• Fab Labs expand STEM opportunities for 622 students

    Posted by Cathleen Hess on 12/27/2017 1:45:00 PM

    As District 622 prepares students for future careers, we are working to expand our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programming.


    At North and Tartan high schools, students can learn through the Fab Lab (fabrication lab) located at each site. Fab Labs are designed to allow participants to explore their interests in a variety of fields including graphic design, art, business, computer-assisted design (CAD), physical and natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Through a variety of courses, students can learn to use commercially available technologies such as Milling Machines, CNC Plasma Cutters, 3D Printers, Engraving/Embossing Machines, and other rapid prototyping technologies to conceptualize, design, and fabricate ideas. Digital fabrication classes are available to students in grades 9-12.


    In recent years, generous grants from 3M have allowed District 622 to grow our STEM program and purchase equipment for each Fab Lab. Internally, teachers Dave Moran (North) and Ken Balfanz (Tartan) collaborate on a bi-weekly basis to share ideas and strategies to best serve students.


    “I look at our Fab Lab as an environment that is available for students to utilize and create possible product solutions,” said Dave Moran, teacher at North. “During that time they will also be taught engineering concepts and design methods/techniques as tools to implement their solutions.


    In terms of curriculum, the Fab Lab applies STEM in its entirety. Students apply physical science concepts on several different levels (both mechanical and electrical). The instructors implement and teach the technology around how to operate all the machines that go into prototyping along with the engineering that goes with the designing and 3D modeling of solutions to identified problems found by end users. Mathematical concepts within the CAD environment allow students to understand and apply basic geometric principles along with basic algebraic calibration methods for fine tuning machinery and troubleshooting problems within the rapid prototyping processes.


    Although there are various creative projects to choose from, many Fab Lab students have been opting to build their own 3D printers. Through this project, students tackle mechanical, electrical and computer science challenges. Students have to reverse engineer many of the parts needed to build their 3D printer and utilize a laser cutter and 3D printer to make these parts. Students follow a design process and use this to find a solution to problems that they inevitably create themselves. 


    Thanks to generosity of 3M, we are pleased to offer this opportunity to all 622 high school students.

    Comments (-1)
  • Work-Based Learning bridges classroom and career

    Posted by Cathleen Hess on 12/1/2017 11:22:00 AM

    The Work-Based Learning programs at North and Tartan High Schools offer experiential learning that connects a student’s career goal and classroom learning with a productive work environment.


    Students participate in tours of local businesses, job shadowing, job/work sampling, internships, and paid employment opportunities. Visiting speakers conduct mock interviews, discuss soft skills, and share tips on writing an effective cover letter and resume.


    Recently, Tartan High School hosted a seasonal hiring fair with 27 employers and over 250 students in attendance. It was a great way for 622 scholars to meet potential employers and secure part time employment.


    “Students regularly stop me in the hall and plead, “Please! Help me find a job!’” said Melissa Jorgenson, Work-Based Learning Coordinator at Tartan. The fall hiring fair at Tartan helped students make good connections and employer feedback was fantastic. We are considering hosting another hiring fair in the spring.


    Within the last year, over 500 students have toured local businesses and colleges, including: Bonfe Plumbing and Heating, Emergency Automotive Technologies Inc., McGrath Manufacturing, the Laborers Training Center, St. Paul College, Century College, and Northeast Metro 916 Career and Technical Center. North High School has even hosted employers during lunch time to visit with students and discuss job opportunities.


    The program also featured a three-part manufacturing series where students met with industry leaders to learn about the field of manufacturing. Part two of the program allowed for students to complete mock interviews, while part three was a tour of Andersen Corporation in Bayport.


    In addition to tours and special events, about 80 students districtwide participate in on-the-job training. Some students earn elective credit for working paid jobs outside of the school day.


    These efforts are undergirded by the work happening in our classrooms to teach students how to get a job, keep a job, and create a reasonable career plan. Students in the program have shown improvement in academic achievement and self-confidence.


    As a district, we are proud of the work we’re doing and look forward to dramatically expanding career and technical pathways in District 622.

    Comments (-1)
  • From Screen to Stage

    Posted by Cathleen Hess on 10/30/2017 3:45:00 PM

    Fall brings a wave of excitement to the stages at our our high schools. This year, our award-winning theatre programs will feature musical versions of Shrek and Sister Act.


    “Each year we look at our talent and find shows that best showcase it,” said Ryan DeLaCroix, longtime director at Tartan Theatre. “There are 52 students in our production and they all bring a unique level of talent to the show.”


    Sister Act is full of amazing music, fun dances, and many great stage moments. “Audiences can look forward to the wonderful and fun story of the original movie and the added musical numbers, plots, and fun that the stage musical brings,” added DeLaCroix.


    Tickets for Sister Act are priced from $5-$10. Performances are Nov. 3-Nov. 12. Performances on Friday and Saturday are at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.


    For tickets and information call 651-702-8814, visit www.tartantheatre.org, or email info@tartantheatre.org. Tartan High School is located at 828 Greenway Ave. N., Oakdale, MN 55128.


    At North High School, audiences will be delighted to see their favorite ogre, Shrek, brought to life as a hilarious spectacle.


    “I wanted a show that would be entertaining for the whole family,” said Kevin Barnard, advisor of North Theatre. “The costumes are really unusual and fun. In addition, there’s a wide variety of songs and dances including tap.”


    “The students in this fall’s performance really like the show and the style of contemporary songs and dances,” he continued. “The kids are really making smart acting choices and they are funny. The fairy tale creatures are a blast to watch on stage.”


    Show times are scheduled nightly at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2-4 and 9-11, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 and Nov. 11. The Sat. Nov. 4 matinee is an ASL interpreted performance. You can purchase pre-sale tickets online for only $7 at www.northdrama.org. North High School is located at 2416 East 11th Ave., North St. Paul, MN 55109.


    Cast and crew members are also taking pre-sale orders between now and Oct. 28. After Oct. 28, tickets are $8 (students and seniors) and $10 (adults) online and at the door.


    Our talented students are working hard to create these amazing shows. I hope to see you in the audience!


    Comments (-1)
  • Carver Elementary Honored with Minnesota's Future Award Second Year in a Row

    Posted by Cathleen Hess on 9/28/2017 11:30:00 AM

    This month brought unprecedented excitement to District 622. Carver Elementary was awarded Minnesota’s Future Award by the Minnesota Business Partnership. This award recognizes a high-performing, diverse public elementary school that is beating the odds in closing the achievement gap. The award itself has never been given to the same school twice… until now.


    As the only two-time winner of Minnesota’s Future Award, Carver was chosen as a result of their continued outstanding performance. The school also won the award in 2016.


    On September 26, Carver Elementary was honored before more than 1,000 business, civic, and political leaders at the Minnesota Business Partnership’s Annual Dinner at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Carver principal Dr. Gena Abrahamson delivered brief remarks at the event with 20 Carver teachers in attendance. The school will receive $50,000.


    “The three things staff at Carver have that really make the difference are: leadership, passion, and courage. The Carver staff learns together, shares, and never gives up on students. They reflect on everything they do and always put students’ emotional and academic needs first,” noted Abrahamson.


    The staff at Carver all know they are responsible for all students. Staff have a growth mindset and are committed to the success of each of our learners. “We are not afraid of trying and trying again until we find the path that will work best for individual learners,” added Abrahamson. “We take student data very seriously. It’s telling us where our jobs need to change.”


    About 65 percent of Carver’s students come from low-income households, two-thirds are students of color, and 20 percent have limited English proficiency. Carver has repeatedly outperformed the statewide average for student achievement, both overall and for 2017 among all student subgroups.


    Last year, thanks to the 2016 Minnesota’s Future Award, Carver Elementary was able to buy five laptop computers and chargers for each classroom. In addition, they purchased books that enable students to see themselves and their families across curricular areas. They also developed and taught social emotional lessons and purchased materials including classroom calming bins filled with tools students use and Zones of Regulation posters building wide. Carver also purchased the RAZ Kids computer program so students have books at their reading level on devices to access at school and at home.


    Congratulations to Carver for preparing students to be great students, positive role models, and ready for tomorrow! Click here to see the great work happening at Carver and to learn more about the award.


    Comments (-1)
  • Students at Next Step Transition run dog bone program

    Posted by Cathleen Hess on 8/17/2017 4:25:00 PM

    In District 622, students with special needs have unique opportunities for hands-on learning at its best!


    At the Next Step Transition Program, which educates students ages 18-21, students work with staff members to meet the goals, objectives, and activities set out in their Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs). Learners also complete a graduation plan, which may include paid employment or volunteer experience, depending on the student’s goals and what their family envisions for them. On the day students receive their diploma, they present their own personalized exit presentation.


    One of the ways students gain meaningful, real life experience is through Next Step’s Dog Bone program. Currently in its tenth year, it provides a fun and exciting environment where students learn and work on functional life skills, including literacy, math, social skills, and sensory integration.


    “There are so many different skills embedded in this project and how it meets the students’ varying needs in all curricular areas,” said Denise Caley, teacher. “As far as favorite tasks, students enjoy measuring the ingredients, using the mixer, kneading the dough, and methodically placing the biscuits on the cooking sheet. Others enjoy counting biscuits to fill an order. Most love figuring out what items we need to purchase and to shop for those ingredients. The least favorite job is cleaning up. It seems no one likes doing the dishes!”


    Regardless of the role, students demonstrate a noticeable spike in self-esteem and confidence once they complete their assigned task. “There is a lot of pride and ownership,” noted Caley.


    The dog biscuits are licensed through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Each biscuit is all-natural and made with human-grade ingredients, ensuring the receiving canine enjoys a tasty treat without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservations. The three different flavors of bones sold, in order of popularity, include: peanut butter oatmeal, apple cinnamon, and mint parsley. The biscuits range in size (small, medium, and large) and cost .10-.50 cents apiece. Due to cost, gluten free dog biscuits are not available at this time.


    Funds generated from this student program help provide students at Next Step with activities such as music therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, environmental education classes, and opportunities to participate in competitive bowling leagues that they would otherwise would not have exposure to.


    Anyone interested in ordering dog biscuits is invited to call 651-621-1961 or visit Next Step (2586 East 7th Avenue - North St. Paul) for an order form. This year, sales run from September 5 through mid-May.


    To learn more about Next Step employees and hear from students in the program, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H9a0XWkwLk


    Comments (-1)
  • Students at Weaver Elementary Host First Annual Leadership Day

    Posted by Cathleen Wiberg on 7/11/2017 2:35:00 PM

    Imagine a school where students as young as second grade lead daily all-school morning meetings and assemblies, speak at events, and greet guests. Welcome to Weaver Elementary, where student leadership is the norm, thanks to a framework known as The Leader in Me.


    Recently, students from Weaver Elementary hosted elected officials, local business owners, district leaders, and peers for the site’s first Leadership Day. The event allowed students the opportunity to showcase the leaders they’ve become. From the time guests arrived in the parking lot until the end of the day, students were at the center, giving tours of the site and sharing presentations about the different leadership roles they fulfill. It was rare to hear an adult’s voice that day!


    “Students are actually at the core of why the framework works,” said Pangjua Xiong, Weaver principal. “It's a focus on sharing and distributing power and leadership to students so that our school becomes truly "our school". Students feel empowered to take on leadership roles throughout the classrooms and school.”


    The 2016-2017 school year was the first time the framework was implemented at Weaver. Students have benefitted in many ways, including social emotional learning, a growth mindset, and a focus on academics. Students are provided opportunities to lead through service to others and to practice seven habits, which are based off of content from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Weaver students focus on: personal and interpersonal effectiveness, responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and renewal.


    The Leader in Me is aligned to many national and state academic standards. The process teaches students the skills needed for academic success in any setting. These skills include critical thinking, goal setting, listening and speaking, self-directed learning, presentation-making and the ability to work in groups.


    Currently, Weaver Elementary is one of 12 schools in Minnesota using The Leader in Me framework. Nationally, there are over 200 schools. Globally, there are over 2,000 schools.


    In the coming years, Weaver will implement deeper levels of The Leader in Me and expand the framework to guide other areas of the school.

    Comments (-1)
  • 2017 Golden Prom and senior programs

    Posted by Cathleen Wiberg on 6/12/2017 11:40:00 AM


    On May 31, 390 senior citizens from across the area kicked up their heels at the 21st annual Golden Prom. This exciting event featured live music from the Big Band era by the Golden Tones.

    Originally started as a collaboration between 622’s Community Education’s Senior Programming and Tartan High School, this event used to be held in Tartan’s cafeteria. Since then, the event has grown into a formal event held at the Envision Center (formerly the Prom Center) in Oakdale.

    Seventy five students from North and Tartan High Schools volunteer at the event. In addition to a live band and dancing, attendees enjoyed a formal catered meal, prom photos, bingo, and prizes.

    The event is extremely is popular with senior citizens and people travel a significant distance to attend with their friends. This year’s event saw individuals from out-of-district locations such as Prior Lake, Chaska, Lindstrom, and Coon Rapids.

    Staff at 622’s Gladstone 55+ Center assist with registration and advertising, while registration is handled through Community Education’s Gladstone 55+ Center. The event is advertised through local newspapers, Community Education catalogs, Gladstone 55+ Dateline Newsletter, and North and Tartan websites.

    Click here to see a short video of this year’s Golden Prom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqBg2AEBKj0&feature=youtu.be

    The Gladstone 55+ Center is a program of ISD 622 Community Education. The Center is open five days per week offering a variety of regularly scheduled activities, including: cards, dominoes, bingo, wood carving, knitting, and needlecrafts, and an assortment of exercise classes and special events. Fee based and free classes on topics relevant to seniors are scheduled throughout the year.

    Gladstone also offers a Parkinson's Caregiver Support Group and an Alzheimer's Caregiver support group. The Alzheimer's caregiver support group is unique in that respite care is available for the person with Alzheimer's, thereby allowing the caregiver to attend without having to make other arrangements for care for their loved one. There is also monthly foot care with a registered nurse.

    The Dateline Newsletter is published quarterly and is available at the Center, public buildings in the area, on the website, and can be mailed or emailed to individuals directly.

    New this year, the District 622 Athletics Departments are pleased to offer residents of District 622 and out-of-district family members and interested fans, ages 60 and older, a free lifetime pass to enjoy any regular season athletic event held at North or Tartan High Schools.

    Passes can be obtained at the North or Tartan Athletic Offices, Gladstone Community Center, or the District Education Center. Pass recipients will receive periodic news and information from School District 622.

    For more information about senior programming for those 55 and over, visit our website (www.isd622.org) or call 651-748-7252.





    Comments (-1)
  • John Glenn Middle School named AVID Demonstration Site

    Posted by Cathleen Wiberg on 4/27/2017 9:00:00 AM

    Excitement abounded this month as John Glenn Middle School was named an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) National Demonstration School. John Glenn Middle School has been highly certified for several years, but the distinction of a National Demonstration School is reserved for only a select number of member schools that have reached a high level of implementation of the AVID system. In fact, less than three percent of AVID schools internationally receive this honor.  

    The mission of AVID is to close the achievement gap and prepare students for college and a future career. AVID National Demonstration Schools go through a rigorous process which validates that the school offers students rigorous experiences in all SWICOR (speaking, writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, reading) instructional strategies.

    The process to become a demonstration school is an 18-month process that involves multiple visits from Central AVID leadership as well as a mock-validation visit. AVID assigns schools a coach that helps support and guide schools through the process.

    Principal Jill Miklausich’s visionary leadership was a driving force when it came to securing this achievement. John Glenn Middle School is also led by a Site Team of teacher leaders and their administrative team. This group meets twice a month to discuss the implementation of AVID and to ensure that the use of AVID strategies impacts learners throughout the school.

    Although there are 84 seventh and eighth grade students in the AVID elective at John Glenn Middle School, AVID strategies are embedded throughout classrooms supporting all students. The hope is to offer another section of the AVID elective next year.

    Some of the most notable gains demonstrated among these student leaders include: confidence, organization, leadership, a connection with school, engagement in learning, and a college and career ready mindset. There is also a great sense of camaraderie among AVID students.

    AVID creates and grows young leaders. I am proud to share the news of this big achievement with the community. Our #AVIDFAMILY makes me #622Proud!

    Comments (-1)
  • DECA school store at Tartan receives international award

    Posted by Cathleen Wiberg on 4/4/2017

    Recently, the DECA School Store at Tartan Senior High School received international recognition as a Gold-Certified school-based enterprise. Out of 3,500 international chapters, this impressive award was given to only 360 chapters.


    Three Tartan students wrote and submitted the application that documented every aspect of business operations. The final application topped 50 pages.


    DECA, an association of marketing students, helps juniors and seniors by improving education and career opportunities for those interested in management, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

    DECA students manage and operate the school’s store and credit union, earn credits while they earn a paycheck, secure articulated credits with Century College, and compete in competitions with students across the world.


    Working in the school store allows DECA students real-life experiences to reinforce the instruction taught in their classes. DECA students manage all aspects of the store, including sales and advertising. The store is a tool to provide work experience and leadership skills. DECA students graduate with authentic work experience to leverage in life beyond high school.


    Tartan’s DECA program is led by Craig Spreiter, a former DECA participant himself and graduate of North High School. Spreiter has led DECA at Tartan for 19 years and describes students in the program as “Those who like being at Tartan, are involved in a variety of athletics and activities, and all balance a job during their evenings and weekends.”


    Tartan’s strong marketing and business pathway allows students with a passion for business to explore a variety of courses that fit their college and career objectives. “DECA is the capstone course for many of these students,” noted Spreiter.


    In January, Tartan student excelled at the annual DECA conference held in St. Paul. Twenty three of the 26 participants advanced to the state competition.


    Many DECA students earned finalist recognition at DECA’s State Career Development Conference this past week in Minneapolis. The top four students in most events will advance to the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California in April.


    All of this great news comes on the heels of the store’s ten-year anniversary. Congratulations to these students and thank you to Mr. Spreiter for his leadership. We are truly #622Proud!


    The public is welcome to visit DECA’s School Store at Tartan and see the great work of these students in action. The store is open Monday through Friday 7:10 a.m. - 3:10 p.m. Tartan Senior High School is located at 828 Greenway Avenue North in Oakdale.

    Comments (-1)
  • Webster Elementary School, Maple Pond Homes, & the YMCA Partnering to provide equity at school and at home

    Posted by Cathleen Wiberg on 3/2/2017

    Parents, teachers, and youth workers all agree on the importance of quality afterschool programs. However, with school districts and non profits having limited resources to provide these programs, partnerships are often the answer to implementing quality out of school time programming throughout the school year and during summer months. Luckily for the students living at Maple Pond Homes in Maplewood, the YMCA, District 622, and MBG Property Management have teamed up to ensure that they have great opportunities year round.


    A survey of parents completed by the Afterschool Alliance found that, “Cost and lack of a safe way for their children to get to and come home from after school programs are among the barriers that low-income households, African-American families and Hispanic families report keep them from enrolling their children in an afterschool program.” This incredible collaboration eliminates each of these barriers for families and strives to eliminate the opportunity gap for these students.


    Each school day starts with students meeting two YMCA team members in the lobby of their apartment complex. YMCA team members ensure that all students are present, have their homework, and are dressed properly for the walk to school. The group walks to school together and begin the day with a healthy breakfast provided at no cost to the families. During the school day YMCA team members provide recreational activities before school and during recess. These structured times of active play have allowed students to stay healthy, utilize their energy, and avoid conflicts that were taking place during this time. YMCA team members also support classroom teachers, provide small group tutoring, and address social emotional challenges that students are facing.  As the school day ends, YMCA team members walk the students back to Maple Pond home and provide afterschool programming until 6 p.m. each day. This time includes homework help, academic challenges, art, science, physical activity and more.


    Although this partnership has existed for four years, this year a focus on healthy living has created new opportunities for participants. Each day student participates in at least 30 minutes of physical activity through a variety of exciting games and activities. New this year is a daily yoga class where students are learning calming strategies, breathing techniques, and full body stretches. Students are also receiving at least 30 minutes of nutrition education each week, trying new healthy foods, and passing on this knowledge to their families.


    People often say that it takes a village to raise a child. Through this partnership we are proud to bridge the gap between school and home, provide a safe place for young people after school, and work each day to eliminate the opportunity gap for these amazing students.


    Want to see this partnership in action? Click here to watch a short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akqZXY3noCw

    Comments (-1)