Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Northeast Middle School Presents Seussical Jr.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Agenda: March 15, 2010

Welcome/Introductions (5 mns.)

Sheridan Arts Work Group Update (30-40 min.)

Special Education Advisory Council Update (10-20 min.)

Friends of NE Youth (5-10 min.)

Announcements: (5-10 min.)
  • Next Area A Meeting: March 24, 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Loring Community School
  • Spring Fundraisers

Next PEN Meeting:

April 19, 2010, 6:30 – 8:00 PM at Edison Media Center
Agenda Topic: PEN Self-Audit


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Minutes: February 22, 2010

Attendees: Dean DeGroot (NEMS), Stephanie Ollila (Edison), Larry Umphrey (Waite Park/Audubon Park), Huy Nguyen (NE Park), Marcia Thomas (Pillsbury/NEMS), Sara Ackmann (Parks/Rec), Alita Bergan (Waite Park Community Council), Jill Davis (NEMS, MPS School Board), Liz Wielinski (Park Board), Jenny Arneson (Waite Park), Chris Aarseth (Edison), Mike Iacarella (Edison), Sarah Larson (Audubon Park Neighborhood), Kris Solz (NEMS/Edison), Bridget Altmann (Marcy/Edison), Troy Wellington (Edison), Shaun Wakaruk (Parks Wrestling), Jamison Rusthoven (Edison), John Washington (MPS District), Mandy Larson (Edison), Tammy Rusnacko (Waite Park), Angie Powell (NEMS), Kimberlee Adams (NEMS), Debbie Nelson (NEMS), Kurt Nowacki (Edison), Shannon McDonough (City Council Aide), Kevin Reich (NEMS/City Council Member), Laura Ericksen-White (Pillsbury), and Paul Werni (Waite Park/Parks Wrestling)

Jenny Arneson led a discussion on sports in NE as a follow-up to last Spring’s initial meeting on the subject.

The goal was to address sports competitiveness and gaps in offerings, with participants who were provided key questions to address. Ideas to fill these gaps were brainstormed, with special focus on middle years sports opportunities.
  • What has been accomplished in the effort to fill the sports gap?
  • What needs to be done, and how can we work to accomplish our goals?
  • How can K-8 fit within the middle school/high school partnership?
  • How can the Parks best help kids make the transition to competitive or high school sports?
  • How can the community assist with the recruitment, publicity, and funding needed to make NE athletic pathways thrive?

Paul Werni said that the youth wrestling team (Minneapolis United Team) was recently involved in an individual competition at the gopher state tourney—NYAF. Kids from all over Minneapolis competed with various teams outside of the city and metro. At this point, competition is relegated mostly to one league. Paul reported that currently there are 15-20 kids from NE; some clubs/leagues have over 130 kids; most practices have been held at Edison. There is a desire to have a central location in NE, with more opportunities for competitive matches. The United Team has kids that go thru 6th grade. Minneapolis Park & Rec. can provide wrestling through 7 & 8th grades. Efforts are underway to attempt to get wrestling facilities at NE Middle School (NEMS).

According to one coach, kids can join HS teams from 7th grade onward. If wrestling occurs at NEMS, the team will need to join a league (probably outside of Minneapolis). A transition is needed for wrestling at the middle school ages—same age group competition. Middle School wrestling in the parks hasn’t seemed to work in the past. The sentiment is that if no competitive wrestling is in place, a number of wrestlers will choose to leave MPS. There is an information void about these opportunities. Some kids get brochures/etc., while others lack the information. Kimberlee Adams said NEMS is interested in having a wrestling program. Space could be made available in the cafeteria and sometimes in the gym; transportation costs would likely be covered by NEMS and possibly expenses for uniforms, but details still need to be sorted out. What other costs exist?

Deb Nelson reported that a few NEMS students are playing at the HS level to get competitive sports. How can we get separate teams so they can get same-age, challenging competition? Games played in middle school occur right after school; Parks/Rec. games occur in the evening. What may work for one sport may not work for another because of the scheduling and facility differences between sports. For example, there are limited swimming facilities: NEMS has a pool; the University of MN provides opportunities for 6th/7th graders, but it can be an expensive option. There is the need for trained staff, i.e., liability issues, and there are start time differences between sports.

Mike Iacarella mentioned the issue of park identity. Everything is spread out and no one knows where/what sports are offered at the various parks. Park Identity also plays out in terms of funding issues (e.g. Bottineau Boosters only want to fund Logan Park). Larry Umphrey told of efforts to establish several “pots" - districts that funnel kids towards Edison. Having certain parks specializing in certain sports during the seasons will enable the community to know where to go. Also, pooling kids from several parks for one sport (e.g., Upper NE Soccer) will also allow for viable teams to be created.

Laura Ericksen-White said that her local park (Windom) has been a wonderful skating rink, but it is no longer available. She was concerned that with the early closing of the rink, nearby kids will skate at St. Anthony. This is a problem, because it opens the door to kids/families exploring other options there for hockey. Larry mentioned that there are cost issues in keeping the rinks open after President's Day. Sara Ackmann stated that this will change next year. What’s the cost to keep rink open for 2 more weeks? Is this an expense that parents/organizations could cover?

Kevin Reich questioned how could we ensure resources at Parks. Perhaps there could be plans to better manage the resources? Jill Davis stated that a Middle School Sports group existed in the past. We need a NE Sports Collaborative—looking at collaborative efforts for pooling resources. Community Foundations also need to be explored. Jill stated the she recently spoke with the CEO of Graco, who is an Edison graduate, and their foundation funds sports. Kevin added that Graco is currently funding some sports efforts, but not in any systematic fashion. Perhaps we need a clearinghouse to provide this structure. Laura mentioned that parents who work at Graco can get $1000 scholarships if they volunteer for any nonprofit. Finally, Jill mentioned that Dick Mammen (MPRB) is willing to host a kick-off lunch to get something going on this topic.

Kurt Nowacki posed the following question: Can Edison Sports Foundation form a subcommittee to allot money to local sports?

Jenny asked if Bottineau Boosters Club could expand their focus. Mike wondered who to talk with there? Bernie Kunza? Dick Anderson? Gold Brick Club? We need sponsoring for teams/shirts. Lion’s Club needs to get back on track—fund NE and not St. Anthony.

Kimberlee believes that Parks & Rec sports should not compete with local school teams. Better coordinated efforts need to take place to prevent this.

Deb Nelson mentioned that kids at the schools are from all over the city, not just NE and North.

Tammy Rusnacko supported the efforts of having programs for fun vs. competition. But for those kids who want to be on competitive sports teams, the community needs to provide options. If competitive teams start younger, these athletes will be competitive in high school. What programs are going to make that happen?

Kimberlee stated that in order to build these strong programs, one needed strong parent involvement with funding.

John Washington stated that the MPS City Conference website captures the whole season of high school sports—which can be useful for parents. http://www.mplscity.org/g5-bin/client.cgi?G5genie=6

When asked about linking to this site, John said that it would be expensive to add a link to other sports team sites.

Liz Wielinski mentioned that the Minneapolis Park & Rec. Board was having new IT developed, which will enable consumers to see what is happening at each field. It will then be easier to tell what is going on city-wide. It is uncertain when this site will be ready to go.

Dean DeGroot believes in the value of developing of “coaches clinics” through community education. If 1-2 classes were offered each quarter throughout the year, it would provide training for community members who may be more willing to coach amateur sports as well as provide a way of linking families with kids to the various sports offerings in the community.

Jamison Rusthoven has a vision of the Edison gym as more of a community gym, opened 24/7/365. He needs help finding ways to utilize it and staff it. He mentioned that his coaches at Edison are very motivated to be involved in the community. They are also open to conducting coaches’ clinics. John mentioned tapping into the Hennepin Youth Sports Foundation—dollars from Twin’s Stadium sources—tap into this, since money is being offered to local sports initiatives.

Mike believes there needs to be more involvement with The Northeaster—coverage of more local sports information. St. Anthony/New Brighton has their own newspaper. Marcia Thomas also stated that there are online options for covering sports. Marcia added that Pillsbury School offers cross-country skiing classes. Skis are donated. This could provide a link to middle school youth.

Key Sports Issues and Action Items:
  • Funding: coordinating with organizations.
  • Coordination between school, park, and community.
  • Need a central sports information website with updated schedules. Who are the contacts? HS schedules are currently available, but not other levels of sports.
  • Form a committee, which will report to PEN on a quarterly basis.
NE Sports Committee:

Chris Aarseth
Sarah Ackmann
Kimberlee Adams
Jenny Arneson
Jill Davis
Laura Erickson-White
Kurt Nowacki
Angie Powell
Tammy Rusnacko
Jamison Rusthoven
Kris Solz
Marcia Thomas
Larry Umphrey
Paul Werni
Liz Wielinski

Next PEN Meeting: Monday, March 15, 6:30 pm @ Edison Media Center
Agenda items: Sheridan Arts Work Group update, Special Ed./CSO Transitions Report (SEAC Rep.), Friends of NE Youth non-profit formation


Monday, March 8, 2010

Lady Tommies Make History!

Congratulations to our Thomas Edison Varsity Girls’ Basketball Team for winning the first game in our sub sectional semi-final tournament. This is the first time in history that our Girls’ Basketball Team has advanced to the sub-sectional finals. The final score was 63 for Thomas Edison and 60 for Blake.

Dedra Carr had a double double with 11 points and 19 rebounds. Anna Moore led the Lady Tommies with a 27 point, 8 assists and 9 steals…Congratulations!

We had many fans in the stands. Let’s show our school spirit and support our team at tomorrow’s night basketball game. We are playing Washburn and the game starts at 8pm and will be held at Mounds Park Academy High School in St. Paul.
Edison High School will be providing a bus for all basketball fans to and from Mounds Park Academy school in St. Paul for the Girl's Basketball Sub-section finals. The bus will depart at 7 pm from the front steps of Edison High School and will return immediately following the game (roughly 9:15 pm). 
The cost is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids - this included the price of admission at the game. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. The bus is limited to the first 40 people to respond via email to Amanda Klann @ Amanda.Klann@mpls.k12.mn.us


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Edison Talent Show & "Child Soldiers" Film Benefit

Talent show starts at 3:30 p.m. and the film showing of “Child Soldiers” starts at 5:00 p.m. This is an educational documentary about child soldiers around the world. The film showing is part of the Human Rights Forum, and the talent show is a service learning project for Ms. Novak's Humanities class. Complimentary popcorn sponsored by EASTSIDE FOOD CO-OP.

Winners of the talent show will move on to a city-wide show – Minneapolis MOSAIC Finals – the MOSAIC event is on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at First Avenue, downtown Minneapolis.

The cost is $3 for the talent show. Proceeds will benefit the "Invisible Children" organization, which builds schools for former child soldiers.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lady Tommies Varsity Basketball Team Plays in Region 4AA Tournament!

March 6, 2010, 7:00 pm

Congratulations to Thomas Edison High School’s Girls’ Basketball Team for being the number #1 seed in the West Subsection bracket of the Region 4AA Tournament.  We will host only ONE home game for the play-offs (the semi-final game).  The game will be played here at Thomas Edison High School on Saturday March 6th at 7 pm.  We will be playing either Blake or Columbia Heights.
Show your Tommie Spirit and cheer our team onto vicotry!  There will be face painting and prizes will be given away, including the chance to win a 42” flat screen plasma TV.  This is a game that you will not want to miss!

Lady Tommies Coach Charlita Williamson wins Coach of the Year Award!
Congratulations Charlita for being selected as coach of the year for the Girls’ Basketball Minneapolis conference.  She was nominated by her colleagues for her effortless work on building and leading our Lady Tommie Basketball program.