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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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.
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 Street S.W. The board is scheduled to consider approving the 2011-13 contracts for the district's teachers and for teachers and for secretarial employees. Also on the agenda is the 2011-12 revised budget. School districts are required by the state to adopt budgets before the fiscal year begins on June 30 each year.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar area has a dozen new certified Somali language interpreters, something that pleases the elders in the Somali community. The five women and seven men completed 40 hours of professional interpreter training at Ridgewater College this year. Several of the elders spoke at a graduation ceremony for the new interpreters Wednesday evening at the Willmar Public Library. About 25 people attended.
WILLMAR -- Eight students from Hansenberg College in Denmark just spent two weeks in the veterinary technology program at Ridgewater College in Willmar, part of an exchange program that has been four years in the making. This fall Ridgewater students will visit Hansenberg for two weeks. For Dr.
WILLMAR -- After living in the Twin Cities, Willmar has been a pleasant surprise for Yusuf Ahmed, the new head of the African Development Center office in Willmar. "It's a small town and everybody knows everybody," he said. "I love it." An advantage of a smaller town is that he can drive downtown for work and walk to most of the meetings he has.
WILLMAR -- A little education in European economics and politics greeted 27 Willmar students who went to Spain on their spring break trip this year. A general transportation strike and a riot in the street outside their hotel provided memorable experiences and lots of walking. The 17 Willmar students in China with teacher Todd Lynum saw another type of society, where the right to strike and demonstrate in the streets isn't a given. They walked over stones where people have been walking for more than 1,000 years. Willmar language students have gone on overseas trips for decades.