Sixth-grade students at Oltman Middle School in St. Paul Park will mix math and science with theme-park fun in an academic project funded by a $10,000 3M Foundation "ingenuity grant."

The students, guided by a team of sixth-grade teachers, will use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills to design an amusement park that fits the needs of the community, but not necessarily the land available to it for development.

As part of the problem-solving process, the students will research amusement parks and map out the challenges involved, a news release said.

The teachers also will learn more about project-based learning instruction and strategies that allow students more opportunities to work as teams while in class.

"Each of our teachers on this team is innovative in their own way and has a strong sense of what needs to be accomplished," Oltman Principal Rebecca Schroeder said in the news release. "They know that STEM innovation is the key to learning."

At the end of the project, the students will present their work to a community panel.


High school grads nab merit scholarships

Two Woodbury High School students — Daniel Pilon of St. Paul and Jack Thomas of Woodbury — were named last week as National Merit Scholarship winners.

Pilon, who plans to study biology at Northeastern University in Boston, and Thomas, who plans to study mathematics at the University of Oklahoma, were among four students with ties to Washington County who were selected to receive annual college-sponsored awards of between $500 and $2,000.

The announcement was the last in a series of four by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

The other local recipients were: Elizabeth Krenkel, of Stillwater, who attended Mounds Park Academy and plans to study physics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., and Iram Shafqat, who attended the Math and Science Academy in Woodbury and plans to study medicine at the University of Minnesota.


Elementary principal takes Osseo position

Aaron Krueger, principal at Newport Elementary for the past four years, is leaving South Washington County for a new job as principal of Edinbrook Elementary in the Osseo School District.

He told staff members and families in Newport that he was making the move with "mixed emotions." The Newport community is a great one, he said, but the new position gives him a chance to be closer to family and to lessen his commuting time to and from work.

Dave Bernhardson, assistant superintendent for elementary education for the South Washington County schools, said in a statement that Krueger was a "valued member" of the community and of the district's administrative team, and that the district would work to fill the position in a timely manner.


Deadline approaches for Wildwood stories

People wishing to reminisce publicly about the old Wildwood Elementary School in Mahtomedi are nearing a deadline to submit their memories to the Mahtomedi public schools' website,

The district is collecting Wildwood memories until Aug. 1 for publication on the website on Aug. 15.

Wildwood was built in 1959 and hosted the last of its grades K-2 students in 2012-13.

The school is being replaced by a new facility less than 2 miles away at 8698 75th St. N. in Grant.

The district is planning a community celebration at the new school on Aug. 20, followed by an open house on Aug. 29 and then the start of school on Sept. 3.

Anthony Lonetree