Osseo’s superintendent recommended using a fund balance to invest more than $1 million in smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade for next year.

The school board will decide whether to take action on the recommendation at a meeting Tuesday.

Barb Olson, a spokeswoman for the district, said the recommendation involves a “strategic investment” that means not all classrooms will be reduced in size. It also won’t involve cuts or class size caps, she said. The goal is to make sure students are reading at grade level by grade three, supporting the state’s World’s Best Workforce aim.

“We know that if students are reading at grade level by grade three, they are more likely to have success in later grades,” Olson said.

Robert Gerhart, vice chairman of the school board, wrote a blog post about the decision. Although the district doesn’t have the resources to reduce classes sizes in higher grades, he said this is a start.

“I plan to support this action,” Gerhart wrote. “The function of the school district is to educate students, and class size is one of the few variables for which there is little disagreement about the return on investment in terms of student achievement.”

ZOE Peterson

 

Messersmith tunes up with Hopkins orchestra

A special guest will take the stage with the Hopkins High School Orchestra Feb. 19: indie-rock/pop artist Jeremy Messer­smith.

A Minneapolis-based musician, Messersmith has released five albums since 2006, with pieces that run the gamut from life in the Twin Cities to love. Messersmith will play with Andy Thompson, who wrote string arrangements for the concert. Thompson, who usually plays drums in Messersmith’s band and was one of the engineers on Taylor Swift’s album “Red,” will be on piano this time.

The two are rehearsing weekly with students in preparation for the concert, according to the district. Messersmith will perform nine original songs with the orchestra, including “Welcome to Suburbia” and “Organ Donor.”

Beena Raghavendran