Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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In the early 1970s, School District 833 became aware of the needs of highly intelligent elementary-age students. The first gifted and talented program began in 1973 with testing in third grade. The district added "cluster programs," or programs that grouped gifted kids together in one class and offered them advanced assignments, but still kept them among other students. While the program was going well, it didn't get the funding to expand until last year.
If all goes as planned, School District 833 will break ground on a third high school in Woodbury during the first week in July, according to a report from Mike Vogel, project manager and assistant to the superintendent for operations. At a joint meeting of Woodbury and school district officials, Jan.
School District 833 will host four meetings in February and early March to give residents information about the third high school and the school-naming process. At last week's regular meeting, Jan. 25, the school board approved a process for finding a school name with a school board decision expected in late April. Community meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at Oltman Junior High School in St. Paul Park; Tuesday, Feb.
It appears that the District 833 School Board won't be waiting until a planning team and new principal is on board to choose a name for the third high school. The new school is slated to open in Woodbury, near Bielenberg Sports Center in 2009. The board is expected to approve the suggestion by Dave Bernhardson, principal on special assignment, at the regular meeting of the board, Thursday, Jan. 25. "We can't keep calling it 'the third high school' or 'the new school,'" Bernhardson said.
If District 833 schools are going to open in the fall of 2009 with a new grade configuration, planning has to begin now. On the "to do" list is getting a planning team picked, getting teachers certified, and tackling other decisions such as start times, end times, school schedules and after-school opportunities. Finding a name for the third high school is beginning Jan.
A few more students could be added to the district's bus routes this fall. The District 833 School Board is expected to approve busing for Spanish immersion and Gateway students at its meeting Jan. 25.
It would be easier to name the Park High School one-act plays that did not come in with highest honors in state competition than to list the ones that did. Since 1998, Park's plays have starred at state, the highest honor given. In the other years, the Park High School drama department was second and third in regional competition. Play directors Denise Atkinson and Steve Estenson are continuing the Greece theme this season by performing "The House of Artreus," adapted by John Lewin from the trilogy "The Oresteia" by Aeschylus. The play will be performed once for the public at 7 p.m.
A plan to gradually move Spanish immersion language classes from Bailey Elementary School to Crestview Elementary School is about to be scrapped. Instead, the entire program would move this fall into 12 classrooms at Crestview Elementary School, if the District 833 School Board approves the proposal as expected Jan. 25. Crestview would become the permanent home of the program that has all classroom instruction in Spanish.
When Craig Jaworski told Grey Cloud Island Township board members in December that he wanted to move his deer farm from Cottage Grove to property he wants to buy in the township, the only encouragement he got was from board member Paul Schoenecker. "He's following all the rules," Schoenecker said.