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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

Principal: John Braun

After 24 years as principal of Lake Marion Elementary in the Lakeville district, John Braun is finally ready to work with the big kids. When the principal position at Lakeville South opened up after Scott Douglas’ retirement, Braun saw an opportunity to expand his leadership skills, he said.

He’s excited about several new initiatives at the high school, including a ninth-grade Connections Academy, also offered for the first time at Lakeville North. The academy has 28 students enrolled. They will take three core classes together, plus a seminar that focuses on organization and study skills. The goal is to reduce the number of ninth-graders who fail a class by putting them in a smaller setting.

“It’s a model that re really feel can help our freshmen … and give them the supports that they need to feel successful,” he said.

The school is adding a new option for students taking Advanced Placement classes in chemistry. Through a partnership with Southwest Minnesota State University, students can enroll concurrently in a class offered there, earning college credit if they pass. The credit is easily transferrable because the college is in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, he said.

After years of cuts and worries over large class sizes, the school will see six new licensed staff members this year, including social studies, science and special education teachers. “That brings a nice energy along with it,” he said.

New Prague

Principal: Lonnie Seifert

There are several big changes at New Prague this year, said Principal Lonnie Seifert. First, enrollment is up, with approximately 60 more students attending compared to last year.

The high school has a new one-student-to-one-device initiative, with all students receiving Chromebooks this fall for use 24/7, he said.

And a seven-period day has been adopted, in contrast to last year’s five-period schedule. The school has also switched from trimesters to semesters.

Students will notice the renovation of Trojan Stadium, where almost everything is new, from the artificial turf to the track, the lighting to the scoreboard and press box. The updates will allow the facility to host soccer games.

Prior Lake

Principal: Dave Lund

School in the Prior Lake-Savage district starts a week late this year, in order to give the district extra time to complete a 33,000 square-foot high school addition and a middle school remodeling project.

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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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