This is an ongoing list of just some of the many accomplishments of ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools students and staff. Additional submissions always welcome; send to firstname.lastname@example.org
POINTS OF PRIDE
Senior high students from Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center earned more than 100 awards from the 2020 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards program, which recognizes outstanding student artists and provides scholarship opportunities for seniors. Nineteen students received Gold Key awards; their artwork is on display through Feb. 22 at the University of Minnesota’s Regis West Gallery.
For the second consecutive year, Sahana Vandayar, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High, was honored by the National Center for Women and Information Technology for her technology and leadership skills and experiences. Vandayar was named a national honorable mention recipient by the organization—one of only 360 students across the U.S. to receive this honor.
The Osseo Senior High girls’ and boys’ weightlifting teams placed first and second, respectively, at the 2020 Minnesota State High School Powerlifting Championship. Five girls received individual honors; additionally, Rylee Kara, Cody Sisaket and Dakota Benigni all posted qualifying totals for the national high school competition.
Congratulations to Kirby Gilbertson, a member of the district’s PI-Adapted floor hockey team, for notching his 100th career goal during a 14-0 win over Mounds View last month. Gilbertson scored eight goals in that game alone to lead the Crimson to victory.
The PTO at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts sponsored the Glow Run this winter—a character-building event that also raised money for the school.
Osseo Senior High’s Myles Hawthorne was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on Feb. 12. High school staff lauded Hawthorne not only for his impressive talents in the classroom and on the football field, but also for the strength of his character and his ability to serve as a role model for others. Hawthorne will attend Winona State University next year to study computer science and play on the school’s Division II football team.
It’s been a busy month for high school athletics in Osseo Area Schools! Here are a few highlights:
- The Maple Grove Senior High dance team placed third at the state tournament in the Class AAA jazz competition.
- Park Center Senior High gymnast Annika Lee won the Section 5AA all-around, vault, balance beam and floor exercise titles on Feb. 13. She will compete in the state tournament—along with Maple Grove’s Nadia Abid and Sasha Thompson—on Feb. 22.
- The Maple Grove Senior High girls’ hockey team won the section championship on Feb. 14 and will begin state tournament play on Feb. 20.
- The Park Center Senior High competition cheerleading squad performed at nationals in Orlando. The Maple Grove Senior High competition team won the state title and placed ninth at nationals.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
The Student Council at Brooklyn Middle STEAM School has been busy giving back to the community this winter! In December, the Student Council sponsored a food drive that yielded 2,750 pounds of food for community partner CEAP. Then, in late January, Student Council members participated in a service learning project at Haven Housing, a north Minneapolis-based nonprofit that provides transitional services, resources and support for women and children experiencing homelessness.
For the fourth year in a row, students at Elm Creek Elementary participated in the Great Kindness Challenge in January and February. Throughout the challenge, students engaged in kindness-themed activities and reflected on how kindness can build bridges at school, home and in the community.
To celebrate Black History Month, students at Park Center Senior High watched a live performance of “The Meeting,” a play about an imaginary 1965 meeting between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. In the play, the two leaders debate their respective approaches to the same social problems. Leonard Searcy, a 2007 Park Center graduate, portrayed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the production.
Osseo Speaks: A Black History Month Showcase was held on Feb. 14 at Osseo Senior High. This scholar-driven program featured performances by students, staff and guest artists centered around celebrating Black culture, innovators and contributors in history.
Nearly 100 Park Center students are learning from musical experts in the Mill City String Quartet thanks to Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s residency program, Class Notes. Through the guidance of four professional musicians, students learn strategies to help them play together, complement each other and unite to create a beautiful sound.
Osseo Senior High Principal Michael Lehan has been named the 2020 Minnesota High School Principal of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals. He is now eligible to be selected to represent Minnesota in the National Principal of the Year contest.
Tom Trutnau, a fourth grade teacher at Elm Creek Elementary, was named KS95’s Teacher of the Week in late January. The parent who nominated Trutnau for this award noted that he “has been exceptional this school year” and praised the unwavering support he provides to scholars.
Three Osseo Area Schools teachers are among 134 educators statewide to be nominated for the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. Two nominees came from Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts: art teacher Kori Brown and fourth-grade teacher Jan Radder. The third nominee, Jessica Spurrell is a fourth-grade teacher at Fernbrook Elementary. In the weeks ahead, a panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists. The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 3.
Maple Grove Senior High’s Ema Trebtoski was featured as a CCX News Standout Student in December. Ema is passionate about special education and spends time working with her peers at Maple Grove who are in the special education program. She hopes to become a special education teacher in the future.
On Jan. 7, a grand opening ceremony was held at the Brooklyn Park Sports Dome at Park Center Senior High. This dome is evidence of a strong partnership between the City of Brooklyn Park and Osseo Area Schools, and will increase access to recreational opportunities for youth and adults throughout the community.
The strong partnership between Park Brook Elementary and Three Rivers Park District keeps making headlines. Earlier this month, staff from both organizations accepted the Tommy Johnson Award of Excellence from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association, in recognition of their collaborative work to redesign the play area at French Regional Park. Many Park Brook scholars from Renee Pelton’s 2015-2016 third grade class served on the Kid Task Force and were involved with the redesign of this play area.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Twice a month, students from Park Center Senior High’s new Math Buddies group travel to Woodland Elementary to work on fun math activities with first graders. In addition to boosting confidence and motivation in their younger peers, these Park Center scholars are learning how to be compassionate leaders, role models and possible future educators.
Students at North View Middle School recently contributed to their community by collecting more than 1,000 items during a schoolwide food drive last month.
Students at Park Brook Elementary focus on the importance of living healthy, active lifestyles, making it the perfect location for the Minnesota Wild to host a “Face-Off for Fitness” event earlier this month. Members of the Wild organization were on hand to promote healthy eating and fitness, and also donated floor hockey equipment that students will use in phy ed classes. At this event, Representative Dean Phillips put his own hockey skills to the test and talked to students about the role of congresspeople in U.S. government.
Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed this week, Jan. 27-31, as Paraprofessional Recognition Week in Minnesota. In Osseo Area Schools, we’re grateful for our dedicated Educational Support Professionals who help achieve our mission for all students. Thank you, ESPs!
Jane Oh, a senior at Osseo Senior High, joined more than 500 other accomplished music students from across the United States last month for the National Association of Music Education 2019 All-National Honor Ensembles. Performers were chosen through an audition process and represented band, orchestra, choir and ensemble programs. Jane performed in the All National Honors Orchestra.
Fair Oaks Elementary and Garden City Elementary are proud recipients of $1,000 Game On grants from Action for Healthy Kids this year. The schools used the grant money to invest in students’ well-being—promoting nutrition, physical activity and mindfulness to ensure all students are healthy, active and ready to learn.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
This school year, students at Cedar Island Elementary have partnered with The Willows of Arbor Lakes, a memory-care residence in Maple Grove. Several service projects are planned throughout the year, and to kick things off, fifth graders at the school recently used their recess time to create holiday cards for residents at The Willows.
Rice Lake Elementary’s PROS students (fifth graders selected as Positive Role Models Offering Support) initiated a schoolwide food drive in support of CROSS Services this fall. The Rice Lake community donated more than 660 pounds of food for the drive; the PROS then delivered and sorted the food at CROSS. Palmer Lake Elementary’s Girls on the Run team also hosted a food drive this fall, collecting more than 1,300 items for their community impact project.
Zanewood Community School: A Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math School welcomed families and community partners to its fall STEAMfest on Nov. 19. At STEAMfest, guests had the opportunity to get hands-on in the Makerspace, Art Studio and Science Lab; view and participate in demonstrations with the Park Center Senior High robotics team; and more.
This year, the first grade team at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts began a monthly “Books and Breakfast” event where families are invited into the school for a light breakfast while reading a book with their scholar. Each child also gets to keep the book after the event. Kudos to teachers Erin Aulik, Leah Irmiter and Anne Jarrett, as well as ESPs Alana Hardy and Laurie Johnson, for leading this initiative.
Dr. Rev Hillstrom, director of educational equity in Osseo Area Schools, received two statewide awards this fall. Hillstrom earned the Outstanding Administrator of the Year award from the Minnesota Indian Education Association, as well as the Ron McKinley “All My Relations” award from the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership.
Families facing homelessness or financial hardship will find the holiday season a bit brighter due to the generosity of district employees and community partners.
- Members of the Osseo ESP Union recently assembled 242 bags filled with breakfast and snack items to provide extra comfort over winter break to students experiencing homelessness.
- District social workers and community partner Boston Scientific coordinated a campaign to gather and distribute toys, clothing and gift cards to more than 50 families in our community who are struggling with housing or financial hardships.
Congratulations to the Maple Grove Senior High girls’ soccer team for winning a historic state title on Oct. 31. The Crimson defeated Centennial by a final score of 2-1 to lift the championship trophy for the first time in school history.
A record number of students earned AP Scholar recognition from the College Board, based on Advanced Placement exams taken during the 2018-2019 school year. The district’s three comprehensive high schools reported a combined total of 279 scholars who received recognition this year. Students Anna Chabica (class of 2020) and Brenna Saladin (class of 2019) earned the National AP Scholar award—the highest honor available. Justin Li (class of 2019) earned the AP International Diploma.
Section tennis champion Zoe Adkins from Maple Grove Senior High placed fourth in the Class AA singles state tournament last month.
Park Center Senior High’s Bai Jassy was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on Nov. 6. Jassy has excelled in his studies at Park Center and was one of 40 students who participated in the Career Immersion Program at the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences last summer.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
On the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, schools throughout the district honored the sacrifices of U.S. military personnel. At Elm Creek Elementary, members of the Osseo Maple Grove American Legion led a short ceremony that honored local veterans and helped students understand the importance of the day.
Community partners have impacted several elementary schools this year:
- Greater Twin Cities Honda dealers donated $5,000 to Crest View Elementary; Luther Brookdale Honda General Manager Jim Haertzen pledged an additional $3,900 to cover negative lunch balances at the school.
- The Osseo/Maple Grove Knights of Columbus donated winter coats and snow pants to keep students at Crest View, Fair Oaks and Park Brook elementary schools warm this winter.
- The Brooklyn Park Rotary donated four boxes of hats and gloves to Crest View Elementary.
In late September, students from Fair Oaks Elementary had the opportunity to meet best-selling children’s author Dav Pilkey at St. Catherine University. This opportunity was made possible thanks to a partnership with Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul.
Pang Yang, a Hmong for Native Speakers teacher at Park Center Senior High, received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures on Oct. 26. This award recognizes Pang’s outstanding instruction, leadership and advocacy for students and the Park Center community.
Six students from Osseo Area Schools are National Merit Commended students this year. These scholars earned this honor by scoring highly on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They are Maple Grove Senior High’s Katherine Bottema, Abigail Jackson, Sunaina Johri, Samiksha Kanukunta and Ayden Schaffler, and Osseo Senior High’s Jane Oh.
The Maple Grove Senior High soccer teams each won their section championships last week. The girls’ team defeated St. Michael-Albertville 1-0 and the boys’ team was victorious over Brainerd by a final score of 2-1. The girls’ team begins state tournament play tonight and the boys’ team plays its opening round match on Wednesday.
Maple Grove’s Zoe Adkins is also headed to state in girls’ tennis. Adkins won the Section 5AA singles championship on Oct. 15. She will play in the state tournament starting Oct. 24 at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center.
Osseo Senior High’s Lauren Seeger was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on Oct. 9. Seeger is actively involved in her school community as National Honors Society president, Drama Club vice president, and captain of the Mock Trial team. She plans to study law after graduating from Osseo in June.
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
Zanewood Community School: A Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math School is the recipient of a recycling grant from Hennepin County. Using the grant money, Zanewood implemented a sorting table in the cafeteria this year to boost recycling and composting efforts. On the first day alone, the school reported an 80 percent reduction in waste.
Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math and Technology School is featured in a new video by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. The video highlights how Weaver Lake scholars learn science argumentation skills through data collection.
Hope was the key message of Erin Gruwell’s presentation at the Osseo Area Learning Center on Oct. 15. Gruwell is the author of “Freedom Writers Diary,” a best-selling book that inspired a movie in 2007. She came to the OALC after students there read her book and wrote letters inviting her to visit.
Last month, Elm Creek Elementary music teacher Liz Miller participated with her quartet in the Sweet Adelines International women’s barbershop quartet competition in New Orleans. With competition from more than 300 teams from the U.S. and around the globe, Liz and her group placed 23rd in the world!
Four students from Maple Grove Senior High have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program. Heather Breidenbach, Jordan Chacko, Shreya Golakoti and Zachary Majorowicz are among the highest-scoring students on the 2018 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They represent less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors. Each semifinalist will now compete to receive one of more than 7,600 scholarships.
Osseo Senior High students Jack Betker and Noah Poppe competed at the Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School National Championship in Tennessee last month. Both students, who are members of the Osseo Fishing Club, gained great experience at this event.
Fifty-nine seniors at Osseo Senior High can now call themselves members of the school’s “30 Club.” These students scored a 30 or higher on at least one section of the ACT.
In August, Osseo Middle School student Ava Lee earned a gold medal at the 2019 World Taekwondo Cadet Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The accolades keep rolling in for Krissy Wendell, a 2000 graduate of Park Center Senior High. This winter, Wendell will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Wendell led the Pirates to the state championship in 2000, was co-captain of the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, and won two Olympic medals with Team USA (2002 silver; 2006 bronze).
CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY
For the past several years, students in Renee Pelton’s 2015-2016 third grade class at Park Brook Elementary collaborated with Three Rivers Park District officials on the redesign of French Regional Park. After the new park opened to the community this summer, Three Rivers Park District received an award of excellence from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association. This award will be hung inside Park Brook.
In late August, Passion Church made a generous commitment to contribute $25,000 this year toward students’ negative lunch account balances in Osseo Area Schools.
Bryan Skavnak, author of a popular “Be the Nice Kid” quote, visited Fernbrook Elementary on Sept. 6 to talk with students about the importance of being kind and building community at school. After hearing him speak, students then contributed to a mural on the fence overlooking the Fernbrook playground that will remind them about kindness each day.
D.A.R.E. officer Jennifer Foster with the Brooklyn Park Police Department entered a national competition and earned a $1,000 grant for Crest View Elementary. The check was presented to Crest View Principal Shawn Stibbins on Sept. 9.
Chick-fil-A Maple Grove held a cookie fundraiser last month and pledged to donate 50 percent of all cookie sales to Osseo Area Schools to help cover students’ negative lunch account balances. Our community heeded the call, purchasing 11,571 cookies—a 600 percent increase over August 2018. That meant $8,000 in support for the district!
A Healthy Tree Canopy Grant from Hennepin County gave students at Weaver Lake Elementary: A Science, Math & Technology School the opportunity to replace dead trees on their campus last week. The grant totaled $2,400 and covered the cost of 13 new trees that will support student learning in the years to come. As the trees mature, students will use them for phenology lessons, observe maple syrup production, and study invasive species.
First Student’s Safety Dog Bus Tour rolled into Edinbrook Elementary on Sept. 17. Throughout the morning, students had the opportunity to learn about bus safety, sign a safety pledge, contribute to a “thank you” banner for bus drivers, and meet Safety Dog. The tour will visit several other states this year.
Superintendent Cory McIntyre welcomed new Osseo Area Schools educators to the district at a New Teacher Breakfast on Aug. 19. At this event, staff members also had the opportunity to hear from Jess Davis, Minnesota’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.
Mary Pat Smith, a nurse on the Willow Lane Early Childhood Special Education team, was named Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s 2019 Outstanding Nurse in Children’s Health in August.
Michael Lehan, principal at Osseo Senior High and a former player with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, headed back to Ohio in early August to talk to students about the importance of attending school regularly. Lehan spoke as part of the Get 2 School Network, a statewide initiative launched in part by the Cleveland Browns Foundation and designed to put an end to chronic absenteeism.
Zac Blair and Emily Bollinger, two teachers from the Osseo Area Learning Center, were selected to attend the U.S. Department of State’s Global Teaching Dialogue program last summer. This experience equipped them with strategies to connect their students with others around the world in order to understand global challenges and find ways to work together.