There will be many excited students in the Belle Plaine district this fall, because every K-12 student is receiving an iPad Mini to do schoolwork.
For middle-level and high school students, the district is introducing “Ramp Up to Readiness,” a college preparation program offered through the University of Minnesota. Students will have one 30-minute lesson per week to help “start a conversation about the next stage of their life,” said Principal Dave Kreft. Several other south-metro high schools are adding the program this year.
In addition, the math department has expanded to offer more interventions for struggling students, Kreft said.
Principal: Dave Helke
For three years the high school has been undergoing a makeover to “give it more of a 21st-century learning feel,” said Principal Dave Helke. Construction continued this summer, and students will notice renovations to the cafeteria and classrooms.
As part of an increased emphasis on music, two new music classes — guitar and piano — will be offered. And for the first time ever, the school will have a strings group. As more students move up through the stringed instrument program in elementary and middle schools, the group will become a full-fledged orchestra.
Burnsville will introduce College Possible this year, an after-school college preparation program that brings in AmeriCorps members to coach immigrant and low-income students through the process of preparing for and applying to college. It also provides support all the way through college. This is the third year of Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a program that prepares students for college during through an elective class. The school recently became an officially-certified AVID site, he said.
Principal: Tim Hodges
At the secondary level, the school is starting a one-to-one mobile device project, with sixth- and ninth-graders receiving Dell tablets at the beginning of the year. Staff members got the same computers last spring.
The school will be implementing Ramp Up to Readiness for grades 6-12. The program, offered through the University of Minnesota, will focus on college preparation during students’ advisory period. The program involves 28 weekly lessons. There will also be five full-class workshop sessions during the year on various topics.
The school is also welcoming a new business teacher, a new social studies teacher and a new K-12 associate principal, Michael O’Keefe.
Convent of the Visitation
Principal: Dawn Nichols