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 - No more overloaded backpacks or sore back for Karina DeJong — or her classmates — this year. The Willmar Senior High senior says the Apple iPad tablet computer she carries has replaced heavy books, and she hardly ever carries a backpack anymore. The Willmar School District provided one-to-one iPads for juniors and seniors this year, with the help of a community fundraising effort. The school plans to provide iPads for sophomores next year.
WILLMAR — The social studies department at Willmar Senior High makes about 3,000 copies a month now. A year ago, that number was 20,000. The primary reason for that 85 percent drop? iPads. Willmar started the school year by issuing an Apple iPad tablet computer to every junior and senior in the school. The district went from a half dozen iPads a couple years ago to more than 1,700 across the district this year. The district is in its third year of working with iPads. Faculty learned to use the tablets first and looked at ways of using them in classes.
GRANITE FALLS — Meagan E. Siemieniewski, 16, of Sacred Heart died Friday morning in a two-vehicle head-on crash on Highway 212 between Granite Falls and Montevideo. According to information from the Minnesota State Patrol website, Siemieniewski was driving a 1999 Ford pickup traveling south on Highway 212, and Mitchell D. Hanson, 57, of Elk River was driving north on the highway pulling an oversized load when the vehicles collided.
WILLMAR — Roads in west central Minnesota were already slippery and drifting Monday , with more snow on the way. Much of Minnesota was under a winter storm warning Monday that was set to expire at noon today. Several inches of snow fell Sunday night into Monday. There was a brief lull Monday afternoon before the snow and freezing rain began falling. The National Weather Service predicted snow of 3 to 7 inches in the area. Less snow was predicted overnight for the Willmar area, while Clara City and Madison areas reported heavy snow Monday and expected more into the night.
WILLMAR — Engraved blocks of cherry wood make up the iCardinals Campaign recognition wall in the commons area of Willmar Senior High, thanks to senior Preston Asche. The recognition wall names the 130 top donors to the campaign to help provide Apple iPad tablet computers for all juniors and seniors. Business and individuals across the community donated to the effort. The Willmar School District also used its capital equipment budget to pay for iPads, which were issued to students last fall.
WILLMAR — Chinese customers are waiting in line for Nova-Tech products, and the company is quickly developing the infrastructure to deliver the goods and provide service. A key part of that effort will be Aaron Madsen, who leaves on Monday for Shanghai to develop the China corporate headquarters for Willmar-based Nova-Tech. Madsen, 33, is currently manager of the company’s sales and marketing department and will add the title of general manager of Nova-Tech Asia.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board wants to see more communications between the school district’s early childhood education programs and its elementary schools. Early childhood educators gave an update on their pre-school literacy efforts at a School Board workshop on Monday. They talked about efforts to help kids develop social and emotional skills and a developing rating system to help parents choose the right pre-school program for their children.
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.