the opportunity to hone their acting talents in “Alice in Wonderland.” Students will perform throughout the year for classmates, staff, families and community members.
Members of Renee Pelton’s 2015-2016 third grade class at Park Brook Elementary are in their third and final year of a partnership with Three Rivers Park District to help redesign the play area at French Regional Park. The students are featured in a recent video from Three Rivers Park District that describes their involvement with everything from playground logistics to engineering to design.
Kate Maguire, superintendent of Osseo Area Schools, was honored with the Rotary Club of Maple Grove’s 2017 Business Ethics and Leadership Award on Nov. 18. In addition, Dr. Maguire received a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of her substantial contributions to humanitarianism and educational service.
Elm Creek Elementary is home to many dedicated teachers, including Julie Blue, a first grade teacher who was recognized by WCCO-TV with an “Excellent Educator” award on Nov. 22. Mrs. Blue was praised for providing students with hands-on learning opportunities and for keeping parents updated via her weekly “Blue Notes” blog.
Rachel Raz, social worker at Weaver Lake and Rice Lake elementary schools, is featured in a new public art installation in downtown St. Paul. Titled “Speaking of Home,” the exhibit has transformed four of St. Paul’s public skyways into a monumental public artwork, exploring the meaning of home among first-generation Minnesota immigrants. Family photographs of 58 immigrants and refugees who live in the Twin Cities have been blown up to fill each panel of the skyway bridges, turning them into a giant lightbox. Each is accompanied by text telling the story of the person featured.
Last month, staff at Garden City Elementary participated in a “Giving of Thanks” program where they raised money to help families pay off meal debt. In total, staff donated $500 to the cause—enough money to help more than a dozen of the school’s families with their negative meal balances.
Sara Schreiner, Spanish teacher at Park Center Senior High, was awarded an Active Learning Center Grant from Steelcase, a furniture design company. Through this grant, Schreiner’s classroom is now decked out with new tables, chairs and white boards. She also learned instructional techniques to increase student involvement and effectively use the physical space in her lessons.
Steve Reisetter, music teacher at Zanewood and Park Brook elementary schools, premiered a new compositional work earlier this month based on the African American spiritual titled “Mary, Mary.” The North Suburban Band, Twin Cities Youth Chorale, and North Suburban Chorale performed the piece and received a standing ovation from the audience. Fernbrook Elementary music teacher Ann Williams directed the children’s chorus during the performance.
On Nov. 9, the Maple Grove Senior High football team made an incredible comeback by scoring three touchdowns against St. Michael-Albertville in the game’s final minute. This season, the Crimson also won their fifth consecutive section title. The team’s season ended Nov. 16 in the state semifinal game against Eden Prairie.
Meredith Haakenson, a member of the Maple Grove Senior High girls’ soccer team, was named the Star Tribune’s 2017 Metro Player of the Year. Haakenson also received Class 2A Ms. Soccer honors from the state coaches association. Hassan Kamara, a senior at Park Center Senior High, earned an all-state soccer honorable mention and was selected to the Star Tribune’s All-Metro Soccer Team.
Osseo Senior High cross country running standouts Vaughn Thomas and Lex Davis qualified for the state meet this fall. Thomas is a senior at Osseo and Davis is an eighth-grader at Maple Grove Middle School.
After a season in which they both won their respective section championships, the Maple Grove Senior High boys’ soccer team finished fourth in the state tournament in early November while the girls’ team earned second place honors.
Several Park Center Senior High student-athletes committed to continuing their education and athletic careers on National Signing Day earlier this month. Kylee Cox signed to play volleyball at Gustavus Adolphus College; Jarius Cook signed with North Dakota State University to play basketball; Destiny Truly will join the bowling team at Arkansas State; and Meghan Dubois will head to Concordia University as a member of the basketball team next year.
Osseo Senior High’s Gabrielle Holton was featured as a Standout Student on CCX News on Nov. 7. Holton, who shines on the theatre stage, in the classroom and on the athletic field, plans to study marine biology in college next year.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
In October, former Minnesota Vikings player EJ Henderson stopped by Park Center Senior High to award the Vikings Community Captain Award to Aaron MacMurdo. This award is presented to varsity football players throughout Minnesota who excel on the field, in the classroom, and in their community.
As part of their “We Scare Hunger” campaign, students at Basswood Elementary collected more than 3,500 items for CROSS Food Shelf.
Woodland Elementary students and staff celebrated Unity Day in October by creating stepping stones that will be displayed in the school’s courtyard to help reinforce the theme of “STEP UP.”
Lieutenant Robert Coder, a 2007 graduate of Park Center Senior High, participated on a fly-over to mark the opening of the X Games in Minneapolis this summer. On his way there, Coder, who is a pilot in the U.S. Navy, took a birds-eye view photo of his alma mater.
Zoe Adkins, a varsity tennis player for the Maple Grove Crimson, captured the Section 5AA girls’ singles tennis championship on October 17. Zoe will now compete in the Minnesota State Tennis Tournament.
Fair Oaks, Oak View and Palmer Lake elementary schools received $500 “Game On” grants from Action for Healthy Kids to help expand student access to physical activity and healthy foods in school. Fair Oaks, Oak View and Palmer Lake are among 23 schools in Minnesota to receive Game On grants this year.
The Maple Grove Senior High boys’ and girls’ soccer teams won their respective section championships on October 17. The girls defeated Centennial 3-0 and the boys were victorious against St. Cloud Tech 3-1 to advance to the state tournament.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Members of the National Honor Society at Osseo Senior High recently volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. During their volunteer shift, students packed 16,200 meals—enough to feed 44 kids for an entire year.
A slight chill in the air didn’t stop students at Elm Creek Elementary from participating in Walk to School Day on October 4. Sponsored by Minnesota Safe Routes to School, the event provided students and families with an opportunity to increase their physical activity and connect with friends, classmates and neighbors. At school, students were welcomed by Principal Beth Ness and Osseo Mayor Duane Poppe.
As part of the annual Osseo Reads tradition, Osseo Senior High students passed out bookmarks to elementary students throughout the district on October 18. This event serves to inspire our district’s youngest scholars to develop a love for reading.
Students at Zanewood Community School and Fernbrook Elementary participated in Cardboard Challenge events earlier this month. These events give students the opportunity to hone their inner engineer and artist—allowing them freedom to let their creativity soar. From robots to animals to cardboard computers, there were some ingenious designs on display at both schools.
Fair Oaks Elementary students celebrated Farm to School Month by participating in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch on October 12. The event takes place across the upper Midwest and seeks to promote the region’s apple orchards; celebrate healthy eating; and connect rural and urban communities.
Philip Luoma Anderson, a teacher at Maple Grove Middle School, had a special opportunity to meet Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at FinnFest in Minneapolis last month. Anderson gave the president a photograph of the homestead his great-grandfather established after emigrating from Finland.
Four students from Osseo Area Schools have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program. Osseo Senior High’s David Nguyen and Maple Grove Senior High’s Ethan Donaldson, Daniel Du and Ashvin Pidaparti are among the highest-scoring Minnesota students on the 2016 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They represent less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors. Each semifinalist will now compete to receive one of more than 7,500 scholarships.
An Osseo Area Schools alumna and hockey standout will be inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame this fall. Krissy Wendell-Pohl, who graduated from Park Center Senior High in 2000, is one of ten members in the League’s class of 2017. During her senior year, she had 110 goals, 55 assists, and led the Pirates to the state championship. Wendell-Pohl is a two-time Olympic medalist with Team USA and won two national titles at the University of Minnesota.
The PTO at Elm Creek Elementary received an Honorable Mention distinction in PTO Today’s 2017 Parent Group of the Year search. PTO Today is a national media organization that promotes parent involvement in schools.
Alan Page, former Minnesota Supreme Court justice and player for the Minnesota Vikings, visited with third-graders at Garden City Elementary this afternoon. Page read students his book, Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack, and encouraged students to go after their dreams by learning from their mistakes and working hard in school.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
This summer, Osseo Area Schools students at all four Kidstop locations and The Spot worked hard to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Through several events such as a walk-a-thon, silent auction and car wash, students raised more than $5,900 for JDRF and collected items for the organization’s silent auction this fall.
Minnesota Timberwolves player Jamal Crawford visited Crest View Elementary on September 12 to deliver backpacks and school supplies to more than 300 students. Crawford worked with nonprofit World Vision USA to donate the supplies for students; he also donated supplies to Crest View teachers to help get the school year started off right.
Two Osseo Area Schools students participated in STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair. James Schrode from Maple Grove Middle School presented his exhibit on conductivity, while Jamison Adams from Woodland Elementary showed off his robot to fairgoers. Both students were grand prize winners at Kidstop’s STEM Fair last spring.
Last school year, 12 students in the marketing class at Park Center Senior High partnered with nonprofit The BrandLab to gain real-world marketing experience through summer internships. Student Tyrus Jenkins was also awarded a rolling $4,000 scholarship that will support him throughout his college journey.
Two teams of students from Osseo Area Schools were semifinalists in the 2017 Minnesota Cup—a statewide entrepreneurial competition where entrants competed for prize money, support and training to help make their ideas a reality.
- From Maple Grove Senior High, the team of Akhil Gupta, Ian Lim and Sam Byun represented their business, Crimson Café, which serves convenient and quality coffee to students and staff at the school.
- From Maple Grove Middle School, the team of Meghan Barton, Abby Polen and Paige Meierhofer created an app called “Eye on Walleye” to support the preservation of the walleye population in Lake Mille Lacs and boost tourism to the community.
Palmer Kraus and Hannah Theisen, 2017 graduates of Maple Grove Senior High, were named two of the four Triple Threat Award winners at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s annual Spotlight Showcase in June. Triple Threat winners demonstrate excellence in singing, acting and dancing, as well as community leadership, teamwork and artistry. More than 80 high school juniors and seniors across Minnesota applied for the award. Kraus and Theisen are the first Osseo Area Schools students to receive this honor.
A 2016 Maple Grove Senior High alumna is among this year’s ambassadors in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Program. Ellie Brimeyer will represent the Minneapolis Aquatennial at nearly 300 community festivals and events in North America throughout the next year.
Osseo Senior High grad Bashiru Kormah was elected as Day Student Body President at Augsburg College for the 2017-2018 school year. During his senior year at Osseo, BK was named an Act 6 Scholar and last spring, he earned a Newman Civic Fellowship at Augsburg. He has also served as a Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth intern for our district’s community education program.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Ela Kanade, an eighth-grader at Maple Grove Middle School, created a mural to show her school’s commitment to equity. The mural, which will be displayed at the school, features a woman with a variety of colors in her hair, representing the skin tones of people who attend and work at the school. The rainbow depicted in the young woman’s eyes symbolizes peace and understanding.
Osseo Area Schools and the City of Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Department partnered to update playgrounds at Elm Creek, Rice Lake and Rush Creek elementary schools this summer. The city worked with stakeholders at each school in a collaborative process to generate ideas and solicit feedback.
As part of her Girl Scouts Gold Award, Maple Grove Senior High junior Megan Gosian collected 22 musical instruments and donated them to Osseo Area Schools. The donated items will allow students to have more options for choosing an instrument they prefer when participating in music programs at school.
Summer Kidstop students at Weaver Lake Elementary have had a busy summer of learning and discovery. From gleaning cake decorating tips from Nadia Cakes’ Erin Campbell to understanding weather cycles with KARE-11 Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson, there was no shortage of weekly adventures for students.
Several Osseo Area Schools principals made personal connections with residents of their school communities during this year’s National Night Out. Shown in this photo are Elm Creek Principal Beth Ness, Maple Grove Senior High Principal Bart Becker, Osseo Senior High Principal Michael Lehan, and Maple Grove Middle Assistant Principal Sara Looby, along with members of the Maple Grove Police Department.
Emily Bollinger, English teacher at Park Center Senior High, was selected to participate in the “Bridging Cultures Initiative” last month. Through this national program, Bollinger exchanged ideas and perspectives with eight other U.S. teachers and 20 teachers from across the globe. This opportunity was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and sponsored by the Illinois-Northwestern African Students Consortium.
Kindergarten teacher Marci Rahne was named “Best Elementary Teacher” by Maple Grove Magazine. Rahne has more than 20 years of teaching experience in Osseo Area Schools. This fall, she’ll bring her teaching talents to Cedar Island Elementary.