Stillwater school officials and community members are working on a vision for future learning that could help shape any school-funding proposal it puts before voters next year.

Planning also is underway to determine how the district could cut up to $11 million -- if a levy proposal were to fail.

"We are planning for the worst and hoping for the best," district spokeswoman Carissa Keister said last week.

The district has directed 10 groups of people to explore ways to enact a new strategic plan that is to be presented to the school board for action in February or March.

Part of the effort has included the drafting of a proposed mission statement that reads: "The mission of Stillwater area public schools, in partnership with students, family and community, is to develop curious individuals who are active and engaged leaders in an ever-changing world by challenging each student as he or she travels along their personalized learning pathway."

The discussions come a year after voters rejected each of three funding requests on the November 2011 ballot, and before the district's current $996.57 per student operating levy is set to expire in June 2014.

Keister said that the district always intended to look at possible changes in how it educates students, and would have done the work, with or without an accompanying levy proposal. Now, however, voters should have a clearer understanding of how its funding fits the district vision, and the potential impacts if a levy request is rejected, she said.


Tons of food collected for area food shelves

An annual food drive led by student council members at White Bear Lake Area High School ended this month with nearly 7¾ tons of food collected -- a new record, according to a school district news release.

The 15,496 pounds exceeded last year's tally by more than 2,000 pounds.

Students also raised $2,401.66 for the campaign, which began in October for the benefit of White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf and Second Harvest Heartland.

Organizers created special themed days that included: Meaty Monday, Two-Can Tuesday, Wash-Up Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday and Fruits and Veggies Friday. They also organized can-stacking and saltine-eating contests to raise awareness about hunger in the community.

Liz Bridgeman, south campus vice president, said in the news release: "The food drive is a great way to challenge students to think about the problems in our community, actively do something to change them and help people."


Nominees sought for 'educator of the year'

The Woodbury Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual Educator of the Year award.

But act fast because the deadline for submissions is Monday.

Nomination forms are available at the chamber website at www.woodbury

The chamber says the nominee must be an educator with at least three years' experience at a public or private school in Woodbury or Newport, and have indicated an intention to continue at the school. The form asks people to specify how the nominees influence the lives of students, what skills they possess and how they play active roles in their communities.

Completed forms can be faxed to 651-578-7276 or delivered to the chamber offices at 6949 Valley Creek Road, Suite 115.

The recipient will be honored at the annual Chamber Gala on Jan. 25.