Schools notebook

Windom students on TPT

— Windom middle-grades students are featured in a segment of the public television program "Venture North" scheduled to air on Twin Cities Public Television Nov. 23.

Students from Windom Spanish Dual Immersion and Open School were filmed in May at Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield during an outing with noted nature photographer Dudley Edmondson.

Edmondson, who lives in Duluth, said students were given digital cameras and sent into woods to capture photographs of wildlife. He remembered one girl photographed a barn swallow, a species Edmondson had not personally photographed.

"It was better than anything I’ve ever done," he said.

Windom parent Kevin McDonald, who works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, helped organize the event, which was held as a part of the school’s Earth Day celebration. Environmental professionals from several state agencies as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service participated in the event.

"It really was a cool day, and the kids almost universally at Windom ranked it as one of their most memorable experiences of the year," McDonald said.

About 100 Windom 6th-, 7th- and 8th-graders participated.

Edmondson said the field trip was intended to get students thinking about careers in the outdoors.

"Photography was the vehicle we tried to use to get them connected with nature," he said. "… With urban kids, there’s so much they don’t know about nature and the environment."

He said some children who grow up in an urban environment are not exposed to wild places, and a lack of familiarity breeds fear.

Edmondson said he tries to "teach kids that nature is a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not something that’s out there trying to harm them."

Edmondson, who is African American, is the author of "Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places."

The collection of photographs and interviews documents persons of color who share a connection with nature. Windom students were given the children’s version of his book.

For more on Edmondson, visit

"Venture North" is a production of Duluth Public Television. The episode featuring Windom students was set to premiere on that channel Nov. 15.

It will air at 10:30 p.m. Nov. 23 on TPT MN, one of Twin Cities Public Television’s digital channels.

Community meeting on strategic plan

THE WEDGE — Families from Minneapolis Public Schools’ Area C have an opportunity to provide feedback on long-term strategic planning recommendations Nov. 26 at Jefferson Community School, 1200 W. 26th St.

The School Board received nine recommendations Nov. 6 that aim to improve student achievement, close the racial achievement gap and prepare all students for college (see story on page 11). The recommendations came after six months of information gathering led by consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

Community meetings are also planned for the district’s areas A and B.

The Board of Education plans to vote Dec. 11 on which recommendations it will accept.

The meeting at Jefferson is 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

Information on strategic planning is available on the main page of the district’s website,

New Whittier principal named

WHITTIER — Shawn Harris-Barry was named principal of Whittier International Elementary School in October.

Harris-Barry formerly served as assistant principal at Anwatin Middle School. She has spent her entire education career with Minneapolis Public Schools, beginning in business education at Sanford Middle School in 1987.

Former Principal Armando Comacho was named assistant director of St. Paul’s alternative learning programs in August. Assistant Principal Shelley Berken led the school in the interim.

Schools notebook

Burroughs named ‘Minnesota School of Excellence’

LYNNHURST Burroughs Community School was one of eight “Minnesota Schools of Excellence” named in October by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association.

Principal Tim Cadotte said the school was selected for the honor based on student test scores, school performance data, and surveys of students and staff. The association also singled out several innovative programs at the school that figured in its selection.

“I think what they were most impressed with was our native language literacy program,” Cadotte said.

Known as One Way Dual Immersion, the program allows native Spanish speakers to be taught core curriculum, like reading and math, in their first language. They learn fundamental concepts without a language barrier, and then transition into English classes.

The association also recognized Burrough’s pioneering Advanced Placement program. Burroughs was the first elementary school in the country to partner with the College Board to develop an advanced reading and math curriculum for younger students.

In its announcement of the award, the association also noted the large number of parent volunteers who regularly donate time to the school.

“That group is invaluable to us,” Cadotte said.

Cadotte said the honor was especially important to him, coming as it did from his peers.

“I find it a very big honor because it’s awarded by the state elementary principals association,” he said.

Open house on new math curriculum

TANGLETOWN Southwest parents will get a sneak peak in November of the new math curriculums currently being tested for Minneapolis elementary and middle schools.

An open house on math textbook adoption is 4:307:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Ramsey International Fine Arts Center, 1 W. 49th St.

Three different math textbooks are being tested for use in elementary and middle schools. Textbook publishers will be on hand to answer questions at the event, as will the district’s math adoption steering committee.

High school choice meetings in November

Eighth-grade students and their parents can learn more about Minneapolis Public Schools’ high schools in November.

Instead of one high school fair, each of the city’s seven public high schools will hold an information session. Dates for Southwest-area high school information nights are:

South High School, 3131 19th Ave. S., Nov. 12

Washburn High School, 201 W. 49th St., Nov. 14

Southwest High School, 3414 W. 47th St., Nov. 15.

All meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

High school placement requests are due to Student Placement Services by Jan. 15. Acceptance letters will be mailed to students and their families in March.

Students applying to high schools for the 20082009 school year can learn more about the new high school placement process online at the district’s high school choice center,

Rummage sale at Windom

WINDOM The Windom Spanish Dual Immersion and Open School parent teacher organization will hold a rummage sale Saturday, Nov. 17.

Donations for the rummage sale including clothing, household items, electronics, bicycles and other items in good condition can be left in the front entryway of the school, located at 5821 Wentworth Ave. S.

The sale is 8:30 a.m.4 p.m. in the Windom Community Center, adjacent to the school at 5843 Wentworth Ave. S.