I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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WILLMAR -- Four teachers from Willmar are among 32 teachers nationwide chosen to participate in a two-week paid internship workshop this summer at a NASA research facility. Rob Flegel, Margaret Schmitz, John Kuznik and Ben Panchyshyn were notified recently that they had been chosen for the workshop July 18-29. The four teachers applied for the workshop as a team, one of the requirements. NASA requires teachers to apply in teams of two or four so that they will have a ready support system when they return to their communities. The Willmar team is one of 10 teams selected.
Computers and modern technology are important tools in school science labs. They allow students to accurately track changes in temperature, for instance. Things like virtual frog dissection save money. But get-your-hands-dirty scientific exploration is still popular with kids. In the past week, seventh-grade science students at Willmar Middle School did a little of that when they dissected owl pellets. Owls produce their pellets after eating a good meal. They swallow their prey whole.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District has been recognized for the sixth time in the past decade for its financial reporting. The Government Finance Officers Association has awarded the district the certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard announced the award at the School Board meeting this week.
WILLMAR -- When the Willmar and Montevideo school boards voted this week to share the services of a food service director, they followed New London-Spicer into a new era. The three schools will begin sharing a food service director next fall. The contract may not have come about if not for the group of superintendents and school representatives from west central Minnesota that met Tuesday evening in Willmar.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved the sale of the former Washington Learning Center to Affiliated Community Medical Centers for $300,000. The closing on the sale is scheduled for April 22. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard told the School Board on Monday that there are no contingencies attached to the sale, and it should go through as planned. Two previous offers on the building were ultimately weighed down by contingencies attached by the buyers. The district closed two smaller elementary buildings and repurposed others in a 2009 restructuring of the district's buildings.
WILLMAR -- Students in Willmar Public Schools will go to school for a partial day on Good Friday. The Willmar School Board voted to have school on Good Friday, with the blessing of the local Ministerial Association, to make up one of three snow days remaining from the past winter. The snow days resulted in lost class time and also in the loss of some staff developm-ent/training time. The April 22 Good Friday school day will end two hours earlier than normal for students and staff. In addition, teachers and other employees will work two extra days, on June 6 and 7, to make up for the remain
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District is close to an agreement to sell the closed Washington school building for $300,000 to Affiliated Community Medical Centers. The Willmar School Board will consider the purchase agreement when it meets at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The Washington building was closed nearly two years ago in a restructuring of the district. Two previous purchase orders have been approved by the board, but each of those sales fell through because of contingencies set by the potential buyers.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar area is known around the state for the support it shows to military families and for the way it honors fallen soldiers, Minnesota National Guard officials said Wednesday afternoon. Adjutant General Richard C. Nash, State Chaplain John Morris and other Guard officials were in Willmar to meet with local government, education and business officials as well as organizations that assist military families. They met Wednesday morning with the local group HomeFront Connections and many of its members stayed for a luncheon to hear Nash speak.
It's a quiet kind of success that has carried two Willmar Senior High Knowledge Bowl teams to the state competition next week. Both of Willmar's five-member teams will be competing at the state competition April 7 at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd. In regional competition, Willmar's teams took first and second place among 45 teams.
WILLMAR -- More compromise and less finger-pointing is what big city and small city mayors are looking for in discussions about local government aid for the state's cities. The mayors of Granite Falls, Cloquet, Minneapolis and St. Paul referred often to legislative efforts to cut LGA during a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. The call was organized by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. The Minnesota House passed a plan this week to make drastic cuts in LGA for Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul this year.