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 Kandi Mall in Willmar will be the site of a BEST Robotics exhibition from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The exhibition is part of the second annual Minnesota BEST Robotics Competition taking place next weekend at New London-Spicer High School. BEST stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. BEST Inc. has operated an annual robotics competition nationwide for 20 years. Students involved in the competition learned of this year’s game, “Gatekeeper,” at a kickoff event Sept. 7 at NLS High School.
Orange was the color of the day Wednesday at Willmar Middle School, to celebrate National Unity Day, part of Bullying Prevention Month. Unity Day was part of a week of programs and activities related to bullying prevention. Students and teachers wore orange clothing around the school. Those who didn’t have orange clothing sported orange ribbons tied around their wrists.
WILLMAR — The Willmar Public Schools Foundation Board has OK’d paying for all or part of the activity fees for eight Willmar Senior High students. The requests, which were approved at the board meeting Monday, totaled $1,885. The requests were all for sports, football, soccer and volleyball. Requests are often received for other activities, too. It’s common for the board to approve a number of requests for activity fees at a meeting, as it was one of the original purposes of the foundation when it was founded 30 years ago.
WILLMAR — Willmar Public Schools are challenged by their facilities, which are crowded and inadequate in some cases, but they are strong in welcoming technology and in academic offerings, according to a task force studying the school district’s facilities. The task force met last week to do an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the district. The group will meet through the fall to develop a 10-year plan for facilities in the school district.
WILLMAR — St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Willmar will join other groups across the country on Saturday, which has been designated a National Day of Dignity and Respect for the Immigrant. The Hispanic community of Willmar has invited area residents to gather for a bilingual prayer service at 3 p.m. Saturday in front of the Kandiyohi County Courthouse, 505 Becker Ave. S.W. in downtown Willmar. The Rev. Jim Devorak, director of Hispanic ministry at the Church of St. Mary, said the gathering is not meant to be political.
Paynesville Area Elementary School was among the schools celebrating this week when the state released its most recent school rankings. The school made dramatic gains in its Multiple Measurement Ratings scores over the past year. The first of these kinds of scores were released by the Minnesota Department of Education in spring 2012. The school this year has been named a Reward School, among the top 25 percent in the state. A year ago, the school was considered a Focus School, placing it among the 10 percent of schools contributing most to the state’s achievement gap.
WILLMAR — It was a day of celebration Tuesday at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar. At an early morning staff meeting, Principal Todd Goggleye told the staff that the school had made remarkable progress in its annual state rankings. Kennedy had an increase of more than 40 percentage points for a building that was among the lowest-ranked schools in the state a year ago.
WILLMAR — The hard work of the last year has paid off for Willmar Public Schools’ Kennedy Elementary School. A year ago, Kennedy was considered to be among the 5 percent lowest-performing schools in the state. But what a difference the school and its students have made in the past year.
WILLMAR — Ridgewater College has scheduled an open house for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the newly remodeled agriculture and veterinary technology programs. Remodeled facilities for the two programs are the first parts of a $14 million, 80,000-square-foot improvement project on the Willmar campus. The improved facilities include classrooms and lab facilities for dairy, grain grading, agronomy, precision farming, clinical pathology and anatomy, as well as a lab technician facility.
WILLMAR — A contract for Willmar-based RELCO to participate in the design and construction of a major dairy products plant in the Netherlands also signals a connection to one of the largest dairy companies in the world. RELCO will work with Fronterra of New Zealand to build the whey and lactose plant in Heerenveen, Netherlands. “It’s our largest contract to date,” Mike Day, chief financial officer, said last week. RELCO was started by Loren Corle in 1982 in Willmar and has a facility in the city’s industrial park. The business designs, builds and installs processing equipment for t