This is an ongoing list of just some of the many accomplishments of ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools students and staff. Additional submissions always welcome; send to

Achieving Dreams

June 2013

The Maple Grove Senior High spring sports teams turned in strong end-of-season performances.

  • Boys’ Tennis took third place at the state tournament;
  • After winning the conference and section titles, the Girls’ Softball team took fourth place at state;
  • Three students competed in the state golf tournament last weekend;
  • Madison Ordner and Katharine Roeterin finished in the top 10 in their respective events at the state Girls’ Track meet; and
  • The Boys’ 4x800 relay team finished 11th at state.

The Osseo Orioles also finished with athletic accolades:

  • Phillis Webb ended her high school multi-sport career as state champ in the 200-meter dash, edging a two-time winner from Hopkins; Webb also took fourth in the 100-meter dash; and
  • The Boys’ 4x200 relay team took second place at the state track meet.

Twelve Maple Grove Senior High students in Ms. Kuhar’s College and Career Readiness class were paired with mentors from the Financial Planning Association of Minnesota for several weeks this spring through the non-profit organization, BestPrep. Students and mentors shared perspectives on financial literacy via email, then met in person for a Q&A session and school tour.

Osseo Senior High alumnus and current University of Minnesota junior Tom Windle has been drafted to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft. The draft pick was announced by baseball great, Tommy Lasorda.

Twenty Osseo Senior High seniors were recognized at an end-of-year event that celebrated their combined $4 million in offered scholarship awards.

Oak View sixth-graders Alexis Harcey, Daniel Dymanyk, Donovan Mack, and McKenna Haen were among more than 100 students from central Minnesota selected to participate in the Minnesota Band Directors Association’s beginning year honor band. The students were under the direction of Oak View band instructor, Mrs. Ruohoniemi, this year.

Representative Erik Paulsen awarded the grand prize in this year’s Third District Congressional Art Competition to Park Center senior, Virginia Yang. Virginia will travel to Washington, D.C. to see her winning artwork “See it with your Eyes” put on display for the millions of people who visit the nation’s Capitol each year.

Jason Fotso, a junior at Maple Grove Senior High, is one of four winners in the United States who will be featured in the National Forensic League’s Spoken Word Poetry competition. He received a $500 college scholarship and will perform his original poem, “Speak,” before an audience of thousands at the national league tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. Seven other Maple Grove students also qualified for nationals. This is just only the third year that Maple Grove has offered speech and debate, and the second consecutive year that students have qualified for nationals.

Senior Chris Madsen has earned the Hobey Baker High School Character Award for Park Center Senior High. The award is given to each participating high school’s player who most exemplifies the values and traits of Hobey Baker himself: character, commitment, teamwork, persistence, selflessness, academic excellence, and sportsmanship.

6 Park Center Senior High athletes are competing at the state track and field meet at Hamline University this weekend; they’ll compete in the triple jump, discus, 4x100 relay, and 100 meter.

Recent Maple Grove Senior High sports highlights include:

  • The Boys’ Tennis team is competing at state, and three of its members will compete in either the singles or doubles portion of the tournament;
  • The Girls’ Softball team won sections and qualified for state;
  • The Girls’ Golf team took second in sections, and Jillian Klasen qualified as an individual for the state Girls’ Golf tournament;
  • David Corazalla was named All-American and is a finalist for Mr. Lacrosse for the state;
  • The Boys’ Golf team won the Northwest Suburban Conference Championship and two members qualified for state;
  • And finally, Maple Grove Senior High earned the Northwest Suburban Conference Norwick Cup, an all-sports trophy awarded to the school that accumulates the most points over the course of the school year. This is the fourth time Maple Grove has won this award.

Tyler Wiens, a fifth-grader at Rush Creek Elementary, earned national recognition in the Continental Math League competition. Tyler achieved a perfect score on every meet and was the only student in the district to earn this award. Tyler is pictured here with his teacher, Brent Esselman and district Gifted and Talented coordinator Beth Carpenter.

Maple Grove Senior High students performed for nearly 3,000 people at the Orpheum Theatre as part of the Hennepin Theatre Trust's Spotlight Program. An amazing 4-minute medley from their award-winning fall musical has been posted on the district’s Facebook page, and viewers of the video will understand why the Maple Grove students earned recognition for "Outstanding Overall Production."

One of the students in that production, Trevor Bunce, made it to the Top 12 in the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s “Triple Threat Award,” which recognizes students who can sing, dance, and act. Trevor will pursue his Broadway dreams at New York University’s Tisch School next fall.

Two District 279 athletes have earned special state-level recognition. Maple Grove’s Abby Bunnell was named a finalist for the 2013 Play Ball Minnesota Ms. Softball Award, and will be honored at a June banquet sponsored by the Minnesota Twins. Park Center recently held a reception to honor senior Quinton Hooker for being named Minnesota Mr. Basketball, an honor that was previously won by Basketball Hall of Famer and current Houston Rockets coach, Kevin McHale.

May 2013

Aniket Ketkar, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High, has earned a $2500 National Merit Scholarship. He is one of 2,500 National Merit Finalists nationwide who were judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

More than 200 Park Center Senior High students are finishing nearly 400 International Baccalaureate exams this week. Each exam includes up to 3 separate tests, the longest of which can take 4 ½ hours. The Brooklyn Park Armory provided a quiet, bell-free environment for testing.

Laura Siepmann, a senior at Osseo Senior High, was recently named a KARE-11 Academic All-Star and a Twelve News Standout Student. Both features highlighted her academic achievements and the outstanding training she has received in the Opportunities for Emergency Care program.

Nearly 100 adults celebrated their completion of six weeks of classes offered by the FIRE program this spring. FIRE, which stands for Families Inspired to Reach for Excellence, empowers parents to be actively involved in their child’s education. Classes were offered in Spanish, Hmong and English, and the program concluded with a graduation celebration last week.

Park Center Senior High athletes Treyton Daniels, Marcus Sumo and Jake Tanner have each signed national letters of intent to play collegiate sports. Daniels will play basketball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and Sumo and Tanner will both play football at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Park Center junior Andrew Chan carded an even par 72 to become the top medalist during the conference boys’ golf tournament.

The Maple Grove Senior High Math Team was one of 43 teams given honorable mention at a national competition. Advisor Tim Gove noted that more than 1,000 teams competed, so to be recognized at that level is a fantastic achievement. The team consisted of Aniket Ketkar, Harshil Chahal, Kelly Gu, Anna Mirkin, and Sean McKenna.

The Maple Grove Senior High girls’ softball team won the Northwest Suburban Conference Championship,

Oak View FERMI math students recently took third place out of 37 teams who were competing in a metro area contest. FERMI math is a high-level creative problem solving program for fifth- through seventh-graders.

Fredrick Williams, a seventh-grader at Brooklyn Junior High, earned third place in the state in a Minnesota Elks competition for his essay about the national anthem. Fredrick said the national anthem is "for everyone, whether you are an immigrant or were born here. As long as you come to make a life for yourself, the Star Spangled Banner represents you."

The winter guard at Park Center Senior High took first place in the North Star Circuit Championship show, marking the second consecutive year Park Center’s team has won the championship.

Members of Birch Grove School for the Arts troupes performed for nearly 300 guests at the school’s annual Spotlight on the Arts event. Troupes include Media Arts, Visual Arts, Drama, Dance, and Show Choir.

A Fernbrook Elementary Destination Imagination team was named State Champion in its division, which qualifies the team to compete at the Destination Imagination Global Finals at the University of Tennessee in late June. Coaches Tim Klein and Pam Klein will chaperone the students to the event, which is the largest creative thinking and problem solving competition in the world.

Maple Grove Senior High junior Jason Fotso became the school’s first state speech contest medalist, turning in “an amazing performance” that took second place in the final round of the creative expression category.

Basswood Elementary fifth-grader Josh Miller experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet business leader Warren Buffett as part of GENYOUth Foundation’s AdVenture Capital grant program. Miller earned the visit by submitting a winning entrepreneurial idea for giving his schoolmates greater access to healthier food and physical activity. Basswood Elementary will receive $4,000 to implement Miller’s “Motivational Mondays,” a 30-minute weekly exercise program. 

The junior and senior-level Model United Nations teams coached by North View Junior High humanities teacher, Nancy Ziemer, brought home several awards from state-level competitions this spring. Four North View students earned top honors in Best Position Paper and Best Delegation (World Health Organization), continuing North View’s record of wins in each of the last six years of competition. At the senior level, four students were tops in their respective categories: Lacy Myrman & Jolene Rotich from Park Center Senior High took Best Delegation (Security Council), while Park Center’s Adi Pidaparti and Maple Grove’s Anthony Bogachev took Best Delegation (World Health Organization).

The 2012 Oriole, Osseo Senior High’s yearbook, was chosen as a national sample of excellence in yearbook journalism by Balfour Publishing. The 2012 issue was also awarded an Honorable Mention and was listed among Balfour’s top 12% of yearbooks, earning a spot in Balfour’s collection of the best yearbook designs and photography. 

Maple Grove Junior High seventh-grader, Lucas Jackson, earned first place at this year’s St. Cloud State University Mathematics Contest. The annual contest invites talented math students from across Minnesota to compete on an individual test. 

The Park Center Senior High Symphony Orchestra earned a Superior Rating at the Minnesota State High School League Region 5AA Large Group Contest in early April.

April 2013

Park Center Senior High player Quinton Hooker was named 2013 Mr. Basketball Minnesota. He was also named the Star Tribune All-Metro selection and helped lead the Pirates to their second place finish at the Class 4A state tournament last month.

Seven Osseo Senior High art students were awarded Minnesota State High School League Superior medals in visual arts. The artists displayed their pieces in the annual State Art Show at the Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Woodland Elementary 5th grader Nahili Abdulahi earned a perfect score of 20 in the WordMasters Challenge Meet #2. Nationally, only 75 fifth-graders achieved perfect scores. The WordMasters Challenge is a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually.

The Maple Grove Senior High Varsity Mock Trial team wrapped up its season by placing 6th in the State Tournament. The team had an undefeated regular season and claimed the Region 10 Championship. Special honors went to Shikha Raval and Vivian Nguyen who were All-State selections.

Osseo Area Schools elementary students had a successful Fermi Off-the-wall Math League competition year. The Rice Lake Elementary team, the Fermi Fractals, won the International division, receiving the coveted Fermi medal. The Rush Creek Elementary 6th grade team took first and second place in the national Fermi division.

The Maple Grove Senior High Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team was chosen as a top regional team and is moving forward to the national competition. More than 1,000 teams submitted research papers to the regional judges and only 175 teams were chosen to continue to nationals.

Five Park Center Senior High students were awarded Wallin Education Partnership scholarships: Sheila Iteghete, Katrina Le, Jake Olson, Jolene Rotich and Christin Vang. They will receive $4,000 for each of their 4 years of college. The Wallin Education Partnership awards scholarships to students who have challenged themselves academically in college preparatory courses, who have demonstrated leadership, and who have shown a commitment to service. 

Four Maple Grove Senior High Dance Team Captains were highlighted in the April issue of Maple Grove Magazine. An article about these dancing athletes examines their athletic ability and competitive spirit, which has earned their team top honors in state competitions in each of the past five years.

March 2013

Fourteen teams from Fernbrook Elementary, Maple Grove Jr. High and Osseo Jr. High competed in the regional Destination Imagination competition. Five teams placed at regionals and will advance to the state competition. Destination Imagination is an academic program in which students solve open-ended challenges and learn collaboration, conflict resolution and critical thinking.

Park Center Senior High’s Megan Muehlberg has been crowned Miss Teen Minnesota International. Megan is also the Teen Spokesperson for the National Coalition of Auditory Processing Disorders, and she will use her platform as Miss Teen Minnesota to increase awareness of the disorder.

The Maple Grove Senior High Engineering Club finished third out of 51 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota at the First Robotics Competition. They are on their way to qualifying for the state robotics competition.

The Park Center Senior High boys’ basketball team finished its regular season as section champions, qualifying for the state tournament for the first time since 1997. They'll compete on March 20 against Lakeville North. This week, two local TV stations, 12 News and KSTP, highlighted several team members in video features; you can watch those stories on the school district's Facebook page.

Two Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts students, Kenji Vang and Andrea Tribble, won honorable mentions at the District Art Show. Their winning pieces will soon be on display at the Educational Service Center.

North View Junior High students Shena Vang and Prarabdha Yonzon took first place at the regional History Day competition.  Their performance, Ida Tarbell vs. John Rockefeller, will be moving on to the state History Day competition.

The Osseo Junior High MATHCOUNTS team placed fourth at the regional competition. MATHCOUNTS is a nationwide program for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, aimed at increasing student interest and expertise in math.

The Maple Grove Senior High Speech and Debate team has been named the overall champion at the Northern Lights District competition. Sean McKenna placed 2nd in his category, qualifying him to compete in the national competition this summer. Sasha Shilko was named Northern Lights Student of the Year.

The Osseo Senior High girls’ basketball team finished its exciting season as Section 5 champions. They progressed all the way to the semi-finals at the state tournament.

Two students from Brooklyn Junior High won honors in the Minneapolis Elks Essay competition for their essays on the theme The choice 4 me is drug-free! Alexis Master earned second place and Yayoua Yang took first. Both of their essays will advance to the state competition.

Maple Grove Junior High student Tora Husar has won the school’s National Geographic Bee and is now qualified to compete at the statewide Geo Bee. The contest is designed to spark student interest in geography. 

Maple Grove Senior High wrestler Brad Osatiuk took 2nd place in the 106 lbs. division at the state wrestling individual tournament in Class AAA.

The Park Center Senior High boys’ basketball team finished in first place in the Northwest Suburban Conference, earning them the title of Conference Champions.

The Osseo Senior High Opportunities in Emergency Care team took first place among 28 teams in the Emergency Care state competition. They will now have the opportunity to defend their title at the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association Championship in June. 

Our school district will have two participants in the 6AAA Senior Hockey Classic this year. Park Center Senior High hockey player Lauren Torborg is one of the state’s top 136 hockey players who will play in the tournament, and coach Aubri Lindberg will coach the 6AAA team.

The Osseo Junior High 9th grade math team finished in first place in the Minnesota Junior High Math League state competition, and seven team members placed within the Top Ten in the individual competition. 

Woodland Elementary’s new Future Problem Solving team has been selected for a Novice Team spot in the state Future Problem Solving competition this year; three students also earned individual spots. Future Problem Solving stimulates critical and creative thinking skills and prepares students for leadership roles.

Osseo Senior High student Kaley Shagen has been selected as the Region 5AA female nominee for the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple A award. Triple A students are seniors who excel in athletics, academics and arts. Each region selects one male and one female to compete at the state level for up to $4,000 in scholarships. 

Basketball player Phillis Webb has been chosen by Osseo Senior High coaching staff as the school’s 2013 Athena Award recipient. The Athena Award is given annually to the most outstanding female athlete. 

Garden City Elementary fifth-grader Blessed Thomas had her letter, “A Glimpse of Garden City Elementary,” published in the Brooklyn Park Sun Post. She wrote the letter as part of a writer’s workshop focusing on opinion pieces and essays.

The Osseo Senior High Nordic Skiers reached the gold standard for academics this season, with a 3.88 average GPA for the boys, and 3.9 for the girls.

Park Center Senior High senior Augie Wodrich scored his 100th goal to become a member of Adapted Floor Hockey’s 100-Goal Club. He is only the 3rd player in the history of the district’s CI-Adapted Athletics program to score 100 goals in both floor hockey and adapted soccer.

February 2013

Three seniors at Maple Grove Senior High, Sean P. McKenna, Martha L. Waterfield and Aniket A. Ketkar have been named Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Finalists are eligible for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $34 million.

The Maple Grove Senior High dance team took the Class 3A state title in jazz at February’s competition at Target Center. Points were awarded for jazz skills, execution, choreography, difficulty, and routine effectiveness.

Maple Grove Senior High student Alexandra Shilko has been selected as one of two student delegates from Minnesota for the Annual United States Senate Youth Program, which will be held in Washington DC in March. As a delegate, Alexandra also received a $5,000 college scholarship.

Maple Grove Senior High basketball player Angie Davison was selected to play in the Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Tournament in April. Her coaches nominated her based on her outstanding stats and team contribution; a committee of section representatives and all-star coaches then selected her for the honor.

Park Center Senior High junior Sarah Aladetan is one of only 35 students in the nation to win the 2013 National Center for Women & Information Technology's Aspirations in Computing Award. Recipients are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. 

Brycen Wojta recently set Maple Grove Senior High's career scoring record. The senior point guard broke the previous record of 1,203 points when he scored 11 points against Champlin Park. The four-year varsity basketball player continues to increase his record as he finishes out the season.

After a memorable season, three Osseo Senior High football players signed letters of intent on national signing day: Rakeem Felder, with Southwest State; Bridge Tusler, with South Dakota State; and Tyler Sims with Winona State. Jake Weineke, from Maple Grove Senior High, also signed with South Dakota State University. And Park Center Senior High’s Rufus Saylee signed with Bemidji State University.

Maple Grove Senior High's Varsity Non-Tumbling Cheer team took first place in their division at the UCA Spirit of America Championship. They will be competing at nationals in Orlando, Florida later this month.

Maple Grove Junior High School student Blake Iverson is the school’s 2013 Geographic Bee Champion. Blake will now take a qualifying test in order to participate in the state bee.

Twenty Park Center Senior High Nordic skiers completed the 26-kilometer Pre-Birkie ski race in Hayward, Wisconsin this month. The team has been ending their ski season with this race for 30 years. Several Park Center skiers took home age-group awards.

January 2013

Two Osseo Senior High art students, Staci Montanez and Sarah Todey, have been awarded Gold Key recognition by the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards. Areana Villagomez received a Silver Key award, and 6 additional students were given honorable mentions.

The Maple Grove Senior High dance team is the Northwest Suburban Conference Overall Champion for the 10th time, winning the Varsity Jazz, Varsity Kick and JV Jazz disciplines. They now advance to sections competition February 2, hoping to advance to the state championships.

The Osseo boys’ hockey team played in its annual scrimmage with the CI-Adapted Floor Hockey team. It was a great way for players to connect with each other and to build community within the school.

The Maple Grove Senior High debate team won the Section 4 debate title. Team members Aldrin Clement and Aditya Parikh moved forward to compete at the state competition.

The 2013 Central Minnesota Band Directors Association Honor Band inductees from Maple Grove Senior High School are: Madeline Schwartz, Colleen McCuskey and Kayla Barry. The students performed in an ensemble at the 2013 Central Region Honor Band Concert.

Eleven students from Maple Grove Senior High were named 2013 All Conference Band members. They will be part of a select ensemble that will perform at the 2013 Northwest Suburban Conference Honors Concert.

Osseo Senior High basketball players Janay Morton and Phillis Webb recently surpassed the career 1,000-point threshold and were honored prior to a home game in January. Osseo girls’ basketball coach John Rieser said, “It really has been an honor and a privilege to work with them.”

Eight seniors from Park Center Senior High and Osseo Senior High attended the International Model United Nations conference in Chicago. The students were chosen for their superior academic achievement, commitment to international affairs, and previous experience with the Model United Nations program.

The Park Center Senior High girls’ basketball team took first place in the Alexandria Holiday Basketball Tournament over winter break.

The North Metro Stars girls’ varsity hockey team won the White Division of the Schwan Cup Holiday Hockey Tournament, and the JV team took second place.

Park Center Senior High basketball player Cayla McMorris reached her 1,000th career point in December. The team’s current all-time leading scorer, 2007 graduate Jamie Zelinsky, presented Cayla with the game ball on Alumni Night.

The cast and crew of the Maple Grove Senior High fall musical have been awarded 12SpotLight Musical Theatre Program honors in a variety of categories, including Outstanding Overall Performance. SpotLight is the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s educational initiative supporting high school musical programs throughout the state.

Park Center seniors Danielle Korby and Joseph Melby have been named the school’s Triple “A” Award winners. Sponsored by the MN State High School League, the award recognizes seniors who excel in the arts, athletics and academics.

Park Center Senior High’s Angelique Daley has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious Coca-Cola Foundation scholarship program. She is also being recognized for her academic, artistic and community achievements as the Channel 12 Standout Student.

December 2012

Park Center Senior High student Ben Hinrichs is the winner of the Scholastic News and Networking Participation Contest. The contest encourages students to use their French language skills by reading about and discussing current events in French with fellow students around the world.

The Maple Grove Senior High Debaters were victorious at the Northern Lights National Forensic League Qualifying Tournament, winning the top overall debate team award and top overall congress team award.

On December 12th, the Star Student Awards Breakfast, sponsored by the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce, was held at North Hennepin Community College. Thirty-eight Osseo Area Schools students, representing all of our four high schools, were recognized for their outstanding achievements in the following areas: Career Advancement, Employment and Volunteerism.

The Associated Press has named Bridgeport Tusler, Osseo Senior High 12th grader, the 2012 Minnesota Player of the Year for high school football. In addition, Tusler was named the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year.

The Maple Grove girls’ swim and dive team won the Section 8AA Championship for the sixth consecutive year. Sophomore swimmer Erin Buck earned her 4th all-state honor, and senior diver Lexi Tenenbaum set a new record in the 1-meter diving competition. Tenenbaum went on to take the state championship.

As a runner up in a Star Tribune essay contest, Birch Grove student Amya Moore earned a $100 savings bond and had her essay published in the Star Tribune.

Park Center Senior High’s Patrick Truly Jr. has been named All-State in Minnesota High School Bowling. In volleyball, Park Center’s team celebrated a successful season, taking first place at two tournaments.

Osseo Senior High basketball players Janay Morton and Phillis Webb have been teammates since fifth grade and will soon have another four years to play together, having both just signed with Eastern Michigan University.

Maple Grove Senior High’s Tegan LeBarge and Kayla Crane were named to the Northwest Suburban All-Conference volleyball team. Senior Erin Engel received honorable mention. 

The Maple Grove girls’ soccer team won the Northwest Suburban Conference championship and received numerous awards, including the Team Academic Gold Award with an average team GPA above 3.75.

The Park Center CI adapted soccer team finished the season at the top of the North Conference with a perfect 10-0 record. They earned a spot at the state tournament, and senior Augie Wodrich scored his 100th career goal, earning his inclusion in the 100-Goal Club.

November 2012

Four Maple Grove Senior High cross-country runners, Tia Johnson, Sean Heaton, Mitchell Dickerson and Ryan Graham, competed in the Minnesota state tournament on November 3 at Saint Olaf College.

In her role as Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador, Kylie Kasprick, a sixth grader at Elm Creek Elementary, was featured on the Fox 9 morning show twice this month. She interviewed Vikings Coach Frazier and demonstrated a recipe she learned at the Learning Connection Summit in Washington DC. Fuel Up to Play 60 is a national in-school nutrition and physical activity program that encourages youth to lead healthier lives.

The Maple Grove Senior High girls’ swimming and diving team took first place at the True Team Sections. The Crimson won the section with a total of 1,190 points.

Maple Grove Senior High student, Marissa Lister, was named a Channel 12 Standout Student. Marissa has been the football team’s manager for 4 years, she is a two-time track team captain who qualified for state last spring, and she has maintained a 3.8 G.P.A.

October 2012

Two seniors at ACHIEVE, one of our special education sites, took first and second place in Blaine’s World Festival essay contest. They wrote essays centered on the question "Why is Diversity Important to Our Community?"

Lillian Chen, Maple Grove Junior High 8th grader, has won a Minnesota State Fair blue ribbon for her artwork every year since 2008. This year she took a blue ribbon for a pencil drawing of a tiger, and second place ribbons for an additional pencil drawing and a pastel painting.

Adrian Eiken and Linda Sonkarlay were featured in Maple Grove magazine this month for their participation in Osseo Senior High’s ProStart program, which offers culinary training and paid internships so valuable that students are likely to walk out of the classroom and straight into a coveted restaurant position.

Congratulations to Maple Grove Senior High student Shantal Nyabwari, and Osseo Senior High student Tunmise Fawole who were named Outstanding Participants in the 2013 National Achievement Scholarship Program.

Three seniors at Maple Grove Senior High, Aniket A. Ketkar, Sean P. McKenna and Martha L. Waterfield, have been named Semifinalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program. The seniors are three of approximately 16,000 students from across the country named as semifinalists, according to the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Park Brook Elementary sixth grade student Elijah Barlue recently had an original poem titled My Sorrow published in a book of poetry titled A Celebration of Poets.  Elijah wrote the poem during a poetry residency sponsored by the District 279 Foundation.

Park Center Senior High cross-country runner Kate Simonet placed 25th out of 186 female runners at the Milaca Mega Cross Country meet on September 25th. Kate ran the varsity level 4,000-meter race in 15 minutes and 16 seconds.

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts is off to a dramatic start! This September they conducted more than 400 auditions for the school’s arts troupes. 140 troupe seats were available, offering students the opportunity to dance, act, sing and create.

Park Center Senior High’s soccer standout Francis Koroma was featured on the September 24th Sports Jam on news channel 12. He is the Pirates’ leading scorer this season with 12 goals and 10 assists.

September 2012

The Park Center Marching Band was awarded top honors in every category at the Summer Marching Band State Championships. This was the second year in a row that the band has been recognized as the best in the state. The band was also given awards for Best Colorguard, Best Drumline and Best Wind Instruments.

KSTP TV recently featured Charlie Raasch, a Maple Grove Senior High cross-country athlete who has been sidelined due to a summer diving accident. The story highlighted how his road to recovery has been an inspiration to his team. He's not able to participate in cross-country this fall, but he is able to walk and is serving as the manager of the team. Raasch hopes to recover in time to run track in the spring.

The Park Center Senior High boys soccer team is celebrating a winning start to their fall season. They are 6-0-2 and are currently ranked number 6 in the state.

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Contributing to Community

June 2013

Park Center Senior High’s Class of 2013 contributed to their community through a gift of new signage for the front of the school. Be sure to take a look the next time you drive down Brooklyn Boulevard.

The Park Center Boys’ Basketball team served as grand marshals for last Saturday’s TaterDaze parade in Brooklyn Park. High school students were able to meet team members at the Brooklyn Park Lions Tween/Teen Part Zone the night before. Both events were part of Brooklyn Park’s annual community celebration.

Sixth-grader Mariah Cohen was named winner of Oak View Elementary’s Field Day t-shirt design contest. The winning design was voted on by the student body, and the t-shirts were paid for by the Oak View PTO.

Fifth-graders at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts were chosen to perform plays about bullying as part of the Youth Performance Company. They performed for their classmates in late May.

North View Junior High students have been participating in a Safe Routes to School project, funded by a grant from Hennepin County Public Health with cooperation from the Minnesota Department of Health. The project focused on the importance of crossing at established crosswalks on 69th Avenue North in order to promote safety coming to and from school.

May 2013

The Osseo Lions Club recently presented a check for $1,000 to the District 279 Foundation to support the Classroom Grant program. The Osseo Lions Club has been a longtime Foundation partner supporting activities that enrich the lives of students and families in our community.

The 2013 Fernbrook Walk for the Cure helped students top the $100,000 mark in total donations raised for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. This year’s donations totaled nearly $12,000 and marked a four-year high in funds raised.

More than 20 volunteers recently descended on Basswood Elementary to paint the school’s cafeteria as part of “Every Kid Healthy Week” sponsored by Action for Healthy Kids and Fuel Up to Play 60. A grant supported the painting improvements and will allow the school to purchase equipment to increase activity at recess.

North View Junior High students recently provided the entertainment at a volunteer recognition luncheon sponsored by Community Emergency Assistance Programs, or CEAP. The student volunteers danced and sang for those attending the luncheon and received a warm response.

Maple Grove Junior High students have partnered all year with second-graders at Cedar Island in the Golden Tails and Tales program in which the junior high students write and publish stories, then read them to the second-graders. The project was funded by a District 279 Foundation grant and will continue next year.

Ashton Susouk Keomysy, a 3rd grader from Fernbrook Elementary, won 3rd  in the state for his entry in the School Bus Safety Poster Contest. Ashton’s poster followed the contest theme of “At My Stop – You Stop.”

March 2013

Park Center senior Aihomon Ebojie has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award. This award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. It was presented to Aihomon on behalf of President Barack Obama.

Birch Grove Elementary students raised more than $1,000 by collecting change for Pennies for Patients, a fundraising program of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Students in Park Center Senior High’s culinary arts program recently volunteered their service at a reception for legislators on Minnesota Hospitality and Tourism Day at the Minnesota History Center.

Five Elm Creek Elementary special education staff took a polar plunge into Fish Lake last month to raise funds for Special Olympics of Minnesota. Their winter swim raised more than $1,400 in donations.

February 2013

Fifth graders at Weaver Lake Elementary participated in "Read to Feed" last month. The students set a personal reading goal and solicited pledges from friends and family. They raised more than $1,200 for Heifer International.

Maple Grove Junior High students have been writing original stories to read to Cedar Island Elementary second graders as part of the Golden Tails & Tales program. Using the Storybird website, the junior high students will write more than 20 picture books this year, which will be donated to the Cedar Island Elementary library.

January 2013

North View Junior High partnered up with the Park Center Senior High athletes and cheerleaders to collect and distribute toys to more than 400 families through Toys for Tots. This was North View’s first year as a distribution site.

For a third year in a row, the Maple Grove Senior High basketball team made and delivered more than 30 baskets of holiday goodies for homeless families. The baskets included food, toys and winter clothing.

Every morning, Brooklyn Junior High 7th grade student Jordan Phommahaxay graciously opens the door for staff members as they get to school. Jordan shows his genuine dedication to contributing to his school community in this humble way, and the staff is grateful for a helping hand.

Students at Birch Grove Elementary surpassed their goal of 200 items in a DecemberToys For Tots drive by collecting 220 toys.

Rush Creek Elementary students recently participated in a food and toy drive for the C.R.O.S.S. food shelf, collecting more than 500 toys and 2,200 pounds of food.

The Opportunities in Emergency Care program at Osseo Senior High partnered with the Roseville Fire Angels to raise more than $1,500 to buy holiday presents for six metro families. More than 100 OEC students helped raise money to buy and wrap the gifts.

The Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts 3rd through 6th grade Show Choir Troupe recently performed at the Maranatha Nursing Home, where they led a sing-a-long for the residents and staff. At a lunch stop afterwards, they also performed for the customers at a local McDonalds.

December 2012

Oak View Elementary fifth-grader Alayna led a school supply drive for Students Connecting through International Service. Breaking the school’s previous record, she collected more than $2000 to buy school supplies for Mexican students. Later this year, Alayna and six other fifth grade representatives will travel with Rice Lake Elementary Principal Mark French and School Board Director Tammie Epley to Sonora, Mexico to deliver the school supplies.

Elm Creek Elementary students Michael Hamel, Laura Bethke and Laura Paine initiated a coin drive for Hurricane Sandy relief by collecting coins at school and during the annual Turkey BINGO event. They sent more than $300 to the American Red Cross.

Student from our three comprehensive high schools are volunteering this year for the new Afterschool Connections Project at Maple Grove Junior High. The project is an anti-bullying effort that aims to create positive and inclusive environments for students. Every other Wednesday, the high school volunteers send Maple Grove Junior High students home on a positive note by offering a smile and a simple goodbye. As student leaders, they are taking a stand against bullying by being positive role models and leading by example.

Students in Park Center High School’s ProStart culinary program showcased their skills at the Stars of the Future fundraiser in downtown Minneapolis. The students worked with guest chef Paul Lynch to prepare and serve dinner to more than 100 attendees.

Oak View Elementary 4th grader Emily Kashirsky took the grand prize in the Maple Grove Fire Department Poster Contest. Emily’s name and school were added to the traveling trophy, which the school will display for one year.

Maple Grove Junior High's Student Council collected more than 1,700 food items that were donated to C.R.O.S.S., a food shelf that serves families in our community.

Second grade students at Cedar Island Elementary collected pet supplies and more than $260 in donations for the Minnesota Animal Humane Society. The cash donations were matched on “Give to the Max” day, for a total upwards of $525.

Community member Bud Blanchette received a chef coat at the Basswood Elementary barbeque honoring his more than 10 years of volunteer service at Basswood. Even though he no longer has school-age children, Bud continues to lead Basswood’s family game night, grill for the school BBQ and help with daytime programs.

November 2012

North View Junior High participated as an official supporter of the Stomp Out Bullying Campaign on October 1st. Staff and students wore blue shirts and passed out blue wristbands promoting their new Twitter page, “North View Nice Knights Stomp Out Bullying.”

Students from Park Center Senior High’s Student Advisory Council volunteered at Brooklyn Center’s Annual Halloween Party. The student council members have been helping with the event for the last seven years.

The Osseo Senior High football team volunteered their services with fall clean up in and around Osseo Sunday, October 28. They raked and bagged leaves in Boerboom Park and for 11 residents who have a difficult time keeping up with fall chores; they filled over 400 bags of leaves by the end of the day.

Students and staff at Maple Grove Junior High took part in the Unite Against Bullying Day sponsored by the Pacer Center on October 10th. They wore orange to show that they will not tolerate bullying, they signed an anti-bullying pledge, and held discussions in their Connection classes.

Cross-country athletes from all three high schools volunteered for the Autumn Woods Classic at Elm Creek Park Reserve on October 13th.

October 2012

The Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center football programs raised more than $3,000 for this year’s Tackle Cancer program. KARE 11 anchor Randy Shaver has partnered with the Minnesota High School Football Coaches Association to have every team in the state host one “Tackle Cancer” night, and raise money for his research foundation.

The National Honor Society at Park Center Senior High sponsored a September Blood Drive. A total of 56 units of blood were collected, with the potential of helping more than 150 patients.

The Woodland Elementary community joined hands on October 8th to celebrate Unity Day, recognized nationwide for taking a stand against bullying.

Hoping to support families in their community, the Marxen family from Rush Creek Elementary organized a Root beer float Festival in their neighborhood to raise funds for the McKinney Vento program. Their donation will support homeless learners in Osseo Area schools.

The University of Minnesota Human Rights Center’s Partners in Closing the Gappublication recently featured Park Center Senior High’s Invisible Rights group. The student group focuses on child soldiers in Africa and other human rights issues.

Edinbrook Elementary kicked off this year’s WatchDOGS program on September 25 with a presentation from Brooklyn Park Police Chief Michael Davis. Fifty men, including dads and other significant friends and family, attended the kick-off. The Watch DOGS will volunteer to mentor students at Edinbrook by assisting in class, tutoring, playing at recess and more.

September 2012

Some of our Indian Education students recently became teachers to nearly 400 elementary students in the Winona Area Schools at an event created to present Minnesota Indian history through an indigenous cultural lens. The students shared information about traditional toys and games, and plains horses. They also displayed their own Osseo tipi.    

Last year at Elm Creek Elementary, two sixth-grade students, Sierra Ault and Katelyn Scherping, raised more than $900 to support the work of Feed My Starving Children, a Minnesota-based international relief organization that sends nutritious meals to more than 70 countries. Because of the girls' outstanding support, Feed My Starving Children selected Sierra and Katelyn to be featured donor-volunteers in a documentary being produced in conjunction with Twin Cities Public Television, which is slated to air early in 2013.

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Lifelong Learning

June 2013

Gavin Pelto, a Rush Creek sixth-grader, was recognized on the last day of school for having perfect attendance over his entire elementary career, kindergarten through sixth grade. Gavin never missed a day in seven years.

Two of our elementary schools, Palmer Lake and Park Brook, are among 18 Minnesota schools that will receive inaugural grants from the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. Only about half of the nation’s youth achieve the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily. The Presidential Youth Fitness Program will provide schools with resources and tools to help students develop and maintain a physically active and fit lifestyle.

Weaver Lake Elementary fourth-graders students took a late May field trip to Malmborg’s Garden Center to learn about running a garden business and to choose plants for the school’s butterfly garden. Prior to the field trip, students researched growing zones and sunlight conditions, then chose plants that, based on the students’ research, would best support butterflies. The research will continue in the fall when students cover the gardens with screen tents and release Monarch butterflies inside, then observe and tally which plants attract the most butterflies. According to Curriculum Integration Coordinator Karla Juetten, students will use their research to better guide future planting decisions, and the gardens and butterflies will be used for a digital photography unit next fall.

Five Maple Grove Senior High seniors have received Great River Energy scholarships that will help them pursue engineering degrees. Derek Bare, Rebecca Cohn, Erick Kivi, Mackenzie Lorence and Jake Palmer will use the scholarships to earn engineering degrees at their respective universities of St. John’s, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Concordia, Michigan Tech, and North Dakota State.

Weaver Lake Elementary celebrated the positive interactions that students have demonstrated all year by hosting “Pi Day.” When the goal of 600 Positive Interactions was reached, students were rewarded with an all-school assembly featuring Osseo Senior High senior Kevin Curwick, founder of OsseoNiceThings on Twitter. In addition, students donated proceeds from the school store to Feed My Starving Children and shared positive poems.

A little rain didn’t prevent Cedar Island Elementary from holding its 5th annual Vocabulary Parade, which celebrates words children have learned during the school year. Each student chose a favorite word and then found a creative way to display the word during the parade. More than 90% of Cedar Island parents usually attend the parade, held on the walking path outside the school.

North View Junior High celebrated Knight Pride Night.

  • The school’s highest achieving students earned a Presidential Award for either Outstanding Academic Excellence or Outstanding Academic Achievement.
  • Jolene Rotich, a North View alumna who is graduating from Park Center this year, received a $10,200 scholarship from the family and friends of former North View teacher Marty Schriner, who died in a tragic accident several years ago.
  • Alex Marihart and Jenna Bartunek received the Meenal Buchuwar scholarship for highest GPAs in 8th grade; and
  • Prarabdha Yonzon gave the closing speech that highlighted his growth because of caring, skilled teachers and staff.

Fernbrook Elementary celebrated its 25th anniversary with an open house featuring former leaders and staff and 25 years of memorabilia. There have been only three principals at the school in its 25 years of existence: Jim Hoogheem, Wendy Biallas-Odell, and current principal Jeremy Willey.

Osseo Senior High’s Project Lead the Way, an engineering program, acquired a 3D printer this spring. According to John Licciardi, Project Lead the Way teacher, the 3D printer will be used in the school’s engineering design class, allowing students to create functional prototypes and then see them come to life.

North View Junior High celebrated students’ hard work to improve their reading skills by holding a short recognition program followed by kickball and a grill-out.

May 2013

Cedar Island and Oak View elementary students learned more about the writing process through author visits. Author and illustrator Debra Frasier met with Cedar Island students to share her creative process. Oak View’s own 6th grade teacher Doug Greener and volunteer coordinator Stacey Hawkins described the process they follow, moving from inspiration to beginning notes and then to a published book.

The family literacy program coordinated by our district’s Adult Basic Education and Early Childhood Family Education programs allows children as young as two and a half to gain preschool experience while their parents learn English. Volunteers such as Board member Tammie Epley, shown in this photo, visit the classroom to read books, sing songs, and share other talents throughout the year, helping ensure that students are well prepared for kindergarten.

More than 100 Rice Lake Elementary students learned about bike safety on National Bike to School Day, a partnership between our school district, Safe Kids of Northwest Metro Minneapolis, and North Memorial Medical Center. According to Principal Mark French, students who ride bikes to school develop healthy habits and help reduce vehicle traffic in the school’s parking lot.

Kaley Shagen been named a Gates Millennium Scholar, marking the third consecutive year that an Osseo Senior High senior has earned the prestigious award. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program awards good-through-graduation college scholarships to 1,000 seniors out of a nationwide pool of 23,000 applicants. Shagen will attend Dartmouth College to study science.

Seven students from kindergarten and fourth grade at Zanewood Community School met one on one and spoke with Minnesota’s Revenue Commissioner and the mayors of Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, and Circle Pines. The students and government leaders talked about goal setting and achieving their dreams.

April 2013

Basswood Elementary welcomed local author Thomas Kingsley Troupe for a presentation on the process of writing and revising stories. He talked to students about how he discovered ideas for his more than 50 books, and encouraged them to never give up on their dreams.

Twenty students from Park Center Senior High attended the 6th Annual Latina Youth Education and Career Development Conference.  More than 500 high school students explored careers and post-secondary education opportunities. Iris Perez, Fox News reporter, was the keynote speaker.

5th grade students from Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts are participating in a theater partnership with Youth Performance Company and Edina’s South View Middle School. Students from both schools are working with Teaching Artist Ashley Hanson to collaboratively write, compose, choreograph and design a production that will be presented to their schools later this spring.

Park Center Senior High student and City of Brooklyn Park Youth Council member Mckenzie Freeze accepted an award on behalf of Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunde at Youth Day at the State Capitol. Members of the Youth Council also met with legislators, creating a connection with key decision-makers, and encouraging their legislators to work for legislation that will benefit youth.

March 2013

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts performed Willy Wonka Jr. for their friends and family, selling out all three performances. Over 70 students were involved in the production, both onstage and backstage.

In honor of I Love to Read Month, Elm Creek Elementary held a Master the Art of Reading celebration, inviting students who met their reading goals to have an American Gothic picture taken with Principal Jim Meyer and Library Media Specialist Sue Olson.

Student leaders at Maple Grove Senior High are sending a clear message to their classmates with their Friends, Fun & Free campaign: You don't need chemicals to have fun. The message is resonating with students at the school—participation in the Action for Reaction group has doubled since the launch of their campaign.

Garden City Elementary held an exciting inaugural Science Family Fun Night. Students and families experimented with electrical circuits, designed boats to float, learned about robots from Brooklyn Junior High students, and observed demonstrations presented by Boston Scientific volunteers.

Park Center Senior High business, marketing and information technology students participated in an e-mentoring program with Accenture, a global management consulting firm. Students and mentors discussed leadership, ethics, education and career experiences.

Seventeen seniors in Park Center Senior High’s IB Diploma Programme have completed their extended essay, an important step toward earning an IB Diploma. The IB Diploma Programme prepares students for success in the most selective colleges and universities. The students’ final papers will be evaluated by educators from all over the world.

Basswood Elementary featured a traveling exhibit about the Harlem Renaissance to celebrate Black History month. Many classrooms used the words of Langston Hughes and the art of Aaron Douglas to inspire writing projects throughout February.

Park Center Senior High business education students participated in the Discovering It conference sponsored by General Mills. The conference offered students an inside look at technology in business, with interactive sessions about IT architecture, project management and digital marketing.

Rush Creek Elementary second graders enjoyed a Skype visit with Dori Butler, author of The Buddy Files series. Butler advised students who dream of being writers to read and write A LOT.

February 2013

As part of a year-long and school-wide wellness initiative, Park Brook Elementary students have taken part in three winter wellness activities:  thirty-nine students joined in the Fun Run at the University of Minnesota; twenty-five students participated in The City of Lakes Loppet; and Princess Kay of the Milky Way visited the school to teach students about how food products make their way from the farm to our dining room tables.

Twelve Weaver Lake Elementary sixth-graders earned “Outstanding” awards for their projects at the University of Minnesota Insect Fair. The students completed research, created a poster and submitted an abstract for their winning projects.

In January, nearly 500 Maple Grove Senior High seniors took part in mock interviews with business professionals from our community, including Supt. Kate Maguire, other district administrators, and School Board members. These mock interviews have been a Maple Grove Senior High practice since the school opened in 1997.

A team of third grade students representing Rush Creek Elementary recently celebrated a third place finish in the WordMasters Challenge – a national language arts competition entered by approximately 250,000 students annually. The students took the WordMaster test individually; their top ten scores were submitted to the national competition for the third place finish.

In February, students from Osseo and Park Center Senior High Schools attended French Day at the Minnesota Zoo. This opportunity allowed students to learn more about the wildlife in the French-speaking regions of Quebec and the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which they have been studying in class.

January 2013

The Park Center English Department is offering a new philosophy club called the Socrates Café. It is an after-school forum to discuss life’s persistent and unanswered questions. This innovative club of learners will also help build community through staff and student dialog.

Basswood Elementary had a Radio Disney kick-off for their YumPower Challenge. Sponsored by Health Partners, Yum Power encourages students to track their fruit and vegetable consumption, with the chance to earn prizes at the end of each challenge week. 

Fair Oaks Elementary third-graders have been working with artist and volunteer Annie Anderson to create a school mural. The theme for the artwork is “Third Graders Cooperate.” Ms. Anderson and the student artists were acknowledged at an assembly in January.

Woodland Elementary sixth grader, Hayden Audette, is Woodland’s 5th Annual Spelling Bee champion. He is now eligible to take an online Spelling Bee exam, in hopes of moving on to the Regional Spelling Bee. Woodland’s Spelling Bee is part of the nationwide Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts presented its annual Troupes Winter Performance for family, friends and community members in December. The drama, dance, and show choir troupes all performed; visual arts troupe members displayed several of their pieces; and the media arts troupe arranged the production’s sound and lighting.

More than 50 Target Corporation volunteers brought cookies and candy to 5 of our elementary schools in December and spent an afternoon teaching student to make gingerbread houses. A kindergarten participant told a volunteer, "This is the best day of my whole life!"

In a lesson called Super-cooled Colloids, Park Center chemistry teachers, along with the school’s family and consumer science teacher, collaborated to make ice cream using liquid nitrogen, a mixer, and familiar dairy products. Students learned about the science of phase changes, energy and nutrition, and enjoyed the tasty results!

Storyteller Nothando Zulu told personal life stories, drawing upon her own rich heritage as a farm girl from Virginia, at Park Center Senior High in December. The performance is part of a U.S. history unit on personal storytelling. Participating students will create presentations to tell their own stories.

December 2012

Cedar Island Elementary second graders helped their kindergarten “Buddies” make gingerbread houses this month as part of a mentoring program. The students get together throughout the year to play math or reading games, do art activities, and to read stories. The Buddy program is beloved among the students as a memorable way to engage in lifelong learning.

Students from Palmer Lake, Elm Creek and Park Brook Elementary Schools attended a Vikings game as a reward for their outstanding achievement in the Fuel Up to Play 60program. A highlight was being able to run through the player tunnel into a cheering Metrodome. Fuel Up to Play 60 is a national in-school nutrition and physical activity program that encourages youth to lead healthier lives.

November 2012

Sixty-three Park Brook Elementary students completed their Boot Camp program by participating in the Twin Cities Kids’ 5K Marathon on October 6th. Now that the boot camp is complete, students have begun Morning Move, exercising before school three days a week.

October 2012

Multiple Grammy award-winning musician Béla Fleck visited Park Center Senior High on October 18th for a banjo performance and to speak with students. All Minnesota secondary students and their chaperones were invited to attend this free event.

Congratulations to Channel 12 Standout Student, Park Center senior Quinton Hooker. Quinton maintains a 3.7 GPA, takes college level classes at the University of Minnesota, tutors students at Brooklyn Junior High and is Team Captain for the basketball team. Quinton is also one of the outstanding students featured in our district’s advertising campaign.

Thirty-two technology education students from Maple Grove Junior High displayed their wood production projects, individually designed clocks, at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair. The clocks are on display here in the ESC building.

Last May, North View Junior High received a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant to complete a Media Center Makeover project. The makeover was completed over the summer and the new media center opened this fall.

Congratulations to Sean Payette who was named a Kare 11 Academic All-star this month. A Diploma Programme candidate in Park Center's International Baccalaureate program, Sean carries a 3.8 grade point average, is a member of the National Honor Society, captain of the Mock Trial team and a tuba player in the school band.

Park Brook Elementary is joining forces with Allina Health to help children develop a lifelong commitment to health through a $10,000 School Health Connection grant. The grant will support health and wellness activities and staff training, and a monthly consultation with an Allina physician, among other resources.

The Zanewood Walks Home Parade will help students at Zanewood Community School learn safe practices when walking to and from school each day. On October 3rd, Safety Patrols with banners and balloons will lead staff, volunteers and students throughout the neighborhood to practice safe walking techniques.

September 2012

Over the summer, 60 Rush Creek Elementary students logged a total of nearly 4,000 books in their summer reading challenge. One student alone read 200 books! The students came back excited to tell about how many books they read, and their parents commented that having a challenge was a great incentive for their child to read. 

Park Brook Elementary is offering an afterschool fitness boot camp with more than 100 students participating from all grades.  The students are learning about goals and dreams, how to set goals, and what it takes to accomplish them.  The students are collectively preparing to run the Medtronic Kids 5K Marathon on October 6. 

Results are out for last spring’s Knowledge Master competition in which a Fernbrook Elementary sixth grade team competed. Students answered 100 curriculum-based questions and competed against nearly 300 other teams from the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. Fernbrook’s team took an impressive 9th in the state and 85th overall.

Osseo Senior High recently recognized 44 students in the senior class who scored a 30 or higher on one or more sections of the ACT exam. This is the first year that staff is tracking and celebrating the OSH "30 Club."

Yesterday, a Tornado Intercept Vehicle came to Weaver Lake, our elementary STEM magnet school, in a visit sponsored by the Minnesota Science Museum. The Tornado Intercept Vehicle was featured in the new film Tornado Alley. Discovery Channel’s Brandon Ivey gave a presentation about the vehicle and the Weaver Lake students had the opportunity to ask questions and get a first hand look.


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Mission-Driven Employees

June 2013

Over a six-week period this spring, nearly 300 district employees walked more than 83 million steps in the “Walk to Key West Challenge” which encouraged participants to make lifestyle changes to be more active.

Eleven staff members joined the Oak View Elementary band for an end-of-the-year concert, playing for the final song, "Let's Go Band." It was an excellent example of how our mission-driven employees are lifelong learners.

May 2013

Leaders at two of our elementary schools recently offered academic and behavior motivational challenges to their students. At Basswood Elementary, Principal Patrick Smith kept his promise to sleep on the school roof if students improved state test scores. At Crest View, students demonstrated so many respectful behaviors that they earned a Crazy Hair Day, and even school leaders got involved.

Ingrid Miera has been named Educational Support Professional of the Year by Education Minnesota-Osseo. Miera was recognized for her professional practice, member advocacy and union involvement, community engagement, personal achievement, and enhancement of the ESP image.

Woodland Elementary students want you to know that May 3 was School Lunch Superhero Day. Students celebrated by writing more than 1,000 notes of appreciation to their school’s lunch superheroes, and the notes covered an entire wall of the cafeteria. Our system’s food service employees play a critical role in building positive relationships that support an effective learning environment.

More than 20 Educational Support Professionals hosted the first annual Final Goal Achievement Fair, where they shared their professional goals for the year. The informational displays provided outstanding examples of how every day, ESPs are contributing to our mission and helping students learn every day.

Osseo Area Schools is the only school district in the state to be recognized at the 2013 Minnesota Safety & Health Conference for earning the Governor’s Safety Award for Outstanding Achievement. This is the fourth consecutive year that the district has received an award for its exceptional safety performance, and the first time it has earned the award for Outstanding Achievement.

April 2013

Park Center Pirates Coach Bo Powell and Assistant Coach Kelvin Polite have been honored for their successful boys’ basketball season. Powell was named Class 4AAAA State Coach of the Year, Section 5AAAA Coach of the Year and Northwest Suburban Conference Coach of the Year. Polite was named Section 5AAAA Assistant Coach of the Year.

Deb Hiestand, physical education teacher at Woodland Elementary, was invited for the 5th year in a row to referee at the girls’ state basketball tournament.  This year she participated in quarterfinal and championship games.

Community Education Coordinator Carrie Larson received the Presidents’ Community Partner Award at the Minnesota Campus Compact Summit. The award was presented to her on behalf of our entire volunteer coordination team, recognizing their valuable work finding placements for North Hennepin Community College student volunteers throughout our schools.

March 2013

Both of our elementary magnet schools have earned national honors from Magnet Schools of America. Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math & Technology School has been named a National Magnet School of Excellence, and Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts is a National Magnet School of Distinction. 

Maple Grove Senior High teacher Connie Pearson has been given the North Dakota State University Education Award. She is one of seven awardees to receive a $1,000 textbook scholarship to give to a Maple Grove student attending NDSU next year.

February 2013

Maple Grove Senior High teacher Todd Martin has been nominated for Teacher of the Year, an Education Minnesota award. Todd was nominated for his student-centered approach to biology, which has “transformed how students think and feel about their learning.” The 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 5.

January 2013

Cedar Island Elementary third grade teacher Christine Johnson was named the KS95 Teacher of the Week. She received an engraved plaque and she will participate in a dinner at the end of the school year, where one teacher's name will be drawn to win $1,000 cash for him or herself and $1,000 for the teacher’s school.

Maple Grove Senior High’s varsity football coach, Matt Lombardi, and the successful 2012 Crimson team have been recognized by the Minnesota Vikings. Lombardi was named Minnesota Vikings/WCCO-TV Coach of the Week, and the team received a $1000 donation.

December 2012

Three Edinbrook staff members have received grants from the Walmart Foundation that will increase student access to technology for learning. Media specialist Dawn French and 4th grade teacher Jeremy Lewis received $2500 to purchase 6 iPad minis, apps, and accessories. Physical education teacher Ann Kozarek received a $1,000 grant that will be used to buy iPads for use in physical education.

The staff and volunteers at the Osseo Area Learning Center have opened the Osseo Area Learning Center Food and Clothing Closet, a resource that will supply easy-to-make meals and winter clothing for OALC students, some of whom are parents of young children.

Roberta Farrell (Osseo Senior High) and Jeremy Lewis (Edinbrook Elementary) were recognized as TIES Exceptional Teachers at the TIES 2012 Education Technology Conference on December 11. The award recognizes teachers who model the best practices in their classroom and engage students in learning.

The National Forensic League has recognized Maple Grove Senior High debate team coach Heather Fairbanks with a Diamond Award in recognition of a professional career that combines excellence and longevity.

Holly Thompson, licensed media specialist at Crest View Elementary, has received a $35,000 federal grant for “iRead at Crest View.” The grant will fund 64 iPads, equipment and staff training. Thompson also received grants from the District 279 Foundation to purchase non-fiction iBooks and to fund staff development.

November 2012

To celebrate Principals Month, Rice Lake Elementary Principal Mark French invited two special guests to serve as “Principal for the Day.”  Maple Grove Police Chief David Jess and WCCO News Anchor Jason DeRusha spent a day welcoming students, visiting classrooms, reading to students and recognizing positive student contributions.

Congratulations to Ben LeVahn, Maple Grove Senior High girls soccer coach, who has been named both Section Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year.

The administration at North View Junior High participated in a Cannon Ball contest this month to recognize student progress in swimming, a key life skill for youth. Gym students who had shown top participation and the most progress during their swimming classes got to judge the contest, which included an entry by their own principal, John Groenke.

October 2012

Zanewood Community School teacher Cindy Wheeler was Osseo Area Schools’ third teacher selected by and OfficeMax to receive a surprise visit through a nationwide event called “A Day Made Better.” A team of OfficeMax representatives came to her classroom with supplies and resources worth more than $1,000.

Twenty teachers at Garden City Elementary won the Maple Grove Sam’s Club Outstanding Teachers award. They were surprised at their October 2nd staff meeting by a store representative who presented each of them with a $50 gift certificate.

Congratulations to Rice Lake Elementary teacher Kathleen Kennedy who ran in, and completed, the Chicago Marathon this month. KathIeen feels strongly that teachers all must do something that is challenging for them because it gives them a clearer perspective on what students experience every day when they are learning new things.

Business Services Director Kelly Benusa recently presented at the Association of School Business Officials annual meeting, sharing our system’s success in earning the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (known to our board members as the CAFR) for more than 20 consecutive years. Earning the CAFR promotes credibility, confidence, savings, transparency, recognition and feedback for continuous improvement. Benusa is a Certified Administrator of School Finance, a title earned by only 140 school finance professionals in the nation.

Kori Brown, art teacher at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, has been recognized by Artsonia, the world’s largest online kid’s art museum, for outstanding leadership in the area of arts education. The award also recognizes significant achievement in the area of technology integration within the school arts program. 

Park Brook teacher Wendy Bares and Birch Grove teacher Kacee Barrett were selected by and OfficeMax to receive a surprise visit through a nationwide event called “A Day Made Better.” Just this morning, a team of OfficeMax representatives came to their respective schools to surprise each of them with classroom supplies and resources worth more than $1,000.

September 2012

Title I staff at Crest View, Fair Oaks, Garden City, Park Brook and Zanewood received training in late August with expert Eric Jensen to learn about brain research, achievement factors and best practices in teaching children who live in poverty.

Edinbrook second grade teacher Susan Carstens and media specialist Dawn French received a Target grant for their "eReaders for Early Learners" project. The focus of the project is on improving engagement for young readers by increasing mobile technology used in the classroom. The grant dollars will support the purchase of eReaders and eBooks.