Countryside math students choose how they learn best

Countryside math students choose how they learn best
2 News in Brief
3 Facilities Referendum
'Living in beta' proves rewarding for teachers and students
4 Superindendent’s Perspective
5 Student Voice
6 The Bottom Line
7 Grade Configuration cont.
8 Countryside Math cont.
9 City Beat
10 EPS Snapshot
11CES Books-in-a-bag
12 Next Gen Video
It started with a “what if…” question.
“We had all heard student voices complain that
they are always in the same math group,” said
Mark DeYoung, one of four fifth grade math
teachers at Countryside Elementary School.
“And they would refer to them as the ‘smart’
group or the ‘dumb’ group,” added colleague
Katie Sweeney. No one is sure who on the
math team spoke the words, but someone
eventually asked, “What if we let the students
choose their own math group based on how
they like to learn?”
That was last fall, and since then, Countryside
fifth graders have had a say in how they
learn math. It has created excitement and
Partners in Pediatrics supports reading for children
of all ages as an important part of their well-being.
We decided it was
on us to adapt our
teaching to fit
their learning style.
ownership of learning among the
students, made it easier for the teachers
to differentiate their teaching styles, and
produced higher student engagement
and achievement. According to the
teachers, the process they have created
is “organic” and they are adapting and
adjusting as they go along.
It is also a prime example of personalized
learning, one of the core strategies of
the district’s Next Generation of Edina Public
Schools Strategic Plan.
The team — classroom teachers DeYoung,
Sweeney, Nathan Monseth, and Jenny
Rydeen, along with math learning specialist
Sue Johnson — quickly realized that letting
students select their own learning group made
sense given the different concepts covered.
“In fifth grade math, one unit might be about
multiplication and the next about fractions,”
said Monseth. "By letting students pick their
group, they are able to learn at their own pace
and in a way that works best for that particular
The teachers put a process in place to help
students discern the learning style best for
them. At the end of each unit, about every
three to four weeks, there is an assessment.
The teachers go over the tests with their
students and encourage them to think about
whether they chose the right learning group.
All for All
The mission of Edina Public Schools,
working in partnership with the family
and the community, is to educate all
individuals to be responsible, lifelong
learners who possess the skills,
knowledge, creativity, sense of selfworth, and ethical values necessary
to thrive in a rapidly changing,
culturally diverse, global society.
EPS School Board
[email protected]
Randy Meyer, Chair
Leny Wallen-Friedman, Vice Chair
Regina Neville, Clerk
Cathy Cella, Treasurer
Sarah Patzloff, Assistant Treasurer
David Goldstein, Assistant Clerk
Lisa O’Brien, Assistant Clerk
The cost to produce Experience EPS
is largely offset by a contribution
from Partners in Pediatrics. For more
information on this publication, contact
the Communications Department at
[email protected], or
call 952-848-3919.
South View students put the 'physical' in
'Contempo Physical Dance'
When Lori Volding’s ninth grade physical education students showed
up for class on Feb. 25, they didn’t know what to expect. They did
know, however, that class would be completely different.
That was their first day with Marciano Silva dos Santos, a
professional dancer who came to South View Middle School for
a two-day dance residency with one goal in mind: help students
break out of their shell through music, movement and dance. The
residency is made possible by a partnership with the Cowles Center
for Dance and the Performing Arts.
“We were interested in bringing a new dance experience into our
curriculum and explore a new dimension of wellness,” Volding said.
"It was a great experience for the kids".
Read full articles and get more news at
Hornets continue tradition of excellence
A sampling of recent student accomplishments
JANUARY - Congratulations to Arvind Veluvali, EHS junior,
2015 Minnesota State High School League LincolnDouglas Debate State Champion
FEBRUARY - Congratulations to the State Champion
EHS boys’ alpine ski team
MARCH - Congratulations to the
EHS Math Team, second-consecutive
State Championship
Fifth graders turn media center into a ‘makerspace’
At Concord Elementary School,
most students head outside
during recess to play with friends
and take a break from class.
However, a group of 5th graders
have decided to spend some of
that time elsewhere.
More than 50 students at
Concord decided to forgo recess
to learn how to use a 3-D printer.
Groups of about five students
take turns using the printer,
which is set up in a temporary
makerspace in the media center.
After creating their designs on
the computer, which taught them
basic engineering principles, the
students brought their designs
to life with the printer, all with
the help of Concord technology
paraprofessional, Ryan
Clausman, who is working with
media specialist Laurie Holland
to create additional lessons for
the kids.
District begins planning for secondary grade configuration changes
Transition and program redesign expected to take two years
a fall 2013 community survey that showed 65 percent of
residents rated a comprehensive 9-12 high school as a top
or high priority, with an additional 22 percent citing it as a
medium priority. “There is a strong desire by the community
for the reconfiguration of grades at the secondary level,” said
Superintendent Ric Dressen. “The community has asked for
“Discovery gatherings” are providing secondary teachers
an opportunity to give input as planning for new grade
configurations for the district’s middle and high schools
begins. The planning and transition process will occur over
two years and involve four key phases: discovery, design,
development and implementation. The goal is to complete
the change to two grade 6-8 middle schools and a grade
9-12 high school in fall 2017.
The school board approved the new configuration in June
2014. The decision, which was a key conversation of
community members during the development of the district’s
2012 strategic plan, followed several years of research and
analysis. Additional data was gathered from various student,
staff and community conversations and surveys, including
A core strategy of the district’s Next Generation of Edina
Public Schools Strategic Plan is to ensure coherent and
comprehensive learning experiences for students.
The district’s secondary program study concluded that
to deliver such an experience would require a different
configuration for secondary grade levels, and a move toward
the more traditional grade formations for middle and high
graduation requirements, and the district’s educational
competencies. In addition, ninth graders would benefit
from increased access to high school educational options,
athletics, arts and activities.
“To include ninth graders as a part of our campus provides
the opportunity to create a new, comprehensive high school
program in which we can welcome these young people into
the high school culture of new expectations, leadership
opportunities and academic exploration,” said Bruce
Locklear, Edina High School principal. “Their life transcript
begins in ninth grade. Ninth grade ‘counts’ differently than
middle school grade levels and this shift will help transition
students into the high school experience sooner.”
The district explored a variety of options for grade
configuration — including maintaining the current grade 6-9
middle schools and grade 10-12 high school. In the end, the
board approved the grade 6-8, 9-12 option, citing it as the
best learning experience for future students.
While options had their benefits and challenges, the new
configuration includes better alignment to Minnesota
academic standards and World’s Best Workforce legislation,
courses and credits included on high school transcripts,
Design thinking, 'simplexity' keys to continuous improvement
Maintaining our strengths while also creatively exploring options for advancement
define this Edina Excellence, which says that
we are strongest when we:
Edina Public Schools is driven by our
educational mission, which has framed
the district’s commitment to continuous
improvement for over 25 years. The last nine
words of our mission statement challenge us
to educate all individuals to “thrive in a rapidly
changing, culturally diverse, global society.”
We’ve responded to this challenge by making
improvements at every level—from districtwide initiatives to daily classroom lessons—as
we prepare our students for a future very
different from our present.
Edina Excellence
Our recipe for success is to stay true to our
mission and core values, focusing our efforts
on defined areas of “educational excellence.”
Insights from students, families, staff and
community members have helped us to better
• Focus all actions on what is best for all
• Hold high expectations for success
of all learners in academics, arts and
extracurricular activities by providing
choice, options and intervention supports;
• Value partnerships and personal
relationships between and among our
students, families, teachers and community
• Provide quality professional learning for
• Ensure our graduates are prepared for
postsecondary and/or career success; and
• Commit to continuous improvement through
intentional planning and research.
Advancing Excellence
Our ability to advance our Edina Excellence
is supported by our desire and need to
collaborate. I am continually impressed by
the passion and hard work of the entire EPS
community as we work together to support
the needs for our current and future learners.
This team effort allows us to address the
educational challenges we face and make the
changes necessary to encourage growth and
To help frame our work, we have been
using Stanford University’s “design
thinking process.” This process allows us
to understand the experiences of those
involved, accurately define the “problem,”
and to explore a variety of ideas and possible
solutions. Through the development and
assessment of options and pilot projects,
we are able to transform our thinking and
ideas into action. Continued engagement of
stakeholders then allows for the refinement of
options, creating a more successful solution
in the end.
To assist us in this work, we have been
using Stanford University’s “design
thinking process.” This process allows us
to understand the experiences of those
involved, accurately define the “problem,”
and to explore a variety of ideas and possible
solutions. By continually refining the options
and adjusting implementation plans as
needed, we end up with a result that is a more
successful solution, built on engagement of all
stakeholders and a philosophy of continuous
Yet, such actions will inevitably involve change,
which can be difficult. Educational researcher
Michael Fullan encourages “simplexity”
when problem-solving and working through
transformational change. He stresses the use
of common sense and clarity in the solutionseeking process (simplicity), while also
promoting the importance of understanding the
depth and dynamics of the changes necessary
to ensure positive results (complexity). This
simplexity concept aligns well with our design
thinking approach and is part of our district’s
continuous improvement efforts.
We know that we cannot simply apply a
change and expect a given result. But by
working through a thorough design process,
acknowledging the various levels of a change
proposal, and listening to all voices, we will be
able to ensure our that our next generation of
learners are ready for the changing world that
awaits them.
Ric Dressen, Superintendent
[email protected]
Images gives student artists, writers an outlet
By Audrey Sheehy, EHS junior
Technology & Learning
Showcase - Sat., April 18
See how technology is transforming
learning in Edina Public Schools (EPS)
at the 4th Annual Technology and
Learning Showcase, on Saturday,
April 18 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Students, teachers and technology
specialists will share the learning
they’ve experienced with real-life
demonstrations about activities
happening in EPS classrooms.
Come learn about Animoto,
screencasts, ePortfolios, and
WeVideo, and more. The event is free
and open to the public.
It’s all happening in the 3rd Floor
Atrium at the Edina Community Center.
Images, an Edina High School student club,
has been publishing student artwork for almost
50 years. Advised by English teacher Rachel
Hatten, the club concludes each school year
by publishing a book featuring student art in
many forms, including short stories, poems,
photography, paintings, and pottery, among
artists have never had their work displayed
in public before. The book provides a larger
audience of people interested in viewing their
work. Student-written poetry for example,
which doesn’t have many public outlets at
EHS, is often submitted to Images. “I’ve
posted my work on Twitter, but having it in
Images is a huge step up from that, and I am
excited,” said junior Cole Mauer.
“The main goal of Images is to recognize,
showcase and celebrate the outstanding
artistic talent in our community,” said Managing
Editor, junior Nate Saunders.
These artists find inspiration all around them.
“Depending on my feelings, those can hugely
inspire my writing, as well as events in my life,”
said senior Anna Norris, who has had poetry
published in Images since her sophomore year.
The club receives a little over 100 submissions,
which it narrows down to approximately 70
selections. “It’s a lot harder to get into the book
than people think,” said junior Patricia Jackson.
“We spend a lot of time critiquing each piece. It
has to be meaningful.”
The staff, selected by application, is split
into three sections: public relations, creative
and layout. Each has their own specific jobs,
however the whole staff comes together to
discuss each piece, the creator of which is
anonymous during the selection process.
They base their decisions on elements and
principles of art and design, aesthetics,
style, technical mastery, proficiency, and
composition. “It’s more of a discussion of each
piece individually, what works, what doesn’t
and why,” said Saunders.
For the artists, Images provides the opportunity
to share their talents. Most of the published
Look for the 2015 issue of Images to be
published in mid-May. It will be sold for $15.
Students are able to purchase the book
by completing forms available in the office
or via online ordering system that is to be
determined. For adults in the community who
want to purchase a copy, vist the club at the
Edina Art Show in June. In addition, this year
Images constructed a Facebook page called
EHS Images, where the order form will be
posted for easier access.
(based on original construction date)
District continues efforts to better align budget to learning
Plans for 2015-16 include continuing to explore ways to ensure return on investments
In March, administration presented a “cost
neutral” budget plan to the school board that
advances the district’s commitment to better
align financial resources to learning.
reductions, carry-overs and fund reallocations
that could offset the new funding requests.
The decisions, she said, are all filtered
through the mission and strategies of the
Next Generation Strategic Plan, targeting
available resources on educating students
and advancing learning for all.
“While the proposed budget plan for 2015-16
does not include significant adjustments given
the district’s current strong financial position,”
said Margo Bauck, district business services
“The overall theme of this year’s
director, “we are continuing to look at how
enhancements was to look at where we are
we can better target dollars to programs and
with our strategic program studies and pilots
services that align with our strategic goals
and determine how to advance that work,”
and help achieve
Bauck said.
We continue to look at how we
the results we
The net of proposed
can better target dollars
adjustments for 2015to programs and services
According to
16 is $176,500, which
that align our strategic goals
Bauck, there
Bauck said would be
and help achieve the
was not a “target
covered by anticipated
results we desire.
number” this
additional state funding
year by which
and the district’s
the district
financial reserves.
needed to reduce the budget, however there
The majority of the proposed enhancements
were numerous needs and requests for
are one-time budget expenditures directly
enhancements. In order to accommodate the
related to advancing the strategic plan,
enhancement requests, a budget alignment
including new positions and professional
task force, comprised of building and staff
learning opportunities. The cost of these
leaders, was charged with identifying
enhancements would be offset by proposed
one-time reductions, including accessing
budget reserves, reallocating expenditures
out of the general fund, and carrying-over of
dollars that were budgeted for but not spent
this year, such as snow removal and utility
costs. Bauck added that a number of ongoing reductions will have long-term financial
benefits for the district, including realignment
of some custodial duties, retiree savings, and
a change of some of vendor contracts, such
as liability insurance, which saved the district
Administration will now refine the budget
adjustment proposal for board action in April,
with a preliminary budget scheduled for board
approval in June.
Lana Davis
If you have visited the Edina Public
Schools Welcome Center or Edina
Resource Center, or called the district
office, you likely have met or talked
with Lana Davis, Welcome Center and
Edina Resource Center specialist.
Lana has been with the district for 22
years and in that time, has seen many
changes. One thing, however, never
changes — Lana’s mission to help
people find answers to their questions.
Lana described this as the “best part
of my job.” She answers a variety of
questions to connect people with the
information they need. From questions
about Community Education programs,
to new families looking for enrollment
help, to community resources and
support for all family circumstances,
Lana will point you in the right direction.
Likewise, the reconfiguration will lead to a true middle school
experience, which is a better fit for the “transitional age level”
of those students, according to Beth Russell, principal at South
View Middle School. “Kids are coming from a smaller elementary
school environment and are just beginning to think abstractly
during these years,” she said. “By having a smaller middle school
we can better design programs, curriculum and social activities
aligned to where they are developmentally, and we can better
assist students at this age in making meaningful connections,
good choices and decisions.”
The new middle school model will focus on integrated curriculum
and opportunities for kids to explore a variety of subjects, and
provide a good transition between elementary and high school.
While the reconfiguration will reduce capacity concerns at the
By having a smaller middle school,
we can better design programs,
curriculum and social activities
aligned with where students
are at developmentally.
middle schools, it creates a space issue at Edina High School.
The grade reconfiguration factored significantly into the Next
Generation Facilities Plan developed by a task force of parents,
students, school staff and community members last fall. Approval
of the May 5 facilities bond referendum would support the grade
level reconfiguration plan with additional space at EHS and
redesigned space at the middle schools, but the reconfiguration
does not hinge on its passage.
“We are committed to creating these cohesive educational
experiences for our students through the reconfiguration of our
secondary schools,” Dressen said. “With the involvement of staff
and the support of our board and community, Edina students will
experience a world-class learning environment that will meet the
needs of the next generation of learners.”
Read more about the district’s grade reconfiguration at
If they scored well, was the learning style challenging
enough? Were they bored? If they were frustrated or
struggled, would a different learning approach work better
for them?
“So often school is done to the kids, where we tell them
what they are capable of," said Monseth. "This process
gives them input into their own learning, and we want to
respect that.”
Before starting a new unit, students take a pre-test on
subject matter that they will learn, so they have an inkling of
what is ahead. Then they each complete the Math Learning
Style Survey, designed by the teachers, which describes the
learning approaches they can choose from:
“We do see some students making decisions based on
what their friends are doing,” Rydeen said, “but that can
be motivating too.” And if a student is already taking other
accelerated classes and wants to choose a math section
that is not super-accelerated, where they can just ‘get it,’
"that shows they know themselves and are thinking about
how they can balance their workload,” said Monseth.
• Two lessons a day at a faster pace with sixth grade
math lessons
• One lesson a day at a faster pace
The fifth graders say they like being able to choose and
• One lesson a day with modeling,
generally feel confident that
discussing and practicing
they are making the right
• One lesson a day in a smaller
choice for themselves. Jack,
It's like going to the mall —
group with modeling, discussing
who was usually in the faster
we might drive there using
and practicing
paced classroom decided
different streets, but we'll
that for the next math unit
get there just the same.
Interestingly, the four sections end up
he would try the two lessons
pretty evenly divided. The teachers
a day with sixth grade math
say they “99 percent” honor the
lessons. “I wanted to try this
students’ choices and only occasionally need to have a
to help get ready for next year,” he said. His neighbor at
mini-conference with a student if they feel that perhaps a
the table, Cody, said he always chooses the accelerated
wrong selection is being made, but it is important that the
learning style. “I like a faster pace,” he said. “And if I don’t
students learn from their choices.
know something, I just learn it.”
At the start of the year, the teachers agreed that if the
selection process led to lop-sided sections, that they would
figure it out without making students change sections.
“We decided it was on us to adapt to their learning style
choices,” DeYoung said.
Elena decided to slow down the pace for the math unit on
area and volume. “The pretest was harder than others have
been for me,” she said. “I usually go at a faster pace but I
decided not to this time.” Caleigha has tried a few different
approaches, which has helped her decide how she likes
to learn best. "I want to be a doctor, so it is important that I
really learn math well," she said.
It is important to note that at the end of the year, all of
Countryside’s fifth graders will land in the same place mathwise. “It’s like going to the mall – we might drive there using
different streets, but we’ll get there just the same,” DeYoung
said. “Here, we are all teaching the same curriculum and
the students all take the same test at the end of every unit,
they just get there by a different route. What’s important is
that they all arrive.”
Lifelong lessons are learned at Braemar Golf Course
By Lauryn Grimes, City of Edina Communications Intern
The junior golf program at Braemar Golf Course has grown to
be a gem among recreation programs in Edina.
The program began in 1978 with 75 participants. Last year,
between lessons and leagues, the program boasted 750-800
participants. "[Golf] is a great game for kids to learn. It’s a
lifelong game ... that trains good values," said Joe Greupner,
head golf professional. "If I’m on the course with someone who
is an honest player, I might want to do business with them."
Students, ages four and up, are taught the basics of golf
during lessons. Participants move up through the program
as their skills improve and eventually transition to league
play, where they have minimal instruction, but have access
to professionals when needed. Gary Soule, junior golf
coordinator, says he’s seen a number of kids move through
the program and end up playing on collegiate teams.
Edina 2" x 10.5” ad 6-4-14.pdf
11:04 AM
"There’s an opportunity for any child … at any level,” said
Mary Woodridge, facility coordinator, who praised the juniorfriendly atmosphere that can be found at Braemar. Woodridge
stressed that the golf course is a facility that enjoys youth and
that golfers can play the executive course as young as six with
adult supervision and at age 10 without. Junior rates are also
available to encourage more play.
Phil Ebner, varsity golf coach at Edina High School, utilizes
the course for home matches and practice and knows how
accommodating Braemar is to its junior players. “My kids grew
up going to Fred Richards or the Braemar [Executive] Course,”
he said. “The [driving] range and putting green is usually full
of kids.”
“Braemar has one of the strongest junior programs in the
Twin Cities and it’s only going to get better with upcoming
improvements to the practice facility in 2015,” said Joseph
Abood, Braemar Golf Course general manager. “The
expansion of the driving range and the updates to the par-3
course will make Braemar a premier location for juniors to
improve their game.”
At press time, most lesson programs and leagues were still
open for registration. Executive course leagues and Junior
Development have reached capacity.
For more information or to register, visit or call 952-903-5750.
Illness and injury can’t wait for an appointment.
At Partners in Pediatrics, no appointments are needed… just come on in.
CALHOUN • France & Excelsior • 952.562.8787
APRIL 2015
School Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Edina Community Ctr., Room 349
16-18EHS Spring Play, 7 p.m., EPAC
Technology & Learning Open House, 9-11 a.m., Edina Community Ctr.
Referendum Community Meeting, 7 p.m., Edina City Council Chambers
* sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Edina
23-24 SVMS Spring Musical, 7 p.m., SVMS
25Student Wellness Challenge, 9 a.m. - 12 noon, SVMS
SVMS Spring Musical, 2 p.m., SVMS
29-30EHS Current Jam, 7 p.m., Fick Auditorium
MAY 2015
1 EHS Current Jam, 7 p.m., Fick Auditorium
2 EHS Current Jam, 1 p.m., Fick Auditorium
School Board Workshop, 5 p.m.
5 REMEMBER TO VOTE! 2015 Bond Referendum Election
15-16EHS Choirs Happenin' Concert, 7 p.m.,
School Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Edina Community Ctr., Room 349
End of Second Semester (EHS Only)
21 May Term Begins (EHS Only)
Memorial Day - No School
Last Day of School
Commencement, 7 p.m., Univ. of Minnesota, Mariucci Arena
JUNE 2015
School Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Edina Community Ctr., Room 349
Please visit
for details and a complete list of events
Edina High School College Fair
About 120 colleges and universities participated in the Minnesota Education Fair in the Edina High
School gym on March 18 during collaborative time. More than 700 students took advantage of the
opportunity to start their college search by talking with representatives from schools coast to coast. By
pre-registering, the students could obtain a personal bar code with their contact information, making
follow-up with schools easy. EHS hosts a college fair every two years.
Books-in-a-bag help ready youngest learners for kindergarten
Edina Family Center program helps parents work with their students to gain essential literacy skills
School readiness and personalized learning
are at the heart of a new initiative happening
in the Early Childhood Kindergarten Prep
class. Books-in-a-bag, with activities focused
on literacy, are helping ensure that children
who will be kindergarteners next year will be
on par with their peers and ready to learn.
The literacy bags grew out of a similar
program begun five years ago with a grant
from the Edina Education Fund, according to
Mary Streier, school readiness coordinator.
Those kits, for three- and four-year-olds,
include a broad range of learning activities
about shapes, colors, counting and letters.
The Kindergarten Prep classroom of fourand five-year-olds is a microcosm of the
globe — of 18 children in the class, 10
languages are spoken. Given the diversity
of languages, Streier and the classroom
teachers, Joanna Taylor and Megan Luke,
felt that some students needed an extra
boost with literacy.
A large zip-lock bag includes a book with four
or five activities, such as letter identification,
letter sounds, or picture cards that help
students retell the story from memory. Early
childhood staff selected the books,
researched and developed the
activities for the kits. The bags
can be taken home or used with
small groups in the classroom.
There are currently four bags of
six different books in circulation
now, including “The Snowy Day,”
“The Big Red Barn,” and “Shiver
Me Letters,” which appeals to
young pirates. There are plans to
develop bags around eight more
Illustrated instructions assist parents
who may be English language learners
themselves and there are notes to parents
about how to approach reading a book for
the first time. “We tell them to explore the
front and back covers, note the names of the
author and illustrator, look through the pages
and talk with your child about what they think
the story will be about,” Streier said. “All of
this helps a child be interested in reading.”
Naturally, the children are excited when they
get to take home an activity kit, but the kits
have also been a hit with parents. “Parents
tell us ‘I had no idea my child needed to
know this before starting kindergarten,’”
Streier said. “This is a wonderful way to
engage them in their child’s learning.” And
according to the teachers, students often
keep them past their “due date.” Luke said,C
“Students often will say ‘I didn’t bring my bag
back today because it is so much fun'.”
Registration for next fall’s Kindergarten Prep
class is now open. Go to the district’s Community
Education Services website and click on the
Preschool and Childcare catalog, pages 10-11.
PIP PSA-1 2.5" x 1" ad 6-4-14.pdf
Illness and injury can’t wait
for an appointment.
CALHOUN • France & Excelsior • 952.562.8787
ISD 273
5701 Normandale Road
Edina, MN 55424
To learn more about the 2015 Bond Referendum, visit
[email protected]
or contact the 2015 Referendum Hotline at
[email protected] | 952-848-4038
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