School Notes

Kenwood wins technology grant

Kenwood Community School recently got a $1,500 grant through the EDS Technology Grant Program. Each year, EDS, a Texas-based information and technology company, sponsors and awards grants to schools that propose unique classroom projects. Kenwood will use the grant money to purchase an electronic microscope to study microorganisms located in the Mississippi River Watershed. "We are quite pleased," said assistant principal Terry Factor. "There were about a hundred applications and only seven grants awarded this year, so it was quite competitive."

Washburn to move to smaller learning environment early

After a year-long hiatus, Washburn High School will return to its format of smaller learning environments for incoming ninth graders. First-year Washburn Principal Steve Couture has reinstituted the program that former principal Joyce Lewis-Lake (1999-2000) shelved: Freshman students will be split into four groups that stay together for the school year and share the same teachers for science, math, English and social studies. Washburn practiced smaller learning environments for three years before the 2000-01 school year.

"This program is great because there’s consistency," said English teacher Cathy Urbaniak. "You get to know the students and develop a relationship with both them and their parents. There’s a security for the kids in knowing that these four teachers and the students will be with them all year long."

Since last fall, the Minneapolis Public Schools staff have talked with various high schools about what makes a quality high school experience. With a $1-million grant from the McKnight Foundation to help reform the high school experience, every ninth-grade student in the city’s public schools will be able to choose from a small learning community by the fall of 2002.

"We’ll be way ahead of the game here at Washburn," said science teacher Dave Doty. There is talk of expanding the smaller learning environment format to grades 10-12, said Doty, although nothing has been finalized.

Non-profit offers tutoring during summer

Over the summer, children can lose valuable skills they have acquired during the school year. For children with learning disabilities, the gap between the end of one school year and the beginning of another can be even more costly.

The LDA Learning Center, a private non-profit agency that helps people with learning disabilities, is offering small-group tutoring classes this summer for children in grades 2-6 who have difficulty processing information.

"We offer the classes so that kids who have worked hard to gain skills throughout the school year can maintain what they’ve learned over the summer," said Emily Nordhus, who is coordinating the classes. There are two tutoring sessions offered, July 9-27 and July 30-Aug. 17. Each session offers two class times, 8:30 a.m.-noon and 1:30-5 p.m., and classes take place at the LDA Learning Center, 4301 Highway 7, Suite 160. The cost is $525 per session. For more information or to register, call Nordhus at 952-922-8374.