Governor Visit

Gov. Walz & Lt. Gov. Flanagan Visit Hilltop & The Early Learning Center
Posted on 01/27/2022
Governor Walz reads to kindergarten studentsMinnesota Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan visited Hilltop Elementary School and the Inver Grove Heights Early Learning Center on January 25 to see the work happening in schools and roll out some budget recommendations for education and childcare. They were able to tour the school before holding a mini press conference in the gym.

Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan were greeted at the IGH Early Learning Center by Inver Grove Heights Schools staff, including paraprofessionals Chelly Stein and Jane LaVoie. Gov. Walz recognized the paraprofessionals for all of their work, especially as the state celebrated Paraprofessional Recognition Week.

Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan then began their tour in an Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) class, speaking with parents of young children about their experiences. They visited Hilltop next, seeing all of the posters that students made to welcome them. They also received a keepsake booklet from Ms. Larson's first-grade class about all the things the students believe the governor does.

At Hilltop, Gov. Walz visited Ms. Schroeder’s kindergarten class where they were learning about arctic animals. Gov. Walz put on his winter hat before reading, “In the Arctic,” about all of the different animals that live in cold climates. The governor howled along with students at the end of the book, mimicking the wolves they had just learned about.

Gov. Walz then met with some staff members in the school’s Inspiration Center, where classes focus on building skills related to STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Media). Staff included School Social Worker Andrea Lichtsinn, Spartan Kids’ Care and Youth Enrichment Coordinator Erica Tollefson, Early Learning Coordinator Lora Lambert, Learning Partner Darcy Huspek, and Student and Family Success Coach Sarah Zaiser. Each staff member provided a description of their work for the governor and lieutenant governor. Staff also thanked Gov. Walz for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funds that made it possible to bring on extra support for students after some of the most severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The visit culminated in a mini press conference in the Hilltop gym that featured announcements and information from Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan, Commissioner of Education Heather Mueller, and Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet Erin Bailey about the governor’s proposed budget items for education and childcare.

Throughout the visit, the governor, lieutenant governor, and commissioner of education repeatedly acknowledged the extraordinary work that teachers and school staff have done and continue to do throughout the pandemic. Each spoke about the Herculean efforts of staff to take care of their classrooms while simultaneously taking care of their own families in a situation that was brand-new to everyone.

Thank you to Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan, Commissioner of Education Heather Mueller, and all of the other state administrators and staff who visited Hilltop. Thank you, also, to all of the ISD 199 staff members who made the visit possible and to all of the students who made our guests feel welcome.