RiverEast Students Share Their Creative Work[IMAGE][IMAGE]

The RiverEast program located at the Homecroft Early Learning Center is a therapeutic program for grade 5-10 students with emotional or behavioral issues, who are referred from their schools and will return back to them at some point. With 17 staff for a maximum of 32 students, the program is rich in personal attention and support. A typical day includes three hours of a therapeutic program such as life skills, confidence-building and group therapy; three hours of academics focus on reading and math, and time in gym or recreational therapy where staff members look for “teachable moments” to help kids learn new ways of relating to their own feelings and to others. Using art as a medium for this work has obvious results, as these works clearly show.

back to top

SFSJ United School Awarded $6,000 Grant | 7.11

by Sarah Anderson, Grade 7, John Tschida, Grade 8

St. Francis-St. James United School was honored to receive a $6,000 grant from the Minnesota Independent Schools Forum for a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) project. The grant will be used to construct a greenhouse designed and built by students in fifth through eighth grades.

During the fall and winter, the students will work on the design. The final drawing will be created on the computer. Then, after the snow melts in the spring, the actual construction will begin with the help of parents and local community members.

Middle school science teacher, Brenda Brusegard, accepted the grant at a formal dinner on May 5 on behalf of math teacher Diane Amble and herself. SFSJUS was one of 15 recipients of the grant.

When asked what effect Ms. Brusegard was hoping this project would have on her students, she responded, “I’m excited about this new project, and I’m hoping to get the students engaged and interested in STEM projects so that in the future they might choose a career in one of those areas. There is a shortage of people going into those professions.”

The greenhouse will be placed in the parking lot in front of the school on the corner of Randolph and View. The students will choose the plants to be put in the greenhouse. They will conduct experiments on those plants. Any remaining space will be used for vegetables for school lunch.

SFSJUS is contacting local businesses in the area for their support. The Community Reporter will be following this story as it develops over the year ahead.

back to top

Open World Students Gain History Day Honors | 6.11

On May 1 for the State History Day competition, Open World Learning Community’s 10th graders Jennifer Lor and Evie Harper-Godderz won first place in senior group documentary for their work on the role of eugenicists in the 1924 debate on immigration restriction. They also won the prize for the best project on the history of immigration sponsored by the University of Minn. As a result of these successes, they go to the national competition in June in Maryland. This is Jennifer’s third trip to Nationals.

Peng Thao, Ricky Yang and Yeng Yang won honorable mention at State History Day for their exhibit on the tactics of the civil rights movement and the debate between those who wanted separation and those who wanted integration.

For information about Minnesota History Day, including student presenters and their topics, call 651-259-3425 or see

back to top

Kids Against Hunger at Open World Learning Community
| 4.11

In the spring of 2008, Open School began a partnership with ImpactLives, a nonprofit organization that provides nutrient-rich, high protein food as emergency relief to starving people around the world. We hosted a food packing event for our entire K-12 student body. It was extremely successful as we packed over 47,000 meals. Our students were so energized by this service project that in 2008-2009, we expanded it to include two days of packing at Open School as well as tying in our work to our curriculum, K-12. We also brought this great opportunity to other district schools. We set up the project at Adams and Groveland in May 2009 during Open School’s interim week. This school year we plan to continue our relationship with Adams as well as to include students from Nokomis Montessori.

Twenty-five students are on the OWL Against Hunger team as well as over 1,500 students and hundreds of parent and community volunteers from the other elementary schools with which we partner.

We would like students to become aware of and knowledgeable about world hunger. We want students to experience that through our actions as individuals and a community, we can make a real difference in the world and learn how to “be the change we want to see in the world.” This will be done in elementary classrooms and in secondary geography courses. We have developed a series of lesson plans used in the elementary schools during morning meeting time. Lesson titles are What is Hunger? Who is Hungry? and The Power of a Penny. In addition, classrooms participate in a “Hunger Banquet” activity facilitated by staff and the OWL team. The secondary students at OWL also engage in crew (advisory) lessons and in their geography classes, where teachers are focusing on hunger and the countries to which help is being sent.

The third packing day of this school year is in May. Students on the OWL Team work 40 hours each. Additionally, there is a small core group of three to four students that put in 50-80 additional hours each in planning for the Kids Against Hunger. These events require a great deal of precise advance work to make sure we are ready for the hundreds of volunteers each day. With three packing days during the school year, we have a project of very long duration and high intensity, but extremely rewarding and worthwhile.

Students study causes and perceptions of world hunger from a variety of perspectives. They also focus on the history and culture of Haiti, where the majority of the food will go. We are very clear that this is an action based in solidarity, not charity, making it clear that there are many complex reasons for hunger, but that it is an entirely solvable problem.

This project provides students with an excellent opportunity to do something real to make the world a better place. Often kids feel helpless when faced with the huge problems of the world today, but this project has been a way for them to learn and be of service at the same time. Many students have told us that it is a highlight of their year and one of the best things they have ever done.

The packing day that had been scheduled for March has been postponed until May. This year, without corporate sponsors, the OWLC Kids Against Hunger project is faced with raising about $5,000 in order to make the packing possible — they have raised $1,100 already and would welcome any contributions. Call Open World Learning Community to get involved: 651- 293-8670 or visit OWLC at 90 Western Ave. S.

back to top

International Student Exchange Seeks Host Families | 4.11

Students between the ages of 15-18, from a variety of countries, are placed with host families in communities all over the country, by the International Student Exchange organization. The students learn about our culture and teach about theirs. They speak English, bring their spending money and are fully insured. They may stay for a semester or a full year, and are enrolled in school.Info: Kathleen, 651-330-3140.

back to top

Self-managed web sites powered by iEditWeb, Inc.