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June 2012

COMMUNICATOR Celebrating our students and progress...

I Incorporating iPads to improve student learning has been happening on a limited basis in many schools across the district. The “My Way” Student Learning Initiative is the next step in actively engaging students in their learning.

‘My Way’ Student Learning Initiative underway


he “My Way” Student Learning Initiative is the name being given to a long-term effort underway in Wayzata Public Schools to begin incorporating mobile digital learning devices (iPads) in meaningful and relevant ways, with the goal of increasing student learning and engagement.

“The world we live in has changed. Our students now have 24/7, anywhere access to digital content and learning opportunities, which in turn changes the skills needed for them to be successful in the future,” stressed Superintendent Chace Anderson. “My Way” is not a technology initiative…it is a learning initiative aimed at providing all students with personalized learning experiences focused on the 21st century work skills they will need to be successful. “Today’s students will need skills for jobs that likely don’t even exist today,” said Jill Johnson, executive director of teaching learning. “And students will have access to more information than can be processed in a lifetime.” Research on 21st century skills needed to process this information and prepare for the future emphasizes communication, collaboration, global awareness and suggests selfdirected learning to help students assess information, synthesize thoughts, generate new ideas and contribute meaningfully to conversations of global importance. A leadership team, consisting of representatives from teaching and learning, curriculum, technology, principals, professional development and assessment

was recently formed to develop a plan that will focus on how new mobile technology should be used to provide students with personalized learning experiences in line with the district’s Strategic Road Map, approved by the Wayzata School Board in December. The “My Way” Student Learning Initiative will build upon Wayzata Public Schools’ longstanding commitment to creating a digital learning environment that prepares our students to think critically and thrive in an information rich world. Six years ago, SmartBoards and projectors were installed in every classroom allowing teachers to begin delivering interactive digital lessons for the first time. And in 2010, clicker devices were provided to all students as a way to collect data and immediately assess student progress in order to personalize instruction for students. According to Johnson, “The ‘My Way’ Student Learning Initiative is the next step in actively engaging students in their learning.” The “My Way” Leadership Team is currently in the process of developing and considering plans that would provide all Wayzata students with access to iPads over the next three years. Staff professional development and sustainable funding are critical pieces to the success of the “My Way” Student Learning Initiative. Licensed, certified teachers and staff will begin receiving iPads and training this summer aimed at preparing them to successfully use the tool to improve learning for all students. Students at certain grade levels, still in the process of being determined, will begin working with iPads sometime during the latter part of the 2012-2013 school year. Watch for more information about the “My Way” Student Learning Initiative in the August issue of the Communicator.

n the April Communicator, we shared that the district is in the midst of a multi-phase facilities plan to make sure our buildings are properly maintained, operating efficiently and have adequate capacity to meet the learning needs of students and families in Wayzata Public Schools

I’m happy to report that much progress has been made! Here is a closer look at what’s happening in each phase of our facilities plan. Phase I: Maintain Quality of Current Facilities Work begins this summer on a number of much-needed maintenance and repair projects to our schools and facilities. Thanks to Alternative Facilities Funding provided Chace Anderson, by the state in 2011, these projects can be Superintendent done without additional impact to taxpayers. These funds can only be used to maintain the quality of our facilities by replacing like items with like items, and can’t be used for general school district operating expenses. Two-year and 10-year plans for Alternative Facilities projects have been approved based on priority and equity among buildings. Many projects will begin this summer including: a new parking lot at Kimberly Lane Elementary School, as well as flooring, painting and other maintenance projects across the district. We appreciate your patience as we bring our buildings up-to-date to better meet our students’ learning needs. Phase II: Elementary Capacity and Program Needs In April, the Wayzata School Board approved building additional classroom and other instructional spaces to meet the needs of our growing resident elementary student population. The Minnesota Department of Education recently approved the district’s plan to add these additions to Greenwood, Oakwood and Sunset Hill Elementary Schools. Work will begin on the additions this fall with completion scheduled for the 2013-2014 school year. Work also continues to study boundary/attendance areas in order to balance the number of students in each of our seven elementary and three middle schools once the new elementary space is in place. A representative committee will be brought together in the fall to look at possible redistricting scenarios and gather community feedback before bringing a recommendation to the School Board in December 2012. Any approved changes to attendance areas will take effect for the 2013-2014 school year. Phase III: Secondary Future Capacity & Districtwide Educational Adequacy Over the summer, planning will continue to determine the best approach for managing future student enrollment growth in our three middle schools and high school. At this point, we believe increases in middle school enrollment can be managed by repurposing existing space and through boundary/attendance area adjustments, but some additional space may be necessary at Wayzata High School. In addition to our secondary space needs, we will also be taking a closer look at “educational adequacy” across the district. This will include examining the functional status of our existing classrooms and making recommendations as to what enhancements are needed to realize our vision of being a model of excellence where all students discover their unique talents and tenacity for learning and demonstrate confidence and capacity for success. It’s been a great year and we look forward to continued success in the future! I hope you enjoy this month’s Communicator, full of student success stories we can all be proud of, and updates on district initiatives aimed at meeting the unique learning needs of all Wayzata students. Have a great summer!



Post graduation:

Where are WHS grads headed


ore than 92 percent of the students in the Wayzata High School Class of 2012 are making plans to attend two- or fouryear colleges or universities. This compares to about 90 percent for the Class of 2011. The total number of students in the graduating class was 765. The summary of post-high school plans for the Class of 2012 includes the following: • University of Minnesota, all campuses – 141 students • Minnesota four-year state universities – 40 students • Minnesota four-year private colleges/universities – 74 students • Minnesota one- and two-year colleges – 86 students • Out-of-state four-year public colleges/universities – 240 students • Out-of-state four-year private colleges/universities – 98 students • Out-of-state one- and two-year colleges – 7 students

Wayzata High School senior Zachary Wilde addresses his classmates as the last of three senior commencement speakers during graduation on June 5.

Wayzata High School’s class of 2012 celebrates graduation with the traditional hat toss following the commencement ceremony. • College bound, school undecided – 7 students • College bound, non-U.S. colleges – 6 students • Total college bound students – 659 students The remaining Wayzata students have indicated the following choices for their post-high school plans: • Technical schools – 19 students • Military – 6 students • Work – 13 students • Other plans – 22 students

The top 10 colleges chosen by 2012 Wayzata graduates are: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Normandale Community College; University of North Dakota; Minnesota State University; Iowa State University; University of Minnesota, Duluth; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Minnesota, Mankato; North Dakota State University; University of St. Thomas; North Hennepin Community College.

Senior Nicole Kullback locates her grandparents in the audience at Target Center.

Six WHS students named state Scholars of Distinction


ix students from Wayzata High School have been named 2012 Minnesota Scholars of Distinction. This year’s Scholars of Distinction from WHS are seniors: • Naveen Jain– Scholar of Distinction in Science • Jenny Lai – Scholar of Distinction in Science • Bridget McNiff – Meritorious Performance Scholar in Theater Arts: Acting • Apekshya Panda – Meritorious Performance Scholar in Mathematics • Roy Zhao – Scholar of Distinction in Mathematics and Science

• Sophia Zhou – Scholar of Distinction in Science Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius honored these students for their achievement in the Minnesota Scholars of Distinction program, which encourages high school students to perform at highly rigorous levels in five specific academic areas and rewards their depth of knowledge and skill in application. The program was developed by the Minnesota Department of Education through a partnership with professionals and educators with expertise in each specialty area.

3 New scoreboard possible through community support


roject Score, is the name of the initiative to replace the aging, obsolete Wayzata High School (WHS) stadium scoreboard with a digital, multisport video scoreboard through the generosity of community sponsorship and private donations. “The new proposed scoreboard will do so much more than just keep score of athletics,” stressed Matt White, current president of the Wayzata Athletic Boosters, the organization responsible for funding Project Score. “It will also be used to showcase students’ academic, musical, theatrical and community service achievements.” In addition to celebrating the many successes of the WHS student body, the new scoreboard will also provide a laboratory for real-life, hands-on video production experience that will be incorporated into the existing high school curriculum. “Hard to find parts and aging electrical components are driving our need to replace the scoreboard,” says Jaime Sherwood, WHS Athletic and Activities Director. “We are down to our last spare bulbs, which are

shared among the football, baseball and softball scoreboards. Our maintenance staff even scours the internet to find extra bulbs.” A committed group of parents and community leaders have worked for two years to bring Project Score to fruition and it is likely the scoreboard could be in use by this fall. There have been significant sponsorships already secured from the business community and the Wayzata Public Schools and City of Plymouth have given the approval to proceed. “Project Score is a great example of the community coming together to support and celebrate our kids,” shared Superintendent Chace Anderson. The District’s only contribution to Project Score is to pay for a necessary base model replacement and supporting infrastructure. All other funds will be generated through the fundraising efforts of the Boosters. For information about Project Score, contact Jaime Sherwood at 763-745-6622 or jaime. or Cathy Roth, Wayzata Athletic Boosters at 612-791-1903.

Pictured to the right is a rendering of what the new WHS scordboard will look like.

Wayzata Public Schools welcomes new staff


elcome and congratulations to the following staff members who recently moved into new positions in the Wayzata Public Schools.

• Sarabeth deNeui is the new interim principal at Plymouth Creek Elementary for the 2012-2013 school year, while Principal Karla Thompson is on sabbatical in China. • Ross Downing, communications teacher at Wayzata High School (WHS), will serve as interim associate principal at WHS in deNeui’s place for the year. • Clark Doten is the new principal at Central Middle

School (CMS), replacing Steve Root who will be retiring June 30. Doten was previously associate principal at West Middle School. • Jim Bollum has been named the new associate principal at West Middle School. Interviewing is still occurring to hire a new associate principal to replace Bollum at WHS. • Jenny Berg, associate principal at Central Middle School, has taken on the additional responsibility of being the on-site administrator for Plymouth Creek Elementary School’s Extended Day Kindergarten classes that will be housed in the Family Learning Center, located at CMS, for the 2012-2013 school year.

• Joe Matson has been named the new director of construction in charge of overseeing the Alternative Facilities maintenance and construction projects. Matson was previously director of buildings and grounds. • Jon Deutsch is the new director of facilities and transportation for the Wayzata Public Schools. Deutsch was previously director of operations, properties and transportation with Independent School District 191 in Burnsville. • Cynthia Windsor has been named purchasing and alternative facilities coordinator. Windsor was previously Community Education’s Home Base office secretary.

Partnership benefits Wayzata ETD teachers and students


hen Mark Anderson got the letter about his daughter’s graphic design project in her Engineering, Technology and Design (ETD) class at East Middle School last winter, he wanted to know what he could do to help make the project more engaging and applicable to today’s technology. “It was great to see the teachers excited about my offer to help,” shared Anderson. Anderson is the chief technologist for Baker Branding and Design in Minneapolis and knows firsthand how quickly technology is changing. “I know the constraints schools face and I wanted to do whatever I could to help recommend software, open source materials and new techniques.” Anderson met with ETD teachers to create a magazine cover design project that allowed students to show their creativity and passions, while learning graphic design principles. “Mark provided us with great ideas and resources for students to use and what the kids did was amazing,” shared Nancy Neal, ETD teacher at Central Middle School. “It has been a great partnership.” “I really liked how we got to apply something we’re interested in into our learning—it made it more fun,” said eighth grade student Kilee Schultz. ETD teachers will continue their partnership with Anderson later this month as part of their Professional Learning Community (PLC), when they visit Baker Branding and Design to learn more about what is happening in the design world.

Pictured are two of the magazine covers designed by eighth grade students in the Engineering, Technology and Design class at Central Middle School. At left is Jack Gossen’s Ice Fishing Guide and at right is Kennedy Prescott’s National Geographic cover.


WHS synchronized swim team wins sixth state championship


he Wayzata High School Synchronized Swim Team won its sixth consecutive state championship on May 25.The team placed first in 11 of the 15 events and scored a total of 155 points. Out of 22 routines taken to the state meet this year, 21 earned The 2012 WHS Syncrhonized Swim Team celebrates their trophy for their sixth consecutive state championship season. points by placing in the top seven. This is the first team in Wayzata High School’s first place in extended trio Freshmen Maeve Andrews, Abbie Daws, Amy Erickson, history to win six consecutive state • Amanda Urke – first place in extended figures Katherine Myers, Meta Nagel, Sonia Neculescu, Leah championship titles. • Lydia Boike, Colleen Donlin, Morgan Foote, Kaitlyn Novik, Elisabeth Pate, Caitlin Plate, Claire Poppendeck, In addition to the team victory, several individual firstHaller, Lucy Liu, Trisha Morrison, Hannah Ogren and Katrin Ree, Haley Ruegemer, Katie Stover, Amanda place awards were earned by WHS swimmers including: Emily Turnquist – first place in long team Urke, Elliet Yngve; Eighth Grade Students Kylie Crystal, • Meta Nagel and Grace Spencer – First place in short • Paige Muncy, Katrin Ree, Ruth Schaefer, Samantha Colleen Donlin, Madalynn Ebert, Brianna Herbert, Karin duet Snidarich, Laurel Streed, Amanda Urke and Haley Leland, Lucy Liu, Samantha Moline, Hannah Ogren, • Colleen Donlin and Hannah Ogren – First place in Ruegemer – first place in extended team Avery Pierce, Miranda Roberts, Saumya Venkateswaran, long duet Amanda Urke and Haley Ruegemer were also named Madison Wikman; Seventh Grade Students Natalie • Amanda Urke – First place in extended solo All-State athletes. Claiborne, Shelby Diesen, Magdalena Leali, Paige • Haley Ruegemer and Amanda Urke – first place in Team members of the WHS Synchronized Swim McLaughlin, Caroline Muske, Claire Reid, Daria extended duet Team include the following: Seniors Abby Hirsch, Nicole Snidarich, Grace Spencer, Brittney Torguson and Anna • Madalynn Ebert, Meta Nagel and Elisabeth Pate – Kullback, Ellie Magnuson, Kathleen Poppendeck, and Vanorsow. first place in short trio Laurel Streed; Juniors Morgan Foote, Mara Halvorson, Team captains are Kathleen Poppendeck and Laurel • Colleen Donlin, Lucy Liu and Trisha Morrison – first Gillian Mangan, Paige Muncy, Ruth Schaefer, Samantha Streed. The team is coached by head coach Signe Hensel place in long trio Snidarich; Sophomores Lydia Boike, Kaitlyn Haller, and assistant coaches Ali Bodin, Natalie Bodin, Rachel • Colleen Donlin – first place in long figures Breanna Johnson, Trisha Morrison, Emily Turnquist; Hoffart, Ali Palm and Ann Rushfeldt. • Katrin Ree, Haley Ruegemer and Ruth Schaefer –

Twelve WHS students place well on State/National French Exam

T The 2012 Empty Bowls event raised more than $8,000 for Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners to fight hunger and brought the community together to celebrate art, food and each other.

Thank you to the sponsors and patrons of Empty Bowls


illing a bowl with soup for dinner seems like such a simple task, but far too many people have neither the bowl, nor the soup and spend the evening listening to their hunger and wondering when they will have their next meal. I have watched students at Wayzata High School (WHS) grasp this concept for 21 years and have been amazed by the level of talent these students achieve as they craft art bowls to raise money for hungry Twin Cities’ residents. But I am also profoundly touched by the hundreds of patrons who arrive at our annual Empty Bowls event to donate their time and money for this cause. It is with gratitude and humility that I write this letter to thank those who came to our event this year and shared our company and table to help out those in need. Without our sponsors, and there were many this year, the event would not take place. A very special thank you is deserved by the many local businesses that provided the meals, financial support and talent to make this year’s event the most financially successful the school has hosted in the last 21 years. This year’s event raised more than $8,000 to benefit Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners and its fight against hunger in

the Twin Cities. This year’s success is due in no small part to the contributions made by: Allegra Print and Imaging; At Last Gourmet Foods/Dunn Brothers; Breadsmith; General Mills; Great Harvest; Lunds; Minnetonka Center for the Arts and contributing artists; Minnesota Clay; Noodles; Olive Garden; Ridgedale Mall; Sunsets; WHS Administration; Wayzata Bar and Grill; WHS alumni pottery intern Arlo Hanson; WHS pottery students, their families and friends; WHS pottery alumni; WHS YES staff and students. Your contributions have made it possible for many residents to know when their next meal will be, promoted the arts among our children, brought together our community for a good cause and instilled in me another moment of awe and respect as I watched a simple lump of clay transform into a bowl, then a meal and finally into a community of love and nourishment. Sincerely, Nancy Hanily-Dolan WHS pottery instructor

he following 12 Wayzata High School students placed well on the 2012 State and National French Exam.

• Bryn Balls-Barker, 11th grade, third place in state in level 3E • Kia Birnbaum, ninth grade, first place in state in level 1E • Hannah Devens, 11th grade, first place in state in level 3E • Maria Dougherty, 11th grade, third place in state in level 3E • Kelly Flugaur-Leavitt, ninth grade, first place in state in level 1E • Allyson Layton, 11th grade, third place in state in level 3E • Sofia Puerto, ninth grade, first place in state in level 1E • Isabel Rayas, 10th grade, first place in nation in level 2E • Katrin Ree, ninth grade, first place in state in level 1E • Maria Paula Rodriguez, 11th grade, second place in state in level 3E • Camille White, ninth grade, third place in state and fifth nationally in level 3C • Justin White, 10th grade, second place in state and third nationally in level 4C The 2012 National French Contest, or Le Grand Concours, is a 60-minute examination taken by students across the country that are enrolled in French courses.

5 WHS student named 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholar


ayzata High School senior Duligur Ibeling was named a 2012 U.S. Presidential

Scholar. Ibeling is one of 141 outstanding American high school seniors that have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service and contribution to school and community. He was honored for his accomplishments during the national recognition weekend, held June 16-19 in Washington, Duligur Ibeling D.C. Ibeling was also offered the opportunity to invite his most inspiring and challenging teacher to the annual ceremony where they are honored with a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education. Ibeling chose WHS Vision 21 instructor Sue Iverson for this recognition. During this trip, Presidential Scholars are guests of the commission and enjoy an expense-paid trip to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people. Scholars have the opportunity to visit museums and monuments and to attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies. To commemorate their achievement, the scholars are awarded the Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

2012 WHS Athena Award winner


ayzata High School senior Marit Sonnesyn is the 2011-12 Athena Award recipient. Sonnesyn has earned a total of 13 varsity letters, including five in cross country, six in Nordic skiing and two in track and field. Her top sport in high school was Nordic skiing where she earned three All-Conference awards and led the Trojans to three section titles and three top-three finishes at the state meet. During the 2011-12 season, Sonnesyn placed third at the Lake Conference Marit Sonnesyn Championships, third at the section two meet and 15th at the state meet. She and her younger sister, Alayna, led the Trojans to a second-place finish in the team standings at the state meet. Sonnesyn was named AllState in Nordic skiing both her senior and junior years. She also served as captain for one year in all three sports that she participated in. Off the field, Sonnesyn was a student council representative, a volunteer coach for the Minnesota Youth Ski League and a member of the National Honor Society. She is planning on attending Gustavus Adolphus College in the fall.

Julia Willis, Ella Colbert, Anika Malloy, Brenna Kyllo and Kellyn Pause worked together to purchase toys for patients at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis during the Kids in Community Kare and Service (KICKS) event held May 11 at Greenwood Elementary School.

Greenwood students bring smiles to hospitalized kids


reenwood students participating in Kids in Community Kare and Service (KICKS) recently raised more than $2,000 selling “Team Anika” bracelets. KICKS is a student service-learning group that planned and supported various grade-level and school-wide projects this year designed to foster the leadership capacity in students and make a difference in the school, community and world. The student-lead fundraiser was designed to support a Greenwood kindergarten student battling leukemia. On May 11, teams of fifth grade students were issued a $100 budget from the money raised to conduct online shopping, with adult support, to purchase toys for children with cancer who are spending time at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Greenwood fifth grade students had budgets and specific lists for toys/needs depending on the varying ages of the children they were shopping for, but the goal was the same for everyone: the school was supporting Anika’s vision to bring smiles to kids who are hospitalized. Instead of busing students to a local retailer,

the school utilized technology to maximize the learning for all students. Shopping was done online using iPads and laptop computers. A team of volunteers from Target Corporation partnered with students on the project. KICKS was led by fifth grade teachers Tami Arvig and Bridget Iliff, who served as co-advisors. Two parent KICKS volunteers, Grace Lephart and Laura Janckila, collaborated with the advisors and Greenwood’s PTA to invest in projects over the course of the year. Projects this year included: • “Candy for Troops,” 17 boxes of candy and letters were sent to service men and women in five locations around the world; • “Food Drive Challenge,” over 3000 food items were donated to our local food shelf; • “Team Anika Bracelets,” raised more than $2000 to make a difference for hospitalized children; • “Pennies for Patients,” raised over $5,000 to fight childhood cancer; and • “Greenwood’s Ripple Effect,” will help build a well in India for those needing water.

Four WPS teams place at Destination ImagiNation Global finals


ll four teams from Wayzata Public Schools that competed in the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals on May 25-28 in Knoxville, Tennessee, placed in the top 20 with one team taking first place in the world for their challenge. The following results are from the Global Finals competition: • The Permanent Markers from Oakwood Elementary took first place in the elementary level for Challenge C, Coming Attractions. Team members are Duffy Davidson,

Conor Greenberg, Abby Kassmir, Mara McCollor, Elizabeth Page, David Sandall and Erica Svendahl. Team managers are Jeff Page and Tricia Davidson. • Psychedelic Hippie Kaleidoscopes from Central Middle School took eighth place in the middle level for Challenge D, News to Me. Team members are Justin Greenberg, Maia Miller, David Mo, Arman Shah, Adam Tapper and Abby Trouth. Team managers are Robb Greenberg and Diane Miller. • The 7 Oodle Noodles from Oakwood Elementary took 14th place in the elementary level for Challenge E, Hold

It. Team members are Cole Hartman, Grace Kyllo, Katie Polum, Luke Polum, Nirali Somia, Lindsay Tapper and Jonas Waskosky. Team managers are Therese Polum and Kristin Tollison. • The DInamites from West and Central middle schools took fourth place and the Spirit of DI Award for Project Outreach. Team members are Simran Chugani, Kyle Eckman, Frank Fetrow, Hannah Hagen, Madeline Tapper, Isaac Polum and Lucas Waskosky. Team managers are Holly Tapper and Kristin Tollison.

WPS receives reward status in new state accountability system


n February 2012, the U.S. Department of Education approved Minnesota’s application for a waiver to create a new accountability system that emphasizes closing the achievement gap and promotes high growth for all students. In this new system, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) created a Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) and a Focus Rating (FR) for all public schools in the state. The MMR is the overall rating that includes a combination of proficiency, student growth, achievement-gap reduction and graduation rate. The FR is the achievement gap rating that combines the proficiency and growth of the seven subgroups for which there is an achievement gap (Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Free/Reduced Price Lunch, Special Education and English Learners). In addition to these ratings, MDE has also established five

designation categories for Title I schools. Title I schools are identified by the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch. The MMR and FR are used in the criteria for the five designation categories. Title I School Designation Categories • Reward (Top 15% of Title I schools) • Focus (10% of Title I schools that contribute most to the state’s achievement gap) • Priority (Bottom 5% of Title I schools) • Celebration (10 % of Title I schools between 60-86th percentile, selected by application process) • Continuous Improvement (Title I schools in bottom quartile, but not Focus or Priority) In May, MDE released the results of their first calculations of the MMR and FR school ratings. They also identified which

schools received Reward, Focus or Priority designations in this initial calculation. The ratings and designations released this spring were based on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) and graduation data from 2010 and 2011. Later this summer, MDE will release the names of the Celebration and Continuous Improvement schools. Under this new system, all four of Wayzata’s Title I elementary schools (Birchview, Gleason Lake, Oakwood and Sunset Hill) were named Reward Schools in May. Wayzata Public Schools tied two other districts statewide with the most Reward Schools identified. For more information about the new state accountability system, contact Stacey Lackner, director of research and evaluation at 763-745-5065 or

6 Sunset Hill students raise money, pack meals for people in need

Karla Thompson, principal at Plymouth Creek Elementary School, will travel to and work in China next year on sabbatical. She said she was motivated to enter into this program by the need to be more culturally proficient in her position as an elementary principal.

Plymouth Creek principal excited for sabbatical in China


tudents at Plymouth Creek Elementary will have the opportunity to see China through the eyes of their principal next fall. Plymouth Creek Elementary Principal Karla Thompson is spending the 2012-13 school year in China on a sabbatical and is planning on keeping a blog and Skyping with her students throughout the year. Thompson was accepted to participate in a program offered through Brigham Young University and will be placed at Xi’an Jiatong University in Xi’an, Shaanxi. She was motivated to enter into the program by the increased need to be more culturally proficient in her position as an elementary principal. Thompson will attend 100 hours of class time in July at Brigham Young University prior to departing for China at the end of August. She

said she is allowed to bring two suitcases with her to China and at the top on her list is to pack her computer and camera. She has set up a blog that she plans on posting to throughout next year at www.pcechina. During her time in China, she will be teaching English, and most likely American literature and advanced writing, in exchange for her room and board expenses. Thompson said she will have four weeks to travel and sightsee during the semester break/ Chinese New Year celebration. She will be in Hong Kong at the beginning of the break to work with her peers as part of the program, but is hoping to have time to visit Shanghai and Bejing. She will return to the U.S. in early July of next year.

Water science lessons taught with local perspective

Fourth grade students at Birchview Elementary learned about water science and how runoff can have a detrimental effect on lakes and the local environment in a suburban setting. The students explored how human activities affect storm water runoff and put their knowledge of water science to use in an experiment designed to explore actions that can protect local water resources. Pictured above, Plymouth’s Environmental Education Coordinator Margie Vigoren led the students on the lesson as a guest speaker.

Students at Sunset Hill Elementary School worked for a second year with Minneapolis-based Impact Lives to raise money and pack meals for people in need in Haiti. Each meal made costs 15 cents and students were able to surpass the building’s goal by raising enough money to pack 65,433 meals. To see more photos and read the complete story, visit the district website at, or scan the code in the picture above with a smartphone.

WPS students excel on National Spanish Exam


orty-two Wayzata High School students received high scores on the National Spanish Exam this year. Gold Awards Juniors Sean Francis and Paul Keller; and sophomores Ellie Carter and Jeeva Palaisamy. Silver Awards Juniors Aubrey Miller, Arthur Walter and Nirupa Galagedera; sophomores Kaitlyn Haller, John Henrich, Anneleis Odermann, Monika Weimer, Marit Rustad, Alyssa Lentine and Elizabeth Watts; and freshmen Amanda Urke, Max Klaiman, Bella Roussanov, Soniya Coutinho and Caleigh Marshall.

Bronze Awards Juniors Stephanie Heiring, Shelby Rutzick, Grant Ohman, Paige Nepper, Ziwei Lynn Shang and Ryan Tisthammer; sophomores Amy Caswell, Tony Giguere, Rohan Patnaik, Ellen Wrase, Haley Hobday, Alanna Humphrey, Prasanna Vankina, Rachel Bouley, Jayant Chaudhary, Emily Newman, Nitish Sanil, Sydney Farmer and Danika Buss; and freshmen Faheem Jabir and Anna Gonikman. The National Spanish Exam is an online, standardized assessment tool for grades six through 12 that measures proficiency and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.

Doodle4Google state winner

Gleason Lake Elementary fifth grader Anna Osipov, pictured at immediate right of her drawing, was selected as one of Google’s 50 state finalists for this year’s Doodle4Google Art Contest. As Minnesota’s winner, Osipov’s artwork competed for the national prize in May. Representatives from Google visited Gleason Lake on May 2 to announce her winning drawing for Minnesota at an assembly for the school.


In Brief

29 Wayzata staff members retire in 2012 Thanks to the following 29 staff members who retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year for their service to Wayzata Public Schools: • Mary Anderson, teacher, West Middle School • Terry Anderson, teacher, Central Middle School • Linda Bailer, paraprofessional, Birchview Elementary • Kris Barsness, paraprofessional, Plymouth Creek Elementary • Kate Brayman, teacher, Plymouth Creek Elementary • Michele Burniece, teacher, Plymouth Creek Elementary • Roxie Carlson, teacher, Greenwood Elementary • Mitzi Dosher, teacher, Birchview, Greenwood and Kimberly Lane elementary schools • Mary Dvorak, teacher, Greenwood Elementary • Liz Gilbertson, teacher, Sunset Hill Elementary • Bev Gudrais, secretary, Plymouth Creek Elementary • Paula Hassinger, teacher, Oakwood Elementary • Vicki Hester, paraprofessional Sunset Hill Elementary • Barbara Melbye Janssen, teacher, Wayzata High School • Anne Martin, teacher, Plymouth Creek Elementary • Steve O’Neill, teacher, Central Middle School • Lesya Parekh, teacher, Sunset Hill Elementary • Carol Peickert, teacher, Gleason Lake Elementary • Mary Perbix, paraprofessional, Community Education Lillian Perry, paraprofessional, Kimberly Lane Elementary • Mary Radford, teacher, Gleason Lake Elementary • Steve Root, principal, Central Middle School • Gail Sarff, teacher, Wayzata High School • Jo Schubert, teacher, Family Learning Center Marlys Seleen, paraprofessional, West Middle School • Deb Skogheim, Home Base, Plymouth Creek Elementary • Cynthia Smarjesse, paraprofessional, Oakwood Elementary • Nancy Stewart, paraprofessional, Birchview Elementary • Gisele Totman, Culinary Express, Central Services Facility

Trojan Tots registration open for fall 2012

Wayzata Public Schools is looking for potty-trained 3-, 4-, or 5-year-olds to participate in the Trojan Tots program taught by child psychology II students at Wayzata High School. Dates and times are September 17 through November 2 from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. For registration materials or more information, contact Miriam Lejonvarn at 763745-6884 or by email at miriam.lejonvarn@

Legislative summary from 2011-12 session


ayzata Public Schools’ Legislative Action Committee (LAC), led by citizen co-chairs Sarah Johansen and Katie Rodriguez, monitored and coordinated efforts to educate legislators on the potential impact of several pieces of legislation on the district this year. The efforts of the LAC and its work with local legislators had a positive outcome for the future of the district this session. The LAC worked very hard on a bill that would allow the district the flexibility to use lease levy funding for administrative space. Previously, schools could only use lease levy dollars to lease for instructional or storage space. Jim Westrum, executive director of finance and business, proposed the idea and demonstrated that Wayzata could save as much as $250,000 if the bill was enacted. Senator Terri Bonoff and Representative Connie Doepke immediately agreed to sponsor the bill. They were quickly joined by Senator Gen Olson and Representatives John Benson and Steve Smith. The bill was expanded by the Chair of the Education Finance Committee, Representative Pat Garafalo, to be available for all school districts and was passed as part of the omnibus education bill. Late in the session, an amendment to the early childhood education scholarship program would have cut current funding for Wayzata and significantly impacted future funding. Had the amendment passed, Wayzata would have had to cut the early childhood education scholarship program, Caring for Kids Initiative (this program has been collecting promising data on closing the

achievement gap). Thanks to a coordinated effort by the LAC, school board, senior staff and Wayzata’s partner in the scholarship program, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, the LAC was able to persuade some of the local legislators to work to maintain funding for the program. Although funding for next year has been reduced, funding for the following years has been increased. More importantly, the future funding process maintains a link to quality programs, which means Wayzata’s highest ranked program is more likely to continue to be funded. Early in the legislative session there were several bills that could have negatively impacted our schools. None of these bills became law. • One bill would have changed operating levy referendums to only even years so they would have to compete with presidential, gubernatorial and legislative races. • Another bill would have had referendum funding (property taxes) follow students to charter schools within the district boundaries. Wayzata currently does not have a charter school within its boundaries so this was less of a concern for the district. • Late in the session, a provision in the education omnibus bill would have limited bond referendums to even years. LAC contacted legislators since Wayzata’s position is that the locally-elected school board is accountable to taxpayers and the board should decide when to hold referenda.

WHS Associate Principal Wins Research Award


eff Ridlehoover, associate principal at Wayzata High School, won the 2012 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Dr. Ted Sizer High School Dissertation Award for his research, “The High School Principalship: An Investigation Into the Essential Leadership Characteristics as Determined by High School Principals and the Teachers Whom They Serve.” The purpose of the annual competition is to focus professional and scholarly attention on the complex issues facing middle level and high school leaders. The premise of Riddlehoover’s research, which supports the core concepts of the NASSP “Breaking Ranks” Framework, was to quantitatively conclude whether a disconnect existed between what

high school principals and teachers believed were the most essential leadership characteristics of the high school principal. The findings revealed a great deal of commonality in what both groups considered to be the key traits of a successful principal. However, the survey also showed that although high school principals and teachers generally agree on the essential leadership characteristics, they do not necessarily agree on how site-based decisions are made or the style of leadership exhibited by high school principals. Ridlehoover completed his doctorate degree at Hamline University in September 2010. As part of his award, Ridlehoover will receive a complimentary one-year NASSP membership, a cash award and a commemorative plaque.

Jeff Ridlehoover

CMS Principal named Hennepin Division Principal of the Year


entral Middle School Principal Steve Root has been named the Hennepin Division Middle School Principal of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). Root, along with Dr. Polly Reikowski of Eagan High School and Mr. Lonni Seifert of

New Prague High School, were honored by the MASSP as one of this year’s Hennepin Division Middle School Principals of the Year. MASSP is a professional leadership association that develops, supports and advocates for its members and is dedicated to promoting quality public secondary schools.

Steve Root

CMS student takes top honors in Human Rights essay contest


ikhil Deshpande, an eighth-grade student at Central Middle School, earned top honors in the Plymouth Human Rights Committee’s annual middle school essay

contest. Deshpande’s winning essay will advance to the statewide competition, sponsored by the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions. He received a cash prize of $75 from the city of Plymouth and will now compete for a first place prize of $500 in the state competition. This year’s essay contest asked entrants to, “Share your thoughts comparing and contrasting the human rights that young people of your age in your community might take for granted that may not be as readily available to young people in other areas of the United States or around the world.” Students were asked to reference the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United States Bill of Rights or the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The contest was open to all sixth, seventh and eighth grade students

living in or going to school in Plymouth. The purpose of the contest was to encourage middle school students in Plymouth to think about the implications of human rights in their own lives, the lives of their family members, their community, their nation or the world. The committee also selected three additional essays as “worthy of commendation.” Students submitting those essays were: • Mina Yuan, seventh-grade, Wayzata Central Middle School – second place • Emma Maki, sixth-grade, Wayzata East Middle School – third place • Connor Aasen, eighth-grade, Wayzata West Middle School – fourth place The Plymouth Human Rights Committee is a citizen advisory group appointed by the Plymouth City Council. It meets quarterly at Plymouth City Hall.

Plymouth Creek Artist in Residence


16 WHS students qualified for national Quiz Bowl competition

Nonprofit Org. US Postage PAID Wayzata, MN Permit 43

Artist-in-Residence Andy Juelich taught a clay project to fifth grade students at Plymouth Creek Elementary this spring. Each student made a clay sculpture under Juelich’s direction that were then joined together to create a totem pole to be displayed in front of the school. More photos from the project are available on the district’s website under photo gallaries. Juelich was hired as the new art teacher at Plymouth Creek Elementary, replacing Kate Brayman who retired this year.

The Communicator is published for residents and staff of Wayzata Public Schools. Contact Amy Parnell, director of communications and community engagement, at 763-745-5068 or with questions or comments.


Wayzata Public Schools 210 County Road 101 N. P.O. Box 660 Wayzata, MN 55391-0060

June 2012

Kimberly Lane celebrates Arbor Day


ixteen Wayzata High School students qualified for the national Quiz Bowl competition this year. The following students qualified for the national competition: seniors Mitch Croal, Oliver He, Duligur Ibeling, Jacob Kautzky, Ethan Lane and Sunny Liu; juniors Nirupa Galagedera, Megan He, Christopher Lerdall and Zachary Yan; sophomores Jack Buan, Nathan Stocking and Katie Talerico; and freshmen Luke Soucy, Lucas Sun and Alicia Wong. Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl is a game of questions and answers on all topics of human knowledge. A moderator reads questions to two, four-person teams, whose players endeavor to buzz in first with the correct answer, scoring points for the question. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins the game. A typical Quiz Bowl tournament involves four to six preliminary matches followed by playoff rounds. The students are coached by WHS teacher Meaghan Decker.

Employees of the Month Two employees have been recognized as Employees of the Month since the previous edition of the Communicator. They are: • May 2012 — Kristin Hoppesch, fifth grade teacher at Kimberly Lane Elementary •June 2012 — Katie Howard, kindergarten teacher at Sunset Hill Elementary

Smartphone users can scan the code above to view more information on current and past employees of the month.

Teaming up with the city of Plymouth, students and staff at Kimberly Lane Elementary celebrated Arbor Day on May 22 by planting native trees and shrubs on a section of the school’s property that will function as a nature center.

Student Info Change completed online


he district’s Student Info Change Form should be filled out by families moving out of the district, moving to another address in the district or not attending Wayzata Public Schools for any reason in the 2012-13 school year. For any change of address within the district, parents are still required to bring proof of an address change to the district office located at 210 County Road 101 North in Plymouth. For families moving in or out of the district, call 763745-5073 for more information. This online notification process does not guarantee continued enrollment in Wayzata Public Schools for families who move out of

the district. Please note that the district requires that original proof of residency documentation be brought to the district office to complete an address change for an existing student. To fill out the form online, visit the registration page on the district’s website under quick links. Smartphone users can scan the code above to complete the change of enrollment notification form on the district’s website.

2012 06 June Communicator  
2012 06 June Communicator