On Monday, gift cards began trickling into Lakeville schools.

The $100 Cub Foods gift cards came with a letter from an anonymous Lakeville couple who wanted the cards to be given to families who are struggling financially so they could have a “nice Thanksgiving meal.”

“It was one of those letters that kind of warms your heart,” said Linda Swanson, the district’s communication director.

In fact, all 14 district schools received one, for a total donation of $1,400, according to Swanson.

She said the district sometimes receives impromptu donations, but this was different.

“To my knowledge, we’ve never had a donation to every school of this nature that was anonymous,” Swanson said.

Erin Adler

Edina school board approves free, all-day kindergarten

The Edina school board will offer free, all-day kindergarten for the 2014-15 school year.

The west-metro school district joins the growing ranks of Minnesota schools offering all-day kindergarten after legislators last spring decided to fund full-day programming.

About 75 percent of Edina’s current kindergarten families pay for the full-day program and there’s been a waiting list. A survey of prospective 2014-15 kindergarten families in Edina indicated 91 percent wanted all-day instruction.

Edina schools officials estimate that they will need to find additional classroom space in some schools — Concord and Cornelia, for instance — to accommodate all-day kindergarten.

Kim McGuire

Report highlights success with Indian students

What are some common denominators of schools that have found success educating American Indian students?

According to MinnCAN, they have high expectations for students, build relationships with families and put a premium on supporting teachers.

Those are some of the conclusions the education reform group came to after visiting schools in Minneapolis, Cloquet and Detroit Lakes on a recent statewide tour. Those visits inform the group’s report “Native American Student Achievement in Minnesota.”

MinnCAN staffers said they wanted to focus on what schools were doing right. “We sought hope — and it turned out we didn’t need to look far,” said co-author Jacqueline White.

The group says schools that achieved impressive results used data to help struggling students, had access to programs that support Indian teachers and created partnerships with the community. The report profiles Anishinabe Academy, a Minneapolis magnet school for Indian culture and language.

MinnCAN is part of a national group that advocates for prekindergarten, teacher evaluations and limits to teacher tenure, among other things.

Kim McGuire

Hastings High School’s vocal director wins state award

A statewide choir directors association is singing the praises of Lin Warren, vocal music director at Hastings High School for 28 years. Warren was recently named the state’s 2013 Choral Director of the Year by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota, and he will formally receive the award on Saturday.

Erin Adler