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3/22/2017
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  • Tuesday, September 02, 2014 12:50 PM

    The first day of school is always such an exciting day of school for parents, students and staff. This is the second year that we have two “first” days of school as our students in grades 7-12 began school on Tuesday of this week and our students in K-6 begin school on Thursday. 

     
  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:01 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    This week is iPad rollout week for students in grades 7-12 in the Belle Plaine Schools. The first iPads were distributed to students on Tuesday night with additional sessions scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and evenings. Parents and students are reminded to bring all completed forms, including the “Single Page” document, an active Apple ID account and appropriate insurance payment to the meeting to help move the process along more quickly. All rollout sessions will be held at Oak Crest Elementary School.  Students must be registered online for the session they wish to attend.

    Work continues on the restroom project at the Athletic Complex with hopes of having the facility ready to go by the season opener a week from Thursday. Thanks to Bob Denny and the Belle Plaine Lion’s Club for spearheading this effort to upgrade this facility for the convenience of football, soccer, tennis and track participants and fans  If you or your organization is interested in helping to support this project, donations are still being accepted by the Lion’s Club or the Belle Plaine Schools. Thank you to all who have already contributed financially or with their time and effort. This is going to be a great addition to our facility!

    On Friday of this week, we welcome new teachers to our school district and have an orientation day with them. We have seventeen new teachers coming on board this year – that’s about 15% of our total teaching staff. Every year it is exciting to meet our new staff as they bring great energy and outside ideas into our school system to help us grow as an organization! 

    Next Monday, all Belle Plaine School staff will gather for our back to school workshop activities at Oak Crest Elementary.  With nearly 200 employees in the district, it is always great to see everyone gathered at one place reconnecting with colleagues as we prepare ourselves for the beginning of another great school year. I am excited about the staff that we have in place to serve our students, the great students that we are fortunate to work with every day, and for the support of our parents and community as we work to ensure success with our mission to “Expect Excellence from Everyone Everyday!” Let’s have a great school year, everyone!

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, August 12, 2014 11:06 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    I would like to thank everyone who helped to make the Randy & Terry Carlson Benefit such a success this past Saturday night.  With a great meal provided by Marty Williams and crew, some entertaining alumni basketball action (rumor has it that Coach Carlson actually played a few minutes and hit the scoring column!) and great conversation with many friends, the evening was a great success. Thanks to school administrators Dave Kreft, Mindy Sparby, Liann Hanson and Kim DeWitte for their organization of the event. While the final result is still being calculated, it looks like we will have raised just short of $8,000 to help the Carlson family deal with the loss of their home.  Thanks everyone!

    Monday was the first day of activities for our high school sports programs and once again we had great turnouts for our programs. It’s hard to believe that our fall sports programs begin their competition seasons in one week. On Monday, the girl’s tennis team opens the season at LeSueur-Henderson and the cross country teams travel to Watertown-Mayer. The volleyball team opens their season the following Tuesday at LeSueur-Henderson while the football team opens their season at home on Thursday, August 28th against Albany. Good luck to all participants and teams. Thanks for participating in Belle Plaine activities!

    We had three successful Parent Information Nights regarding our Enhanced Learning Initiative (1 to 1 iPad program) last week and are preparing for our rollout for students in grades 7-12. Seventh through twelfth grade students will receive their iPads on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night next week at Oak Crest Elementary School. Each student must register for a specific meeting time of 4 p.m. 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. on each of those days as we will be limiting the number of students each session to 100. Three forms – the Acceptable Use Policy, the iPad Loan Agreement and the Insurance Option form must be completed and the insurance fee of $25 must be paid before receiving the iPad. If families are not available next week to pick up the devices, there will be dates and times during the week of August 25 when the devices will be available for pick up at the high school. All students should have an active Apple ID account when they pick up their iPad so they are ready to sign in with Apple and access our device monitoring system, AirWatch.

    Students in grades K-6 will receive their iPads after school has begun. Parents should bring their forms and the insurance fee to the back to school conferences on September 2 & 3. Devices will be handed out in the classroom beginning with students in grades 3-6 and finishing with our Kindergarten through grade 2 students.

    I am excited about the work that our staff has done this summer as they continue to work to change the way curriculum is delivered and how students are assessed in the classroom. This iPad rollout to all students is the first step in a multi-year journey as we seek to enhance our educational system. 

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:42 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    This Saturday evening the Belle Plaine High School commons and gym will be the location for the benefit dinner for Randy and Terry Carlson.  In addition to a fabulous pulled pork sandwich, baked beans and chips meal, there will be plenty of alumni basketball action for your entertainment. All funds raised through this effort will go to the Carlson’s as they move forward following the significant damage done to their home earlier this summer by a mudslide.  Please join the Belle Plaine community this Saturday evening in showing your support for the Carlson family!

    Monday night was the fall activities registration night for students in grades 7-12 and opening days of practice are just a week away for many of our activities. Much of the registration information is now available on the school district website through the Activities Central link on the home page. To go directly to the registration site, please go to www. belleplaineactivities.com. All students must have a current physical on file with the district (a new physical is required every 3 years), all necessary MN State High School League forms completed (now done online) and your respective activity fee paid in full prior to the first day of practice. If you have any questions about the registration process call the high school office at 873-2403 or Mrs. Sparby, Activities Director, at 873-2412.

    This past spring, the Minnesota legislature passed the new Minnesota Safe & Supportive Schools Act (sometimes referred to as the anti-bullying bill) and Governor Dayton signed the bill into law. As a result of this new legislation, the Belle Plaine Schools has revised our Bullying Prohibition Policy to reflect the changes that were enacted in the new bill. While the contents of this bill will be discussed with students during the first week of school, I encourage all parents to take a look at our new policy 514 that was adopted by the school board in June. You may find the policy on our school district website, select the tab district information and then select Policies. With regard to bullying, our goal is simple for the coming year. We want to eliminate any bullying from our schools and will work diligently to provide students resources to report any suspected bullying and to deal appropriately with those who are bullying. We will need the support of all students, parents and staff members to eliminate bullying from the Belle Plaine Schools.

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:42 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    As parents begin making plans for the new school year to begin, I encourage everyone to understand the new rules and requirements for school immunizations that were approved this past year. I located the following information on the MN Department of Health website.

    Changes to immunization requirements for children in Minnesota child care, early childhood programs and schools will better protect children and communities from a number of potentially serious diseases, say state health officials. The new rules adopted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for this year will apply to children enrolling in programs beginning Sept. 1, 2014, and bring Minnesota’s immunizations law in line with current national recommendations and practices.

    Among the biggest changes, the rules for children in child care and grades preK-12 now call for:

    *  Hepatitis A and B vaccination for children enrolling in child care or early childhood programs.

    *  Replacement of the current seventh-grade tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccination with one that also includes pertussis (Tdap).

    *  Meningococcal vaccination for secondary students, beginning in seventh grade.

    The rules do not change the medical exemption or the option for parents to decline any or all vaccines for conscientious reasons.

    Some additional changes to the school and child care immunization rules make modifications in the timing of certain doses of required vaccines to match current medically acceptable standards and put early childhood programs that meet regularly for six weeks or more under the immunization rule. More details on the changes are available at:  www.health.state.mn.us.

    From now until Sept. 1, 2014, immunization program staff at MDH will be working with other state agencies, local public health departments, school personnel, child care providers, health care providers and professional organizations to make sure Minnesota parents are aware of the new requirements and have ample opportunities to make sure their children are current on their immunizations. 

    The changes are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other medical and public health groups. They are supported by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Minnesota Child Care Association, Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association, the March of Dimes, and local public health agencies.

    “Vaccinations promote children’s good health and well-being,” said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “This rule change will only help in our efforts to ensure safe environments for children in child care.”

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716.  Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:11 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    As parents begin making plans for the new school year to begin, I encourage everyone to understand the new rules and requirements for school immunizations that were approved this past year. I located the following information on the MN Department of Health website.

    Changes to immunization requirements for children in Minnesota child care, early childhood programs and schools will better protect children and communities from a number of potentially serious diseases, say state health officials. The new rules adopted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for this year will apply to children enrolling in programs beginning Sept. 1, 2014, and bring Minnesota’s immunizations law in line with current national recommendations and practices.

    Among the biggest changes, the rules for children in child care and grades preK-12 now call for:

    *  Hepatitis A and B vaccination for children enrolling in child care or early childhood programs.

    *  Replacement of the current seventh-grade tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccination with one that also includes pertussis (Tdap).

    *  Meningococcal vaccination for secondary students, beginning in seventh grade.

    The rules do not change the medical exemption or the option for parents to decline any or all vaccines for conscientious reasons.

    Some additional changes to the school and child care immunization rules make modifications in the timing of certain doses of required vaccines to match current medically acceptable standards and put early childhood programs that meet regularly for six weeks or more under the immunization rule. More details on the changes are available at:  www.health.state.mn.us.

    From now until Sept. 1, 2014, immunization program staff at MDH will be working with other state agencies, local public health departments, school personnel, child care providers, health care providers and professional organizations to make sure Minnesota parents are aware of the new requirements and have ample opportunities to make sure their children are current on their immunizations. 

    The changes are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other medical and public health groups. They are supported by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Minnesota Child Care Association, Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association, the March of Dimes, and local public health agencies.

    “Vaccinations promote children’s good health and well-being,” said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “This rule change will only help in our efforts to ensure safe environments for children in child care.”

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716.  Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:12 AM
    By Dr. Kelly Smith
    I realize that I have written before about the importance of reading by all students over the summer but I would like to put out one reminder about a great resource that we have in Belle Plaine – the Belle Plaine Public Library. Although I hope that all students are having a chance to enjoy summer, I also hope that part of your summer includes some reading. Reading for pleasure is a great way to continue to build reading skills and to ensure that reading skills do not diminish over the course of a long summer. Our public library has a great selection of books for all ages and great staff to help students find books that match their reading ability.  Check out the Belle Plaine Public Library this summer. The library is located at 125 W Main Street in Belle Plaine and the phone number is 873-6767. You may also check out library hours and search for books at the library website – www.scott.lib.mn.us.  Our local library, a branch of the Scott County library system is a great resource for all Belle Plaine residents. I hope that our students are using the library this summer!
    One of the major projects underway at our school buildings this summer is the upgrading of our wireless network and our overall network capacity. As we move forward with our 1 to 1 initiative with an iPad mini for each student, we want to ensure that we have adequate bandwidth and capacity on our network and work is underway to make sure that happens.
    We are fortunate to be able to partner with the Scott County Fiber Network for our internet access. The Scott County Fiber Network has been in place for over five years and provides a fiber backbone throughout the county connecting all county, city and school district buildings to fast, reliable internet access. Through the years, the capacity of the network has grown as demand bandwidth across all entities has increased. This fall, our capacity will increase significantly from the 108 MB of service that we currently have.
    One of the major improvements in our network will be making a fiber connection to the Oak Crest Elementary building.  Previously, Oak Crest has connected to our network via microwave dish signal transmitted from near the high school. A new fiber connection to the Scott County Fiber along Highway 169 will provide more capacity and greater reliability with the service.
    Finally, our wireless network in all buildings will be improved through the deployment of additional wireless access points. In essence, there will be a wireless access point in every classroom as we begin the school year as compared to an every other room arrangement that was used in the past. I want to thank our tech department and our custodial department for all the work that they have been doing this summer to make these significant improvements to our network. I am excited for the new year to begin!
    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!
  • Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:54 AM
    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    I often get asked by acquaintances, “What do you do with all of your time off during the summer?” I have heard this question every summer for the past 22 summers that I have served as a superintendent in Minnesota schools. Although I am able to take some vacation time during the summer as others in the office do, the truth of the matter is that the school district office is a pretty busy place during the summer.
    Hiring new staff begins during the last months of the school year and often continues into the summer. This year our final three hires were made just days before the 4th of July. Our annual budget for the new year is worked on and finalized by the school board at our June board meeting. July is a time to begin refining our back to school schedules and this year we are working the details of our one to one iPad rollout. Our school buildings are busy in June and July with various summer school sessions, sports camps and with custodial work prepping for the new school year. Finally, our school district auditors typically arrive in August and review our financial records for the previous year while preparing our annual audit.
    This summer I have joined a technology Summer Learning Series organized by an Intermediate School principal from Texas. At last report, over 1,500 educators from 7 different countries are participating in the technology & education challenges each and every week. The event encourages educators to branch out into news areas of technology including Twitter, podcasts, blogging, etc to guide self-improvement. I know that two of our principals are participating in this Learning Series as well. This learning experience has been awesome experience and has introduced me to a great many new educational leaders across the country.
    As I have mentioned in previous columns this summer, long time math teacher and coach Randy Carlson and his family lost their house to a mudslide in mid-June. While the house was insured, the coverage did not cover damage due to mudslides. There have been several fund raising efforts begun on behalf of the family to support them as they deal with their housing situation for the future. If you are interested in supporting the Carlson’s, you may donate online at www.gofundme.com/alh9t0 or you may drop off a donation at the State Bank of Belle Plaine.
    In addition, a benefit meal and alumni basketball tournament has been scheduled for Saturday, August 9 at the high school. A meal featuring BBQ pulled pork and the fixings will be served from 5-9 p.m. and alumni basketball games will be played that evening. The women will play at 6 p.m. and the men will follow at 7 p.m. A minimum donation for the meal is $10 per person.  T-shirts will also be available for $10 each. Please spread the word to alumni and others outside of Belle Plaine about this event so we have a great turnout.
    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!
  • Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:52 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    At our school board meeting on Monday night, we recognized state tournament participants from our spring activities. It was great to have students who competed in the MN State High School League state tournaments this spring in girl’s golf, girl’s track, boy’s track and trap shooting join us at our meeting to be recognized. In addition, we recognized Shawn Anderson who recently placed fifth place in the MN State High School bass fishing tournament. I am excited about the number of students we have participating in activities throughout our system. It is well documented that participants in extra-curricular activities are leaders in our school buildings and that they perform better academically than those who are not participating. Thanks to our great coaches for bringing their passion for these activities to our students and encouraging all students to find their passion as well!

    I also reported to the school board that our buildings and grounds had survived the torrential rains fairly well. Other than a small sinkhole that appeared near our running track, all facilities appear to be in good shape. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many in the area including retired teacher and coach Randy Carlson. The Carlson family home near Henderson was destroyed by mudslides during the heavy rains last week. The home is a total loss and insurance will not cover damage caused by mudslides.

    I would like to take this opportunity to make everyone aware of several opportunities that have been made available to show their support to the Carlson family through donations:

    * For those in the Belle Plaine area, donations are being accepted at the State Bank of Belle Plaine. Simply drop off your donation at the bank and it will be deposited in the Carlson fund. If you are writing a check, please make it out to Randy & Terry Carlson Fund.

    * An online option has been set up through the GoFundMe website. Donations may be made through this website using credit cards. Please note that this site does subtract 5% from your donation for administrative costs. The website address is:  http://www.gofundme.com/alh9t0

    *  Finally, preliminary work is being done to organize alumni basketball games for men & women to be held sometime in July. A benefit meal will be held in conjunction with the alumni game with all proceeds going to the Carlson family. Further information will be shared about this event as the details are firmed up.

    Let’s hope we get some extended dry weather to help everyone, including our area farmers, dry out from this very wet June.  As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716.  Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:11 AM
    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    Graduation ceremonies were just over one week ago and yet it seems like the school is in full summer mode as we hit the middle of June. Even during the summer months our schools continue to be very busy places.
    Summer school is off and running at the high school as students attend classes in the morning to help ensure that they are on the path to a timely graduation. Elementary summer school will begin in July and special education summer school will occur at a later time as well.
    Our custodial staff are already busy with summer cleaning as they methodically work their way through each building. We have a veteran crew who knows the routine of summer cleaning and understands the timing of this process as well. There is a controlled timeline on all duties as they work around the schedules of summer school classes, our school age child care program and the various activity camps that are constantly going on in the buildings. They know that our buildings are expected to be in tip top shape by the middle of August as teachers and students will be arriving shortly thereafter.
    There are several construction projects that occur over the summer as well. This year, our biggest project is a re-roofing project as the south gym roof at the high school is being replaced. Crews from Nieman Roofing were on site last week to begin the process and all work is expected to be complete this week. Our membrane roof systems typically last between 20 and 25 years so roof replacement projects are pretty common during our summer months.
    Another project this summer will be the upgrading of our wireless network to prepare each of our buildings for the one to one initiative that will begin this fall. We are making improvements to the connections from our buildings to the Scott County Fiber Ring (our access out to the Internet) and we are upgrading the capacity (bandwidth) and robustness of each of the wireless networks. Our custodial staff will be pulling the necessary cable to accommodate the additional access points needed in classrooms and then our wireless contractor will follow behind to install the access points and balance the network. When all is completed, our network will have a capacity of 10GB of service with access points capable of handling over 30 connected devices in nearly every classroom in the district.
    It is great to see the methodical transition of our school buildings each summer as our custodial crew works hard to prepare our buildings for the new school year. We are fortunate to have such a skilled and dedicated crew who take so much pride in their respective buildings.
    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014 4:48 PM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    Congratulations to the Class of 2014! The weather was outstanding for our 2 p.m. Graduation Ceremony on Sunday at the High School as 114 graduates proudly received their diplomas from school officials. Best wishes to all graduates with your future plans!

    Congratulations to our girl’s track team for their runner-up finish at the State Track Meet on Friday and Saturday. The Tigers finished with 32.75 points behind team champion Minneapolis Edison with 40. Jenna Gatz captured the 400 M Dash individual title and placed ninth in the 100 M Dash to lead all point getters for the Tigers. In the pole vault, Bridget Egan finished second with a vault of 10’6” and sister Shannon  claimed ninth place. Janessa Meuleners place sixth in the 3200 M Run and the 4 x 400 M Relay team of Amara Meyer, Alissa Schultz, Haley Leger and Jenna Gatz place sixth as well. Amara Meyer tied for eighth place in the high jump to finish out the scoring. Great season girls!

    Good luck to Josiah Barringer as he competes this weekend in the MSHSL Trap Shooting State Tournament in Prior Lake.  Josiah placed in the top 100 shooters statewide (and has scored a perfect 25 of 25 this year) to qualify for this event.

    As we begin summer schedules, it is easy for students to regress in their learning over the course of the summer.  Recent studies have indicated that students who step away from reading or math activities for the summer may lose 3 months to 6 months of their learning over that time. Please keep your child reading and/or math activities to help maintain their level of learning. Advice for keeping children actively engaged in learning in the summer is available from many sources including the following:

    - Scott County Library is offering their summer reading program called Bookawocky once again. Visit the Belle Plaine Library, go to the Scott County Library site or check out the website bookawocky.org for more information.

    - U.S. Department of Education, ed.gov, offers advice and ideas, also follow it @usedgov on Twitter and check the department’s Facebook page.

    - The Minnesota Department of Education offers advice and opportunities to register for summer reading and math programs at education.state.mn.us; click on Summer Learning Opportunities under the Just for Parents tab.

    - kids.gov, offering arts and crafts projects to engage kids’ minds

    - aaamath.com, math activities categorized by grade level and type of activity

    - ixlmath.com, math and language arts lessons by grade, with information about how activities fit into each state’s academic standards

    - Scholastic.com, offers reading materials, games and blogs

    - Hoodamath.com, math games from kindergarten through high school

    - Makinglearningfun.com, for early childhood learning

    - Spellingcity.com, activities and games to build vocabulary and spelling skills.

    - Nga.gov/kids – the National Gallery of Art’s interactive kids’ site.

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:12 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    Congratulations to our entire athletic department as the Tigers captured the Minnesota River Conference All Sports Trophy for the 2013-14 school year. The competition awards points to each school for each sport based on the final conference standing. Led by conference championships in football (3 way tie), girl’s cross country, tennis, volleyball, high kick dance, wrestling, baseball, boys track and girls track, the Tigers claimed top honors in this year’s competition. Congratulations to all athletes, all coaches and Activities Director Mindy Sparby on the great season!

    As we enter the last two weeks of the 2013-14 school year, I want to thank our students, parents and staff for another great year. Our schools are each a “great place to learn” thanks to the efforts of all involved. We have made progress in our academic achievement, our schools are safe places to learn and we have staff that work diligently to provide quality educational programming to every individual student every single day. I am proud of all the work that students, parents and staff put in as they model our mission statement, “Expecting Excellence from Everyone, Every Day!”

    Good luck to our softball, baseball and golf teams as they continue tournament action at various times this week. Also, congratulations to our boy’s and girl’s track teams for winning the sub-section championships last Thursday at Glencoe-Silver Lake. Good luck to all athletes who qualified for the Section meet this Saturday at Mankato West High School. Top qualifiers will advance to the State Meet held on June 6 & 7 at Hamline University.

    Here is a reminder of two fine arts activities this week. The band presents their final concert of the year on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Union Square Park behind the high school. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the North Gym. Also, our Junior High play cast and crew will present Beauty and the Beast on Friday night at 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Come out and enjoy a great play by these young actors!

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:18 PM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    Thanks to Mrs. Gorton and Ms. Velzke for coordinating and directing the wonderful choir concert on Monday night for students in grades 5-12. There was great music performed by all grade levels with many soloists performing throughout the evening. The show concluded with a mass choir of nearly 400 singers. Great job everyone!

    Next week our concert band performs in its annual Concert in the Park on Wednesday, May 28 at 6 p.m. With the weather beginning to feel a little more like spring, please join everyone in the Park next Wednesday for a great show. 

    Our Junior High Drama Department will be presenting Beauty and the Beast next Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31.  Performance times are 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Performing Arts Center at the District Center.

    Our athletes had a great week as conference championships were claimed in three sports. Our baseball team earned its first conference championship in over 11 years. With one game remaining, they sit on top of the conference with an 11-2 record.  They also have the #1 seed in the sub-section tournament and will begin tournament action on Saturday at home vs. LeSueur-Henderson. Congratulations on a great season so far and good luck in the play-offs.

    Our boys and girls track teams captured Minnesota River Conference championships as well as they hosted the Conference Track Meet last Thursday. The girls team has now won the Conference Title for ten consecutive years and the boys have started their own streak with three consecutive titles as well.  Great job everyone and good luck to both teams as they begin sub-section competition on Thursday at Glencoe.

    Good luck to our softball team as they begin play this Tuesday hosting Glencoe-Silver Lake on Tuesday afternoon. And finally, good luck to our boys and girls golf teams as they host sub-section play next Tuesday. Congratulations on the fine seasons so far everyone and best of luck in tournament play.

     

    The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up the session late last week and there were several changes that will impact MN public schools. Here is a list of some of the major education highlights of the session:

    *  Passed the Anti-Bullying Law that will go into effect on July 1.

    *  Merged the Duluth Teachers pension fund into the Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association in an effort to provide more long-term viability to the fund.

    *  Increased the general education revenue formula by $25 per pupil unit for all schools.  This will provide approximately $44,000 in new revenue to Belle Plaine Schools.

    *  Provided some additional funding on a one-time basis for implementation of the teacher evaluation process that was previously legislated. Revenue to Belle Plaine Schools will be approximately $33,000 this coming year.

    *  Provided additional assistance for early learning programs with scholarships for pre-school programming and additional funding for Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness.

    *  Provided additional revenue for the hot lunch program to ensure that reduced price meal recipients receive meals each and every day.

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014 8:41 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    Thanks to all of the students and advisors who were involved in the most recent Spring Pops Concert this past weekend.  Great projects were on display from the Art and Industrial Tech departments as well as a plant sale sponsored by the Agricultural department and FFA. Our choir and band students put on a great show once again featuring movie and TV music from through the years. Thanks also go out to all of our small group and solo performers for such a great show.

    Congratulations go out to Jake Raddatz, Stephanie Rosario and Savannah Schatz for advancing from the Section Meet last week in Jordan to State Competition with their art pieces. Belle Plaine students had 18 pieces entered into the Section competition and came away with an impressive 17 Superior (the top rating earned) ratings and 1 Excellent rating. 

    Freshmen Hannah Burmeister and Mattie Flaschenriem both earned superior ratings in 2D Mixed Media and Sheila Martin earned a superior in Crafts.

    Juniors Kylee Pass, Gillian Trog and Alyssa Wentworth earned superior ratings - Kylee in Painting and Printmaking, Gillian in Drawing and Alyssa in Sculpture.

    Seniors Jake Raddatz and Stephanie Rosario each earned three superior ratings. Jake's awards were in Printmaking, Crafts and Media Arts. Stephanie's were in Crafts, Media Arts and Graphic Design. Savanna Schatz earned 5 awards, an excellent in Printmaking, and superior ratings in Sculpture, Media Arts, Drawing, and Crafts.

    Belle Plaine was awarded 3 of the 9 best in category/judges' choice and trips to state exhibit: Jake Raddatz in Printmaking, Stephanie Rosario in Media Arts and Savanna Schatz in Crafts.

    Congratulations to all of our 5th grade students as they celebrated their DARE Graduation this past week. The students have learned valuable lessons throughout the year about standing up to peer pressure and saying “No” to drugs. Officer Brian Vycital is the instructor and does a great job with our students each year. The celebration concluded with the annual 5K run that goes from Oak Crest Elementary to Chatfield Elementary and back to Oak Crest for the finish. It was great to see so many Chatfield students outside on a beautiful day cheering these 5th graders on! Thanks to all who worked to make this event a success!

    At our school board meeting last night, the school board gave approval to our Enhanced Learning Initiative for students in grades K-12. This program will provide an iPad mini to all students beginning next fall to assist in personalizing education for each and every child. I want to thank the school board for their financial commitment to this initiative and thank everyone who worked diligently to prepare information about this proposal. More information about this initiative will be coming in future communications. I am excited about the opportunities for enhanced learning that await our students in the fall!

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

  • Tuesday, May 06, 2014 8:54 AM

    By Dr. Kelly Smith

    The weather cooperated on Saturday evening as over 200 students participated in the 2014 Prom and Grand March. Thank you to advisor Lyle Noah and the junior class for all the work you put in to provide a successful event. Thank you to all parents who helped out with Saturday’s Post Prom event. It is great to have such a great group of parents who are concerned about the safety and well being of our students following the prom activities at school and at Arlington. 

    I also want to thank Matt Saxe and Matt Saxe Chevrolet for the surprise announcement made at the Prom Grand March.  Mr. Saxe had donated a used car for the annual Dollars for Scholars car raffle. Following the Grand March, it was announced that a brand new car would be provided instead of the used car.  The winner of the car raffle will be receiving a 2014 Chevrolet Spark. Thank you Matt Saxe Chevrolet!

    This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week across the country. We are fortunate to have many great teachers working with our students here in Belle Plaine. Thank you to all of our teachers for the great job that you do working with our students!

    The legislature is moving into finish mode as many bills have now passed out of both the House and the Senate and are in conference committee. The conference committee, comprised of three to five members of each body, works out a compromise between the House version of the bill and the Senate version of the bill. Once a compromise is achieved, the bill must then go back to both bodies for approval once again before being delivered to the Governor for his signature or veto.

    The Omnibus Education bill is in conference committee this week. The House version of the bill provided a 1% increase in general education revenue for all districts while the Senate version had less overall money in the bill and directed those funds to early learning programs. I have been seeking support from legislators for the House version of this bill. The 1% in new funding will help all school districts with additional funding that is flexible in how it can be used. I believe that this option provides greater overall support for all school districts than the Senate bill with the restrictions on the funding. If everything goes well, the legislature is scheduled for adjournment on Monday, May 19th.

    As always, if you have any questions about school matters, please feel free to call me at 873-2400 or check our website at www.belleplaine.k12.mn.us. You may also find me on Twitter at @BPTiger716. Go Tigers!

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