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 — 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.
WILLMAR — Area school superintendents are pleased to hear Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators talking about providing funding for all-day, every day kindergarten. The state currently provides funding for half-time kindergarten, but most districts in west central Minnesota provide a full-time program for their young students anyway, using district funds to do it. Legislation promoting funding for full-time kindergarten was introduced in the first hours of the legislation session, and the governor included it in his budget proposal released Tuesday.
WILLMAR — The former Northern Grounds coffee shop in downtown Willmar is about to come back to life as The Goodness coffee shop, a non-profit business with a religious goal. The coffee shop will be owned and operated primarily by the Davis family. The father and son team of Chris and Nick Davis have owned and operated Famous Davis software and web design for several years. The tentative opening date is March 4.
WILLMAR — Kennedy and Roosevelt elementary schools in Willmar have received the Gold Award in the HealthierUS School Challenge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced 158 award winners in 19 states for the 2012 awards. The winning schools will carry the award for four years, from January 2013 through January 2017. The awards recognize the work school and nutrition department officials have put in to meeting federal guidelines and scheduling the school day to include physical activity.
WILLMAR — KandiComp of Willmar doesn’t plan to get rich working with PCs for People, a nonprofit that provides free refurbished computers to low-income families. While the company is a for-profit business, its partnership with the nonprofit PCs for People is an important aspect of their effort, said Roy Stiff, KandiComp owner and a former United Methodist pastor. When he and his wife Beth started KandiComp nine years ago, he knew he didn’t want to be just a business man.