School is model for AVID program

Nicollet Junior High was among a handful of Midwestern schools showcased last month for its implementation of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

A group of Twin Cities teachers and administrators visited the school to learn about best practices and the program as a whole.

At Nicollet, AVID is both an elective class and an initiative implemented throughout the school. The program helps students in the academic middle, including first-generation college students, develop critical-thinking and organizational skills. It also creates a supportive environment where going to college is an expectation.

The school may be on its way to becoming a “national demonstration school,” one of the state’s first, said Principal Renee Brandner.

Nicollet was the first in the district to start an AVID program. The program has since expanded to four other district secondary schools.

Giving Garden to begin at Burnsville

Student volunteers and garden club advisers have cleared space and are building a fence on the west end of Burnsville High School’s campus to create a Giving Garden.

The garden will be used to teach students and staff how to grow their own food. It was spearheaded by Bri Ostoff, the youth service coordinator, and Matt Deutsch, a language arts teacher.

Next year’s goal is to harvest 1,000 pounds of produce to donate to the 360 Communities nonprofit and possibly for use in the school cafeteria. Other uses, like growing herbs for Family and Consumer Science classes, are also possible.

The garden club will help with the garden, learning about botany and sustainability in the process. The garden has benefited from a Foundation 191 grant and has had mulch donated by Dakotah Roots, but could use donations of time, garden equipment or funding.

The garden club is also recruiting community partners, and can always use more help with the project. For more information, contact Matt Deutsch at mdeutsch@burnsville.k12.mn.us.


Students from Martinique visit

In mid-October, 10 high school students and a teacher from Saint-Joseph de Cluny High School in Fort-de-France arrived from Martinique to spend two weeks with Lakeville South High School French students and their families.

The exchange was arranged by French teacher Anne Muske and a Bloomington-based organization called Language and Friendship.

The students shadowed the American students for four days of classes, went on field trips to Minneapolis and St. Paul, and participated in after-school activities arranged by the French Club. The guests also met Lakeville Mayor Matt Little at a Halloween costume party.

In 2012, Muske went with Lakeville students to Martinique. She is planning another visit in 2015 during which Lakeville students will shadow students from Saint-Joseph de Cluny High School.

Erin Adler