From iPads to free admission to new grading policies, west metro high school students will see a slate of changes when they return to the classroom next week. They will see some familiar faces in key school positions, and some new ones. For a roundup of some of the changes in store at local schools, turn to Page AA6.
Principal: Mike Trewick
Projected enrollment: 3,273
Ninth-graders at Wayzata High School recently received iPads as part of the district's MyWay for Student Learning initiative. Student in grade 10-12 will get one next year as the initiative is completely phased in.
This year, the high school is expected to house 3,300 students, which is about 100 over capacity. Over the coming month, the school board and administration will develop plans to manage the growing enrollment in coming months.
There will be some new faces, too, as Wayzata High welcomes two new associate principals. Amy Janacek is the 10th-grade associate principal, and Jeff Pawlicki is the 12th-grade associate principal.
Principal: Dr. Bruce Locklear
Expected enrollment: 1,965 (grades 10-12)
Edina High School is modifying its weekly schedule to provide more time for individualized student learning experiences and teacher collaboration time. Every Wednesday, over an extended lunch period, students will have the opportunity to meet with teachers, participate in enrichment or intervention sessions, or work in teams. The time will be focused on specific learning objectives and student needs. Examples of student assistance offerings will include writing conferences, math help, science lab make-up, Advanced Placement review sessions and ACT prep.
In staffing changes, Troy Stein will join the leadership team as activities director/assistant principal. In addition to serving the past five years as Chaska's assistant principal in charge of activities, athletics and fine arts, Stein also worked for three years at that city's high school as a math teacher and head baseball coach.
Principal: Patty Johnson
Expected enrollment: 1,800
Hopkins High has a new academic dean, Tyson Crockett. His main charge, the school says, "is to support the high school's mission for excellence by being a resource for students and staff."
The school also is unveiling a grant-funded after-school study support program that will work like a tutoring center and offer students help in all the core content areas. including writing, science and math.
In an effort to make sure students are career-ready, the school's college fair will be expanded to include trips to metro universities and community colleges. Additionally, all students will take the ACT exam in their junior year.
Principal: Jeff Erickson
New this year is the VANTAGE program, which will provide juniors and seniors with real-world experiences in corporate settings while they earn required credits in social studies and English. Students will spend half their day in a business environment and half their day at the high school.
The first class of students in the Navigator program is entering high school. After completing their ninth-grade science class in middle school, these students will take a newly created Advanced Placement physics-integrated English class. This AP science class will complement a new ninth-grade technical communications English course. By coordinating the teaching of science and English classes, the school gives students the opportunity to dig deeper into subject matter and prepare for later research experiences.
Principal: Andrew Beaton
Expected enrollment: 1,550
Kennedy High School is continuing its use of data, formative assessment and grading best practices. By reporting on academic achievement and student behaviors such as attendance, the school's goal is for grades to accurately reflect what a student knows and can do related to the standards. Through what it calls a Response to Intervention process, Kennedy staff can identify and respond to students who may need extra support, remediation or enrichment.
Kennedy also is moving from a "labs and carts" to an "individual mobile devices" model. If the district's referendum is approved this fall, the high schools will move to a one-to-one digital device for every student in 2015-16.
And the school has developed a partnership with Normandale Community College to add concurrent enrollment (dual-credit) courses at Kennedy to help students get a jump start on their postsecondary education.
Offered in multiple departments, these concurrent enrollment courses, partnered with Advanced Placement, will allow Kennedy students to potentially meet MnSCU's general education requirements in high school, which then can be transferred to any Minnesota public college or university after they graduate.
Principal: Kevin Groebner
Projected Enrollment: 1665
Jefferson has undergone a face-lift this summer. Nearly all light fixtures in the school are new. The ceiling tiles in all hallways have been replaced, stone tile has been installed in the two main entrances and one of the main halls, all hallways and lockers have been repainted, and electrical panels have been updated.
In addition, Jefferson has a new principal, Kevin Groebner; a new assistant principal, Justin Hall, and a new activities director, Chad Nyberg.
In the area of technology, some Jefferson teachers who piloted the "flipped classroom" method of instruction last year will expand its use as other teachers will join the effort.
A "flipped classroom" is one in which students will watch teacher-produced online lesson at home. Class time is then utilized by the teacher providing more one-on-one assistance, guidance and tutoring for students.
Principal: Keith Randklev
Expected Enrollment: 850
Mound Westonka High School underwent major renovation this summer as a result of the passage of the November 2011 referendum. The construction projects focused on deferred maintenance, as well as improvements to safety/accessibility and the learning environment.
This renovation also included a complete remodeling of the locker room, weight room and pool area.
Westonka EDGE21, the District's 1:1 technology initiative ,will roll out this year. At Mound Westonka High School, students in grade 8 will receive Google Chromebooks to use at school and home at the start of second semester.
Principal: Jason Wenschlag
Expected enrollment: 1,144
Free admission is now being offered to home athletic events for students who present their school ID. The policy is just for the 2013-14 school year. Athletic Director Todd Olson will study the impact that free student admittance has on attendance and participation, and determine the implications of making this change permanent. The policy does not apply to visiting school students or away games.
As Richfield Public Schools embark on a technology levy referendum this fall, the Richfield High School media center is continuing its quest to go digital. After seeing a record number of traditional books checked out in 2012-13, media specialist Melissa Glavas and her staff are working to add more digital titles and formats to meet the growing demand of media users with e-reading devices.
Finally, staff will develop and begin implementing a long-term strategic plan for raising the graduation rate and preparing students for postsecondary success.
Principal: Conn McCartan
Expected enrollment: 2,982
All students will receive a MacBook Air laptop computer when they return to school in September. It is the next phase of the district's i-Learn@EP digital initiative, which began rolling out last year. The students will have the laptops to use throughout the school year, both in the building and at home.
In staff changes, Mary Jodl-Ernhart has been hired as a new associate principal, replacing Gail Toatley, who retired in June. A former social studies and psychology teacher, Jodl-Ernhart has been assistant principal at Maple Grove High School since December.
Principal: Tim Dorway
Expected enrollment: 1,831
After testing a handful of no-homework nights and twice-weekly extended breaks during last school year, Chanhassen will continue to advance that program, called "Balance. Perspective. Growth."
Austin Tollerson is Chanhassen's new athletic director. Former athletic director Dick Ungar accepted a position as the school's assistant principal after Mark Shoquist went to Chaska Middle School West. Tollerson was an assistant principal at Skyview Middle School in Oakdale. He has worked as a counselor and coach at Park Center High in Brooklyn Park.
Principal: David Brecht
Expected enrollment: 1,360
Over the past three summers, Chaska has improved its track, tennis courts, parking lots and other parts of its grounds and facilities. Perhaps the most visible upgrade will happen this fall, with installation of new football and fieldhouse scoreboards. They will serve football, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, wrestling, and track and field.
Jon Summer is Chaska's new athletic director. He comes from the Farmington School District, where he was athletic administrator for eight years. Jim Swearingen, previously activities director for Chanhassen High School, will oversee all activities for Chaska and Chanhassen high schools.