Hawthorne Happenings - April

From the desk of Mr. Mahal

Dates to remember…

April 7 - No School

April 10 - PTO Meeting in Media Center at 5:00

April 18 - Students in grades 3-5 begin reading MCA assessments

April 24 - Students in grades 3-5 begin math MCA assessments

April 28 - 4th and 5th grade concert

Hawthorne Teacher Professional Learning

Throughout this school year, our teaching staff have participated in professional learning around High Reliability Schools (HRS) Level 2 in having Effective Teaching in Every Classroom specifically around the topics of chunking content, processing content, and recording and representing content. Our teachers had a chance to share a current or recent lesson that included all three components and then meet with three other staff members to share their specific information.

Our intentional work within the HRS process has supported our staff into continuously improving what we do each day instructionally with students in order to provide the highest quality of education that we can. Bottom line, Hawthorne staff continue to grow just like we support students to grow as well - way to go Hawthorne!

Native American Performance

Larry Yazzie, from Native Pride Productions, performed for Hawthorne and our other elementary schools this week where he played the flute and demonstrated two types of dancing (Eagle and Fancy Dancing). Our students enjoyed learning more about the Meskwaki culture and traditions along with the excellent dancing!

MCA Testing tips for students and families

ISD 241 students in grades 3 through 8, 10, and 11 will be taking the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) this Spring - we begin April 18. The MCAs are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards and meet the federal requirements. The reading and mathematics tests are used to determine whether schools and districts have met federal requirements and are part of a school's Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR). Reading and mathematics tests are given in grades 3-8, 10 and 11. Science tests are given in grades 5, 8, and once in high school, depending on when students complete their life sciences curriculum.

Below are some tips to help parents and students prepare for the assessments:


  • Encourage regular and active attendance in school.
  • Provide your student(s) with a quite study area. Have them turn off distracting electronic devices: Good studying cannot be accomplished with the television, radio, computer or other audio or video devices on (typically).
  • Ensure your student(s) eat: Breakfast is perhaps the most important meal of the day. On the day of their MCA testing, students who eat a protein-based breakfast will have increased attention spans.
  • Ensure your student(s) is/are hydrated: Research tells us that the brain requires hydration to function well. A general rule of thumb is students should drink one cup of water per hour.
  • Ensure your student(s) get a good night's sleep: Adolescents need a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night... nine hours of sleep is even better.
  • Help reduce your student's stress: Tips include positive self-talk (“I know I can do this”), avoid being rushed and take deep breaths (the brain needs oxygen to think clearly).
  • Ensure your student(s) exercise: Encourage them to spend a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes a day in active physical exercise of some sort.
  • Believe in your student's success: Parents can best support their student(s) by talking and listening about the student's school day actively, and always providing encouragement and support.
  • Encourage your student(s) to participate in practice sessions at school and at home.
  • Encourage your student(s) to answer all test questions.


  • Promote consistent reading: All students are encouraged to read a minimum of 20 minutes each night
  • Have your student(s) try crossword puzzles and news quizzes in the newspaper, magazines and online
  • Encourage your student(s) to read the newspaper everyday and a magazine at least once a week, then discuss what they have read.


  • Encourage your student(s) to use mathematics every day. They can practice by creating a grocery budget, explaining charts and graphs from newspaper and magazine articles, dividing food portions, using rulers to measure objects, measuring a recipe or adding prices on a shopping trip.
  • Play games that involve numbers or computation.
  • Encourage your student(s) to connect what they have learned in math to their hobbies, other classes and everyday life.

Cell phone reminder

We have seen an uptick of students having their cell phones out while at school. As mentioned in our elementary handbook, it is acceptable for students to have their cell phones here at school however, they should be turned off and stay in their locker/backpack for the school day. Hawthorne staff will take possession of the phone if it is out and being used - a family member of that student will have to come to school to pick the phone up for it to be returned.

Thank you for understanding this practice as we do our best to support students here in the building.

Crossing Bridge Avenue at Hawthorne

With the recently updated street on Bridge Avenue, that brought the change of not having a signal at the intersection of Bridge and Hawthorne. Overall, traffic seems to have adapted well to this change but the city of Albert Lea did a study with regard to the traffic along with reminders on how to be safe when crossing in that area. A snippet of that article is below and the overall reminder of if you need to cross at that pedestrian crossing, be sure to push the button in order to alert any drivers so they can stop before you enter the crosswalk.

Push the button to alert drivers” – that’s the advice for pedestrians crossing Bridge Avenue at Hawthorne Street, where they can activate a flashing beacon to signal vehicles to stop while they cross. The Albert Lea Police Department is issuing that advice based on a pedestrian-crossing and vehicle speed study of Bridge Avenue between Hawthorne and Sheridan streets in late 2022.

“No pedestrian crossing is ever 100 percent safe. People always need to use caution when crossing a street,” said J.D. Carlson, Albert Lea public safety director. “At this intersection, pedestrians should push the button and wait for traffic to stop before crossing the street.”

Help our students succeed - join us at Hawthorne!

We are looking for Reading Corps and Math Corps tutors for the 2023-24 school year. You can work with students every day, during the school day and help them become successful in reading and math!

Reading Corps and Math Corps provide comprehensive training in strategies proven to help students build academic skills. Tutors are paid a living allowance and are eligible for up to $4,266 to pay tuition or repay student loans. Tutors 55 or older may gift the award to their child or grandchild. Tutors may be eligible for free health insurance and child care assistance.

Learn how you can get involved by visiting readingandmath.net. You can also help by telling a friend or family member (grandparents make great tutors, too!) about openings at our school and statewide! Positions start in August for the 2019-20 school year. Send questions to recruitment@servetogrow.org or call 866-859-2825.