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Open Enrollment Open House Night

Update Hopkins Public Schools

The community’s guide to the District. National Merit Semifinalists

Ryan Levi and Alexandra Tisher, seniors at Hopkins High School, have been named National Merit Semifinalists. They are among 16,000 students nationwide chosen to compete for the National Merit Scholarship. Nearly 1.5 million students entered by taking the PSAT/ NMSQT® test. Hopkins Teacher Performs in ‘Nobel Conference Concert’ Hopkins music teacher Timothy Berry performed in the “Nobel Conference Concert — a State of Mind and Music.” The concert featured world premieres of commissioned music by Berry and other emerging Minnesota musicians. Choral Teacher Receives National Young Choral Director Award High school music and choral teacher, Philip Brown, has received the Young Choral Director Award from the ACDA (American Choral Directors Association). Go in-depth... Want to read more about our stories in this issue of Update? Go indepth at:

Enroll your child in excellence. November 29, 7 p.m. Eisenhower Community Center, Room 233, 1001 Hwy. 7, Hopkins

November 2011

c o m m u n i t y High School Musical Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Disney’s beloved film comes to life with your favorite songs, clever characters, and some new twists! November 4-13 High School Auditorium

Family Swim Saturdays Family fun and fitness at the Eisenhower Pool. Sat., Oct. 29-Mar. 24 1:00-3:00 p.m. Eisenhower Community Center, 1001 Hwy. 7, Hopkins

New Junior High Schedule Provides Students with a Wealth of Choices

Financial Literacy, Juntos Spanish, and Forensics are three new classes offered this year. A new schedule, the result of a comprehensive secondary study in 2009-10, is changing the look and feel of the Hopkins junior high program. In addition to stronger connections between teachers and students, countless innovative, cutting-edge opportunities for young people have been made possible by this effort. Three exciting classes that kicked off this fall are highlighted below. Financial Literacy, a Hopkins graduation requirement Starting this year, Hopkins Public Schools became the first school district in Minnesota to make Financial Literacy a required course for graduation. Hopkins students will need to take a Financial Literacy class in grade 9 and again in their junior or senior year. “Financial literacy opens the world to students,” said David Braaten, chair of the business department. “It helps them understand how they can get what they want.”

In the new Forensics class, a Hopkins student performs an experiment .

sets the foundation for a more rigorous high school class. Concepts like budgeting, salary range, online banking, identify theft, proper uses of credit, and the real cost of living are introduced, giving students a baseline knowledge of financial literacy.

The high school component is rigorous, but the real test for students will come after they graduate and apply the concepts they have learned to the real world. To prepare Financial Literacy developed as a collaborative effort students, the class focuses on applying for financial aid, between the FACS department (family and consumer using money management software like Quicken®, safely science) and the business department. Parents and students participating in online banking, establishing an optimal were showing a growing interest in financial literacy credit score, and more. Braaten remarked that one of the electives. Braaten’s Managing Money class, for example, was becoming increasingly in demand — some parents were most rewarding moments is when students take action on the concepts that they have learned. “I have had students even requiring their students to take it before allowing them return after high school to tell me they have to open a checking account or apply invested a portion of their graduation money in for a credit card. I have had a Roth IRA,” said Braaten. “That’s powerful!” “In my generation, you did not learn Hopkins’ accelerated Spanish track students return about managing money unless it begins with Juntos came from your family,” said Sue after high school Juntos 1 is an accelerated Spanish class designed Nefzger, a junior high FACS teacher. for heritage Spanish speakers and students “We are producing very educated to tell me they who have completed an elementary immersion kids, but they are lacking in the area program. Juntos will grow at the junior-high have invested a of life skills.” level each year. In its third year, grade 9 students portion of their Parents were strong supporters from will be able to take Juntos 3, an AP (Advanced the beginning. Given the current class capable of earning college graduation money Placement) state of the economy, making credit. Financial Literacy a graduation in a Roth IRA — Before enrolling in the class, students must requirement was a bold and logical pass a Spanish proficiency test. This is a critical that’s powerful! next step. prerequisite because Juntos teacher, Erik The junior high class is offered Thompson, does not speak a word of English every other day for nine weeks, and in class. Dialoguing with students entirely see Junior High inside

District Life Changer Lydia Kabaka Ask many students and graduates of Hopkins High School, and they will tell you that Lydia Kabaka has made a huge impact on their lives in a positive way. She works with students and their families to make sure the students; academic needs are being met, and that they are prepared for life beyond high school. Along the way, Lydia often becomes a friend, mentor, role model, or source of inspiration to her students. “Ms. Kabaka was a huge blessing in my life,” said former student Luis Orozco. “She helped me make it through school, but also helped me plan ahead and pursue higher education. She always looked for me to improve my skills and reach high in life.” For Lydia, seeing her students achieve is the greatest reward. Background: After relocating to Minnesota from Wisconsin, I have worked as a school counselor for the past 13 years. My role is to provide students with the greatest number of opportunities while they are at Hopkins, so that when they reach the end of high school, they have a wide range of options to choose from. I help students achieve their goals. I am often the link that provides students and families with resources, and I help them problem solve when issues arise. I work in the areas of academic advising, college planning, foreign exchange student coordination, testing, group and individual counseling, 504 facilitating, mediation, and serve as a secondary counselor lead. What do you love most about working at Hopkins Public Schools? I love the students that I work with and the many opportunities that are available for them here at Hopkins. It is personally rewarding that I am able to be a strong advocate for my students and encourage them to challenge themselves to always do better. I build them up and provide them with a learning environment in which they feel safe. I am inspired by my students every day and enjoy seeing them achieve. Proudest moment? My greatest achievement has been making sure that all of my students have access to educational opportunities and that they achieve at a high level. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing children excited and engaged in the learning process. Life quote? “Keep it moving.” I always tell my students that regardless of the circumstances that they are in, or the situation that they may be encountering, they need to keep moving forward in a positive direction so that they can continue to grow. Stats: Guidance Counselor, Hopkins High School, 13 years.rBachelors: Concordia College, Minnesota; Master’s in Science with a School Counseling focus: St. John’s University, New York.rLydia Kabaka has worked in different parts of the country, starting at Hopkins in 2004.

Where are they now? Eddie Johnson III: 2007 graduate Stats: Loan Servicing Specialist, Wells Fargo, San Antonio, TX r B. A. in Sociology, Illinois Wesleyan University. r Will be attending University of Texas for his MBA fun facts A recent college graduate, Eddie is currently working for Wells Fargo in bankruptcy and foreclosure. He plans to pursue an MBA in project management. Later, he would like to establish his own project management firm. How did Hopkins prepare you? My experiences taking honors and AP classes became the stepping stones for my college career. Favorite Band of 2007? Kanye West Favorite hangout spot at Hopkins High School? The stairs in front of the library. What Hopkins staff member made a difference in your life? Ms. Lydia Kabaka had the biggest impact in my life at Hopkins High School. She was more than just a counselor, but a friend. We still stay in contact periodically.

Community Spirit Gayle Andrs

When Gayle Andrs retired from teaching fourth grade at Gatewood Elementary, she still wanted to be involved with children in some way. Along with another retired teacher, Judy Hill, she created Learning Lab, with the idea of assisting any child who needs help with their school work. Together, Gayle and Judy recruit, train, and supervise a wonderful group of volunteers (some are retired teachers) who come once a week to tutor students at Gatewood. “Teachers love sending their kids down to the Learning Lab because they trust Gayle and Judy,” said Barb Westmoreland, Volunteer Coordinator at Hopkins Public Schools. Proudest moment volunteering? I feel rewarded when I see children who have struggled get excited when they make progress. What person has influenced you most? I had a high school social studies teacher who provided a great model for me. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. One of my favorite food groups! People would be surprised to learn... I really enjoy fishing — catching, cooking, and eating what I catch. I volunteer because... I enjoy being helpful and working with kids.

Know a someone we should feature on this page? Email

Katy Ackley Smith: 1978 graduate Stats: Parent Education Teacher, Winona Public Schools r BSW, Parent Ed Licensure, Winona State University; MEd, University of WI, LaCrosse fun facts Katy is the 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. She is the first early childhood teacher to win this award in its 47-year history. Favorite Band of 1978? Listened to James Taylor on vinyl records! Favorite hangout spot at Hopkins High School? Track field, the band room, and the lunchroom. How did Hopkins prepare you? I carry enthusiasm and a love of learning that I learned at Hopkins with me today. What Hopkins staff member made a difference in your life? I never knew I was an athlete until coach Jim Whitney invited me to join track. It was a great match for my competitive spirit. I learned so much from “Whit” on and off the track. We are still friends all these years later. I am still learning from him and he continues to inspire me.

Luis Orozco: 2006 graduate Stats: Athletic Director, Word of Life Christian Academy, NV. r B.A., Northwestern College, MN; M.A. in Human Services & Religion, Liberty University, VA fun facts Ask Luis and he’ll say his family is the most important part of his life. He is married to Raina and keeps busy with his baby girl, Lily Joy Orozco. Luis’ future plans are to teach at the college level and coach college football. Favorite hangout spot at Hopkins High School? Where all the action was — the Mall! Favorite CD of 2006? Dem Franchize boys, Lean wit it, Rock wit it. How did Hopkins prepare you? It made me take what has come my way in life and turn it into the steps of my destiny. What Hopkins staff member made a difference in your life? Many Hopkins teachers helped me, met me before school, made me feel valued, brought out my best, and pushed me to set goals. Lydia Kabaka, Ramon Reina, David Braaten, to name just a few. Update: November 2011

New Face

Junior High, continued from cover in Spanish is an activity that Thompson finds incredibly gratifying.

Director of Special Services believes in success for all students.

“This class has a real sense of community,” said Thompson. “Not only is it okay to speak Spanish, you have to speak Spanish.”

Linda Gardner, director of special services for Hopkins Public Schools, knew she wanted to pursue a career in special education in high school. As a student, she experienced academic success and wanted to contribute to the success of students who were not as lucky as she was. Gardner was hired as the special services director at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, succeeding Jan Ormasa.

The language component is particularly important for native Spanish-speaking students. Nationwide, Latino students are underrepresented in AP classes. Juntos is capable of bucking this trend by encouraging Latino students to experience an AP class in a safe place where they feel confident.

“I have been fortunate to follow a director who contributed to Hopkins’ great history,” said Gardner. “Every day, I feel lucky to be part of this District.” Gardner came from South Saint Paul Schools, where she served as the director of special services since 2005. However, she spent most of her career at Anoka-Hennepin Schools, serving as a speech/language pathologist for 14 years and a special education administrator for six years. She has a BAS in communicative disorders and a Master’s in speech and language pathology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She also has a specialist degree in Director of Special Education from the University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, and an Ed.D. from the University of St. Thomas. In her free time, Gardner loves cooking and going to theater and art events. She spends every spare moment possible with her children and grandchildren. Her favorite song of all time is Java Jive by the Ink Spots.

The ability to master two languages is a skill that benefits all kids. Bilingual adults have a competitive edge in the job market, and may have more earning power than their peers who speak only one language. Students who stay on the accelerated Spanish track can earn a wealth of college credits. The ninth-grade class alone will earn up to nine college credits, and three more AP Spanish classes will be developed for grades 10, 11, and 12.

Forensics hones students’ inner detective Forensics is just one of many electives offered to junior high students as the result of the new schedule. The class is already proving to be a big hit, attracting students who want a behind-thescenes perspective on a science that has been made popular by television shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, and Bones. “One of things we do in this class is think critically about the shows that the students watch and how what they portray is not always reality,” said Becky Carry, a forensics teacher at West Junior High.

The class teaches students the steps involved in collecting evidence through lectures, hands-on learning experiments, technology, and a bit of chemistry. Through labs, students explore everything from blood splatter and fingerprints, to face-identification software and mystery powders. The students love it. “The beauty of electives The beauty of is that you get kids who are electives is that you interested in the topics,” said “They have chosen this get students who Carry. higher academic level class and are interested in the enjoy science and this topic.”

topics. They have chosen this higher academic level class and enjoy science and this topic. Students work to identify a mystery powder in Forensics class.

Hopkins Community Education

Building a great place to live Adult Enrichment

Parent Education

Gift Giving on the Mind? F.A.C.T.: Facing Autism Our wide variety of hands-on Adult Challenges Together Enrichment classes let you create something wonderful for gift giving.

Gifts made by you are the most memorable. From something fresh baked and fragrant, to something decorative and lasting — it’s all here at Hopkins Community Education. Gift-making classes coming up this fall:  t"SUJTBO#SFBET t,FFQTBLF#PYFT  t$PPLJF#BLF5BLF t#PPLCJOEJOH Enrichment  t1PUUFSZo4JNQMF4FUT t/FFEMF'FMUJOH t+BNT +FMMJFT .BSNBMBEFT BOE#VUUFST

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Learn anywhere! Online classes on page 10

New: Travel Solo – you can get out and see the world!

page 20

Gluten-Free Cooking: go gluten-free and feel better page 12


otog Chec raphk ou y cl t our asse s!

New: The Great Comeback: Get control of your life!page 24

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Building a great place to live

Hopkins Community Education

Find these classes and many more at

Celebrates 10 years of supporting families living with autism spectrum disorder. Whether you have a family member newly diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or you have been walking the journey of ASD for some time, knowing you are not alone can be important. F.A.C.T. is a free support group for parents, individuals, families, friends or community members to share support, resources, and ideas on life with an autism spectrum disorder. Both afternoon and evening options are offered. Join us, there is no fee and no registration is required. Visit

Visit for all our offerings, or call 952-988-4070 for a catalog.


School Board Election

Vote Nov. 8

November Events Family Open Swim Saturdays November 5, 12, 19, 26, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Continues through Mar. 24. Eisenhower Community Center Pool.


Hopkins High School Fall Musical â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Disneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Aladdin Jr. November 4, 5, 11, 12, 7:30 p.m. November 6, 13, 2:30 p.m. Hopkins High School Auditorium

Residential Postal Patron ECRWSS

Open Enrollment Open House â&#x20AC;&#x201D; enroll your child in excellence. November 29, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Eisenhower Community Center, room 233 JazzMN Orchestraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tribute to Miles Davis November 19, 7:30 p.m. Hopkins High School Auditorium ECFE Special Topics Class â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Temper Tantrums Life can be calmer! For parents of children ages 3-8. November 10, 6:30 p.m. Harley Hopkins Family Center, register: 952-988-5000 Food Allergy Resource Fair â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Food Allergy Support Group of MN November 12, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Hopkins Eisenhower Community Center

Get Connected Find us on Facebook:

Fresh is Best â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Hopkins Students Thrive with Healthy Initiatives

Key District Contacts

District Office 952-988-4000 Adult Options In Education 952-988-5343 Athletics 952-988-4691 Community Education 952-988-4070 Early Childhood 952-988-5000 Human Resources 952-988-4030 Kids & Company 952-988-4080 Nutrition/Royal Cuisine 952-988-4060 Special Education 952-988-4040 Superintendent 952-988-4021 Transportation 952-988-4115

Extensive Electives

Over 60 electives are available for our junior high student this year.

Learn more about Hopkins Schools! Open Enrollment Night November 29, 7:00 p.m. Eisenhower Community Center, Rm. 233, 1001 Highway 7, Hopkins, MN 55405

Enroll your child in excellence.

Fresh snacks await Alice Smith students Hopkins Public Schools has received a $45,000 grant to participate in the United States Department of Agricultureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (USDA) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program. The grant will bring fresh fruit and vegetables into the school to be served during snack time. The idea is to expose students to a variety of fresh produce that they might not otherwise try. This program is being piloted at Alice Smith Elementary and is available to all students at the school. Farm-2-School brings limelight to Meadowbrook Hopkins is also a participant of Farm-2-School, a statewide initiative to offer more locally grown, farm fresh foods at school. As a result of Hopkinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; participation in this program and other healthy initiatives, Meadowbrook Elementary will be part of a Farm-2-School documentary that will broadcast on TPT, a PBS affiliate, in January.

Kindergarten Parent Information Nights These meetings are designed for parents of children entering kindergarten in the fall, but are open to any family wanting to learn more about our schools. You are welcome to attend any information night, check the dates below. Alice Smith: Tuesday, November 1, 6:30 p.m. Eisenhower+XinXing Academy: Thursday, November 17, 6:30 p.m. Gatewood: Tuesday, November 22, 6:30 p.m. Glen Lake: Tuesday, November 15, 6:30 p.m. L.H. Tanglen: Thursday, November 10, 6:30 p.m. Meadowbrook: Thursday, November 10, 7:00 p.m. XinXing Academy: Tuesday, December 13, 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, January 10, 6:30 p.m.

Hopkins Public Schools is a place where all students can thrive and reach their potential. Our program is academically rigorous and filled with extensive choices at every level. We blend a variety of realworld learning experiences with core classroom curriculum. If you would like to join Hopkins, our Open Enrollment Night is a great place to learn more about us. For information, call 952-988-4024 or visit:

View our elementary schools in action!

Experience our elementary schools without leaving your home. See our classrooms in action, meet our teachers, and learn about our curriculum in our video! View the elementary video at:

Update - November 2011  
Update - November 2011  

Financial literacy. Advanced Spanish. Forensics. Those are just three of the many classes offered to junior high students as the result of a...