Shakopee AVID News - Dec. 2015

In pursuit of success, dream BIG!

A time for celebrations

Dear AVID families,

It's December. Another year is almost over and a new one is about to begin. We have had a great school year in AVID thus far with many wonderful things to celebrate.

We have had many successes, including Shakopee East and Shakopee West junior high schools both receiving official AVID certification after an intense two-year process. Both schools are now officially AVID schools. The high school is well on the way on its two-year path to certification. The AVID Midwest regional program director recently visited the high school for the first time to observe and speak with AVID-trained teachers and AVID students. She later provided many commendations and good feedback.

We have had many personal successes among our students as well, including making academic improvements, learning about community service, developing leadership skills, self-advocating, taking required tests for college admission, and mustering the courage to try something new, such as participating in a school club or extracurricular activity. Our AVID-trained teachers and instructional coaches continue to do a great job learning, using and sharing with other teachers all kinds of AVID strategies.

As you get together with family and friends for the holidays or just to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, take time to talk to one another and celebrate each other's achievements and successes this year. No achievement or goal that is reached is too small. Each one should be honored and those who met a goal and achieved success should be recognized for their hard work, discipline, persistence, resilience and dedication.

However you choose to celebrate the season, our AVID teams at Shakopee East, Shakopee West and Shakopee High School hope you have a great time. Be safe and be well. See you in 2016!


Cristina Oxtra

Shakopee AVID district director

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Special announcement

Congratulations to two of our AVID elective teachers, Mr. Chris Adams at Shakopee West and Mrs. Dawn Adams at Shakopee East! Late in the evening on Dec. 14, they welcomed their first child, Amelia Rose Adams! She weighed in at 7.6 pounds and was 20 inches in length. Both mom and baby are doing well. Welcome to the world and to the AVID family, Amelia Rose!

Around our schools

As these photos show, there is always something great going on in our classrooms, buildings and special events.

Designing Your Road Map to Highly Selective Colleges

The school district's High Potential & Innovative Programs along with Shakopee High School's College and Career Center hosted a presentation called "Designing Your Road Map to Highly Selective Colleges" on Dec. 10. It was open to all Shakopee students in grades 8-11. For those who were not able to attend it or for those who attended and would like to have the information that was shared, here is the link to the presentation.

For more details, e-mail Sean Hildebrandt at

Other college-related events scheduled:

* Financial Aid Night - Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Shakopee High School lecture room

* FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Help Night - Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. in computer labs C-313 and C-315 at Shakopee High School. Parents should bring their tax information. Completed tax returns would also be good to bring, if available. Parents and students can ask questions and receive the help they need.
* College Fair = March 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Shakopee High School
For more information about these events, e-mail Linda O'Connell at the high school's college and career center at

Recipes from AVID Family Night

Thanks to all the students and families who attended the AVID Family Night on Nov. 5 where we talked about the importance of healthy eating. Here are the recipes that were shared at the event. The next AVID Family Night will be in April. More details coming soon.

Chef Marc's Overnight Oatmeal

1/3 cup oatmeal

½ cup milk

½ cup vanilla yogurt

2 Tbsp. granola

Combine oatmeal, milk, vanilla yogurt and combine. Refrigerate overnight and top with granola in the morning. Other toppings or flavor of yogurt can be adjusted to meet personal preferences.

Chef Marc's Morning Wrap

1 egg

2 Tbsp. shredded cheese

1 - 10” tortilla
Crack egg into a microwave safe bowl and stir. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave another 30 seconds or until egg is set. Sprinkle cheese onto tortilla and microwave 20-30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Spoon egg into center of wrap, roll up and eat.

Lena's Asian Sesame Chicken Wrap

* Note: You can use pre-made salad mix available at groceries. If you prefer preparing the vegetables yourself, you will need the following:

1 cup of chopped green cabbage

1 cup of chopped red cabbage

1/2 cup of julienne carrots

3 strips of green onions

In addition to the vegetables or salad mix, you'll need:

1/2 cup of coarsely chopped almonds

1/4 cup of light Asian sesame dressing
Tortilla (whole grain tortilla was used in the demonstration)

Bite-size chicken pieces - Use as much or as little chicken as you like. (Used in the demonstration was a store-brought rotisserie chicken. Or use 2-3 grilled chicken breasts.)

Marinate the chicken in the dressing. For a little heat and spice, add a dash of hot sauce. This is optional. After marinating, chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and toss them with the vegetables. Place the entire mix in a tortilla and fold into a wrap. Eat the wrap as is or grill it. Makes 6-8 wraps.

Tips for parents on managing holiday stress

The holidays can be a stressful time. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), heightened stress during the holidays can lead to unhealthy stress management behaviors, such as overeating and drinking to excess. People tend to reduce their stress in ways they have learned over time because they turn to what they know. You may take comfort in unhealthy stress management techniques just because they are familiar, even though they are not good for your health.

But there are other behaviors you can learn to further relieve stress and its effects that may be both healthier for you and longer lasting. The APA offers these tips to help parents deal with holiday stress.

* Set expectations. – Talk to your kids about expectations for gifts and holiday activities. Be open with them if money is an issue. Depending on a child's age, parents can use this as an opportunity to teach their children about the value of money and responsible spending. And be realistic. Take small concrete steps to deal with holiday tasks instead of overwhelming yourself with goals that are too far reaching for a busy time.

* Keep things in perspective. – Try to consider stressful situations in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing events out of proportion and teach your children how to keep things in perspective, including what type and the number of gifts they receive.

* Make connections. – Good relationships with family and friends are important. View the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. In addition, accepting help and support from those who care about you can help alleviate stress. Volunteering at a local charity with your children is a good way to connect with others, teach them about the value of helping others and assist someone in need.

* Take care of yourself. – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Engage in activities that you and your family enjoy and find relaxing. Taking care of yourself helps keep your mind and body healthy and primed to deal with stressful situations. Consider cutting back television viewing for children and instead, get the family out together for a winter walk. It promotes activity and takes away from sedentary time.

Shakopee AVID

AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It is a college readiness system that prepares students for college eligibility and success. AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.
"Like" Shakopee AVID on Facebook.

AVID elective teachers

Shakopee East

8th grade - Dawn Adams -

9th grade - Ted Aleckson -

Shakopee West

8th grade - Alyssa Rutherford -

9th grade - Chris Adams -

Shakopee High School

10th grade - Shawna Wilson -

AVID district director

Cristina Oxtra -

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