Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Northeast Middle School 2/5K Family Fun Day!

Saturday, March 6, 9:00-12:00
Northeast Middle School (2955 Hayes Street)

Enter the 2K or 5K (starting at 9:00), go swimming, play on the inflatable obstacle course, get your face painted, play a Wii game, buy a book or participate in other wellness activities. Game tickets are $1. Most activities are one or two tickets.


Monday, February 15, 2010

PEN Meeting Monday February 22, 6:30 - 8:00 pm @ Edison

Last May we met to discuss Sports opportunities for NE youth, both through the public schools and through the parks. Our primary take-away from the meeting was that there exists a gap in competitive sports programming for our kids at the middle school level.

One of the great accomplishments of last year's meeting was providing a place for major stakeholders of this discussion to meet and brainstorm. We want to continue this conversation – we know a main issue is the middle school gap and we want this meeting to be a forum of ideas to address that problem. The discussion will include:

· An introduction of new stakeholders. For example, new NEMS athletic directors

· What has been accomplished in the effort to fill the sports gap?

· What needs to be done to introduce new options for sports still struggling with Middle School gaps?

· How can our local K-8 schools fit within the middle school/high school partnership?

· How can the community assist with the recruitment, publicity, and funding needed to make NE athletic pathways thrive?

This will be the only agenda topic for this month's meeting. It's a big topic and we are dedicated to ending the meeting on time (8:00 pm)! If you have anything to add to this conversation, but do not think you'll be able to attend this meeting, please contact Jenny Arneson either via email (arneson.jenny@gmail.com) or phone (612-789-2697).


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pillsbury, Waite Park and Northeast Middle School Prevail at Check It Out Chess Tournament!

1st Place, K-3 Division: Pillsbury!

3rd Place, K-3 Division: Waite Park!

2nd Place, 4-6 Division: Pillsbury!

1st Place, 7-8 Division: Northeast Middle School!

Congratulations to all of our Northeast chess masters!


Friday, February 12, 2010

President's Day Ice Skating Party

All Northeast Schools Ice Skating Celebration

February 15, 2010
3:00 - 5:00 pm

It's an MPS release day, and the kids need to get out of the house!  Join us as we celebrate another great year of ice at Logan Park (690 13th Ave NE)

Bring your skates or borrow a pair from Logan to skate one last time this season.

Enjoy free marshmallows and hot dogs roasted on the fire.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Minutes: January 25, 2010

Attendees: Dean DeGroot (NEMS), Mark Jensen (Edison), Jerry Pedersen (Edison), Jean Neuman (Sheridan), Lloyd Winfield (NEMS), Marcia Thomas (Pillsbury/NEMS), Kate Anderson (Waite Park), Alita Bergan (Waite Park CC), Jill Davis (NEMS/School Board), Liz Wielinski (Parks), Jenny Arneson (Waite Park), Michelle Woster (Pillsbury), Jenn Bennington (Waite Park), Mike Iacarella (Edison), Lupe Castillo, Suzanne Durkacs (Marcy), Tony Schrepfer (Edison), Bridget Altmann (Edison), Troy Wellington (Edison), Donna Andrews (Marcy), & Pamela Vertina (Edison).
MPS Board Update: School Board Director, Jill Davis

Jill told the group about some details families should consider regarding Changing School Options (CSO).  No major time changes for kids in NE, except that all K-5 and K-8 programs will have 15 minutes added to their school day.  Transportation changes will occur for Pillsbury and Waite Park, with families receiving transportation to their community schools only, depending on where they live.  Families that live north of Lowry will be bused to Waite Park; those that live south of Lowry will be bused to Pillsbury.  Jill suggested that principals collaborate with one another to make this transition as smooth as possible rather than be competitive in these efforts. 

Pam Vertina asked about the impacts of CSO on ELL.  Apparently, no clear details have been provided on this issue but should be shortly.

Suzanne Durkacs inquired about letters being sent to 8th grade families informing them of where their children are going next school year to high school.  Jill was unaware about when/how the letters would be sent by the District but was going to get clarification.

Edison has recently been approved for offering IB, which is good news for the community.  There have been some special education program shifts made as a result of CSO.   Life Skills will be located at EdisonPrincipals can exert influence over special education programs, but the community also has a say in programming. 

New schools initiatives.  Jill mentioned that February 9th is when the Board will vote to consider recommending the start-up of two schools to start for the 2010-11 school year: Pierre Bottineau French Immersion School will start as a K-1 program and eventually become a K-5 school, located in North Minneapolis.  When asked why the District is interested in French Immersion, Jill explained that similar programs in the country have done well at reducing the achievement gap.  The other school considered for 2010-11 is the MN School of Science Charter School.  It will start as a K-6 and eventually become at K-12.  This program still needs to apply with the State of MN before it becomes operational.  These schools' focus will be the lowest performing 25% of kids in the district.
The self-governed Art School planned to be housed at Edison High School is going to be provided with more time to develop math and science resources.  It could possibly be approved to start in 2011, if all the details are completed and in place.

What’s Happening at Our Schools?—Representatives from each NE school provided a brief update based on the following points:

·       Key activities/initiatives/changes this year
·       Challenges & concerns
·       Ways PEN can help out (1-3 wishes/needs)

Suzanne Durcaks (parent) and Donna Andrews (Principal) provided an update on Marcy Open:  Currently, the school has 630 kids, which was described as “packed” and provides “Open” education and highlights arts integration, its international peace site theme, great fundraising opportunities, Labyrinth (an Artist-in-Residence program), Project Success, Minneapolis Kids, and Community Education.  The school also has connections with five colleges, with student teaching opportunities.  Marcy offers music opportunities as well, including band, rock band, and orchestra.
Wishes for Marcy: More space—like a parking lot (pretty land-locked) and having a greater partnership with Edison.
Jean Neuman (Principal - Sheridan Arts Magnet), told of the various activities happening at the school.  Although Sheridan is comprised of mostly Northside kids, efforts are underway to establish some connection with Edison.  Jean told of February being “I want to Read” month, with February 8th being Parent Involvement Day.  Arts integration and service learning opportunities are available at the school. 

Dreams/wishes for Sheridan include: having local performance artists provide theatrical experiences for the school and community.  Also, on a practical note, having more navy blue/Kelly green uniforms available for kids would be nice.

Marcia Thomas (parent - Pillsbury) provided an update about this soon-to-be community school.  Their chess team won local City awards, and students took part in a Lego League tournament.  One of the GEMS (Girls in engineering, math, and science) teams won a regional competition, and a 5th grade teacher won a learning fellowship in science education. 

Wishes: boots, mittens, gloves, especially for younger grades as well as snow pants, new or gently used.

Kate Anderson (staff - Waite Park Community School)  told of the various activities/efforts provided by their PTA.  Hi-5 is now available at WP, and data indicates that 75% of kids who start Hi-5 stay throughout the elementary school grades.  Kate told of some parents being rather sad about the boundary changes at WP, which will impact a number of kids/families.  She shared information about math and reading programming occurring. 

Wishes for WP: perhaps an information packet could be created which highlights programming at WP, NE Middle, and Edison HS.  Otherwise, having all 3 schools available at the school showcase downtown Minneapolis would necessitate greater recruitment.  Help the community deal with boundary issues, be an advocate, and assist with marketing efforts.

Lloyd Winfield (Assistant Principal -  Northeast Middle School):  NEMS will continue to have a 9:30 start time, offering a variety of sports, with the possibility of a wrestling program to start.  A fundraiser was recently completed, raising sufficient funds for the spring musical (“Seussical”).  Band offerings have expanded and there is now choir available.  NEMS has a debate team; some discussion was in regard to partnering with Edison in debate competitions.  A new parent group was established this school year and Mr. Winfield reminded the group that NEMS has the only middle years IB program in NE.

Wishes for NEMS: Money, equipment, signage, and PR.  There was a suggestion of possible literature drops in the blocks near NEMS, with the hope that the community better understands the great programs and opportunities that exist at the school.

Jerry Pedersen (Asst. Principal), Pamela Vertina (staff), & Bridgett Altmann (staff) gave an overview of happenings at Edison High School.  Fundraising opportunities have emerged at the school, with several events scheduled. Several new features at Edison include: recently certified as IB program, a drum line is now in place, efforts are being made to bolster the arts, with 4 Artists-in-Residence in place.  A human rights initiative started this school year, whereby several public events have and will take place. One event happening in April is about the Holocaust with a survivor providing insights to the participants; students gain service hours by taking part in these forums.  A talent show will also take place.  Later in the spring, Edison will be showcasing their first musical theatre production in years: “Bye Bye Birdie”.  The Morris Community Players will also be collaborating with Edison on productions.  During Art-A-Whirl, Edison’s parking lot will be a Park & Ride stop.

Wishes for Edison: Art props, helping kids with scripts for the musical, establishing more arts in-roads (e.g., NEMAA--) http://www.nemaa.org/, and community support in PR for  productions.

Future Considerations/next meeting: 

PEN will meet on Monday, February 22 at 6:30 – 8 PM at the Edison media center.  The agenda:  Revisiting sports opportunities in Northeast: coaches, athletic directors, park board people, and other interested community members will be present.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Celebrate African American History Month!

Thomas Edison High School and the African American Cultural Awareness Club would like to invite you to share with them in their celebration of African American History Month. There will be a full slate of activities, including a Film Festival (see poster above),  a Poster Contest, a Food Drive for the earthquake survivors of Haiti, African American Parent Involvement Day (Febraury 8, 2010), and a Speech Contest (see poster below) open to students from all high schools held at Edison on February 25, 2010. 

Come celebrate our young people and African American heritage at Thomas Edison High School!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Swap at Waite Park Community School!

Bring a book in, take a book home!

Friday February 5, 2010 
6:30 - 8:00 pm
Waite Park Gym

Book Swap Activities include:
  •  Beginning on Monday February 1, students bring gently used books to their classrooms. These should be children’s books appropriate for K-8th grade.
  • Each classroom will collect these gently used books up until Friday February 5th.
  • The classroom that collects the most books will receive a fabulous prize from Dairy Queen!
  • On Friday February 5th, 6:30-8:00pm come to Waite Park's Gym and check out the book swap tables for books that are new to you!  Take home and enjoy!
  • Snacks and beverages will be provided.

Sponsored by Waite Park Community School PTA.