Schools notebook

Principal recognized for community engagement

BRYN MAWR — Principal Beth Russell of Anwatin Middle School was recognized for her community engagement work in April with a national award from the MetLife Foundation.

The MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education Award is given annually to a public school teacher or principal who excels at building community partnerships in each of 25 cities, including Minneapolis. Anwatin received a $5,000 grant in honor of Russell’s achievement.

The Ambassadors in Education Award is a program of the National Civic League. Awards are given to teachers and principals on alternate years.

Past Southwest-area winners include Southwest High School Principal Bill Smith, Lake Harriet Community School music teacher Sue Cullen-Pehrson and South High School career and technology teacher Gregory Hendricks.

Windom students install duck houses

KENNY — Middle grades students Windom Spanish Dual Immersion and Open School installed 12 wood duck houses around Kenny neighborhood’s Grass Lake May 6.

The 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students assembled more than 30 nesting boxes for wood ducks in March. The project aims to increase the number of nesting wood duck pairs in Minneapolis.

A crew from the public television program Venture North was set to film the installation of another 12 nesting boxes May 7 in Fort Snelling State Park.

There is more information about the wood duck project on the school’s web site (, as well as a link to a web cam installed in a nesting box.

MPS academic chief honored

Minneapolis Public Schools’ chief academic officer was among the educators honored April 29 by the University of St. Thomas College of Applied Professional Studies.

Bernadeia Johnson joined the “Wall of Fame” recognizing St. Thomas alumni who have excelled in their fields. Johnson was recognized specifically for her contributions to the field of education and the community, the school reported.

Johnson earned her licensure through the St. Thomas Collaborative Urban Educator program before starting a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the school. She earned a master of arts degree in 1992.

Southwest students named National Merit Scholars

LINDEN HILLS — Two Southwest High School seniors were named National Merit Scholars in April.

Katherine Indvik and Angus Vaughan each earned $2,500 scholarships. They were among just 2,500 students to win scholarships from among about 15,000 finalists, the school district reported.

A committee of high school counselors and college admissions officers select National Merit Scholars based on standardized test scores, high school performance and other factors, including an essay.

Ramsey fourth graders perform opera

TANGLETOWN — Fourth-grade students at Ramsey International Fine Arts Center perform an opera on the life of Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum 2:30 p.m. May 29 in the school’s auditorium.

All 105 fourth graders participated in researching and writing Tum’s story, as well as the music, lyrics and choreography of the opera, the school reported. The yearlong project combines social studies and music lessons.

Tum, a member of one of Guatemala’s indigenous groups, was awarded the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her social just work on behalf of indigenous peoples.

Volunteers refurbish Bryn Mawr Community School

BRYN MAWR — About 200 volunteers from Target and Hands On Twin Cities, a volunteer coordinating group, made improvements to the Byrn Mawr Community School April 30 during National Volunteer Week, the Hands On Network reported.

Target volunteers refurbished the school’s library, adding new reading spaces, furniture and about 1,000 new books. They also painted murals in the school and built an outdoor reading space.

Community volunteers did landscaping work in the school’s courtyard.

Schools notebook

Yoga tested in Jefferson classrooms

THE WEDGE — Before Susan Saly’s 4th-grade class started on the state-mandated MCA-II tests in April, both students and teacher took time to relax in their Jefferson Community School classroom.

Saly was one of 25 district teachers participating in a yearlong study on the effects of yoga techniques in the classroom. Results from the Minneapolis pilot of the Yoga Calm curriculum — which began in September — should be available some time after the end of the school year, the district reported.

Saly reported improved student behavior and classroom climate.

Kathy Flaminio, a Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) social worker and certified yoga instructor, and Julie Hurtubise, an MPS occupational therapist and yoga instructor, have trained about 50 teachers in yoga techniques. Flaminio and Hurtubise were granted a sabbatical to complete the research project.

South students win National Achievement Scholarship

Three South High School seniors were selected for National Achievement Scholarship awards of $2,500 in April, the district reported.

Roy Cato, Nelson Iginla and Dane Schaleben-Boateng were among seven Minnesota students selected for the scholarship this year.

Founded in 1964, the National Achievement Scholarship Program each year honors high-achieving African American youth. This year, about 800 students from across the country were selected for a scholarship from among more than 140,000 entries, the program reported on its website.

Scholarship applicants submit an essay outlining their goals and aspirations for the future. Winners are chosen based on their essays, pre-SAT and SAT scores, academic records and the recommendations of high school staff.

Calling all Kenwood alumni

KENWOOD — For nearly a century, Kenwood Elementary School has stood at the corner of Penn Avenue & West 21st Street.

Now, organizers of the 100th anniversary festivities set for the 2008–2009 school year are inviting current and former students, staff and teachers to help celebrate the event. They are looking for stories, photos and artifacts from one of Minneapolis’ longest continually operating schools.

To join a mailing list with information on anniversary planning, e-mail Those interested in participating may also call 1960 Kenwood graduate Phil Hallaway at 377-3530 or Trish Conroy at 377-8743.

Windom plans annual Gran Kermesse

WINDOM — The food and games of Mexico will be celebrated during the annual Gran Kermesse 5–8 p.m. May 16 at Windom Dual Spanish Immersion and Open School, 5821 Wentworth Ave. S.

The annual carnival will feature live entertainment, food and traditional Mexican games such as Tombola and Canicas. The event is open to the public.

Admission is free. Proceeds from sales of food and games tickets support Windom.

Washburn robotics team competes at nationals

TANGLETOWN — The Millerbots, Washburn High School’s entry in the FIRST Robotics Competition, wrapped up their season at the national competition for high school teams in Atlanta, held April 17-19.

The Millerbots finished 75th in their division. They advanced to a final group of about 340 teams in competition at the Georgia Dome after winning the Wisconsin regional championship in March.

This year, more than 1,500 high school teams entered the 2008 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, which challenges teams of high school students to build a robot and test it in a cooperative game.

The Washburn team was sponsored by NASA and the Cargill Foundation.

Visitation plans spring concert

EAST HARRIET — Students will sing selections from “The Sound of Music” for the annual spring concert May 21 at Visitation Catholic School, 4530 Lyndale Ave. S.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to an area food shelf.

The concert is 7:15 p.m. in the church sanctuary. For more information, call 827-3861.

Area C parent meeting

WINDOM — The next Area C Parent Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30–8:30 p.m. May 8 at Windom Dual Spanish Immersion and Open School, 5821 Wentworth Ave. S.

Parents of children in Minneapolis Public Schools’ Area C, which includes all of Southwest, are invited to attend. The agenda includes discussions of bus safety and gang prevention.

Reach Dylan Thomas at