Schools notebook

Windom students build wood duck houses

WINDOM — Windom Dual Spanish Immersion and Open School students assembled more than 30 wood duck nesting boxes in March, with plans to install the boxes in urban parkland later this spring.

Teams of 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students built the nesting boxes over several days. The school has proposed installing the boxes on area lakes and streams.

Parent Kevin McDonald said wood ducks seek out cavities in dead trees for nesting. Dead or dying trees are often cut down in urban areas, though, creating a need for the wooden duck houses.

McDonald said there were plans to install a small camera in one of the duck houses that would transmit video from the nest viewable on the Windom website (www.mpls.k12.mn.us/).

After the nesting boxes are installed, Windom students will need assistance from community members willing to maintain the boxes. Anyone interested in adopting a duck house should e-mail McDonald at kjmcdonald@hotmail.com.

The project was funded through a Thrivent Financial for Lutherans service learning grant.

Southwest schools face off in basketball

TANGLETOWN — Teams from two Southwest schools faced off in the Minneapolis middle school girls’ basketball championship March 6 at Washburn High School.

Anthony Middle School defeated Lake Harriet Upper School 46-37. It was Anthony’s first-ever city championship in girls’ basketball, school Athletic Director
Cornelius Bishop said.

“We had two tough games against Lake Harriet (during the season), so it wasn’t an easy championship,” Bishop said.

He said the Anthony team went undefeated this school year.

Southwest students win Tracy Awards

LINDEN HILLS
— Four Southwest High School students were awarded college scholarships in March for their artistic achievement in the 2008 Tracy Awards, Achieve!Minneapolis reported.

Southwest students Sif Nave, Nathan Lee and Keegan Curry will split a $7,500 scholarship for their first-place finish. Southwest student Libby London took second place, earning a $5,000 scholarship.

The annual Tracy Awards for visual art are open to all Minneapolis Public Schools high school students. The awards are sponsored by Louvre It or Leave Gallery owners Gary and JoAnn Fink, along with their son Ken Fink, in honor of their daughter Tracy, who died in a 1981 car crash.

This year’s entries were judged by: professor Kinji Akagawa of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design; Weisman Museum Director Lyndell King; and visual artist Megan Rye.

The works will be exhibited April 5–21 at the Minneapolis Central Library as a part of the Viva City arts celebration. A reception for the winners is 5–7 p.m. April 10 at the library.

After the exhibition, the prize-winning works will go on display for one year at district headquarters or the Achieve!Minneapolis offices.

STEP-UP seeks to expand

Achieve!Minneapolis challenged the Twin Cities business community in March to open up 700 positions for high school students this summer, the organization
reported.

Last year, more than 600 high school students found work through the STEP-UP Summer Jobs Program sponsored by Achieve!Minneapolis and the city. Achieve!Minneapolis reported 131 employers participated in 2007, making STEP-UP the second largest summer jobs program in the nation.

STEP-UP trains students ages 16–21 for paid positions at local businesses.

Planning director named

Minneapolis Public Schools announced the creation of a new executive director of planning position to lead work on the district’s long-term strategic plan.

Jill Stever-Zeitlin will head a two-person team in charge of implementing the plan, a set of strategies that aims to improve student performance and close the achievement gap between white students and students of color over the next five years.

Stever-Zeitlin is a former partner with McKinsey & Company, and in that position helped develop the recommendations that form the framework of the strategic plan. She is also a 1983 graduate of South High School, the district reported.

Schools notebook

Anwatin on its way to IB certification

BRYN MAWR — Anwatin Middle School is on track to join a worldwide network of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools sometime next school year, school officials said.

Principal Beth Russell said Anwatin’s application to IB’s Middle Years Programme was accepted in February, completing a process that began in 2006. IB officials will visit the school in October for a final review.

Anwatin IB Coordinator Sarah Wernimont said the school could become an official IB “World School” within four to six months of that final visit. Still, the IB philosophy — which emphasizes personal and intellectual development — is not new to Anwatin.

Wernimont said Anwatin was made a “pre-IB” school in 1989, when the district designated the school to prepare students for the IB Diploma Programme then offered at Southwest and Henry high schools. (The organization, founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968, uses the British spelling of “program.”)

Russell said the Middle Years Programme does not require the teaching of a specific curriculum, but instead emphasizes learning through the lens of the program’s core concepts, such as intercultural awareness, communication and holistic learning.

Wernimont said Anwatin and Southwest High School jointly applied to teach the Middle Years Programme, which spans grades 6–10. The Diploma Program is for grades 11 and 12.

There are currently more than 2,000 IB schools worldwide. This year, the district began expansion of the IB Diploma Programme to all seven of its high schools as a part of an ongoing high school reform effort aimed at increasing rigor and boosting achievement.

Board limits military recruiter access

The Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education voted to restrict military recruiter access to high schools Feb. 26 after hearing more than a dozen students and community members testify passionately for and against the measure.

Board member Chris Stewart said the resolution was a “fair and moderate measure” that put military recruiters on equal footing with recruiters from colleges and universities.

The resolution approved unanimously by the Board prohibited military recruiters from “interacting with students in unsupervised school environments” like the lunchroom or hallways. It limited recruitment to the high school’s college and career centers or other locations approved by the district.

Board member Tom Madden noted that the district did not attempt to ban recruiters from schools, adding that recruiter access is guaranteed under the federal No Child Left Behind act.

All recruiters will now need to submit a request three weeks in advance of visits to high schools. Notice of recruiter visits will be publicized to students and parents at least two weeks in advance.

High schools must also provide equal access to groups presenting alternatives to military service.

Board member Pam Costain said the resolution would provide students with a balance of information about postsecondary options.

“We have, I believe, students who are particularly vulnerable in our schools to military recruitment because they come from less-affluent families, they have less options (and) they have a less-clear path to college,” Costain said, “and I think those students have a right to be fully informed before making a decision.”

Area C Parents meeting March 13

WHITTIER — Those with children attending Southwest-area schools are invited to the Area C parent meeting 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. March 13 at Whittier International Elementary School, 315 W. 26th St.

Ramsey stages classic musical

TANGLETOWN — Students will perform the classic Broadway musical “The Sound of Music” March 13 and 14 at Ramsey International Fine Arts Center, 1 W. 49th St.

Ramsey students in grades 5-8 star in the musical, an annual event at the school.

Performances are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day. Suggested donation is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Students win Tracy Awards

LINDEN HILLS — Four Southwest High School students were awarded college scholarships in March for their artistic achievement in the 2008 Tracy Awards, Achieve!Minneapolis reported.

Southwest students Sif Nave, Nathan Lee and Keegan Curry will split a $7,500 scholarship for their first-place finish. Southwest student Libby London took second place, earning a $5,000
scholarship.

The annual Tracy Awards for visual art are open to all Minneapolis Public Schools high school students. The awards are sponsored by Louvre It or Leave Gallery owners Gary and JoAnn Fink, along with their son Ken Fink, in honor of their daughter Tracy, who died in a 1981 car crash.

This year’s entries were judged by: professor Kinji Akagawa of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design; Weisman Museum Director Lyndell King; and visual artist Megan Rye.

The works will be exhibited April 5–21 at the Minneapolis Central Library as a part of the Viva City arts celebration. A reception for the winners is 5–7 p.m. April 10 at the library.

After the exhibition, the prize-winning works will go on display for one year at district headquarters or the Achieve!Minneapolis offices.

Reach Dylan Thomas at dthomas@mnpubscom or 436-4391.