Superintendent Gruver to retire
After seven years in the role, Superintendent Sue Ann Gruver announced last week that she will retire from her post on June 30, 2015.
While Gruver was at the helm, the district passed a referendum in 2008, allowing for the building of a new elementary school and maintaining class sizes. This year, Prior Lake High School opened a new addition. She was instrumental in expanding access to technology through a 1:1 tablet program and updated security at schools.
St. Thomas Academy
New assistant football coach chosen
The current director of athletics and activities, Jason Sedlak, has been named an instructor in the military department and the assistant head football coach, beginning in August.
Sedlak attended St. Thomas Academy and later the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. He has a background in the Army as well. He previously served as director of alumni relations and in several other positions on the football coaching staff. He has been athletic director since September 2013.
District aims to 'bench' bullying
The Shakopee district is collaborating with My Appliance Source of Shakopee to "bench" bullying in the district's schools through the Tiny Girl Big Dream program. The initiative places friendship benches in schools all around the country to create a place where kids can go when they are being bullied or having a bad day. Other kids can support their classmates by sitting on the bench with them. All of the district's elementary schools and the Pearson 6th Grade Center will receive a bench.
The program was started by Acacia Woodley, a 12-year-old who was born without complete arms. Woodley spoke at assemblies at every Shakopee elementary school and visited one classroom earlier this week.
My Appliance Store (13122 Johnson Memorial Drive, Shakopee) is holding a related coloring contest this weekend and next weekend, Jan. 31 through Feb. 1. Kids can bring an official entry and coloring sheet into the store on the next two weekends to get cookies, hot cocoa and a Tiny Girl Big Dream bracelet. A coloring contest winner from each school will receive an Amazon Kindle.
Students plan splash pad with mayor
Students at Marion W. Savage Elementary School are planning a new splash pad project with Savage's mayor, Janet Williams.
The initiative began with discussions of how to improve Savage Community Park, and the second-graders decided a splash pad would be the best fit.
The idea is to connect students to their community while also encouraging them to use real-world skills like math and writing in planning the water play area. Williams reminded students that developing the splash pad will take time — it might not be in place until they are fourth-graders, she said.
Teacher receives cultural award
Jennifer Johnson, a Spanish teacher at Lakeville North High School, recently received the ISE (Intercultural Student Experiences) Language Matters Award from the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures. The award recognizes high school teachers who are motivating and creative in their teaching, getting students to successfully use their new language through immersion experiences.
Inver Grove Heights
King is Minnesota Coach of the Year
Rex King, head football coach at Simley High School, was named Coach of the Year by USA Today as part of the 2014 American Family Insurance All-USA Minnesota Football Team.
King, an alumnus of Simley, took over in 2011 at age 29 and soon became a well-regarded coach in the state. He led his team to the 5A championship game, quite the feat for a school known for wrestling, the district website reported.
South St. Paul
Preschool open house coming soon
On Tuesday, families are invited to meet staff and tour classrooms at a Community Preschool open house. Three different locations have preschool programming and will host open house events on Jan. 27 at the following times:
5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln Center, 357 Ninth Av. N, South St. Paul; 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Kid Connections, 1541 Fifth Av. S, South St. Paul; and 6 to 7 p.m. at Kaposia Education Center, 1225 First Ave. S, South St. Paul.