Lucas StakerBetsy EernisseBetsy Eernisse, second-grade teacher at Fernbrook Elementary, and Lucas Staker, fifth-grade teacher at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, are among 168 educators statewide to be nominated for the 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.

In the weeks ahead, a 25-member panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists. The 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 5 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Now in its 55th year, the Minnesota Teacher of the Year program is organized and underwritten by Education Minnesota and receives support from several other organizations and businesses.

Candidates for 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and Adult Basic Education teachers at public and private schools statewide.


Betsy Eernisse (Fernbrook) and Lucas Staker (Birch Grove).

students drumming at Freedom SchoolsThis summer, Osseo Area Schools will once again host CDF Freedom Schools® programming at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts and Garden City Elementary.

An initiative of the Children’s Defense Fund, Freedom Schools provides summer enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. In addition to focusing on literacy enrichment, students attending Freedom Schools will participate in STEM activities and cultural learning through field trips and in-school experiences.

To be eligible for Freedom Schools, children must:

  • Be in kindergarten through seventh-grade during the 2018-2019 school year, and
  • Currently attend an elementary or middle school in Osseo Area Schools

The summer 2019 program runs from Monday, June 17 to Thursday, July 25 at Birch Grove and Garden City. Parents/guardians are responsible for their child’s transportation to and from the program, which is held weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Note: Freedom Schools will not be held on July 4-5.)

Space is limited; families are encouraged to register their child(ren) as soon as possible before the April 12, 2019, deadline.

Apply to Freedom Schools at Birch Grove Elementary   |   Apply to Freedom Schools at Garden City Elementary

View the program brochure

Update (Feb. 28, 2019): Freedom Schools spaces have been filled at Birch Grove; add your child to the wait list.