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Spring 2015

QR Codes

Technology engages students

Spanish class in Peru Immersion in a culture

Building Bridges A competition with popsicle sticks

Bully Prevention An innovative program at Baxter Elementary A Brainerd Dispatch publication


BECO BECO BECO


Spring ‘15 CONTENTS

Features

5 8 10 12 16 24

Investing In Our Schools

Read the stories of four Brainerd Public School Foundation donors “paying it forward,” creating with their gifts a stimulating environment where students thrive. By Jenny Gunsbury

A Day In The Life Community Education Director

16

A whirlwind round of activities fill the calendar of this administrator new to the District. By Cori Reynolds

Spanish Class to Peru

Studying Spanish in Peru teaches more than a language, students are learning about a culture. By Jan Kurtz

School History

If the walls could talk - stories from school buildings past point us to the future. By Jenny Holmes

Building Bridges, Character and Community

What happens when architects share their knowledge of bridge building to students for a good cause? It’s a classic win/win. By Melody Banks

Bully Prevention

Baxter Elementary School’s bullying prevention program uses read-aloud books to help students understand what bullying is and what it feels like to bully and be bullied. By Jodie Tweed

20 On the Cover:

Photo by Nels Norquist

In Every Issue Fun Facts

The State of Brainerd Public School Buildings

Opportunity

Camp YAYA

By Carolyn Corbett

Innovation

14 18 20

Using QR Codes to Teach Math By Rebecca Flansburg

Success

12

Getting A Good Start

22

By Sheila Helmberger

BrainerdPublic PublicSchools Schools••Spring Spring‘15‘1533 Brainerd


Introduction Superintendent PUBLICATION As I write this welcome, the snow is melting, the birds are singing and our days are becoming longer. We can truly say that we are in a season of transition as we move from winter to spring in the Brainerd Dr. Klint W. Willert lakes area. Much like our seasons are changing, we are seeing changes in the Brainerd Public Schools as well. Several major and significant events are occurring that clearly mark a change of seasons for Brainerd Public Schools. As you will notice in this edition, there are several references to facility needs. The district is currently facing a serious facility crisis. In an effort to solve the immediate need, the Brainerd Board of Education approved the construction of additional classroom space to Riverside Elementary School. However, that is only one small improvement in the midst of a much broader discussion on facilities for our school district. Earlier this year, the board also approved moving forward with a long-range facility planning process to map out a comprehensive facility plan for the next 10 to 15 years in Brainerd Public Schools. The comprehensive facility plan will address both short-term needs as well as long-term plans to address our aging school facilities, the educational limitations of these facilities and the means and methods the community and district can utilize to address our facility crisis. Another change taking shape in the district is the ongoing developments in teaching and learning. The district has started a Digital Learning Team comprised of faculty members throughout the entire district. The Digital Learning Team is in the process of developing long-range plans to meet the current and future needs of our students and staff in a digital world. The team continues to analyze best practices of technology integration and application. Ultimately, the team will present a comprehensive Digital Learning Plan to the school board for consideration. Finally, Brainerd Public Schools administration and staff continues to address the opportunities for improvement identified in my Superintendent Entry Plan. The Entry Plan document can be found on the Brainerd Public Schools website for your review. In the document, you will see several strengths of the district including the unprecedented six 2014 National Blue Ribbons and the recognition of Brainerd High School as a highly ranked high school in Minnesota. Additionally, the plan identified multiple opportunities for improvement in the district. The opportunities for improvement included updating board policies, addressing handicap accessibility in our schools and addressing several program needs in the schools. The entry plan will guide the work of district administration over the next several months and years as we seek to address organizational needs and improvements. Overall, we know that as seasons change, the snow melts and roads, streets and yards appear a bit dirty and muddy. However, in the near future spring showers will help wash away some of the winter grime and our yards will be green and growing, flowers will be blooming and the joys of spring and summer will fill the air. In much the same way, our current challenges will transform into success stories and we can celebrate the renewal and revitalization of our schools and our educational programs at Brainerd Public Schools. Thanks again for supporting your Brainerd Public Schools. Remember, it is a great day to be a Warrior. Warmest regards, Dr. Klint W. Willert 4

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

STAFF

PUBLISHER Tim Bogenschutz

EDITOR

Meg Douglas

ART DIRECTOR Lisa Henry

COPY EDITOR DeLynn Howard

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Investing In Our Schools They pay it forward By JENNY GUNSBURY

T

he stories behind the donors to the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) are about students who have walked the halls, staff who have taught in the classrooms and parents who’ve supported sports and activities. All of them are inspiring with a pay-it-forward spirit. Their common theme is investing in a place that provides the return of a vibrant, enriching environment where students of the Brainerd Public Schools can thrive, develop and be ready to explore the world.

The class challenge raised

$16,000

Locally Owned & Operated

“...The New Old-Fashioned Meat Market” 15811 Audubon Way • Baxter • 218-822-2888

Bob Spilman (left) emcees his 50th class reunion, accepting a $5,000 check from Bill Kaminski.

Class of 1962 – A Class Act Challenge Since they graduated, the class of 1962 has donated money over the years to the Brainerd Public Schools. Among other endeavors, they were one of the benefactors of remodeling the seats in Tornstrom Auditorium in the Washington Educational Services Building. At their 50th class reunion, however, they wanted to do something with more impact.“Even as a class of over 300, we were very close and really enjoyed our high school years,” explains Terry McCollough, class spokesperson.“As a group, we wanted to leave something for those following us.”

Interestingly, their reunion in 2012 coincided with the BPSF’s 25th anniversary and other fundraising efforts. McCollough says, “Our class had a meeting during our reunion weekend that set up a challenge to other classes.” The next evening during the banquet, they raised over $16,000 from the 250-plus attendees. The funds are now endowed and targeted for the 4As (Arts, Academics, Athletics, Activities) to be used where most needed in the schools. “Our hope as the Class of 1962 is that other groups will see what we did and decide to do the same thing; rise to the challenge and try

Proudly Supports

Brainerd Warriors

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Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

5


to outdo us,” encourages McCollough. “We put the challenge out to others for the bragging rights but the real winners are all the kids.”

Struthers-Pohlkamp – FFA, Leadership & Community Even though Kevin Thesing’s long tenure on the BPSF Board of Directors came to an end in 2013, he maintains a very personal connection to the BPSF. His family, the Struthers Family and the Brainerd Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni have been instrumental in creating two foundaMike Pohlkamp tion funds, the Struthers-Pohlkamp Fund and the FFA Alumni Fund. The Struthers-Pohlkamp Fund was created in memory of Michael Pohlkamp and Tanya Struthers after a tragic accident took their lives on January 8, 2000. The families knew they wanted to do something with the memorials that would celebrate and honor the activities Mike and Tanya loved – FFA and softball. When Brainerd High School administrators suggested a fund at BPSF, they felt it was the right place for them. “We knew the endowed fund would always be there, honoring their memory and that the process would always happen, no matter how far into the future,” recalls Thesing.

6

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

“That is comforting.” Memorial donations and proceeds from almost a decade of annual softball tournaments created the fund’s principal. Current FFA students benefit from the leadership and post-high school training the fund supports. The desire of the Brainerd FFA Alumni board of directors to keep strong agricultural proTanya Struthers grams at Brainerd High School was the motivation behind the FFA Alumni Fund. “This fund exists to support FFA and agricultural education,” explains Thesing. “It provides physical, emotional and financial support for FFA students and the surrounding agricultural community.”

Mac Carkhuff

Mac Carkhuff

– Scholar Athlete Scholarship “The Brainerd Public Schools Foundation was the first place that came to mind when we were planning Mac’s funeral,” recalls Suzette Olson of her fiancé, Mac Carkhuff. Mac died in a motorcycle accident on August 27, 2005. “We both went to Brainerd High


rateful to n g o s e r “We a ily’s visio m a f r e the Steig port of growing and sup f tennis in the to the spor erd area.” Brain lo a

~ Lisa S

Steiger family photo, left to right: Joan Steiger, Beth Steiger, Tom Steiger, Megan (Steiger) Snyder, Matt Steiger.

School so it seemed natural to give to porters of the Mac Carkhuff Foundation. students like ourselves who are try- There is a feeling of a need to “give back” ing to put themselves through college. and honor Mac’s memory. This helps fulWe wanted to honor Mac and keep his fill that desire for many of us.” memory and passion for education alive.” Olson, along with Mac’s family and friends, formed the Mac Carkhuff Steiger Family Foundation, with the BPSF as fiduciary – From Passion to Positive Impact When a memorial fund was set up for partner. Funds for the Mac Carkhuff Founda- Gene Steiger by a family friend, Corky tion are raised at a memorial best-ball Johnson, the Steiger family knew exactgolf event held in Brainerd every year ly how the funds should be used. “Since the first weekend in October. Additional Dad and many of our family members funds are raised at a silent auction and and friends played tennis and had so many positive experiences with the dinner that evening. Using their funds, the Mac Carkhuff sport, we thought it would be approScholar Athlete Scholarship is awarded priate to focus on youth tennis in the every year at the Senior Recognition Brainerd lakes area. Especially since it’s Night in May.“Many of the recipients will a game you can start playing at an earwrite a thank you letter a few months ly age, and continue to enjoy well into into college expressing gratefulness your later years of life,” says Tom Steiger, that we helped lighten the burden of Gene’s son. The Totally Tennis Clinic wasBEND created payments,” says Olson.PILLAGER “I can relate re- CLINIC CLINIC toMOTLEY BROWERVILLE CLINIC EAGLE CLINIC ceiving some nice scholarships from the with the funds set up through the BPSF. Brainerd Public Schools Foundation as a Now in its 17th year, the clinic is a free, scholar athlete years ago, as can many one-day event for elementary-age kids of the other board members and sup- to learn the lifelong sport of tennis.

The Steiger family fund also provides Brainerd elementary schools with tennis equipment for physical education classes. “The Brainerd Public School Foundation seemed to be a great way to achieve this goal, ” Steiger says. “ Much of our initial involvement with tennis and learning the game was a result of Brainerd area coaches and seeing the participants’ passion for the sport, so it was an easy decision on how best to give back to the community.” Totally Tennis clinic director Lisa Salo adds, “Many youth have been “hooked” on tennis after participating in this fun and festive event. We are so grateful to the Steiger family’s vision and support of growing the sport of tennis in the Brainerd area.” Jenny Gunsbury enjoys learning new things and meeting interesting people as she SARTELL DERMATOLOGY STAPLES HOSPITAL & CLINIC writes for area publications. A Brainerd High School graduate, she lives near the Pillsbury State Forest with her husband and two children.

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Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

7


A Day in The Life Community Education Director BY CORI REYNOLDS

PHOTO BY JILL NEUMANN

T Cori Reynolds at the computer in her office.

6:30 a.m. The Morning Rush Like many busy families, mornings in the Reynolds household are a whirlwind of making lunches and getting kids to school and daycare.

8:30 a.m. Superintendent’s Cabinet Once a week district leaders from the areas of business and operations, teaching and learning, special education, technology and community education gather with the superintendent to discuss what is happening around the district. Of the eight-member team, three of us are new to the district this year. We have been busy learning to work together to deploy the limited resources we have to deliver our mission statement’s promise of the “highest-quality programs and 8

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

hough the memory grows dimmer with each new gray hair, I can still recall talking with friends in college about jobs in the future we didn’t know existed. Like the vast majority of people, I hadn’t heard of a community education director and didn’t have the slightest idea of the duties of that position. What I have come to learn is that this job is full of variety, learning, decision-making and community development. I invite you to walk with me through a day in the life of the Brainerd Schools’ community education director.

resources” to more than 6,500 students and 43,000 community members.

Noon Community Education Advisory Council Meeting The advisory council is a dedicated group of citizens representing many segments of our community who come together six times a year to help guide the programs and services offered by community education. Every community education department in Minnesota is required by law to have an advisory council that meets at least four times each year. At our meetings, we go over budget and participation numbers and look forward to the season ahead. This group of advocates and enthusiasts has been invaluable to me this year. Their ideas, insight and advice have helped me navigate my first year in a new school district and community.

2 p.m. Back in the Office The community education secretaries are legendary for their skill and customer service not only in the school district, but in community education departments across the state. If you have ever come into or called our current office at Forestview Middle School, you know that the people who greet you are kind, helpful, friendly and professional. Like many modern office-dwellers, I spend most of the time at my desk staring at a computer screen. Answering email in a timely fashion is very important to me and though I do not always meet my goal of responding within 24 hours, I spend time every day getting back to people. A snapshot of my inbox would include emails on a wide range of topics such as: the developing partnership between our adult basic education program and Central Lakes College; our


~ Cori Reynolds efforts to design opportunities for early learning and child care that all families can access; getting the word out about our free breakfast, lunch and snack program at Washington this summer; the work over 1,000 volunteers are doing in our schools; planning the school district’s celebration of our six 2014 National Blue Ribbon elementary schools; reviewing information for our long range facility planning process; dreaming about how to customize enrichment activities for students and adults with disabilities; and answering customer questions.

I also do a lot of looking at spreadsheets and crunching numbers. I have been entrusted with the tax dollars of my hardworking neighbors and family. I want to use those funds wisely and strategically to provide life-long learning opportunities to every member of our community. As in the rest of the school district, budget decisions are informed by data and thoughtfully made. The phone is also an important tool on my desk. It gives me the opportunity to check in with staff who are scattered around the district and talk about issues too complicated for email. For instance, the school nurses and I check in via phone throughout the week to stay updated on the health services they provide to students. I have learned about managing allergies, diabetes care, hearing and vision screening, immunizations and the myriad other complex health care needs our students bring with them to school.

4:30-5 p.m. The End of the Day Parenting a middle school student is an effective way of keeping perspective on one’s own importance. No matter how long the day has been or how excited I am to get home, my departure time is most often determined by the end time of the sports, student council meetings, various clubs and social circles in which my sixth grade son is involved. This is our first time being in the same school but he has thoughtfully asked questions and “volunteered” at enough community education events over the years to have some understanding of my job. Nonetheless, like most kids, his bigger concern at this time of day is what we are having for dinner.

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“I have been entrusted with the tax dollars of my hard-working neighbors and family.”

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

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Spanish Class to Peru

The iconic Machu Picchu, once called the Lost City of the Inca. Right, students visit a primary school in San Salvador, a community south of Cusco.

STORY AND PHOTOS By Jan Kurtz

T

he plane banked between

the

Mountains,

Andes making

its descent into the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, at 11,150 feet above sea level. Inside, 42 Brainerd High School Spanish students and their five chaperones were about to realize an experience of a lifetime. After months of local fundraising, cultural orientation and planning, they were now heading into total immersion. They would stay with host families, train to Machu Picchu (one of the Seven Wonders of the World), scramble up the ruins of Pisac in the Sacred Valley, slide down the natural rock formations at Sacsayhuaman (UNESCO World Heritage site) and maybe taste some cuy, one of the top ten delicacies in Peru, known here as guinea pig. The first question asked was not about the Spanish conquistador, Pizarro, or the Inca Emperor, Atahualpa, but “Do I kiss my host mom on the cheek 10

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

when we meet?” Lead teacher, Britt Qualley, and colleague, Dawn Maine, answered with a demonstration. Thus, each student greeted their new host family correctly before their taxi ride “home.” There, they would eat meals of huaro bread (like pita), papaya/mango slushes, quinoa soups, chicken and rice. Thick alpaca blankets covered the beds and a hired woman might be cooking and mopping the floors and patio. There, they would have to speak Spanish. “Having the opportunity to be immersed in another culture is not something everyone can do,” observed Anne Grabowski. After a day resting and acclimating to the high altitude, tours and travels began. The fortress walls of Sacsayhuaman are among the world’s mysteries, with limestone blocks 15 feet in height and weights totaling 350 tons, moved without wheels for 20 miles, to be fitted together without mortar and designed

to withstand earthquakes. When asked for a favorite moment, Amanda Bentley replied, “Sacsayhuaman was one of the best, with the rock slide at the end!” Among the sun temples and carvings of sacred pumas, many followed the guide, sliding down a natural formation, surpassing Valley Fair thrills. Of less grandeur but equal excitement were the llama and alpaca sightings or the discovery of a marketplace. In minutes, gifts were chosen, bargaining begun and deals completed (in Spanish) before getting back on the bus. As llamas can’t get through customs, some friends and family may have received slippers, blankets and snuggly toys made of their fur and hides! Every gift represents a conversation that strengthened student’s confidence and built relationships. Each communication with family, waiter or vendor created relationships.


Finally, word was given to come down to the field and hand out the supply bags. Each BHS student found a child, presented their gift, initiating a friendship. After getting acquainted through coloring and basic questions, a snack of choclo, the native large kernel corn, was served with cheese. Then, all pandemonium broke out! Everyone raced around in circles of tag and pony-back rides. “Being with ‘los niños’ those two days was my favorite,” Margriet VanDerwerker shared. Relationships The core experience of learning another language, experiencing other cultures and traveling within a group is relationship building. Fortyseven people traveling together for eight days builds relationships. Through layovers, cases of ‘turista’ and culture shock, sharing food and vocabulary doubts creates community. Using another language in culturally appropriate ways opens another dimension to ones’ life. Listening to another point of view, learning a new way to do the same old thing or an entirely unknown system of behaviors and appreciating the differences; that is the gift of study-travel. The comparison has just begun. We see our families, homes and yes, schools, with increased appreciation. We might have better roads but they have mass transit and cheap taxis. The big Mac didn’t taste the same but we’ll never get such great mangos in Minnesota! To Maestras Qualley and Maine and their chaperone husbands, Matt and Boyd: Accolades for amazing

At the Sacred Valley of the Inca, students take ‘yet another’ selfie!

leadership in every moment with extra kudos for personal care to all. To student’s families: Your upbringing provided support and encouragement. To the students: You were the best! To the community: It takes a village! Continue programs that grow these personal and global relationships. We all inherit the results. A Spanish teacher before retiring, Jan Kurtz has realized two dreams with this trip. One, travel with Dawn, once her mentee, and with Britt, another amazing colleague. Two, get to Machu Picchu. She looks forward to spring road trips and the return of the bluebird!

Ernie’s is a proud supporter of The Brainerd Warriors! 10424 SQUAW POINT RD EAST GULL LAKE 218.829.3918 WWW.ERNIESONGULL.COM

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

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There were also the experiences of the train, rattling down the tracks, snuggled up to the banks of the Urubamba River whose muddy waters crashed over the rocks right outside our window. The green mountains towered overhead, bus swaying, leaning into the switchbacks on the narrow dirt road. Then that moment when, emerging from the jungle vegetation, there was Machu Picchu! “That was the best,” according to Haley Schmaltz, “and the hike to La Puerta del Sol.” Renae Ford added, “I am most gratified for the awe-inspiring views and being reminded of just how much power and beauty the world holds around us.” Beyond the historical backdrop and the llamas came the highlight of the trip for many: two visits to primary schools outside of Cusco. Each student had donated funds to buy school supplies later to be delivered in person to the children of agricultural workers in, what the Spanish call, “humble” areas of the country. These families struggle with primitive tools to raise crops that rarely produce a living wage. When the moment came, teachers led their students outside by grade level. The principal gave a few instructions and they went through their paces before facing our group, seated on cement bleachers. All BHS students stood up and introduced themselves. They sang to us. Unprepared for a concert, Maestra Qualley pranced before the group, directing them in a round of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” followed by the U.S. national anthem.

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School History STORY AND PHOTO By JENNY HOLMES

W

Sue Schmidt (Left), Lowell building secretary and Lowell Principal Todd Sauer, looking at historical photos and memorabilia saved from Lowell’s early days.

ith age comes rich history and a myriad stories. Lowell Elementary School sits today as one of the Brainerd School District’s oldest facilities. Historians have long followed this and other District buildings from their meager beginnings.

In 1894, just two years after Brainerd was authorized by an act of Legislature to form an independent school district, four elementary schools were built within the city. Harrison, Lincoln, Lowell and Whittier were cookie-cutter buildings, identical to one another with three levels and lots of brick.

Lowell Grade School

By 1903, historical accounts say it was necessary to build an addition to Lowell as the northeast side of Brainerd rapidly grew. In 1939, all four schools – including Lowell – were deemed inadequate and razed to be rebuilt. Lowell was built as it sits today. Over 30 years ago, a group of Brainerd High School students researched the history of Lowell for a class project and interviewed long-time Lowell Elementary custodian, Duane Henningson. Henningson told the students he believed Lowell first opened its doors in 1893 as a small wood structure that stood in the school’s current location. “At the turn of the century, a new building was built and that was where 12

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

Lowell Grade School 1939 before it was rebuilt.

the playground is today,” the students documented. “When that building was taken down, they buried parts of the building right in the ground. Every once in a while, pieces of pipe or building surface to the playground that Mr. Henningson has to remove.” Although retired after 20 years in the District, 15 of which he served at Lowell, Henningson, today, still has fond memories of both the school and its students. “It’s a very good school. A very sound school,” Henningson said. “What I remember is all the fun I had at Lowell School. I was known as the cookie mon-

ster, always trying to steal the kids’ cookies. When I retired, they made me a blanket with Cookie Monster and everyone had signed it. I have it still hanging in my den.” Over time, Henningson said he has enjoyed learning and uncovering Lowell’s 120-plus year history. One of his sources was Parker Campbell, a gentleman who lived across the street from the school. Henningson said Campbell always made sure the flag was raised and lowered properly each school day and was an active volunteer in classrooms and with facility needs. Campbell had witnessed the comings and goings for many years and shared pieces of its history regularly with Henningson. In 1990, a brown glass bottle was inadvertently unearthed by a backhoe being used on school property. After closer examination, it was determined the bottle had served as a time capsule and had been buried on April 29, 1912, next to a new planted tree by eighth-grade students at Lowell. Inside the bottle was a class list with names of the students in Katherine Howland’s room. At the top of


Riverside Elementary

Not nearly as dated, but equally filled with nostalgia, is Riverside Elementary. The first Riverside Elementary School is believed to have been built on the corner of Northwest Fourth and Laurel streets in 1919, as a “frame building,” according to historical accounts. In 1922, an addition was built. However, the school was destroyed by fire. When rebuilt in 1955, it was relocated to its current site on Northwest Third Street, just off the banks of the Mississippi River as a 20,000 square foot, one-story building with “all of the latest innovations.” Cathy Nault, Riverside Principal from 1986 to 2012, said Ms. Hanson was the first principal of Riverside in 1955 and resigned after only three years to open a new school in St. Louis Park called Cedar

Manor School. Ironically, Nault was one of Hanson’s first fourth-grade students at that new school. Back in Brainerd, at the referral of Hanson, Jim Peterson was hired as Riverside’s new principal, and served until 1986 when Nault was hired. Nault recalls her first year at Riverside. It was a one-section school – meaning only one classroom of each grade level. However, after only one year, the school saw an influx in enrollment and began to add more sections and more staff. An addition to Riverside had been built in 1962, but the most significant renovation took place in 1995 when a new gymnasium, bathroom facilities and a number of new classrooms were built - extending to the north. This improvement encompassed nearly 30,000 square feet of space. Ten years later and, once again facing a space crunch, Riverside is set for its third expansion project. District Director of Buildings and Grounds Earl Wolleat said the District plans to put on an

11,178 square foot addition to include six classrooms, two of which will include individual bathrooms, as well as a fullsized handicap accessible boys and girls bathroom. The expansion will take place on the northern most end of the building, with classrooms running from east to west. As far as what the future holds for Lowell and other significantly aged buildings in the District, Wolleat said the District is currently in the process of selecting a firm to conduct an evaluation of District facilities in regard to a long-term planning process. “We’re looking to determine the future of the District and where we’re going to be in the next 10 to 15 years,” Wolleat said, noting the process will take place in the next year. Jenny Holmes is a former reporter for the Brainerd Dispatch and currently owns a public relations and communication firm. She lives in Nisswa with husband, Tim, and their two school-aged children.

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the page was written “Name of tree: ‘Titanic.’” The ship had sunk just two weeks prior. Today, that same glass bottle sits safely in the main office at Lowell.

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

13


THE STATE OF BRAINERD PU

In the fall of 2014, the school board of Brainerd Public Schools authorized a Master Facilities Plan that will guide the district for the next 20 years. The M long-range road map for the maintenance, modernization, and educational us staff, parents, business leaders and community members began the work of dev reasons the district is convening this planning process. 

NuMBeR oF DISTRIcT eleMeNTA DePARTMeNT oF eDucATIoN’S M FeeT Pe

ToTAl NuMBeR oF DISTRIcT BuIlDINgS: 12

4

AveRAge Age oF BuIlDINgS: 60 YEARS

NuMBeR o clAS AvAIlABle F

NuMBeR oF yeARS DIFFeReNce BeTweeN olDeST AND NeweST BuIlDINg: 75

hARRISoN

2

lINcolN

lowell

BuIlDINgS wIThouT wheelchAIR AcceSS:

3

TIMELINE OF FACILITIES STUDY JANUARY

FEBRUARY

15th 2015 RFQ Due

14 Brainerd BrainerdPublic PublicSchools Schools••Spring Spring‘15 ‘15 14

MARCH RFQ Awardee Announced

APRIL

Data Collection Community Wide Meetings

MAY

Data Collection Community Wide Meetings

JUNE

Data Collection Community Wide Meetings

JULY

Data Collection Community Wide Meetings


UBLIC SCHOOLS BUILDINGS

a Request for Quotes from firms to facilitate the development of a long range Master Facilities Plan will provide the school district and the community with a se of each of the Brainerd Public Schools buildings. A diverse group of district veloping this Master Facilities Plan. The items below represent the most pressing SOURCES:

http://www.education.state.mn.us/mde/schsup/schfin/factech/schcon/index.html https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicAgenda.aspx?ak=1000426&mk=50146264  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=36519805  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=36174774 

ARy SchoolS NoT MeeTINg The MN MINIMuM guIDelINe oF 125 SQuARe eR STuDeNT:

4

oF eleMeNTARy SSRooMS FoR exPANSIoN:

AveRAge ANNuAl coST PeR SQuARe FooT To oPeRATe eleMeNTARy SchoolS: $4.78

2

AveRAge ANNuAl coST PeR SQuARe FooT To oPeRATe NeweST BuIlDINg:

$2.45

ANNuAl SAvINgS IF The eleMeNTARy SchoolS oPeRATeD AT The SAMe PeR SQuARe FooT coST AS NeweST BuIlDINg:

$360,000

AUGUST Data Collection Community Wide Meetings

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER Plan Options Presented

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

RecoMMeNDeD SIze oF coMPuTeR lABS ToDAy:

1000 SQUARE FEET AveRAge SIze oF DISTRIcT eleMeNTARy coMPuTeR lABS:

719 SQUARE FEET

JANUARY 16

FEBRUARY 16 Plan Presented To School Board

Brainerd BrainerdPublic PublicSchools Schools• •Spring Spring‘15 ‘15 15 15


Building Bridges,

STORY AND PHOTOS BY MELODY BANKS

T

hree years ago Jana Shogren, Executive Director of Bridges of Hope, approached the superintendent of ISD 181 with an idea she thought could bring community awareness to her program. The idea was to have students build bridges that would be judged in a school contest.

According to Layne Danielson, a fifth grade science teacher at Forestview, “After reviewing the criteria, we decided it would fit well with the Engineering Standard in our classes.” The project includes the fifth grades classes of Danielson, Betty Harrison, Robin Knutson and Owen Trout. Four to five days are spent in preplanning, six class periods to the actual building project. Shogren comes in for a brief period at the start of preplanning to explain her program and how the project works. Volunteers from local architectural firms including Baratto Brothers, Nor-Son, SEH, (Short Elliott Hendrickson) and WSM (Widseth Smith Nolting) come into the classes to talk about structural processes and shapes that make bridges strong and the pitfalls of bad design. The architects explain that one of the shapes seen again and again in the design of bridges, and other structural engineering, is the triangle. The triangle, with its three sides, provides support and strength that other shapes do not. A similar three-sided approach to success can be seen, when people, businesses and nonprofits, such as Bridges of Hope, work together to create strong, healthy communities and find solutions to local challenges. 16

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

Fifth graders at Forestview Middle School work with science teacher Layne Danielson, constructing bridges out of popsicle sticks.

The classes are grouped into teams. During the building phase, staff from the building firms are in the classrooms providing hands on assistance. Each team receives the same instructions and amount of materials: an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of white paper for the layout, 100 Popsicle sticks, a Popsicle stick cutter, clamps, sand paper, three ounces of glue and construction paper for the decking. Supplies for the project were funded by a grant from the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation which was co-written by Danielson, Trout and Shogren. “We believe the funding will provide enough materials for the next two years,” says Shogren. “It’s a good learning experience for the students,” says Trout, “It teaches them time management skills, utilization of a limited amount of materials and how to communicate and cooperate within a group.” According to Harrison, the fifth graders really seem to enjoy the project. “My class is structured a bit differently. It is not mandatory. I offer it as an after-school enrichment activity,” explains Harrison. “This year 45 students chose to sign up.” Knutson says students are surprised at just at how much weight a bridge made only of Popsicle sticks and glue can bear. “Last year a team from my class took first place in the strength competition. The bridge held 165 pounds,” says Knutson. The event has morphed into a fun-filled event for students, parents and grandparents. Held on Monday, Feb. 2, the excitement in the cafetorium was palpable. Volunteers staffed the concession stand, proceeds are donated to Bridges of Hope. Though the event is not a huge fundraiser, the community awareness and goodwill it generates cannot be measured in dollars and cents. During the aesthetic contest, bridges are lined up on tables with ballot boxes in front of them. Those attending cast their


Character and Community Aesthetic Competition First place: Mr. Danielson’s class

and students: Mitchell Degen, Avery Lemieur, Andrew Narlock and Macy Speer. Second place: Mr. Trout’s class and students: Adam Jensen, Mike Olson and Tara Wollner. Third place: Mr. Trout’s class and students: Danielle Ahmann, Shaelyn Hagemann, Isaiah Macejkovic and Ryan Westerberg.

Strength Competition

Far right, Mike Angland from WSN, lends his expertise to the building project, helping with the bridge strength contest.

vote for the bridge they like, between 5 and 6 p.m. The strength contest started at 6 p.m. Two stations were set up with the bridges spanning two boards. A five-gallon bucket was suspended from a dowel which was put through the center of the bridge and sand was added to the buckets until the bridges finally snapped under the weight. Sponsors provide funding for the event and prizes. Each team member in the final competition receives a T-shirt and trophies and prizes are awarded for first, second and third place. First place is a limo ride from Reichert to Boomer’s Pizza. Second place are passes to the waterpark at Arrowwood Lodge. Third place students receive a free treat at Cherry Berry Yogurt. During the strength judging, Shogren addressed the audience from the podium.“When I went into the classrooms at the beginning of the project, I talked to the students about how their

First place at 95.7 pounds:

bridge building relates to our program. I told them there are people in our community who are facing challenges in their lives and that Bridges of Hope helps meet these challenges by bridging the gap between them and resources that can help them. Many students offered their own ideas suggestions of how people might be helped. Parents, I want you to know, you are doing a great job of raising compassionate, understanding children.” Aren’t these qualities we want in our children today and future leaders of our community for tomorrow? Melody Banks lives in Nisswa. She works as a freelance writer and graphic artist.

Mrs. Harrison’s class and students: Sean Baumann, Ethan DeRosier, Adam Klecker, Mitch Neumann and John Saba. Second place at 89.8 pounds: Mr. Trout’s class and students: Lanicha Green, Riley Pike and Sam Spieker. Third place at 81.2 pounds: Ms. Knutson’s class and students: Mason Chishol, Nicholas Chrisinge and William Hansen. Bridges of Hope and ISD 181 thanks the following sponsors: ARCH sponsors: Brainerd Public Schools Foundation, Clow Stamping, Nystrom & Associates and St. ScholasticaBrainerd Campus.

DECK sponsors: Baratto Bros., Nor-Son, SEH and WSN. TRUSS Sponsors: Carlson Hardware of Nisswa, Lexington and Lindar. PIER Sponsors: Arrowwood Lodge, Boomers, Insty-Prints, Reichert and The Tee-Hive. The trophies were provided by Winners Trophy & Engraving (at cost).

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

17


Opportunity

By CAROLYN CORBETT

Camp YAYA Young Authors, Young Artists Stretch Their Wings

In December 2014, an invitation went out…

“G

Students in grades fourth through sixth attend Camp YAYA, a workshop to stimulate their creativity in both writing and drawing. Last year 120 students attended.

reetings! My name is Marianne VanVickle and I am the Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher for Brainerd Public Schools. I have the privilege of inviting you to a wonderful day-long event in mid-May. Because of your ability and interest in writing, your teacher has nominated you to attend ‘ Write Under the Big Top.’ This event for fourth- through “It’s a great experience for the students,” says Karla Ziegler, a fourth grade teacher at Nisswa Elementary, “and it’s cool as a teacher to be able to go.” She describes how the kids are like young college students, making their way from the keynote address to each of several breakout sessions. They are all heading in different directions, not necessarily attending the same sessions as their friends. The purpose of the Young Authors, Young Artists conference is to promote student enthusiasm and competence in written and visual communication. It is aimed toward students who have a desire to learn more about writing. Brainerd students interact with peers from other school districts, authors, poets, illustra18

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

sixth-graders will be held at the College of St. Ben’s. YAYA (Young Authors, Young Artists) is a day to celebrate and explore writing and illustrating. You will listen to authors, illustrators and storytellers, visit with other students and come away with new ideas that will encourage you and support you in writing and to become a better communicator.”

tors, artists, journalists, book crafters and others. The day exposes them to the art and the joy of creating good, thoughtful and interesting writing. Students preregister for their choice of three breakout sessions from the 32 offered. YAYA is sponsored by Resource Training & Solutions out of Sartell. The Education Department of St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict are cosponsors. Resources Training & Solutions is a nonprofit Minnesota Service Cooperative that provides services including educational programs. They put on many academic events such as Knowledge Bowl, Cyber Knowledge, Project Earth, Junior Achievement and YAYA, that are accessed by thousands central Minnesota kids each year. Last year 1,406

students – from just this one region of Minnesota – attended YAYA. Participating school districts take different approaches to the way in which students are selected to attend YAYA. Some take the two students from every classroom. Some take one bus load of kids. It is different in our school district. Teachers from every school, every classroom, every team in the Brainerd Public Schools have equal opportunity to nominate students. All young people who are nominated are sent invitations. All students who accept the invitation may attend. Marianne VanVickle loves YAYA and is taking a group for the third year in a row. The first year 73 students attended. Out of 140 teacher nominations, 120 excited


Brainerd Public School students have accepted her invitation this year. They will spend the full day of Friday, May 15, in a supportive environment where they will be challenged and inspired. They will call upon their humor, imagination and brainstorming to create stories, poetry, cartoons, dialogue, fairy tales, news articles and more, all with the theme of “Write Under the Big Top.” The cost of the workshop is $40 per child. However, VanVickle wrote a grant for this year to cover half the cost for each student attending. She is thrilled the Brainerd Public School Foundation (BPSF) approved the grant. A generous donation by Connie and Gary Grittner helped make this funding available. The Grittners made a challenge to the community wherein they would donate $10,000 for gifted K-12 education if the amount was matched for a total of $20,000. Sixty-five members of the community stepped forward to meet the challenge, allowing $5,000 a year to

“YAYA is the best day of the school year!” ~ Mitchell, a fifth grade student

be available to teachers for gifted education innovations beginning January 2014. Aspiring writers and illustrators will board buses at 6:30 a.m. at Forestview Middle School on May 15. They, along with teachers and parent chaperones, will be greeted at St. Ben’s by characters in costume. The group will be directed to St. Ben’s Campus Center where there will be a designated area for Brainerd students to gather and to leave their belongings. Each student will receive a name tag, a special YAYA notebook to use throughout the day and a personalized schedule of the breakout sessions

he/she has chosen to attend. “To see the enthusiasm and passion is so rewarding, so fun,” says VanVickle. “It is a unique opportunity for capable, promising writers.” Jill Neumann, parent and director of BPSF, has a fifth grade son who has gone to Young Authors, Young Artists the past two years and has accepted the invitation for this spring. “YAYA,” Mitchell says, “is the best day of the school year!” Prior to her pastime of playing with words, Carolyn Corbett taught elementary school for 14 years before resigning to sail off into the sunset. Literally. Upon her return, she tutored English and writing at Central Lake College. Today, as a freelance writer/editor, Carolyn has over 250 articles published in cruising, parenting, and general interest magazines.

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19


Innovation

By REBECCA FLANSBURG PHOTOS BY RITA LINDER

Using QR Codes to Teach Math Skills Or as a student might say — a cool new way to learn math

Math teacher Travis Raske uses QR codes in an Internet scavenger hunt that engages students in learning.

We W e

see them everywhere — on everything from bottles of ketchup at the grocery store to the backs of business cards or the tags attached to clothing. QR codes are the square grids of smaller black and white squares containing encoded data that is designed to be optically scanned and provide information about a product or service.

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Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

QR codes are not new, but Forestview Middle School fifth grade math teacher Travis Raske has discovered a new and innovative way to use these codes to keep students excited about learning. “As a teacher, I am aware that note-taking for kids can be a tedious and boring task,” said Raske.“I wanted to create a new way for kids to absorb the information they were being taught and also one that appealed to a student’s natural interest in technology.” Three years ago Raske discovered that by using QR codes he could offer a unique and engaging way for his students to absorb the sometimes overwhelming topic of math terminology and lessons. “I saw QR codes as an interesting way to get kids to information quickly … Once I decided to use QR codes in the classroom, I used them to create an Internet scavenger hunt for my students that delivered the lesson to them in an engaging way. It also helped them focus on learning better and made notetaking more interesting.” Raske’s students use an app called Inigma along with their Samsung Galaxy tablets, or their own devices, to scan the QR codes he has strategically placed around the team area. So, for example, if students are learning geometry, they move from station to station with their headphones on and devices in hand, looking for codes.“The QR codes take them to YouTube videos that I have created that reveals the information about the 15 vocabulary words affiliated with our current geometry lesson,” says Raske. The videos have all of the information students need. They can listen to the video and even replay it. Raske uses this


Students use technology in new ways.

“When it comes to using QR codes and teaching...the possibilities are endless.” ~ Travis Raske

process for other math lessons too, and says his students find it much more fun than taking notes. Raske, a native of Glencoe, Minn., accepted a position at Forestview Middle School in 2014. Previously he taught at Sibley East, New Ulm and Madelia before relocating to Brainerd. In the Raske household, education is a family affair; his wife, Molly, is the current principal of Nisswa School. Together the couple have three sons; Bailey, an eighth grader; Kaiden, a first grader; and Jonas, a kindergartener. As the creator of the process of using QR codes for math, Raske says he hopes that other teachers and schools will open their minds to the idea of using technology to delivery lessons in the future. “The biggest advantage I’ve noticed with using the QR codes with math process is engagement,” Raske said.

“What would normally be a boring task of taking notes, or listening to me lecture at the head of the class, is now a process where the student is self-motivated to keep progressing and learning. Kids are wired differently these days thanks to the vast amount of technology that is at their fingertips. Typically, if a student wants to learn something, they don’t go to a book, they look for what they want on YouTube or other online sites. By offering technology-based options as part of the lesson plan, including screen casting lessons, creating YouTube videos and utilizing QR codes, students are more engaged with what they are learning.” Raske also said the option to sit in the back of the room and mindlessly take notes is also off the table. To gain the information they need for their math lesson, students need to get up out of their seats, move around and engage with technology. He says another advantage to having lessons on video is that students can access the information themselves without having to wait for the teacher.

“I see my students’ attention more focused on what they are learning and more self-motivated to learn as well,” Raske noted. “It’s always amazing to me how excited students get about this system and how they comment that it’s ‘so cool.’ The fact that I am giving them a new experience is hugely beneficial and rewarding to me as a teacher as well. I’ve seen how this process focuses their attention, and once their attention is focused, I can give them the content I want them to learn.” Another benefit, says Raske, is students are using this process to create their own codes to share things such as an art project or even research assignments. “When it comes to using QR codes and teaching,” says Raske, “the possibilities are endless.” Rebecca Flansburg is a freelance writer and work-at-home-mom who lives in Baxter. She is also a full-time virtual assistant in the field of social media, content management and blogging. You can connect with Rebecca on her blog, Franticmommy.com.

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21


Success

By SHEILA HELMBERGER

Getting a Good

Start Early Childhood Family Education Ages birth-5 years

• Brainerd Public Schools offers classes for parents and their children from birth to 5 years old. • Set the stage for parent involvement and children’s success in school.

School Readiness Preschool programs Ages 3-5

• Prepares children to enter school with the necessary skills, behavior and stability they need to progress and flourish. • Brainerd Learning Center, Washington Educational Services Building, Baxter Elementary and Nisswa Elementary. • Sliding fee payment scale based on income.

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Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

S

Bre (middle) with her sister and parents Joe and Aubrey Koman.

ometimes when all of the right pieces come together at the right time it can change a life. When it’s the life of the child, well, everybody wins.

When teachers Joe and Aubrey Koman adopted their daughter Bre and her younger sister two and a half years ago, the older girl was a student at the Brainerd Learning Center. Bre’s story is a perfect example of how the early childhood program aids in identifying and addressing red flags that can lead to success later. When the Komans adopted Bre they knew she offered some challenges. She didn’t have any special physical needs but she had some social and emotional hurdles that would have to be overcome as well as some language difficulties that would need to be addressed. They weren’t really sure what her academic future might look like. “She was very shy, very quiet and very reserved,” said her mom, “When she started school she sat in the back and

didn’t really participate. She had some speech issues.” When she entered the program Bre had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) to address some of those areas. Initially they realized what she needed wouldn’t come from a program or a book. “A hug can go a long way,” says her mom, “And sometimes Bre just needed a hug. She needed that at the time and boy did she get that from those ladies.” The work continued after school hours. “We worked at home on gross motor skills a lot. We did some running and jumping. We read a lot,” says her mom. “She was just so quiet in the beginning,” said Renae Goos, a teacher in the School Readiness program, who had Bre in her classroom, with special education teacher, Kathy Lundmark. “She


fall, Bre exited the special education program. Her mom says she is having a great year. “She is reading and writing. It is just really wonderful.” “To this day when we drive by,” says her mom, “Bre will say, ‘There’s my old school,’ and point it out with such pride. She loved it there.” “It was a perfect storm but in a good way,” says Goos of the journey that took Bre from 3-years-old to starting school, “Maybe it was a perfect rainbow. Everything fell into place.” Sheila Helmberger is a freelance writer in the Brainerd lakes area.

Bre and teacher Renae Goos share a hug.

last spring, she was able to write and she knew her numbers and her colors and everything needed to start school. “They “The ladies over there just do such great things for kids,” says Koman of the School Readiness staff. are phenomenal.” “All kids, not just ours. It was so amazing ~ Aubrey Koman to watch. The ladies over there are pheer students. If you walk into our room,” nomenal. It’s incredible to think back at she says, “You aren’t going to know who what she was like when she started to is on an IEP. We do curriculum. We do what she is like now.” I have nothing but the utmost respect math and pre-reading. The kids are very tolerant at this age. We have children for them. Bre was there for three years with a variety of needs. When Bre came and was able to make incredible leaps she was tiny and the other kids liked to and bounds across the board. She startreally mother her. We work on tolerance. ed out very shy, very reserved and closed You have to be nice to everyone, not just in and didn’t want to talk to anyone. By the end of the second year she was startone or two friends.” Goos and Lundmark were able to ing to pull some stuff together and after help Bre with her maturity level and in- the third year and when it was time for dependence along with all of her other kindergarten, “Oh, she was ready to go,” skills. Koman says her daughter thrived says her mother, laughing. Before stepping a foot into her kinin having a safe, secure and positive endergarten classroom in Nisswa this past vironment to learn. When she graduated

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needed a lot of reassurance. She would make a beeline over to us to get her hug if she needed it. By that third year Bre didn’t need as many hugs.” And at some point her parents and her teachers realized they were a great team. Each was able to offer Bre what she needed from home and school, including help with her speech from speech pathologist, Jayne Struss. Both Goos and Koman say there were many happy tearful conferences those first couple of years. Goos says consistency was a big piece in the success of Bre. “Spending time in the same place every day - we pretty much do everything in the class, all of the standard stuff,” says Goos. “We assess every kid the beginning of the year and address any needs that arise. We can key in to those needs at this early age and it is almost completely unnoticed by the oth-

Brainerd Public Schools • Spring ‘15

23


Prevention Baxter Elementary School adopts a five-layer approach to bullying prevention

By JODIE TWEED

PHOTOS BY NELS NORQUIST

A

bully isn’t always the person who knocks you down and steals your lunch money. Bullying behavior can sometimes be subtle, such as when you’re ignored, left out or teased, even by someone you thought was a friend. Bullying, in all its forms, still hurts. Baxter Elementary School has adopted a school-wide bullying prevention effort that uses read aloud books to help students understand what bullying is, what it feels like to be bullied and even what it may feel like to be a bully. Two years ago, a few Baxter Elementary teachers, including firstgrade teacher Tamie Swanson, third-grade teacher Bridget Surma and fourth-grade teacher Jeanine Christiansen, attended a staff development course led by Forestview fifth-grade teacher Pam Warren that focused on the book, “Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations,” by Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth. When the team used some of the picture books recommended by Laminack and Wadsworth last year in their classrooms, they saw positive things occurring in the classroom. The read alouds are entertaining, engaging and allow children to talk about bullying in a safe way, as they talk about what happened to the characters in A Baxter fourth-grader saidsaid the the newnew bullying Baxter fourth-grader, the books. read-aloud inhas been readread aloudbooks booksare herhelpful teacher “They identify with the characters,” Swanson explained. understanding whyher some bullies this year are ing to her and classmates “Even if the bully in there isn’t them, they can identify may in bully others. helpful understanding why some bullies with him and say, ‘Oh dear, I’ve been that cat and I haven’t may bully others. 24 24

Brainerd Brainerd Public Public Schools Schools •• Spring Spring ‘15 ‘15


“They can relate to what is happening in the book.” ~Tamie Swanson thought of it.’ It gives them a different perspective. They can take on those perspectives of all the characters in the story. They can relate to what is happening in the book.” Surma, Christiansen and Swanson thought the program would benefit the entire school. They applied for and were awarded a Best Practice Staff Development grant to purchase sets of recommended books and the discussion guide for each classroom and the library because it seemed to be an effective way to address bullying. It was also important the bullying prevention program didn’t take up too much valuable classroom instruction time either. Teachers were already reading to their students; it fits in nicely in the school day. “Reading to kids is something we need

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to do, so what better way to read than doing some purposeful reading,” Swanson explained. Christiansen said the material is taught in five layers of bullying prevention and spread throughout the school year. Every 4-6 weeks, teachers focus on a different layer, reading books that share a common theme. The five layers of bullying prevention are: “We Have So Much in Common” “There Are Ways In Which We Are Different – Not Less Than Others, Not Better Than Others, Just Different.” “Thinking, Feeling, Acting” “When Others Are Not Thoughtful, Caring and Kind” “An Opportunity to Explore the Actions of Others, Reflect on our Own Feelings and Redirect our Behaviors Toward Fellow Human Beings.”

ing: physical, verbal or cyber bullying. When we get to the upper grades, I think there is so much more indirect bullying, more nonverbal. When we can introduce these types of things to students through books, it’s a very safe way for them to engage about things that are sometimes frightening and quite personal.” Swanson’s first-grade students listened in February to her read “The Recess Queen” by Alexis O’Neill, a book about a playground bully named Mean Jean whom students avoided on the playground. They later learned perhaps all Mean Jean needed was a friend. The book teaches students about conflict resolution without adult intervention. “Imagine you are on the playground and, day after day, nobody plays with you?” Swanson told her students after reading the book. “Might you get a little angry inside?” “Yes,” responded her students.“Did Mean Jean look like a friend in the beginning of the book?” asked Swanson. “No, she ” looked like a mean bully,” responded first-grader Arjay Davidson. ~ Karl Anderson. “I got bullied at basketball one time,” shared first-grader Cooper Katzenberger. “He was trying to hit me in Every teacher at Baxter School is the face with the ball.” “Maybe he was reading the books suggested for each feeling sad inside of him and he wantlevel. The goal is that students in each ed you to feel sad too,” Swanson told grade level will learn similar themes him. “There’s a saying, ‘Misery loves throughout their time at the school, company.’” Swanson and her students cultivating a building culture of kind- came up with ways that Katzenberger ness, compassion and acceptance. could react next time he encountered “We want to give students tools a similar situation. for when they encounter bullying,” “I think the books help a lot besaid Christiansen. “We want them to cause you can see how the other side recognize the different kinds of bully- is feeling,” MaKenzie Myrum, a fourth-

“Some bullies bully because they’ve been hurt at some time.

“I didn’t realize that would be considered bullying,” commented the students.

grader, said of the read aloud books on bullying prevention. “Some bullies bully because they’ve been hurt at some time.” “The books show how bullying in schools isn’t good,” added fourth-grader Karl Anderson. “If someone is bullying, you need to tell an adult. Sometimes you can try to be a friend. Maybe they just need a friend?” Christiansen said teachers focused at the beginning of the year on a general outer layer, of how everyone is more alike than they are different. As the school year progresses, they have gone deeper into the material and topic of bullying. “It gives them a different set of eyes to look through,” said Swanson. “It’s not just the bully on the playground. It’s bullying someone because of physical handicaps or other differences. It’s neat to hear them discuss a book and say, ‘I didn’t realize that would be considered bullying.’” Jodie Tweed, a former Brainerd Dispatch reporter, is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to regional, statewide and national magazines and other publications.

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ISD 181 Magazine April 2015  

• Investing In Our Schools: Read the stories of four Brainerd Public School Foundation donors “paying it forward,” creating with their gifts...

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