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 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.
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
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
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.
WILLMAR -- Tang Beiyi's students are going to miss her when the school year ends in a couple weeks. For Tang, it will be hard to leave them, too, as she ends a school year teaching in Willmar and returns to her home in China. Tang has been a teacher in the U.S. State Department's Teachers of Critical Languages Program. Tang is the second Chinese teacher to live in Willmar in the past three years. As with Bai Jinguo two years ago, she has been co-teaching with Willmar Chinese teacher Todd Lynum. "She's really friendly," Morgan Lalim, a senior at Willmar Senior High, said last week.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Public Schools' enrollment has been holding steady in the last half of the school year, and that could help the district's bottom line. The district's relatively healthy general fund balance could be affected somewhat by efforts to maintain elementary teaching staffs. For at least the past decade, enrollment has declined steadily beginning after the first of the year.
WILLMAR -- Teachers in the Willmar School District will be working longer days next year, and they'll receive a raise to pay for their extra time. School administrators hope that the additional time for meetings and planning will help increase student achievement. The Willmar School Board gave final approval to the 2011-13 contract with the local Education Minnesota bargaining unit Monday afternoon. The contract will increase a teacher's official workday from 7 hours a day to 7.5 hours a day. Teacher salary schedules commonly consist of a series of steps and lanes.
LITCHFIELD -- The Meeker County Republican Party leaders will meet this evening to discuss whether to reconsider the party's endorsement of Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, for his vote in favor of a new Vikings stadium. The meeting will be at 6 p.m.