Eden Prairie

No more time for public comment at board meetings

The Eden Prairie school board has decided it will no longer include time on its agenda for public comment during its meetings, but it is looking for other ways to promote dialogue.

Chair Jim Mortenson made the move because he said the public comment sessions had not proved helpful to the board.

He also said that school board members are always available to the public and that parents can make their concerns known to board members by calling or e-mailing them.

Jessie Score, a parent who used the public comment portion of the meetings to communicate with the board, said that if the board is going to end the practice, "They need to get a vehicle in place as soon as possible for two-way communication between board members and the community."

Mortenson said the board's Engagement Committee will discuss ways to promote dialogue between parents and the board.

"There's a segment of the population that just wants to come and talk to the board and have their views expressed on TV. But that's not the function of our meetings," Mortenson said.

In the meantime, time will still be allotted at the end of each meeting for announcements and feedback from the public on topics that have arisen during the meeting, he noted.

EDINA

Chinese in, German out at middle schools

Mandarin Chinese will be offered at Edina's South View Middle School and Valley View Middle School starting next school year.

The new course is the result of a follow-up study that determined a need to offer a non-Western language beginning in sixth grade.

To make room for the new course, German will be phased out as an option for sixth through eighth grades. Enrollment in German courses has declined at the middle school level. To serve students already enrolled in German, the course will continue to be offered at the ninth-grade level.

School board elects officers for 2009

The Edina school board re-elected Randy Meyer as board chair for 2009. Other officers elected were Jeff Johnson, treasurer; Peyton Robb, assistant treasurer; Bert Ledder, clerk; Brian Hedberg, assistant clerk, and Cathy Cella, assistant clerk.

Students arrange talk on the crisis on Darfur

Two Edina High School students want to raise awareness of the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, so they arranged for a Darfur refugee camp doctor to come to town next week to talk about the crisis.

Students Shara Mohtadi and Emma Weisberg, in cooperation with the Genocide Intervention Network, called on Dr. Ashis Brahma to share his experiences as a physician for refugees who have suffered starvation, malnutrition, disease and violence.

Brahma, who has been caring for 27,000 Darfur refugees who were forced from their homes in Sudan, will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Fick Auditorium of Edina High School, 6754 Valley View Road, Edina. The event is free and open to the public, but a donation of $10 is suggested. For more information, call Mohtadi at 612-810-0407.

MINNEAPOLIS

Meetings will cover school sites, bus routes

The Minneapolis School District is considering citywide changes to its magnet and community school locations and bus routes that will affect district families in the near-future. However, before any final decisions are made, school officials have invited residents to learn more about the changes being considered and offer suggestions.

As a result, three community engagement sessions will be held in various areas of the city from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 12: North Commons Recreation Center at 1801 James Av. N.; St. Maron Church at 600 University Av. NE., and Sullivan Community School at 3100 E. 28th St.

District officials urge residents to attend the session that is the most convenient for them, as the same information will be presented at all locations.

For more information or to reserve a spot for child care, go to www.mpls.k12.mn.us or call 612-668-0230.

WAYZATA

Annual parenting forum planned

The 13th annual "Parenting Those Wonderful Kids," a free community forum, is scheduled for Saturday at Central Middle School, 305 Vicksburg Lane, Plymouth.

The event will feature keynote speaker Paul Buckley, a licensed marriage and family therapist. It also will offer 26 classes and a marketplace featuring local organizations. The day begins at 8 a.m. with check-in and coffee, followed by welcoming remarks and the keynote speaker at 8:30 a.m.

For more information, call 763-745-5214.

AIMÉE BLANCHETTE,

NORMAN DRAPER

AND PATRICE RELERFORD