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Continued: South metro schools launch a new year

  • Article by: ERIN ADLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 2, 2014 - 3:00 PM

Henry Sibley will offer five new hybrid courses this year, in which part of the class is online and the other is taught in a classroom.

Jordan

Principal: Barb McNulty

There’s a lot that’s new at Jordan High School this year, according to Principal Barb McNulty. Districtwide, school started a week early so that it ends early as well. The extra time will be needed for construction on the middle school, which will be completely remodeled, other than its shell.

Four new classes will be offered this year, including Advanced Placement U.S. History for sophomores and a business course in which students design apps and computer games. A new careers course will now be offered to freshmen instead of eighth-graders, allowing students to focus on creating a four-year plan when they get to high school.

A new math teacher will work with struggling students, especially juniors taking Algebra 2, to get them caught up during an extra class period, McNulty said.

The district is exploring a one-to-one initiative by first piloting two different devices with staff. This fall, half of district staff received iPads and half received Chromebooks. In December they will trade devices. Next year, all students will get a device.

The high school has a new learning management system, Schoology, which allows teachers to give assignments, link websites or write blog entries through an online platform. It’s common in college for students to have to use a similar online tool in their courses, McNulty said, so Schoology is a good preview.

The high school is implementing Positive Behavorial Intervention and Support, a schoolwide program that aims to encourage positive behavior and create a healthy school climate. It is already in place at middle and elementary schools.

Lakeville North

Principal: Marne Berkvam

Both Lakeville high schools have created a ninth-grade Connections Academy, a new program to help incoming freshmen succeed. Many of the students enrolled struggled at the middle level, said Principal Marne Berkvam, and this is a way to give them extra support. Students in the academy take three core classes together and also have a seminar focusing on organization and study skills.

Lakeville North also has new tennis courts, which Berkvam called “huge.” Previously, high school teams were playing at Century Middle School because high school courts were in such bad shape.

In 2015, all juniors in Minnesota will take the ACT for the first time. Getting ready for the testing day, including training proctors and making sure classrooms meet testing requirements, takes a lot of planning, she said.

The school has also improved its recycling efforts, she added.

Lakeville South

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  • As members of the Blaze Blazettes dance team warmed up on the field, youth football players began to arrive for Burnsville football’s fourth annual “Kick Off Bash” on Aug. 22. Across the south metro, schools and students have been gearing up for the start of the new school year.

  • As members of the Blaze Blazettes dance team warmed up on the field, youth football players began to arrive for Burnsville football’s fourth annual “Kick Off Bash” on Aug. 22. Across the south metro, schools and students have been gearing up for the start of the new school year.

  • A new track, artificial turf and an updated scoreboard were installed this summer at Dan Patch Stadium, where Prior Lake teams play.

  • Uniformed St. Thomas Academy students attended a Prep Bowl game in 2012. This school year will mark the last the academy participates in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

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