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 -- Not that long ago, a device to help hearing-impaired people communicate could cost $12,000 or more. Now, a $500 Apple iPad tablet computer with a 99-cent application can do much the same thing. An app on a school-owned iPad helped Willmar Senior High sophomore Juan Carranza work with another student to deliver a report and PowerPoint presentation in health class this past school year. Carranza has a serious hearing loss, and the other student is profoundly deaf. It's one of special education teacher Amber Johannes's favorite examples of what the iPads can do for her students. B
WILLMAR -- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the second member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to express confidence that a new farm bill will be passed this summer. During a trip to Willmar this week, Klobuchar said floor debate in the Senate is to be held in June. The bipartisan support in the Agriculture Committee should lead to bipartisan support on the Senate floor, too, she said. Once it's through the Senate, "there's a lot of pressure on the House to get it done," Klobuchar said. U.S. Rep.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District is likely to have a new administrative structure and a new teacher evaluation system when school opens in September. The School Board held a workshop Wednesday afternoon to learn more about the state's new accountability system, developed after the state received a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal education law. The new teacher ev-aluations are re-quired by a state law passed a year ago. The district's two elementary schools were listed among the lowest-performing schools in the state on measures of student growth, student achievement or th
WILLMAR -- Memorial Day observances for Sen. Amy Klobuchar began Monday at Fort Snelling in St. Paul and continued as she traveled through southern Minnesota to meet with veterans groups. Klobuchar arrived in Willmar late Tuesday afternoon to visit with veterans at the Willmar American Legion. She was also there to present a flag flown over the U.S.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet in a workshop session at 4:30 p.m.
For six weeks, the 15 members of the Willmar FIRST Robotics team used a box of parts and a challenge to develop a robot that can play basketball. Their robot can maneuver over mini basketballs, pick them up and line up for a shot before launching the balls at a basket. Not bad for a bunch of rookies. All those maneuvers were needed when robots from around the state competed in the Rebound Rumble three-on-three basketball games in the state competition this spring. This was Willmar's first year in FIRST robotics. The acronym means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Six students at Willmar Senior High developed a car that took first place in the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association Supermileage Challenge this year. The low-slung, bright red, single passenger car had the best average mileage -- 644.3 mpg -- in a field of 105 cars at the competition May 14-15 at the Brainerd International Raceway. This is the first time Willmar has won the challenge in its 15 years of competing.
This story has been corrected to include Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Elementary School in Brooten among the top-performing schools in the area. WILLMAR -- Many area schools fared well in the first release of new state testing data released today, but some were rated among the lowest schools in the state in addressing the achievement gap. Five schools in the area were listed in the bottom two categories of schools -- including Kennedy and Roosevelt elementary schools in Willmar and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City North Elementary in Atwater -- and eight were listed in the top tier in this first
WILLMAR -- It's not good news that Willmar's two elementary schools placed near the bottom of the state in battling the achievement gap, but "we're not going to beat each other up," Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said Monday afternoon. Kjergaard met with elementary teachers Monday afternoon at the Willmar Education and Arts Center to break the news to them. State testing data were released early to school administrators and are available to the general public today. Kennedy Elementary is called a Priority School, meaning it was ranked in the bottom 5 percent of schools in student proficienc
A desire to stay in Willmar and help the local Somali community led a husband-wife team to form West Central Interpreting and Consultant Services of Willmar. Abdirizak Mahboub and Sahra Gure are hoping their service, staffed by recently trained professional interpreters, can help improve communications between different segments of the community and help lessen misunderstandings caused by language or cultural barriers. Mahboub is a mechanical engineer who just finished a degree in public policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.