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 — Neighbors of Willmar’s elementary and middle schools are invited to attend a series of public meetings to discuss plans to improve safety for children who walk or bike to school. Meetings for the Safe Routes to Schools plans begin this week. The Mid-Minnesota De-velopment Commission recently received a planning grant to help area schools develop plans to improve safety for children who walk or bike to school.
By Linda Vanderwerf email@example.com WILLMAR — Aaron Isle wants everyone to know “not to treat me different,” but that can be a tall order sometimes. Aaron acts like any sixth-grader a lot of the time. He likes to use his Nerf gun to pester his four older siblings and his pets and he likes to hang out with his friends. Going to school is “not my favorite thing,” the 11-year-old said with a grin this week. His favorite classes are band and math. For one week a month, Aaron is not such a typical kid. Rather, he’s a one-in-10-million kind of kid.
WILLMAR — Minnesotans like to talk about their reputation for being Minnesota Nice, but a documentary film about bullying in the state’s schools takes the term and turns it on its head. The film “Minnesota Nice?” explores the issue of bullying and teen suicide, offering a sometimes shocking, sometimes gut-wrenching view of what bullied children and teens experience. More than 50 people attended the first of three showings of the film Thursday at Ridgewater College in Willmar. The film was one of the Multicultural Month events sponsored by the college.
WILLMAR — Bad weather forced Willmar school buses to return some children to school rather than drive with them in the country Monday. Schools closed early Monday because of blizzard conditions caused by strong winds and drifting snow. Students wouldn’t have been in school on Presidents Day, except the district was making up for a Feb. 11 snow day. Not long after schools closed, the school district notified parents that some students would be returned to their schools by their buses.
WILLMAR — After two decades of civil war and years spent in refugee camps, the Somali refugees who have come to the United States are among “the toughest ones of all,” according to Abdirizak Mahboub. Mahboub, director of New Minnesotan Community Development in Willmar, spoke at Ridgewater College this week. His speech on understanding the Somali population in Willmar was one of the college’s Multicultural Month events.
WILLMAR — Willmar’s elementary students have improved their reading skills in the first half of the school year, and in some cases the improvement has been dramatic. The Willmar School Board received a mid-year report this week. Literacy coaches from both elementary schools were also interviewed about the progress made under this year’s new Response to Intervention program.
WILLMAR — Rising enrollment has boosted budget projections for the Willmar School District. The district expects to receive more than $700,000 in additional per-student revenue because of the additional students. The School Board approved a revised 2012-13 budget at its meeting Monday. The budget revision projects revenue of $44.2 million and expenditures of $44.8 million in the general fund, which pays day-to-day operating expenses.
WILLMAR - The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. today at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, as scheduled. The agenda includes the revised 2012-13 budget to reflect changes in revenue and expenditures since the original budget was adopted in June. The board will also discuss the budget for the West Central Integration Collaborative and review mid-year reading test results in the elementary schools.
WILLMAR — Michelle Syverson stood in the dressing room and turned to show off the strapless ball gown she had tried on. “I love the color green,” she said, and the dress with its beaded and fitted top fit her perfectly. Michelle, a junior at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High School, said it would be her prom dress. “It’s green, and sparkly, and it fit me,” she said with a smile. Kirsten Tebben, also a KMS junior, chose a dress, a cream-colored gown with layers of lace. She liked it because “it was different,” she said.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School District has won an award for its financial reporting for the ninth year in a row. The Association of School Business Officials International presented its certificate of excellence to the school district for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2012, which included the 2011-12 school year. School Board Chairman Nathan Streed announced the award at this week’s board meeting and praised Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington for her work on the report.