In the Know - Nov. 11, 2022
November 11, 2022
Schools across the district recognize Veterans Day
Schools across Anoka-Hennepin recognized Veterans Day with events and/or educational opportunities aimed at learning about and honoring those who have served or who are serving in the military. It is a proud tradition in Anoka-Hennepin to host veterans and their families.
Read more and view photos from just a few of the events around the district:
Adams Elementary welcomed veterans to the school for a brief ceremony that included music, and a video of Adams students expressing what Veterans Day means to them and their families. Watch this news story by CTN on Adams principal Ann Herlofsky, who currently serves in the U.S. Navy.
Anoka High School hosted its annual Veterans Day Assembly, featuring Colonel Lori Allert, an honorary color guard and performances from the school band, orchestra and choir prior to a Veterans reception with refreshments in the school cafeteria.
Blaine High School hosted an annual Veterans Day assembly, emceed by BHS alum and KARE-11 anchor Morgan Wolfe, and keynote speaker Maj. Nathan Burr.
The Champlin Park High School (CPHS) marching band performed at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Bloomington. CPHS students are the first guests to visit and perform at the residence since the pandemic.
Coon Rapids Middle School held an all-school assembly that was attended by a number of veterans, including 99-year old World War II veteran Don Halverson. Halverson was a member of the Army’s 34th Division, also known as the Red Bulls. He was drafted in 1943 and spent his entire deployment in Italy from 1943-1945. Students, Austin Olson (sixth grade) and Fatima Al-Esawi (seventh grade) each read their Veterans Day essays and the eighth grade choir, band and orchestra all performed during the program. Watch a replay of the program.
Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy for Environmental Math and Science students in Cub Scout Pack 276 honored veterans with a flag ceremony to express their gratitude to all veterans.
Jefferson Elementary School hosted student’s Veteran family members, and community Veterans for breakfast and a flag-raising ceremony outside the school.
McKinley Elementary held an all-school assembly that included veteran family members of the school’s students and staff. Army specialist and former McKinley Elementary student Brady O’Loughlin gave a keynote address, along with speeches from students and a flower presentation where students with a veteran in attendance could give their family member a rose.
Mississippi Elementary was joined by the Coon Rapids VFW Post 9625 Color Guard for a flag raising ceremony held outside. The color guard presented the U.S. and Minnesota flags and raised them on the flagpole before students recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jennifer Keller, a Veteran and second-grade teacher at Sunrise Elementary School, shared an educational presentation with all second-grade students - which included her story and experience in the Army Reserve and serving in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. Keller trained and served a variety of capacities, including as a Russian Linguist/Interrogator, Supply Specialist and NBC Specialist. Students studied uniforms worn by herself and other Veteran family members, photos and memorabilia collected from her time in service.
Wilson Elementary held a breakfast event for students or staff with a veteran family member(s), and Principal Chris Forrest said about 100 people attended the event. The entire school gathered at the flagpole after the breakfast, where students sang patriotic songs they learned in music class, said the Pledge of Allegiance, and viewed a flag raising ceremony. A special slideshow video was created for Veterans and students.
McKinley Elementary School
Students recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem as part of the assembly's activities.
Sunrise Elementary School
Sunrise second grade teacher, Jennifer Keller, shares her story as a veteran with students.
Blaine High School educator named TIME Innovative Teacher in 2022
Blaine High School achievement coach Kevin Bross was named a TIME Innovative Teacher in 2022 for helping to create a teaching model based on medical rounds. Working with other district achievement coaches and literacy coaches, Bross developed the idea of instructional rounds to allow teachers to learn from each other and grow as educators.
The idea of instructional rounds started for Bross during his first year in the district’s Q Comp department after observing other teachers in the classroom. Q Comp’s mission is to increase student achievement by promoting reflection and growth among licensed staff, and through this process, something clicked.
“Watching great teachers' instruction and practices, I realized I’ve got a lot to learn,” Bross said. “I never would have known that without observing other teachers, and that is really where the idea of instructional rounds started to build. We need to get teachers out of their classrooms to view others.”
Instructional rounds provide teachers the opportunity to observe other colleagues, reflect on those observations and then find ways to bring those ideas into their own classroom. The teachers participating are typically in a small group and observe two to four teachers in a day. They then share their thoughts and ideas of each observation.
Read more about Bross’ recognition from TIME and how instructional rounds are being utilized.
District staff cast votes for annual kindness poster contest
On Nov. 10, Anoka-Hennepin staff at the Educational Service Center (ESC) in Anoka had the opportunity to vote on outstanding artwork created by district students.
ESC staff were the official judges of this year’s kindness poster contest that featured artwork from most grade levels, and from schools across the district. View photos of this year’s kindness poster contest voting day.
“The kindness poster contest is always one of the most fun projects of the year,” said Britt Olean, the district school social worker who oversees and organizes the poster contest. “We received so many beautiful posters from all of our schools, and we look forward to spreading kindness throughout the year.”
This year’s theme was There is POWER in Kindness. Students were encouraged to create a poster with that message in mind and delivered a variety of themes to spread the word of kindness.
Nearly 150 posters representing each school’s winning submissions advanced to the final balloting at the ESC on Nov. 10. Voters were asked to select the best poster for each grade level and were able to submit their votes electronically.
The winners of the kindness poster contest will be announced at a later date and recognized at the regular School Board meeting on Jan. 23, where they will receive a Kindle tablet from the Horace Mann Company. Winning posters will also be posted on the district website and printed for use in schools across the district.
Employee giving campaign running now through November 18
The Anoka-Hennepin annual employee giving campaign is now underway, and runs through Friday, Nov. 18. The annual campaign is an opportunity for all district employees to make tax-deductible, charitable donations to the Anoka-Hennepin Education Foundation (AHEF) or United Way via check or payroll deduction. Individual, personalized pledge forms have been sent to each employee’s building.
Consider a gift to the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation (AHEF)
Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, AHEF is again offering a google form to sign up for payroll deductions. Please consider authorizing easy, biweekly payroll donations to benefit our students. Thank you for choosing to support Anoka-Hennepin students.
Because for each employee that begins or increases their giving through bi-weekly payroll deductions, AHEF will directly contribute $10 to your building for social-emotional learning and mental wellness.
Because you know more than others what your students need to be successful in school
Because you know donors to AHEF fund classroom and school grants that advance equity and innovation.
Because you care about kids, and you care about education.
Your donations to the AHEF complement and reinforce the work you do in your buildings, playgrounds, cafeterias and classrooms every day. Make your gift here to support all AHEF programs and grants.
Consider a gift to the United Way
The Greater Twin Cities United Way believes when we unite as changemakers, we can disrupt systems and address the challenges no one can solve alone. Together, as changemakers, we will create a community where all people thrive regardless of income, race, or place. Visit www.gtcuw.org to learn more.
In 2021, you made it possible to touch the lives of 500,000 people in our region. Together, we:
Supported 480,000 requests via our 211 resource helpline from mothers seeking child care options, families looking for assistance in putting healthy food on the table, young adults needing a place to stay, and more.
Partnered with the State of Minnesota to help people access the RentHelpMN program through 211— resulting in $390.5 million in rental assistance.
Provided safety plans for 9,000 people who called the Suicide Prevention Lifeline — letting them know they are not alone and offering hope for a better tomorrow.
Addressed student learning and community food system needs exacerbated by COVID-19 and awarded grants to 126 nonprofits to provide our neighbors better access to housing, food, education and the workforce.
Gained momentum in eviction prevention and nonprofit sector stabilization through our advocacy work with legislators.
Your donations to AHEF and/or the United Way can be made right now. Thank you for caring about kids, education, and the community!
AHEF donors fuel 58 grants to teachers and staff, totalling $26,796
The Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation (AHEF) recently awarded the second round of grant funds for school projects and students totaling $26,796 in mini-grants for the 2022-23 school year. These funds complement an earlier round of grants in May 2022 and perennial grants that AHEF funds each year for a total of $74,843 in funds awarded for this school year.
AHEF received 60 mini-grant requests from staff of which all were funded either partially or in full. “This was one of the largest number of grant requests received in years,” said Tess DeGeest, executive director of the AHEF. “The increase in requests reflects the continuing needs of students all across our district and the dedication of our staff members to meet these needs.”
Addressing the social and emotional needs of students continues to be a top concern and request among school staff. Also popular are curricular materials that better reflect the diversity of Anoka-Hennepin’s students and new equipment, technology, and tools to increase innovation.
Project Lead the Way executives visit CRHS to see the curriculum in action
David Dimmett, President and Chief Executive Officer and other executives from Project Lead the Way (PLTW), as well as local industry leaders visited Coon Rapids High School (CRHS) - Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Nov. 10 for a glimpse of the curriculum in action.
PLTW creates engaging classroom environments by empowering students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students not only learn technical skills, but also learn to solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate, and collaborate. PLTW also provides teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.
The Nov. 10 visit also included visitors from neighboring school districts, including educators from Osseo Area Schools, Minneapolis, and St. Paul Public Schools, and industry partners Cargill and Medtronic. View photos from the visit on Nov. 10.
CRHS students and staff provided an in-depth look at the biomedical sciences and engineering programs and how they are using PLTW curriculum on a daily basis. Guests toured the building, visiting computer integrated manufacturing, medical interventions, biomedical innovation, and engineering design and development classes to see the PLTW in action and hear from students as they showed off their latest classroom projects.
PLTW curriculum is currently provided in nine schools across the district, including CRHS, Blaine High School - Center for Engineering, Mathematics and Science, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Jackson, Northdale, Oak View, and Roosevelt middle schools and Monroe Elementary School - Mathematics, Science and Children’s Engineering.
Learn more about Project Lead the Way in Anoka-Hennepin Schools.
District student-athletes sign letters of intent
Student-athletes from Anoka-Hennepin high schools (Andover, Anoka, Champlin Park and Coon Rapids) participated in signing events Nov. 9 to mark the start of the NCAA early signing period. At the events, student-athletes signed letters of intent from colleges and universities across the country to continue their academic and athletic careers.
See which student-athletes were involved in the signing day.
University Avenue Elementary students participate in space experience event
On Monday, Nov. 7 the students at University Avenue, Aerospace, Children’s Engineering, and Science Elementary had a special event literally fill their gym. Big Earth Orbit, part of Sparkpoint Innovations and based in Minneapolis, came to put on an amazing space show using models for all the students.
On this special day, students and their teachers joined Mr. Rudy and his large inflatable earth, moon, and sun models in the gym. There, Mr. Rudy used an 18-foot inflatable earth as a model, and lots of student and staff volunteers, to illustrate some pretty ‘far out’ concepts. View photos of the Big Earth Orbit experience.
Dancing, art featured at Rum River Elementary multicultural night
Rum River Elementary in Andover hosted its first ever multicultural family night Thursday, November 3, where families could experience different cultures in numerous ways. The evening included stories, musical instruments, art projects, dancers, and family-created displays from nearly every continent.
Ramsey Elementary students learn about unity through world drummer in residence
The beats of drums could be heard through the halls of Ramsey Elementary School Oct. 28-Nov. 3, as third-fifth graders learned from Mark “Chico” Perez, a world drummer/artist in residence.
The students had the opportunity to work with Perez for 30 minutes a day during his week at the school, and in addition to learning and playing drums, explored music from different cultures. For the third graders, the experience culminated with an evening drumming program for families on Nov. 3.
Perez has been playing drums for more than 55 years and teaching children in Minnesota school districts for 30 years. He brought a high level of energy to the music room and put smiles on the students’ faces. Perez said he loves to share his knowledge with children and that the drums are an opportunity for him to teach respect, unity and the power of one.
Watch this video to learn more about the drummer in residency and view photos of students playing the drums with Perez.
School safety: A multi-layered approach in place to protect students and staff
Anoka-Hennepin Schools utilizes a multi-layered approach to protect the safety of students and staff. At the core of this effort are relationships that form a positive school culture and climate, a system to support students and a focus on academic success. Structural and physical systems and use of technology and clear communication also play a significant role.
The district prepares to maintain safety through an emergency management plan that coordinates facility design, procedures and training, law enforcement partnerships, and parent/guardian communication. Anoka-Hennepin has invested in a digital radio system to coordinate a response during emergencies along with a visitor management system that identifies a single point of entry to school buildings and requires proper identification for entry during the school day.
The district maintains relationships with local law enforcement and coordinates school resource police officers at 12 schools. Tim Fournier serves as manager of security and emergency operations for the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Fournier is an experienced law enforcement leader having served as a police chief, commanding officer and officer for the City of New Hope. Along with a team of school leaders, Fournier leads planning and facilitation for preparedness drills in the event of fire, lockdown, weather and other emergency situations.
Read more about school safety, including the terminology for safety procedures.
Fall activities roundup
Cross country teammates from Andover High School posed for a photo after competing in the state championship.
Anoka-Hennepin student-athletes compete in Minnesota State High School League cross country championships
Individually, Anoka-Hennepin high schools also had the following competitors take part in the event. They include:
- 43rd place: Andover High School’s Aidan Gomes with a time of 16.20.0.
- 62nd place: Champlin Park High School’s Charles Hibbs with a time of 16.40.9.
- 85th place: Andover High School’s Jack Jendro with a time of 16.56.1.
- 125th place: Coon Rapids High School’s Peyton Martinek with a time of 17.22.7.
- 126th place: Champlin Park High School’s Ethan Ibarra with a time of 17.22.7.
Though Anoka-Hennepin did not have a team represented at the girls’ state event, many district student-athletes competed at the individual level during the AAA race. Leading the pack for Anoka-Hennepin female runners was Anoka High School junior Kaelyn Nelson, who placed 14th with a time of 18.30.7. Other competitors included:
18th place: Champlin Park High School’s Abby Hibbs with a time of 18.38.4.
29th place: Andover High School’s Olivia Krafty with a time of 19.12.0.
72nd place: Andover High School’s Isabel Grant with a time of 19.49.1.
77th place: Andover High School’s Julia Babineau with a time of 19.53.8.
86th place: Champlin Park High School’s Brigid Keran with a time of 20.02.8.
123rd place: Blaine High School’s Shalom Sulungaine with a time of 20.38.9.
Early influenza season and promoting health and wellness in school
Minnesota is starting to see an uptick in flu cases, according to new data from the state department of health. Now is the perfect opportunity to remind your students about healthy habits to prevent the spread of germs and illness. Use these conversation tips at home to stay healthy this school year:
Wash hands frequently: Scrub hands and fingers with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds.
Cover coughs and sneezes: Use an elbow or a tissue.
Avoid touching your face: Germs can enter your body through your eyes, nose and mouth.
Practice healthy eating habits: Food is your body’s fuel. Choosing well-balanced meals boosts energy and health. Avoid sharing food/drinks/utensils with others.
Get plenty of rest: Sleep is important and restores your mind and body.
For more resources and information contact your school health services office or visit ahschools.us/healthservices.
Safety is the top priority in extreme winter weather
The safety of all students is the first priority when determining if schools should stay open in extreme winter weather.
The decision to close school is a serious one, and it affects many working families who would have to take a day off of work or find day care on short notice.
Read more about where to get information on school closings due to weather and how cold it must be for school to close.
Upcoming events and important links
- Action of the School Board, Nov. 7.
Say it Again first extended hours of the school year set for Nov. 16..
- Supporting YoU podcast episodes.
- Appreciation of diversity series to begin Feb. 11.
High school chemistry and elementary science curriculum open house set for Nov. 17.
Providing family choice: Anoka-Hennepin features 12 specialty and magnet schools.
District enrollment remains steady, elementary-age students impacting growth.
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This e-newsletter is published by Anoka-Hennepin Schools. It's sent to all Anoka-Hennepin staff on a weekly basis during the school year, excluding breaks (and periodically during the summer). Questions, comments or concerns about In the Know e-newsletter? Contact us.