Backpack Online - October 19, 2022
October 19, 2022
Providing family choice: Anoka-Hennepin features 12 specialty and magnet schools
Anoka-Hennepin offers 12 specialty and magnet schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels that are designed to provide families with additional choices at no cost. Students who live within the Anoka-Hennepin boundaries may apply to enroll at any of the specialty or magnet schools.
The specialty and magnet programs provide in-demand educational options such as the arts, science, technology, math, engineering and biomedical sciences (STEM/STEAM), as well as International Baccalaureate (IB).
The magnet schools are offered to students districtwide in partnership with the Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) which provides transportation to those schools. The application window is open for the 2023-24 school year, closing Dec. 31, 2022. Students may also enroll at the specialty schools using an in-district transfer process without transportation. Applications are accepted between Dec. 1, 2022 and Jan. 15, 2023 for priority consideration.
The specialty and magnet schools are hosting information nights/open houses for parents to learn more about the programs offered. These events range from mid October to mid January.
For specific open house dates, more information on each of the specialty and magnet schools and the application/enrollment process, visit ahschools.us/specialtymagnet.
Blaine High School BPA collects 845 items for Coats for Kids drive
The Business Professionals of America (BPA) chapter at Blaine High School - Center for Engineering, Mathematics and Science (BHS) collected 845 coats for the 37th Annual Coats for Kids drive.
The collection was run by BHS students in the Business Internship program who are also members of BPA. The group, which has participated in this event for nearly 30 years and collected close to 15,000 items, had a goal of collecting 600 coats. The month-long drive accepted new and gently used coats at the school and during school-sponsored activities.
The donated coats are cleaned by the organizer, Pilgrim Dry Cleaners, and distributed out to local charities, churches and schools.
“All coats that are collected are given out every single year,” said Holly Boisjolie, BHS business teacher and BPA advisor. “This shows us what a big need we have to keep our fellow Minnesotans warm in the winter. If anyone has coats to donate, Pilgrim is still accepting them throughout this week.”
A large contributor to the success of the drive was Randy Hemstad, who is a retired BHS business teacher and former BPA advisor. Hemstad started the partnership with Pilgrim Cleaners 29 years ago when he was looking for a new community service project for students in his Business Internship program and BPA club. He brought in 350 coats on his own this year.
Coming soon to district mailboxes: Fall 2022 FOCUS newsletter
The fall issue of Anoka-Hennepin Schools' FOCUS newsletter will arrive at district households within the week. Mailed to all residences within the school district, the FOCUS newsletter is listed as a top resource for community members to learn more about their local schools.
Among this edition's features are results from the 2022 annual community survey, information on boundary changes, notable student and staff accomplishments, completed and upcoming renovation projects, and a graduate spotlight on 1999 Coon Rapids High School graduate Todd Archbold, who currently serves as the CEO of PrairieCare.
Additional copies will be delivered to each school site for new families or staff and families who do not reside in the Anoka-Hennepin district. It will also be available via the district's website at ahschools.us/focus after landing in mailboxes.
Winter weather reminders
Minnesota weather is shifting gears, and the Anoka-Hennepin School District has plans in place for when extreme winter weather arrives.
The safety of all students is the first priority when determining if schools should stay open in adverse weather. If a determination is made to close school due to extreme winter weather, the district will alert families in a variety of ways, including:
Phone, text or email message from AHlert system (for Anoka-Hennepin parents/guardians only; access by logging into your A-HConnect account and then clicking on the AHlert icon).
District and school websites.
Media outlets including WCCO, KSTP, FOX 9, KARE 11, CCX Media, WCCO radio and Star Tribune newspaper.
Those responsible for activities scheduled in schools over the weekend will determine if adverse weather conditions necessitate a cancellation.
Read more about the district’s policies on extreme winter weather at ahschools.us/weather.
Boundary change community meetings conclude; feedback submissions still accepted
Last week, the district concluded a series of eight community meetings held in September and October at locations in each area of the school district to provide families, staff and community members the opportunity to see attendance boundary proposals, ask questions and provide feedback. Meetings were streamed online, live, and are archived on the boundaries website.
Recommendations will be presented to the School Board Nov. 7, and the board is expected to take action at its Nov. 21 meeting with a final vote. Updated boundaries are to go into effect in the fall of 2023. View the boundary change timeline for implementation.
Details by community clusters
There are no boundary changes proposed in the Andover or Coon Rapids communities. High school boundaries are also not proposed to change.
Read more details about proposed changes in the following community cluster of schools:
Feedback and input
The district continues to seek feedback from families, staff and community members on the current proposals. Submit feedback via online form at ahschools.us/boundaryfeedback or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get behind your team! Have a game plan before you arrive at high school games.
District high schools have two regular season home-field football games left for the year. Join us tonight at Andover High School as the Huskies compete against Cambridge-Isanti, or tomorrow at Champlin Park High School vs. Anoka High School.
Student athletes and school communities value community support. Get behind your team, and have a game plan before you arrive to get the most enjoyment at the event. Read details at ahschools.us/safegames.
For more information, please visit ahschools.us/eventpolicies.
World language testing opportunities available for students
Students can earn a World Language Proficiency Certificate or Bilingual/Multilingual Seal
Anoka-Hennepin students in grades 10-12 with a mastery of world languages can use that knowledge to earn special recognitions – World Language Proficiency Certificates or Bilingual/Multilingual Seals.
Additionally, college credit can be awarded to these students who attend or transfer to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and select other post-secondary institutions within three years of graduation from Anoka-Hennepin.
Fall testing dates are Nov. 15 and/or Nov. 17. The registration deadline is Friday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. Cost is $30 per assessment, or $10 if the student receives free or reduced-price lunch.
To learn more about this opportunity, see the languages currently available, and register to take an exam, visit ahschools.us/bilingualseal.
New this year: Tech protect for middle, high school students
Technology plays an important role in preparing students for life, and Chromebooks are utilized as a daily learning tool in Anoka-Hennepin middle and high school classrooms. Anoka-Hennepin students in grades 6-12 are assigned a Chromebook from the school district to ensure access to technology systems that support classroom learning.
New this year, families have the option to enroll in the Device Protection Plan. Learn more about the Technology Protection Plan - and select or decline coverage.
Putting the "U" in Community Education: ECFE families
Early childhood education offers classes, events, playtime and other opportunities designed to give families information, ideas, and skills to support their child’s growth and development from birth to third grade. A favorite class is Riverview Early Childhood Center’s Class Under Glass. Families who attend the class say that it gives their children time to learn and explore in a unique outdoor setting.
Parent educator Penny Walsh says children experience traditional learning with the added benefits of everything that nature brings.
“They’re learning small and large motor development, mathematics, and language and literacy development out here,” said Walsh. “The social emotional piece outside is just as great as it is indoors.”
ECFE is not just for the benefit of the child. Parents meet and interact with each other in each class, which gives them time to discuss important topics and get advice.
In our latest Putting ‘U’ in Community Education video, we introduce you to some of the families, children and staff who are part of our Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program.
Minnesota Teacher of the Year nominations
Education Minnesota, the voice for professional educators and students in Minnesota, is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award program.
Online nominations are open now through Nov. 14.
Anyone may nominate a teacher.
For more information or to receive a paper nomination form, call Ashley Behrens at 651-292-4862 or 800-652-9073.
Apply for educational benefits for the 2022-23 school year
All Anoka-Hennepin families are encouraged to apply for the educational benefits program for the upcoming school year. A new application must be submitted each school year.
By completing this application, students may receive free or reduced fees for transportation, meals, academic, and co-curricular activities. Please visit ahschools.us/freereduced to set up, or log in to your SchoolCafe account, and complete an application for free or reduced-price meal and other benefits.
The educational benefits program not only ensures that students have access to nutritious meals, it also provides critical federal funding for schools.
As a reminder, the federal subsidy to provide free school meals for every student will no longer be available this school year.
Only one application is needed per household. Please contact the child nutrition department with any questions or assistance at 763-506-1240 or staff.CnpEnrollment@ahschools.us.
Upcoming events and important links
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This e-newsletter is published by Anoka-Hennepin Schools. It's sent to Anoka-Hennepin families and community members who subscribe on a weekly basis during the school year, excluding breaks (and periodically during the summer). Questions, comments or concerns about the Backpack Online e-newsletter? Contact us.