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 -- The staff and students at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar started the school year with some good news. Results are still preliminary, but test scores indicate that the school improved in a number of areas in last spring's state testing. Final Adequate Yearly Progress results will be released in early October.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The agenda includes discussions of the Safe Routes to School program and the staff's Professional Learning Communities effort. The board will listen to public comments related to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Those who want to comment on other issues may do so at the end of the meeting.
WILLMAR — The West Central Integration Collaborative continues to provide services to eight area school districts, thanks to the 2013 Legislature. Less than two years ago, there was talk at the State Capitol about eliminating funding for integration services and using the money elsewhere. Now, the state's funding formula and philosophy are changing, but integration efforts will continue.
BENSON — Northside Elementary School in Benson has won a national competition sponsored by Target. When the school became the first school in the country to reach 10,000 votes in the Give with Target, it won a $10,000 prize and also a celebration including several celebrities. The celebrities include Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan, Olympic medal winner Gabrielle Douglas and Green Bay Packers player Donald Driver. Northside reached 10,000 votes Wednesday afternoon, beating its closest competitor by about 350 votes.
BENSON -- Second-grade teacher Roger Ebnet wants to throw a big party for Northside Elementary School and the entire community of Benson, with some help from west central Minnesota and Target. Northside Elementary was leading the nation Thursday afternoon in a race to get the most votes in the Give with Target program. The Minnesota-based company plans to give away $5 million in the promotion.
WILLMAR — For some children, school may be the nicest place they go. And it’s up to school staff to make school a welcoming and affirming place for all kids, a guest speaker told the Willmar Public Schools staff Wednesday afternoon. The annual staff welcome was held in the Willmar Education and Arts Center. “This is a refuge; what you do matters,” Mark Scharenbroich said in a sometimes hilarious, sometimes dead serious talk about the importance of making the coming school year a great one for themselves and the kids in their charge.
WILLMAR — When her husband Carlos wanted to start his own business, Delores Valdovinos was beside him all the way to create Diamond Builders. A year later, the company has used Carlos’s strong reputation and drive to build a company that keeps two crews of workers busy doing site preparation for grain bins. There’s talk of adding a third crew sometime soon. For now, most of their work is outside west central Minnesota, but most of the 20-plus employees are from Willmar. “We started because Carlos wanted to have the experience of doing something on his own,” Delores, 33, company vic
WILLMAR — Minnesota’s students scored better than last year in state standardized tests in math but not quite as well in science. The kids took reading tests, too, but those scores can’t be compared, because the test was new this year. The days of frequent changes in standards and test styles should be over, at least for now. Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius said Monday morning that the state is in a position to keep its tests and academic standards steady for 10 years or more. Cassellius spoke in a conference call with journalists about today’s release of Minn
WILLMAR -- James Hill, the new principal at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar, was raised by his grandparents and remembers growing up with little money, "on government cheese and powdered milk." Kennedy Elementary Principal Todd Goggleye recalls being a high school senior called to the front of the classroom with two other boys. The teacher pointed at one of the boys and told him he had a chance of making something of himself. Pointing at Goggleye and the other boy, she said, "You're going to be a loser the rest of your life."
WILLMAR — Educators across Minnesota are pleased with the Legislature's move to pay for all day, everyday kindergarten, and they appreciate the overall increase in education funding. But they would like to see more changes in the state's testing program. More than 30 people attended an education roundtable Thursday afternoon in Willmar to meet with Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar, and Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. They met in the rehearsal hall at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.