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Easter Events

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To celebrate “I Love to Read” month, preschool classes at the Lifelong Learning Center had guest readers from throughout the district including Corey Tramm, Independent School District 15 technology coordinator, who read the interactive story Jack and the Beanstalk from an iPad. SUBMITTED BY ISD 15 EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

a division of Independent School District 15 Community Education & Services | St. Francis, Minnesota

MARCH 2012 | VOLUME 19, ISSUE 8

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All day kindergarten to begin this fall at no cost to parents TOM LARSON STAFF WRITER

Meetings and planning by Independent School District 15 administrators to bring all day every day kindergarten at no cost to families have been ongoing for the past five months. Starting with the 2012-13 school year, families with kindergartners will be enrolled in the all day program. Currently, every day half-day kindergarten is offered. Kindergarten Plus, an all day every day option, is available for families at a cost of $2,900 per year. The state provides funding for half-day kindergarten only. Research shows early learning opportunities and all day kindergarten programs is fundamental in achieving goals in reading, math and science. The legislature has supported these venues but has not necessarily provided additional funding to school districts.

Through sound fiscal management, the all day kindergarten program is cost-neutral to the district by reworking bus routes in the middle of the day, saving $101,365. Other funding includes dedicating $254,623 in literacy aid allocated by the legislature last session, dedicating $353,526 in intervention funds and repurposing $99,856 in Tween Time programming for current kindergarten students, allowing ISD 15 to offer the all day program at no cost to parents. Current teaching staff will fill the positions of the all day program. The school board approved all day every day kindergarten at the February 13 meeting. Parents are encouraged to register their kindergartners now so planning can take place. Visit the district’s website at www.stfrancis.k12.mn.us or call your child’s school to begin the registration process for the 2012-13 school year.

STEM coming to District 15 KURT BECKER CURRICULUM & ASSESSMENT COORDINATOR

At its February 13 meeting, the Independent School District 15 School Board approved a STEM pilot at the 4th grade level in at least one classroom at all three elementary schools for the 2012-13 school year. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This is the first phase of a plan that will expand STEM opportunities for students in multiple grade levels at the elementary and secondary levels. While there are details yet to be worked out, there is no doubt that this is a great step forward for students of ISD 15. Some may be wondering what STEM is and why the district would choose to implement a STEM program. This approach to teaching and learning incorporates engineering and technology into integrated math and science curriculums, as well as curriculums in other content areas. Classrooms are more student-centered and inquiry-based in a STEM program. There is a great deal of emphasis on rigorous concepts and real-world lessons where students make connections between the classroom and the community. Students learn

to become problem-solvers, innovators, logical thinkers, and inventors with a high degree of curricular engagement. Through an effective STEM program, students are well prepared for life after graduation. The ISD 15 STEM program will be standards-based, but the district will take students beyond the Minnesota Academic Standards. While developing the STEM program, ISD 15 will also consult the National Science Education Standards, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards, the National Education Technology Standards for Students, and the Standards for Technological Literacy. CONTINUED, Page 23

What’s Inside Schools in Action............................................... 2 School Board Highlights...............................11 Community Education..................................13 Community & Business.................................16 Easter Events.....................................................20 Sports...................................................................28 Life........................................................................33 Classified.............................................................36


The Courier - March 2012