Minneapolis School District officials said they are evaluating all issues regarding the Holyoke, Mass., school district before they finalize a contract with Sergio Paez to become the next superintendent.

According to a statement released Friday, a district attorney is in contact with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding allegations that school staff members slapped students, threw students on the floor and restrained one student more than 50 times.

Paez was the superintendent of the district during the time the alleged abuse occurred. He said he launched an internal investigation when the allegations surfaced but found no evidence of abuse.

The allegations surfaced in a report by a nonprofit organization Wednesday, just 48 hours after Paez emerged as the preferred candidate for the top schools job in Minneapolis.

The district said a thorough background check and "multiple discussions with professional references for [Paez], including an official from the [state education department] were completed."

Information about the Holyoke complaints was not available until after the Dec. 7 vote, the statement said. Two board members, Tracine Asberry and Josh Reimnitz, will visit Holyoke next week.


Chanhassen students raise awareness of sleep deficits

Three Chanhassen High School seniors are using a school project to raise awareness of students' sleep deficits and the problems that come with not getting enough shut-eye.

"Sleep is really important, and it's pretty underrated nowadays, because teens are getting a lot less than they actually need to get," said Darby Ottoson, one of the students.

The project has included a "sleepy time section," in which the trio turned a gym space into a sleep fair with blankets, snacks and aromatherapy. In total, 75 of their peers attended, and most ended up napping for the whole period.

"Sleep isn't really a priority," said Ottoson, citing other activities like college applications. "The more research we've done, the more we find out it should be one of your main priorities."

Ottoson, Megan Carver and Maddy Schmall said that at a senior class meeting, the principal reported that just 7 percent of students were getting eight or more hours of sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep each night to perform at their best.

Students say that learning better sleep habits now will benefit them the rest of their lives. "It really prepares us for the future and sets us up for better success in college," Carver said.


Visitation selects new leader

The Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights has selected a new head of school to assume leadership at the start of the 2016-17 school year.

Rene Gavic, currently the director of the middle and high school, will take over for Dawn Nichols, who is retiring at the end of the school year. Nichols led the K-12 Catholic girls' school for 16 years.

Gavic has worked for the school in various roles for nearly 30 years, starting as a track and field coach in 1987. Last year, she became the director of the upper school.

Erin Adler