Schools notebook // Flanagan to fill board vacancy

Flanagan to serve out Costain’s term

The School Board voted July 6 to appoint former member Peggy Flanagan to fill a vacancy on the board.

Flanagan was the youngest-ever member and first Native American elected to the School Board when she served 2005–2009. She left the board after one term without running for re-election.

Flanagan will fill the vacancy created in June, when former School Board Member Pam Costain resigned to take over as president and CEO of the district’s nonprofit foundation, AchieveMpls. Costain had previously announced she would not run for re-election.

School Board Chair Tom Madden said the board members reviewed about a dozen applications for the empty seat before inviting four finalists in for interviews June 29.

After her swearing-in, Flanagan said she was “excited to get to work.”

“This feels like a good step and a good place to be, so thank you for your confidence, and I won’t let you down,” she said.

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Childcare for student parents at Park View

BRYN MAWR — The former Park View Montessori site will serve as the temporary location of a childcare program serving student parents during the 2010–2011 school year, the district announced in June.

The Teenage Pregnant and Parenting Program, or TAPPP, childcare site is moving from Broadway High School, which will close. The School Board in April approved a plan to build a new headquarters on that site at 1250 W. Broadway Ave.

District spokesperson Emily Lowther said the temporary relocation of the TAPPP childcare site was anticipated to last only for the 2010–2011 school year, and that the district was seeking another site to house the program long term. Park View was available for the fall because it was one of four school sites closed when the School Board last fall approved Changing School Options, a cost-saving plan that also reduced busing of students.

Lowther said the student parents with children in the TAPPP childcare program at Park View would attend classes at North High School. The district will provide shuttle service between the two sites for parents.

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Blake science teacher receives presidential award

LOWRY HILL — Steve Kaback, a teacher at The Blake School’s Upper Campus, was one of 103 recipients nationwide of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in June.

The award, established by Congress in 1983, honors outstanding teachers in math and science in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, other U.S. territories and Department of Defense schools.

Kaback’s award specifically honored his work teaching science, although he also teaches math courses. The award included a citation signed by President Obama, an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the awards ceremony and $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

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AchieveMpls wins grant

The Xcel Energy Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant in June to AchieveMpls, a nonprofit foundation that supports Minneapolis Public Schools.

The grants to Minnesota environmental and educational organizations totaled more than $800,000. Grants to educational organizations accounted for about $570,000 of the total and were targeted to programs that boost student performance and prepare young people for the workplace with business, science and technical training.

AchieveMpls manages several district programs, including the Career and College Centers located in city high schools and the Step-Up Summer Jobs Program that places students in paid internships with Minneapolis employers. The district foundation also directly supports several programs, including GEMS, or Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science, and GISE, or Guys In Engineering and Science, both after-school programs for students in grades 4–8.

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Southwest students named National Merit Scholars

Four Southwest High School students were named National Merit Scholars July 12, bringing the total number of National Merit Scholars from Minneapolis Public Schools to nine for the 2009­–2010 school year.

Each of the four Southwest students won college-sponsored scholarships and were selected for the awards by the institutions they plan to attend. The scholarships are worth $500–$2,000 per year for up to four years of college education.

The award winners were: Isabella Dawis, University of Minnesota; Caroline Lauth, Colby College; Rose Milavitz, Northwestern University; and Ruth Styles, University of Minnesota.

In May, Southwest student Mikayla MacNally was awarded a National Merit Northwestern University Scholarship, as well.

Southwest also had two winners of corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarships, Ashley Bielinski and Christopher Riddle, whose awards were announced in April.

Semi-finalists for the scholarships are selected from the pool of more than 1.5 million juniors who posted high scores on the preliminary SAT or another similar college entrance exam in 2008. To advance as finalists, they were required as seniors to complete several additional requirements that included maintaining a strong academic record and submitting an essay to the National Merit Scholarship Program.