Friday, October 14, 2011

School Choice Letters

All Sioux Trail families recently received (or will soon receive) a letter from ISD 191 regarding the AYP status of Sioux Trail.  Here is the most important message: Sioux Trail is MAKING Adequately Yearly Progress!

Adequate Yearly Progress is part of the No Child Left Behind legislation (the Re-Authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) that was put in place by George W Bush.  The legislation sets targets that schools must meet on an annual basis and consequences if schools do not achieve the target.  The end goal is that 100% of students are proficient (according to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments) by 2013-14.

The AYP system evaluates multiple areas within reading and math including: all students, ESL students, Special Education students and five different ethnic subgroups.  The process evaluates participation and proficiency on the assessment and attendance at the school.  At the end of the 2008-09 school year Sioux Trail was found to not be making AYP in six different areas within the proficiency area. At the end of the 2009-10 school year Sioux Trail demonstrated progress and was found to not be making AYP in one area; Reading for Special Education students.  Based on 2010-11 Minnesota Accountability Tests Sioux Trail is making AYP in ALL areas.

This is terrific news for Sioux Trail and recognizes the hard work of Sioux Trail staff, students and parents.  Despite making AYP in all areas Sioux Trail remains on the Not Making AYP List because the process requires schools to make AYP two years in a row before being removed from the list.  Sioux Trail is in stage 1.2  meaning that Sioux Trail parents have school choice and can take their children to another ISD 191 school choice site.  Sioux Trail families will have more information on this soon.

Being identified as "Making Adequately Yearly Progress" by the Minnesota Department of Education doesn't stop our continued hard work towards moving each student forward and providing high quality instruction that facilitates personal and academic growth.   We have a lot of very important work to do and Sioux Trail staff are the right team to do this work.

The "School Choice letter that was included in the letter indicates that parents can choose to send their child to another ISD 191 school.  These two "choice" schools are Rahn and Gideon Pond Elementary Schools. The letter provides information on the overall percentage of students that are proficient on the Minnesota Accountability Tests, but it does not include Sioux Trail on this chart.  This is misleading, because it creates the perception that we are a lower performing school and this in not entirely true.  I have included a more inclusive chart below.

Reading Percent Proficient
Math Percent Proficient
Gideon Pond
Sioux Trail

As you can see we our performance in the area of reading is stronger than math and we are working hard to raise scores in both areas and keep  each one of our students moving forward.  We are committed to increased student success and to meeting the needs of each child.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A small, mighty crew!

Saturday, October 8, was the annual Sioux Trail Fall clean up event!  We had a crew of  23 people who worked really hard and got Sioux Trail cleaned up and ready for winter.  Our work included cutting down all of the perennials , weeding, and spreading mulch on each landscaping bed.  Our crew started small with me and a Burnsville High School student and then grew over time.  The end result was a smaller team than I had hoped for, but everyone worked really hard and we kept Sioux Trail looking great.
 If you have feedback on this event, like how we can increase participation, please let me know.

Special thanks to the following people:
The Sickman Family
The Chromcsak Family
The Miller Family
The Schaefers
The Kirchoffner Family

Ethan J
An P (BHS Student)
Mr. Kern
Mrs. Tushie
Mrs. Stalock
Mr. Tofte
Mrs. Condon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Her Day Made Better

Teachers get a wide variety of surprises during the day and never know what is going to happen!  Karen Otremba (second grade teacher) was surprised today when a team from Office Max arrived with an "A Day Made Better" gift box". 

Teachers spend roughly $1,000 out of their own pockets each year to offset school budget shortfalls and ensure that their students have the necessary classroom resources for learning. OfficeMax’s A Day Made Better program, in partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom, aims to help end the need for teacher-funded classrooms. Most of the recipient teachers work at Title I schools, where at least 40 percent of the student body meets federal assistance criteria; at Sioux Trail 44% of our student qualify for free or reduced priced lunches.

Each year, OfficeMax and Adopt-A-Classroom work with school principals nationwide to select and recognize 1,000 deserving teachers with an A Day Made Better award and $1,000 in classroom supplies donated by OfficeMax. Principals can nominate a teacher based on 1) passion for teaching, 2) innovation in the classroom; and 3) dedication to the profession and the success of their students. If selected, OfficeMax associates join the principals on the first Tuesday each October with a surprise event to honor the teacher and present the donation. 

Karen received a digital camera, swivel chair, and large box containing essential classroom supplies – a total donation valued at $1,000.   In October, 2010 Katie Mulvahill was nominated and then selected to receive an "A Day Made Better" gift box from Office Max.  In addition to the donation to Mrs. Otremba and her students, Office Max also collected over $1,000 in donations from store patrons and donated that to Sioux Trail as well.  We will be distributing those materials to classrooms and to students who need school supplies. Please help keep this terrific tradition going, by supporting Office Mac and Adopt-A-Classroom.

Show your support for a teacher in your community through the following activities:
  • Go to, select a classroom and donate needed items for the teacher and students to use.
  • Surprise a deserving teacher in your community by donating your own A Day Made Better box filled with classroom supplies. Visit and chose from three box sizes, including a $25 starter kit, $50 classroom box or a $100 classroom box. Each branded A Day Made Better gift box comes with a variety of much-needed school supplies, an A Day Made Better t-shirt and instructions for selecting and conducting your own surprise event.