Central Montessori Elementary is the latest school in the Forest Lake School District to be named a Minnesota School of Excellence by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association (MESPA).
The school, with 124 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, is the first Montessori school to win the award, which has been handed out since 1986. The school was given the award for its efforts to align student learning with six national standards that encompass learning centered, diverse communities, 21st-century learners, quality instruction, knowledge and data, and community engagement, said Fred Storti, the association's executive director.
Central Montessori, a public school, is the third District 831 school to win the honor in the past four years. Wyoming Elementary received the distinction for the 2010-11 academic year and Lino Lakes Elementary in 2009-10.
All eight district elementary schools have now won the honor, and are among the 161 schools statewide named schools of excellence by MESPA.
District 833's four middle schools -- Oltman, Lake, Woodbury and Cottage Grove -- have been accepted into the University of Minnesota's "Ramp-Up to Readiness" program.
The school will join 34 other middle and high schools from across the state that are taking part in the pilot program, which is aimed at helping students in grades 6-12 reach academic, admissions, career, financial, and personal and social readiness goals by the time they graduate from high school.Spanish substituted for Mandarin Chinese
Students at Newport and Liberty Ridge elementary schools will study Spanish instead of Mandarin Chinese this year as part of world language instruction. The change was announced last week by the schools' principals.
District officials said they needed to hire seven Mandarin Chinese teachers for the 2012-13 school year, but were only able to find five qualified candidates that met requirements for world language instruction as set by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Chinese will be offered at three of the district's elementary schools during the upcoming school year. Spanish will be offered at nine others, along with the district's Spanish Immersion School. Chinese also will be offered for middle and high school students.
The Century College paramedic program has dumped textbooks and beginning this fall will require students to buy an iPad. The move was made after the school participated in a pilot program last year that was funded with federal dollars.
Instructor Kim Schmitzer said that the move should save students $600 in textbook costs over the course of the program, which takes 14 months to complete. With the iPads, students also can take electronic exams and quizzes in the classroom at any time.