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May 7, 2015
Bigfork Backwoods Bots headed to state competition


Bigfork students show off robot at competitionBigfork’s Backwoods Bots are ready to take on robots from across Minnesota at the State Robotics Tournament on May 16, 2015. The robot, Gilligan the Guillotine, will compete against 29 other robots in stacking and filling totes.

Each robotics team will collaborate with two other robots to stack totes and recycling containers, and once stacked, fill the containers with pool noodles. The higher the stack, the greater the points awarded. The competition will be composed of an autonomous portion where the robots have been coded to perform the tasks, and a remote portion where the teams are able to control the robots’ movement.
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April 9, 2015
GRHS Hosts Climate Conversation


Climate panelists present to high school students
An expectant group of high school students gathered in the GRHS Commons last month. Composed of Advanced Geography and Agricultural Resources students, they gathered to hear Grand Rapids community leaders and experts discuss the impact of a changing climate on our area.

The discussion was entitled “Woods, Water, and Workforce: What are the current and future impacts of climate change in the Grand Rapids area?” A community-wide discussion on the top will occur in May, but the students were invited to host a discussion first, “because our students are our community’s future,” said Geography teacher Brielle Carlson. 
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April 8, 2015
Kids at Southwest Elementary test engineering concepts with
LEGOs


students working together on legos
Kids at Southwest Elementary are learning to build more than just shapes and buildings with Legos. Fourth grade teacher Julie Roy-Dahline is using LEGO Engineering kits to teach all three 4th grade classes science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM).


Each fourth grade class spends a week with the engineering kits in Roy-Dahline’s room. Teams begin with simple builds like free-hand cars, cars created with instructions, and a working stoplight before finally culminating in a merry-go-round that actually revolves and plays music. Students are responsible for building the designs and then attaching them to computers that enables the stoplights and the merry-go-rounds to properly function.
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April 7, 2015
The Power of MN Reading Corps


Reading Corps volunteer works on reading with studentThe Washington Post shared the positive impact of MN Reading Corps last week. They reported, “an independent evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps, which relies on AmeriCorps service members to identify and tutor struggling students, showed that preschoolers in the program were far more likely to gain the literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten than other preschoolers.”
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April 2, 2015
RJEMS 5th graders get first-hand view of the MN Zoo


Students seated in front of Telepresence presenation5th graders from Robert J Elkington Middle School traveled to the MN Zoo, without ever leaving Grand Rapids. The 5th grade classes took advantage of TelePresence video conferencing to see zoo animals up close. 

“The experience with the zoo has been priceless,” said Ryan Siegle, fifth grade teacher at RJEMS. “Our classes have had the opportunity to form a personal connection with the zoo, which gives them a look at how we apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM) in the real world.”
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April 1, 2015
ISD 318 receives $27,000 rebate from Minnesota Energy


Dr Thomas and MN Power representatives pose with checkOn March 30th, Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation presented ISD 318 Superintendent Bruce Thomas with a check for $27,034. The check was a rebate for energy saved with a building automation project begun last summer. ISD 318 also received a rebate of $8,267.49 from the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission for the same project.

The building automation project streamlines the heating and cooling system, so that buildings are not heated when not in use. “We’re increasing student comfort, and at the same time saving money,” said Buildings and Grounds Director Rod Leistikow. 
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March 23, 2015
Reaching beyond the borders of RJEMS


Spanish students work on writing letters8th grade students in Rachel Pierce’s Spanish class are connecting beyond the boundaries of their classroom and even beyond the boundaries of language and culture. Every semester, students sit down to write to pen pals located almost 2,300 miles south of them in Guatemala City.

“My goal is to make learning as real-life as possible, and I think this makes the language learning more ‘real,’” explained Pierce. Through this project, the students extend cultural views and foster understanding across boundaries. One student explained, “I think it’s important to learn how other kids write and learn in another country.”
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March 19, 2015
RealCare Babies appearing at
GRHS


Two students pose with baby replicasRealCare Babies are beginning to show at Grand Rapids High School. These babies look, feel, and even act real, but come delivered by staff in the GRHS Health Department. 

We have to take a baby home and take care of it, and it acts as if it’s a real baby, explained one GRHS 10th grade student. These are no dolls, the babies contain a computer chips and are programmed from 15 schedules made up from actual babies. The infants cry, cough, and even coo. 
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March 2, 2015
ISD 318 graduation rates are among the highest in the state


Bigfork graduation ceremonyISD 318 graduation rates rose higher than ever in 2014, and are among the top in the state. Bigfork School graduated 100% of their students and GRHS 96%, both well above the state average of 81%.

“Bigfork High School's graduation rate is very encouraging because it reflects positively on our entire community--students, staff and families. Students are working hard to meet rigorous expectations set by caring staff members who monitor and support their academic progress throughout their elementary and high school careers. Outside of school, parents and community are emphasizing the value of graduating from high school as an important benchmark in college and career preparedness. We are proud of these results showing the commitment to graduation from our students, staff and families in Bigfork,” said Principal Scott Patrow.
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February 25, 2015
Cohasset kids are giving back to their community


Kids pose with humane society reps and collected suppliesFor a Cohasset Cougar, “G” stands for generous, and the students illustrate it daily. This year, students have created care packages for soldiers, collected gifts for Grace House, and most recently hosted a wildly successful donation drive for the Star of the North Humane Society.

The drive was the brainchild of a group of fourth grade girls. From the beginning, the girls knew that they wanted to do something for animals, and so the group organized the entire event. The fourth graders created posters for the hall, flyers for parents, classroom visits and announcements to motivate the school, and kept track of all the donations and the winning classroom.
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