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Education beat: Metro schools discussing cold days next week

  • January 24, 2014 - 8:39 PM

The next shot of dangerously cold weather forecast for Monday and Tuesday has several metro-area superintendents discussing cancellation plans now.

Several school leaders held a conference call Friday to discuss the possibility of another wave of closings. The consensus was that while everyone hates to lose valuable class time, students’ safety would trump all other considerations.

Currently, the forecast calls for the low temperature on Monday to be 20 to 25 degrees below zero with windchills between 40 and 50 degrees below zero — about the same subzero weather that gripped the state Jan. 6-7 and perhaps colder than the temperatures that caused this week’s closures.

Since the conference call, several school districts — St. Paul, Edina, and Mounds View — have said they plan to make the Monday decision by no later than 6 p.m. Sunday. Others will decide early Monday morning.

Rochester’s public schools have already made the decision to close on Monday.

If schools do close next week, expect school board members to begin making decisions about makeup days, as many districts will have tapped the “extra” days they build into the calendar.

It would mark the fourth day in the past three weeks that schools have closed due to cold. Most cite the danger to children who must walk to school or wait at bus stops.

Kim McGuire

State survey reveals students’ thoughts

Think you know what your child is thinking?

Many parents aren’t sure, but a newly released statewide survey gives some new insight into how Minnesota students think about everything from bullying to texting.

About 160,000 students participated in the survey in grades five, eight, nine and eleven. The state departments of education, health and human services, and public safety created the survey. Here are some of the highlights:

• Between 5 and 12 percent say they’ve been harassed or bullied at least once in the past 30 days.

• Thirteen percent of 11th-graders report they’ve had a boyfriend or girlfriend call them names. Six percent have been physically abused by someone they were dating.

• Four out of five (or 82 percent of) high school juniors spend at least some time texting during the school day.

• About 70 percent of students in eighth, ninth and 11th grades plan on attending a four-year college.

• Six percent of freshmen and 34 percent of juniors work after school. More than half of fifth-graders are home alone at least one day a week after school.

Kim McGuire

Perfect scores hit double digits in ACT roundup

Twin Cities-area high schools boast at least 20 juniors and seniors who have aced the ACT college entrance exam in the past year, a survey shows.

The Star Tribune asked local schools about students who scored a perfect 36 after the ACT headquarters in Iowa City, Iowa, reported that 12 metro area students had aced the exam during the fall. When schools counted the “36ers” who took the test earlier but are still in school, the number rose to 20.

One student, Anna Kalkman, a Cretin-Derham Hall junior, posted her perfect score when she was just a sophomore last spring, Principal Mona Passman wrote in an e-mail.

Anthony Lonetree

© 2014 Star Tribune