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 — Students and staff at Ridgewater College have quickly made themselves comfortable in the remodeled Student Center on the Willmar campus. The remodeled building, formerly Building A, opened on Monday and is receiving high marks. College President Douglas Allen said he’s pleased with the work done on the building, the largest space to be remodeled in a $14 million project on the Willmar campus. In addition to gutting and remodeling the Student Center, the agriculture and veterinary technology areas were remodeled earlier.
WILLMAR — Shanna Hofland thought she had another year before she had to worry about prom dresses, but her sophomore daughter Ariana was invited to the Willmar prom this year. A mom who’s also a nursing student, Hofland heard about The Bella Project and told Ariana it would be their first stop before looking elsewhere. Ariana said she hadn’t expected to leave with a dress, but she liked several of them and did take one home. Best of all, it was free. “It makes life a lot easier,” Hofland said. The Bella Project is in its third year of helping area teens find dresses for the prom.
A group of area high school kids got a chance Wednesday to see what it’s like to be the new kid, at least for a day. About 30 students from Willmar, New London-Spicer, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, MACCRAY and BOLD participated in Mix-It-Up Day and traded places with students from other districts. The visiting students accompanied host students to classes and to lunch on Wednesday. After classes, the students gathered to discuss their experiences. The event has been sponsored by the West Central Integration Collaborative and its Youth Culture Circle for several years.
WILLMAR — In the first weeks of a new food service practice, the deficit in lunch accounts has doubled, from $150 to $300, in the Willmar School District. The School District decided in late February to end a practice of taking lunch trays away from students whose lunch accounts were broke. The Willmar School Board heard a report on the first few weeks of the change at Monday’s board meeting. Also at the meeting, the board acknowledged donations totaling $1,475 to the Cardinal Care Angel Fund, which pays for student meals when needed. In the past, the district provided a peanut butter or c
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board laid off 87 non-tenured teachers and administrators Monday in an annual exercise related to the school district’s budget. While the district has followed the same practice for several years, this year board member Linda Mathiasen objected at the board’s meeting Monday. Mathiasen voted against two resolutions, one discontinuing positions equal to 86.2 full-time jobs and one laying off 87 people who are not tenured. Other board members voted in favor of the resolutions. Mathiasen said she believes the blanket layoff each spring harms staff morale.
By Linda Vanderwerf email@example.com WILLMAR — Minnesota’s largest education union is asking for help in defining solutions for the challenges facing the state’s schools. Thursday, Education Minnesota representatives were in Willmar for the fifth of six community meetings planned around the state. Those attending were asked a series of questions about schools and teachers.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board is seeking more information about alternatives as it moves closer to making a decision about the future of the district’s facilities. The board had a special meeting Thursday at noon to discuss options which include building a new middle school next to Willmar Senior High and then remodeling the existing middle school into an elementary school, or building a new elementary school in the community. Preliminary cost estimates range from $40 million to nearly $50 million. The board is discussing facilities as an effort to deal with crowded and aging buildings
WILLMAR — Education Minnesota will host a meeting in Willmar on Thursday to discuss recruiting, training and supporting high-quality teachers. The state’s largest education union has been hosting similar meetings around the state. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Willmar Community and Activity Center, 624 Highway 71 N.E., Willmar. The event is free and open to the public. The meetings are intended to open a discussion of how to improve teacher preparation, recruitment and diversity.
WILLMAR — The Willmar Cardettes will present their first annual Cardettes Dance Show today at the Kennedy Elementary School gym. There is no cost for admission, though donations are welcome.
WILLMAR — There will be no more tray-pulling in Willmar schools. Students with no money in their lunch accounts will no longer have their lunch trays taken from them in front of their classmates. “We decided we’re not going to take trays away from kids, and we’re going to work harder to try to get in touch with their parents,” Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said Wednesday. Kjergaard said the district’s changes to its practices are “common sense.” The Cardinal Care Fund will accept donations from the public to help pay for the meals. The issue came to light two weeks ago when a Willmar Seni