Schools notebook // Mosaic marks Kenwood’s 100th

KENWOOD — A two-story tall mosaic celebrating Kenwood Community School’s 100th anniversary was installed in the school’s entryway during spring break.

Kenwood parent Stacia Goodman pieced together the mosaic in her home using pieces of tile and discarded school supplies collected at the end of last school year. Central to the mosaic’s design is a “rainbow tree” constructed out of discarded colored markers, crayons and pencils.

“This was all stuff that was bound for the Dumpster,” Goodman said.

In addition to brightening the mosaic’s design, she hoped the reuse of colorful school supplies would inspire students to recycle old supplies instead of throwing them out at the end of the school year. In addition to the drawing tools, the mural incorporates rulers, erasers, puzzle pieces and other items that were saved from the trash.

The ceramic leaves of the rainbow tree were designed and glazed by Kenwood students earlier this year.

Goodman works as a freelance copywriter, and does jewelry making and some mosaic work in her spare time. The rainbow tree mosaic was her largest work to date.

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New timeline for decision on schools

Minneapolis Public Schools delayed its final decision on a plan that could result in school and program closings to allow for additional community meetings in May.

The new timeline, announced April 2, pushed back by two weeks the schedule for acting on the plan, known as Changing School Options. The effort to save on facilities and transportation costs likely would result in changes to bus routes and attendance areas, as well.

The changes to schools were being considered for fall 2010.

District administrators will present their final recommendations on the plan to the School Board April 28, two weeks later than originally planned. The School Board’s vote on the plan was rescheduled to May 26 from May 12.

The new timeline allows for community meetings May 4 and 11. Previous rounds of community meetings in February and March gave parents an opportunity to learn about the proposed changes and provide feedback to the district.

Parent feedback already has influenced the planning process. A proposal to restrict all elementary school attendance areas to just the surrounding neighborhoods was nixed after parents raised concerns.

A public hearing set for the week of May 18 also was announced in April.

A public hearing is required within two weeks of the announcement of a school closure. District leaders made clear early on that Changing School Options could result in the closure of one or more schools, but had not specified which schools might be closed as of mid-April.

The district had yet to announce the agendas or locations of the May 4 and 11 community meetings when this addition of the Southwest Journal went to print.

For more information on Changing School Options, including a 24-page document summarizing parent feedback, visit the Minneapolis Public Schools website (www.mpls.k12.mn.us).

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Washburn robotics team to nationals

TANGLETOWN — The Washburn Millerbots were among 348 high school teams headed to the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in Atlanta in mid-April.

The Washburn High School team was one of the top finishers in the regional robot competition held the first weekend in April at the University of Minnesota. They were to face teams from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico and the Philippines at nationals.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is in its 18th season. Teams of high school students tackle a new challenge each year, and must build a robot within six weeks to face other teams in competition.

Patrick Henry High School also won a national championship berth. Southwest High School’s robotics team won a judge’s award in regional competition.

The FIRST national championship was scheduled for April 16–18 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.