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Spring Edition 2013

ISD 273

Edina Public Schools News

All for All initiative focuses on individual needs of each learner Concerted effort to close gaps serves to increase achievement for every student As part of its implementation of the 2012-15 Strategic Plan, Edina Public Schools is looking at ways to ensure academic growth and high achievement for each and every student, regardless of their background, with its “All for All” plan. “This concept of All for All is not new. It has been the core of our district’s mission for over twenty years,” said Superintendent Ric Dressen. “However, we know that we have some students who are not achieving as well as others, and others who may be testing well but are not reaching their full potential. We must look at new strategies that will have the greatest impact not only on the students that are in our schools now, but also for those that will be part of the district’s future.”

Closing the Leadership Gap efforts focus on ways to ensure that strategies proven to positively impact student achievement, such as the district’s Response to Instruction (RtI) educational delivery method, are implemented with fidelity in grades preK-12. It also looks at strategic ways the district can continue to recruit, hire and retain high-quality, racially conscious teachers and administrators.

“The number one factor in closing the gap is the quality of our teachers. We have great teachers in our system and we want to build upon that,” said Director of Research and Evaluation Chad Schmidt. “We have to make The Educational Delivery Committee, sure our learners consisting of “By identifying and clarifying are engaged in their principals and learning, and we can representatives from beliefs about learning teach students those a variety of district skills by helping expectations for each and departments, began find the best every student, we can create teachers meeting monthly methods to encourage last fall to create a the pathways for students’ all students to be plan that allows all college and career readiness.” successful.” students to have the opportunity to thrive Strategies to close the and succeed. While short-term strategies were Belief Gap focus on training and educating implemented earlier this year, the long-term staff to support the academic achievement All for All plan will have a three-year, phased of all learners. Schmidt noted that all kids implementation starting in the fall and will respond differently to how they learn, but they PIP 8x2 ad 111212 to printer.pdf 1 will 11/13/12 1:08 PM focus on five key gappage areas. reach the highest level of achievement









when the people around them believe in their ability to succeed. “We’re always going to be looking for learning and achievement gaps and how we can close them. By identifying and clarifying beliefs about learning expectations for each and every student, we can create pathways to success for students’ college and career readiness,” Schmidt said. To close the Preparation Gap, the district is focusing on early intervention strategies, recognizing that the earlier a student receives needed instructional support, the more prepared they will be for kindergarten and beyond. “We already have great early learning systems in place filled with rich, learning content. Continues on page 3

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Superintendent’s Column Importance of Partnership: The reward is greater when we work together by Ric Dressen, Superintendent I have talked a lot in recent months about the importance of partnership in achieving our mission. This collaborative concept is one of the “big three” initiatives in our strategic planning work completed last spring by a task force of students, staff and community. I appreciate that the task force realized the district’s strategic vision could not be reached without the commitment to and execution of “effective and valued district partnerships.” In our history, Edina Public Schools has experienced numerous partnership successes and some ventures that have not been as successful. We have learned from all of these experiences and recognize that we must be very purposeful in framing our partnerships in the future if we are to be successful in achieving the goals of this initiative, and indeed all of the goals of our Next Generation of Edina Public Schools strategic plan. The proper framing and definition of the partnership concept is critical to its success. For the sake of this column, I refer to the definition found on Wikipedia – a classic example of partnership and crowdsourcing in its own right – which defines partnership as “an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.” Sometimes, we in school districts forget that partnership is about mutual benefit. Edina Public Schools is committed to growing our

The Mission of the Edina Public Schools, working in partnership with the family and the community, is to educate all individuals to be responsible, lifelong learners who possess the skills, knowledge, creativity, self-worth, and ethical values necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society.

successful partnerships and bringing closure to create win-win situations and advance our educational mission. The power of partnership is in its ability to serve as a multiplier for the involved parties, providing greater benefit as a combined force rather than working alone. We are excited about growing our partnerships at all levels. Locally, we have several new initiatives being explored with the City of Edina and the Edina Chamber of Commerce. Regionally, we have formed a partnership with the Hopkins School District to collaborate in staff training, curriculum development and technology services. Through our eLearning2 initiative we have formed a partnership with Best Buy to increase our students’ access to technology and personal learning devices. On the national level, we recently were invited to join the 21st Century Consortium, a partnership of nationally recognized, high-performing suburban school districts that are working together to share best practices and advance the learning of all students. But we are not stopping there. Recent conversations are leading us to explore additional partnerships with higher education institutions, healthcare systems, faith communities, individual businesses, and private schools.

partnering organizations. We also know that each partnership is unique in its structure and intent. As a school district, we need to recognize that there is power in the ability of the partnership to grow and adapt as needs change. Partnerships must be both “loose and tight” to ensure that goals are achieved and both parties profit. The opportunities of new partnerships seem endless and the work is exciting. I look forward to sharing with you in the future our progress in forging new partnerships and the accomplishments they achieve. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading about some of the partnerships we have already made as noted in this newsletter. The possibilities of working together are many and the reward is great. The power of partnerships is truly powerful.

We are excited about these partnerships and know that they will bring benefit to our community, and to the communities of our

Learning: Edina Public Schools News is published by the Edina Public Schools (ISD 273) Communications Department and is distributed to residents of the District. The cost to produce Learning is largely offset by community advertisers. For more informartion, contact the Communications Department at

Edina Public Schools Board of Education Randy Meyer, Chair Idith Almog Cathy Cella Regina Neville Sarah Patzloff Lonni Skrentner Leny Wallen-Friedman Contact the School Board at

More stories and a complete calendar of events can be found at

All for All cont. What we want to do is expand our current network beyond our students with disabilities to identify children who would benefit from high-quality preschool programs,” said Director of Special Services Penny Kodrich. “Creating a comprehensive outreach plan for families is one of the best means to stimulating learning and capitalizing on effective programs and services already in place.” According to Director of Teaching and Learning Randy Smasal, efforts to close the Teaching and Learning Gap involve growing and supporting effective professional learning communities within the district. The plan will look at how best to train staff in professional collaboration to grow student engagement and increase students’ ownership of their learning. “We know that there is greater return when teachers work as a team and focus on a variety of data to improve the learning experience for each student,” Smasal said. “It’s really about continuous improvement – how can we continue to grow and get better at implementing our responses to student learning and harness the power of teacher collaboration.” Closing the Time Gap is ensuring that students are able to learn anytime, anywhere. Doing so will include a variety of learning activities, such as additional before and after school math and reading classes and more summer learning experiences. The district is also focused on removing barriers to learning, such as transportation and access, and is looking at ways to capitalize on powerful technologies to extend learning outside the school day. “We have to recognize that the students coming through our doors are different than those we’ve had in the past in terms of their learning style and racial makeup,” said Director of Enrollment and School Improvement Mary Manderfeld. “We will only be as good as our students are and our goal is to prepare all of our children to be successful when they leave EPS and begin their next journey in life.” A draft of the All for All plan was presented to the School Board in March and is scheduled for action at the April 15 meeting. Schmidt noted that all of the implementation strategies will include metrics to ensure the district is meeting its goals in closing the gaps and demonstrating measured growth for all learners. To learn more, visit

Basic Musicianship and Keyboard Classes for children ages 3 and up


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Technology and Learning Showcase, 9-11:00 a.m., ECC 3rd Floor Parent Communication Network (PCN) Forum, 7:00 p.m., Countryside Edina Reads - A Thinking Man’s Bully, 7:00 p.m. Edina Senior Center South View Musical - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Wed - Fri 7:00 p.m., Saturday 2:00 p.m., South View Theater Edina High School Theater - Hundred Dresses, 7:00 p.m., EPAC


2 Edina High School Orchestra Concert, 7:00 p.m., EPAC 8 National Bike to School Day 13 School Board Workshop, 5:00 p.m., ECC 349 14 Edina High School Orchestra Cabaret Concert, 7:00 p.m., EPAC 17-18 Edina High School Happening Concert, 7:00 p.m., Fick Auditorium 19-20 Edina Education Fund Golf and Tennis Classic, Edina Country Club 27 No School - Memorial Day 28 School Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m., ECC 349 29 Edina Family Center summer programming begins 29-31 Edina High School Choir Current Jam, 7:00 p.m., Fick Auditorium 31 Edina Art Fair, 50th and France


1-2 Edina Art Fair, 50th and France 6 Last Day of School 9 Commencement 10 Edina Community Education youth summer classes begin

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit us online at | 3

District News IMPACT Saturday School provides unique learning opportunity for students As Edina Public Schools (EPS) Equity and Inclusion Specialist John Ford would put it, “If you are running a race and you’re behind, the only way to catch up is to run faster.” In Ford’s opinion, EPS students have to find ways to run faster when it comes to making sure they have the tools, resources and information needed to be successful not only in their academics, but life. The IMPACT Saturday School is a unique opportunity for students of color to continue their learning beyond the standard school day in a nurturing environment focused on inspiring and empowering them to succeed and excel. The program recently ended its 10week program, which ran for three hours every Saturday starting in November. It will resume in September 2013. According to Ford, IMPACT Saturday School brought in over 100 students, offering an open door policy for students to choose when they would attend. The program met offsite at the state-of-the-art facilities of the Minneapolis Media Institute – College of Media Arts, providing an alternative atmosphere for participants. The location aligned with a program goal of providing a location close to the Parklawn neighborhood. Ford said that they are hoping to expand to

an additional site next year in the Oak Glen Apartments area. IMPACT Saturday School offered tutoring and mentoring in reading/language arts, mathematics, and test-taking skills for students in grades 1-12. Each Saturday began with an opening session, which set a tone of high expectation for students. To foster high self-esteem and confidence, the Saturday School slogan – “I believe in me!” – was reinforced in a variety of ways. After the motivational session, elementary and middle school students broke into small, grade-level tutoring groups featuring 75 minutes of academic support each in reading/ language arts and mathematics. High school age students typically worked with tutors on specific concepts or course assignments for the entire tutoring session – often in computer labs. With a focus on math and reading, Ford said he is confident that this program will help improve the students overall performance and enhance their mastery of core academic subjects. “Supporting our children to do well in school, and in their lives, is the center of our work,” Ford said. “It is our hope that we may work

A Day in the Life by Hannah Sommerville, EHS Zephyrus

Credit: Jake Freeman, EHS Zephyrus

Every year in April, Edina High School holds a “Multicultural Program.” This year, EHS Senior Dova Barnes is working with Rachael Pream Grenier, the Youth Serving Youth (YSY) leader at EHS, to organize the event. Zephyrus got the chance to talk to Barnes to learn more about the program.

Q: What is the Multicultural Program? A: It’s a great opportunity to celebrate other cultures. It brings people together and is a showcase of different cultures. It includes spoken word, singing, dancing and a fashion show. Q: Why do you think it is important that EHS does the program? A: If you weren’t able to see the different viewpoints, people could 4 | be culturally ignorant. We are all very different, and that’s a good thing.

in partnership with parents and families to make the students’ experience at school both exciting and successful.” Funding for the program was made possible in large part by a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota foundation. Carrie Cabe, Edina Resource Center Manager, worked closely with Ford in managing the funding for the program. In addition, Cabe was able to connect many new families to a host of community programs and support services available to Edina residents. Ford said that feedback from parents about the IMPACT Saturday School were positive, noting that many commented on feeling better connected with EPS and the community and that they appreciate the district’s commitment to leveling the playing field for all students, holding true to its philosophy of “All for All.”

Q: What responsibilities come with leading the show? A: I must put together bussing in terms of who needs to take one home and how many people will need a bus, picking a good date to have “parent night”, when the parents come to see what our show will look like when we actually perform during school, and going over each act and giving feedback on what we think is good/needs improvement. Q: What do you do to calm your nerves before the performance? A: We always have a group huddle and talk about how much potential we have to do well and how even if we mess up or make a mistake, remember to keep going and be proud of the courage you built up to share your culture with a large group of people. Q: What is your favorite part of being involved in the show? A: My favorite part would be the fact that there’s always something different each year. There are so many students who bring something fresh and exciting to the program every year. Q: Are you involved with any other groups at EHS regarding equity and racial and cultural awareness? A: I was involved with “Impact,” a group of students of color at EHS who talk about their feelings about race. It’s a great place to be honest and share experiences.



Community News Community resources bring passion and expertise to the classroom In Edina Community Education’s volunteer program, volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. While some volunteers provide classroom support or after school homework help, another set of volunteers engage with students as classroom speakers, providing resource presentations as a part of Curriculum Resources & Programs (CRP). Every year, over 900 resource presentations come into Edina Public Schools — equating to an average of over five presentations per school day. “CRP provides the hook that gets students excited about learning and helps them connect what’s happening in the classroom to the real world,” said Marcia Friedman, volunteer supervisor. Friedman works closely with teachers to schedule resources that tie into the curriculum and the timing of the lesson plan. These carefully scheduled presentations provide students with an important context to spark critical thinking and expanded understanding of the curriculum.

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In any given day, Friedman connects with a diverse array of prospective volunteers from Edina and across Minnesota, honoring teacher requests for World War II veterans, native French speakers from the Caribbean, and even exotic animal dentists. “Google is my friend,” Friedman said, who frequently uses Internet searches as a starting point when looking for new resources.


GrWoiw th Us

Resource speakers are not new to Edina. Established in 1974, the CRP program began as a metro-wide program working to help teachers find guest speakers and field trip opportunities that tie into the core curriculum. In 2008, CRP shifted its focus to concentrate exclusively on Edina Public Schools and expanded to include a broader spectrum of volunteer opportunities. “What I do is find the right person to make the biggest impact,” said Friedman. “Students and teachers get so much joy and learning out of the experience and more importantly, the speakers also benefit from the meaningful interaction and come back year after year.” In honor of April’s Volunteer Appreciation Month, Edina Public Schools thanks all of the volunteers who make a difference in the lives of our students. Do you have a passion that you want to share? Contact or 952-848-4924 or to learn how you can become a volunteer.

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District looks at ways to enhance safety and security within its facilities Edina Public Schools (EPS) places a high value on student safety, while having communitybased schools that seek to ensure successful learning for all students. The district’s schools were designed and built prior to the security challenges facing education today; however, the district did make some enhancements to improve security with the construction projects resulting from the 2003 referendum. The district has policies and procedures in place to guide administrators, staff and students in a wide variety of potential crisis situations. The procedures include regular and ongoing training, as well as required safety drills. “We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the City of Edina and their entire emergency response departments,” Director of Community Education Services Val Burke said. “It is a pleasure to be working with them to ensure we are using the best measures to keep our students and staff safe.”

Burke noted the quick response by City departments to various crisis situations greatly assists in managing an emergency or safety situation. In addition, the district has two fulltime police liaison officers in the schools during the school year. In January 2013, a district task force was formed to develop recommendations that could further enhance the safety and security of the district’s school sites, including both buildings and grounds. The task force requested security audits and collected data related to best practices for school safety and security. Based on the gathered information and findings, the task force developed recommendations for implementation beginning in the summer of 2013. The task force recognizes that the administration will need to prioritize implementation of these recommendations, given the limitations of available funding and staffing resources. The task force has organized the recommendations into four themes: deter,

detect, delay and defeat. The themes will be the foundation as the district looks at five focus areas to enhance its safety and security: facilities, policies and procedures, training, staffing, and communications. “We have found that District staff and families appreciate each site’s positive climate of supporting school safety. We have a strong framework for maintaining safety in our school settings and implementing the district’s best practices,” Burke said. “The open lines of communications among our staff, and the strong partnership with the Edina Police Department, are highly valuable to our task force as we move forward with ensuring our students have a high value of safety.”

Ten-Year Alternative Facilities Plan begins with construction at Concord Elementary this summer As the end of the 2012-13 school year draws near, Concord Elementary School will be gearing up for construction to take place over the summer. The scheduled construction at Concord is part of the district’s Ten-Year Alternative Facilities Plan approved by the School Board in May 2012. The projected timeline for the construction will be during the summer months, primarily focused on replacing heating and air handling systems. The new system will include new direct digital controls and filtration systems to meet or exceed current standards. A chilled dehumidification system and controls are also part of the project, creating a more comfortable learning environment throughout the school. The district is financing the projects through a combination of alternative facilities bonds and “pay as you go” alternative facilities levies, both of which are dedicated funding sources that can only be used for deferred maintenance projects. The district has existing bonded debt that will sunset in 2013 and, as a result, is able to structure the new deferred maintenance plan with an estimated tax decrease for local taxpayers. The total cost of this year’s projects

is approximately $10 million, $6 million of which are the Concord Elementary facility improvements. The work being done at Concord will remove and replace the existing 54-year-old building ventilation systems, steam boiler plant and distribution piping, all of which have deteriorated and do not meet current indoor air quality requirements. In addition, the boiler plant is beyond its life expectancy of 35-40 years, and is getting increasingly difficult to maintain. Margo Bauck, Director of Business Services for EPS, noted the goals of the ten-year plan are to address critical asset preservation needs throughout the district, focusing primarily on exterior issues including roofing, building envelope, and parking and paving issues. She noted that per Minnesota Department of Education regulations, alternative facilities funding can only be used for basic facility improvements, and cannot be used for new construction. The Concord project is the most significant one in the facilities plan, but given that the average age of the EPS facilities is 40 years, similar improvements will be made at other sites in the coming years. “Edina Public Schools continues to ensure that the facilities our students engage in their learning on a daily basis are meeting all standards,” Bauck said. “It is our responsibility to support the learning environments and initiatives for students, staff, and community while continuing to maximize our funds to provide a quality educational setting for all learners.”

Strategically aligning resources to learning

Be Remarkable! A sampling of recent EPS successes

2013-14 budget planning looks at adjustments, investments for the future The financial health of Edina Public Schools remains strong, thanks to continued monitoring of how resources are expended and ongoing efforts to seek out new efficiencies. In order to retain the high quality educational experience in EPS and ensure its finances remain stable into the future, the district is making adjustments to its budget for the 2013-14 school year. “We know that despite our efforts to maintain a balanced budget and direct as much of our resources to direct instruction as we can, our ongoing costs continue to outpace our revenues,” said Director of Business Services Margo Bauck. Bauck said that fiscal projections show revenues modestly increasing by about one percent as a result of enrollment growth and proposed changes to the state aid formula. However, expenditures are also increasing, at a rate of over three percent. “We do what we can to maintain costs, but many of our expenditure increases are beyond our control, such as utilities and material costs,” Bauck said. To maintain a balanced budget and plan for additional financial challenges in the coming years, the School Board has identified a target to adjust its budget by about one percent (approximately $1 million) for the 2013-14 school year. The district has been working on developing recommended adjustments to present to the Board at its meeting on April 15. The Board will then act on the adjustments in May, with final approval of the 2013-14 budget slated for June.

Minnesota Reading Association Celebrates Literacy Efforts in EPS EPS Literacy Coordinator Mary Kirchhof was honored at the annual Minnesota Reading Association’s (MRA) Celebrate Literacy event with a Celebrate Literacy Award. EHS teacher achieves highest credential obtainable to American Educators Amanda Schutz, EHS English Learning and AVID teacher, became a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Connecting With Kids community collaborative honors EPS connections STRIVE Volunteer Ann Schulze, VV Security Monitor Tony Harmon, EHS student & Kids Voting Edina volunteer Katie Quinn, and 5th grade Concord teacher Chris Tower were honored as Leadership Award Winners at the 2013 Connecting With Kids Leadership breakfast.

“We are looking at adjustments that will include a combination of new revenue, reductions and reallocations, as well as new investments, in an effort to better align dollars with the goals of the strategic plan,” said Superintendent Ric Dressen. Details of the new investments will also be included in the April 15 presentation.

Edina Hornets bring home 11th State Hockey Championship The EHS boys hockey team defeated Hill-Murray 4-2 to win the Class 2A state title.

According to Dressen, some of the budget enhancements will be ongoing investments – such as continuing the elementary math specialist positions that were instituted this year to help close the achievement gap – while other items will be more one-time in nature to address short-term needs.

EHS DECA students advance to nationals Eight students placed within the top three contenders in their event and will compete at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, CA in late April.

“I like that we are looking at additions as well as reductions,” said School Board Chair Randy Meyer. “It is important that we continue to look at those investments and innovations that will get us a good return and prepare our students best for what awaits them.” Dressen said that the budget process is an example of how the district is finding creative ways to better align all of it resources – time, space, talent and funds – to learning. “The goal of our Next Generation of Edina Public Schools strategic plan is to do just that. We can no longer look at our resources in isolation, but rather we must look at how we pool all of them together in ways that focus on the individual needs of all of our students.”


Students earn accolades for artistic creations Four EPS students earned Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards (MSAA) for their artistic works. VVMS student Harrison Heinks won a gold medal in the National Scholastic Art & Writing Competition. Heinks will be honored at Carnegie Hall in New York City in May.

Adjustments Needed

General Fund Revenue & Expense Includes Reserved and Designated Funds

Tech Levy Implemented

Revenue Revenue Increase Revenue Adjustments

Adjustments Needed


$11k 1% State Aid

0% State Aid Levy Renewal

0% State Aid Fed Stimulus

1% State Aid Fed JOBZ $

1% State Aid Levy Renewal & Tech Levy

$10.5k 2% State Aid Restore Spec Ed

$10k 1x Enhancements

Cut $602k

$9.5k 2007-08


Governor’s Proposal

Governor’s Proposal

Expense Expense Increase Expense Adjustments

Cut $2.3m

Visit to learn more.

Cut $2.2m 2009-10




2012-13 Budget

2013-14 Projected

2014-15 Projected | 7


Spring Edition 2013 5701 Normandale Road Edina, MN 55424

Dated Material

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Elementary Art Show


EPS is proud to partner with the Edina Library to display selected artwork from all six elementary schools for community viewing. This year’s exhibition featured a wide variety of techniques and compositions, showcasing the diversity of Edina’s student talent.

Learning Newsletter - Spring 2013  
Learning Newsletter - Spring 2013  

Learning: Edina Public Schools News