Synergy Middle School Newsletter

December Happenings at Hidden Oaks & Twin Oaks!!


It's been a very busy month going into the winter break! I had the opportunity to work with many students, across grade levels and subject areas.

I hope everyone has a wonderful winter break and finds time to relax and spend time with family and friends. See everyone in 2016!!

History Bee

Thursday, Jan. 7th 2016 at 2:30pm

Hidden Oaks Media Center

ATTENTION-History Bee!! (Thursday, January 7th at 2:30 in the HO Media Center)

The National History Bee is an academic competition for elementary and middle school students that tests knowledge of a wide range of historical topics. The competition is divided into three distinct stages:

Stage 1: An Intramural History Bee (Oral Competition) and a mandatory Online Qualifying Exam based on the TOP 10 students from the Oral Competition

Stage 2: The top students from the Online Qualifying Exam compete in one of the thirty-nine buzzer competitions across the United States called the Regional Finals.

Stage 3: The top finishers from the Regional Finals are eligible to advance to the National Finals and compete for the title of National History Bee Champion!

Students in Mr. Dapper and Mr. Mertens Advanced 7th Grade History Class took the Written Qualifying Exam to see who would move on to the Oral Competition.

TOP 20 SCORING STUDENTS who advance to the Prior Lake Middle School History Bee are: (in no particular order)

  • Magnus O’Connor
  • Cole Burnett
  • Benjamin Johnson
  • Morgan Bozeman
  • Mark Lichtenberger
  • Nathaniel Hawkins
  • Ben Capra
  • Trenton Klasell
  • Kaori Hirano
  • Jo Yi Chow
  • Ben Johnson
  • Isabella Maiwurm
  • Sarah McDonald
  • Keegan Masser
  • Jaeden Betz
  • Sam Christopherson
  • Grant Helgestad
  • Owen Reinert Nash
  • Hadley Phillips
  • Mary O’Neil
  • Lily Kuiken
  • Leah Schuerkamp
  • Alexander Urgiles
  • Avery Johnson
  • Justine Wojahn
  • Ellie Mortensen
  • Jack Slipka


8th Grade World Studies students know their current events!

Mr. Wabbe and Mrs. Welch's Advanced 8th grade World Studies classes received 3rd highest score in the NATION for the weekly Newzbrain current events challenge for grades 4th thru high school! They also received 1st place for all of 8th graders participating in the nation! Encourage your student to watch a little bit of the daily news every day.

Hour of Code Week!

Mr. Albrecht's and Mr. Lillquist's Advanced Science classes participated in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13). Over 100 million students worldwide have tried Hour of Code. believes all students should have access to high quality computer science education.

Student's should understand that Computer Science is:

  • is for everyone
  • is fun, engaging, and more approachable than traditionally portrayed
  • is an outlet for creative personal expression
  • involves more than just programming
  • is important to their lives, regardless of their interests or career path they choose
  • work involves collaborating in an equitable learning environment where they support their peers so all can flourish
  • can be effectively taught using both computer-based and non-computer activities, which reinforce one another
  • can be used as a tool for helping others through socially relevant learning experiences
  • involves problem solving that can be challenging. It is not always easy but like any difficult puzzle, the challenge makes it fun and teaches perseverance.

See for details, and help spread the word.

Minnesota Studies Mock Trial Week

6th Grade Students in Mrs. Bauer & Mrs. Murr Advanced classes got to experience what a civil court trial and disputes might feel like. They worked to study a hypothetical case brief and witness statements, looked at research, learned courtroom procedure, and prepared both the prosecution and defense sides of the case. The students portrayed each of the principals in a cast of courtroom characters including attorneys, witnesses, bailiff, jurors, judge, and clerk.

Throughout the week students gained an understanding and skills in critical analysis of problems, strategic thinking, questioning skills, skills in oral presentation and extemporaneous argument, skills in preparing and organizing material and exposure to a wide variety of law-related career

December Perennial Math

6th and 7th Grade Advanced Math students completed December Perennial Math group work and Competition Test. The classroom teachers, along with myself, have enjoyed watching the group collaboration and discussion, mathematical language being used and above all mental challenge it brings to the learners. Students are truly learning new strategies for problem solving. See our TOP scoring winners below!

Geography Fair Topics Go Interactive!

Mr. Wabbe and Mrs. Welch's Advanced 8th grade World Studies classes have started a two month-collaborative group, research website design project. The students were given a list of geography related standards to choose from which will guide their website. Over the next 2 months, students will use their creativity, work together and research their topic.

If a group is selected to participate in the Geography Fair it will take place at the Science Museum on Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 9:00-12:00 pm. During the fair, geographers will evaluate students projects as well as activities. Stay tuned for students research to be created into their very own website design.

MCGT Suggested Book List for Adults on Giftedness

  • You Know Your Child is Gifted When…: A Beginner’s Guide to Life on the Bright Side, by Judy Galbraith. Gain insights into what it means to be gifted, uncover some myths, find out why it matters to know if your child is gifted and what to do if s/he is gifted. Excellent resources included.
  • The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker. Not a lot of meat, but good bathroom reading (sometimes the only reading that parents of gifted kids get!)
  • Understanding Gifted & Talented Adolescents edited by T.M. Buescher.
  • Parents Guide to Raising a Gifted Child: Recognizing and Developing Your Childs Potential edited by James Alvino.
  • Seven Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Many Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong.


Next Meeting:

Thursday, Jan. 7th 2016 at 7pm

Westwood Media Center

Meeting Topic:

Prior Lake/Savage district personnel will speak about how the needs of gifted students are met throughout grade levels. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Your Partner in Education,

Ms. Missy Short

Synergy Program Coordinator

Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools

Hidden Oaks & Twin Oaks Middle Schools

HOMS (952) 226-0291 TOMS (952) 226-0535

“Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can possible be.”

- Rita Pierson-