Inspire 199 - January 2017
Published on Feb 1, 2017 17:30

Inspire 199 Family Newsletter


The Inver Grove Heights School Board met on Monday, Jan. 23, with the following items on the agenda:

-District highlights
-The board recognized Inver Grove Heights Middle School's TIES Excellent
Teacher Award recipients, Genna Hamilton and Zeb Wahlberg.
-Consent agenda
-Minutes from previous School Board meetings
-Cash disbursements
-Personnel transactions and donations
-Gifts and grants
-Information items
-Director of Business Services, Heather Aune, presented the budgeting
parameters for Fiscal Year 2018.
-Board committee reports
-Membership reports
-Action items
-Approval of the Wrap-Around Kids Care Fees.
-Approval of the 2017-2018 Academic Calendar.
-Approval of the 2017 School Board Committees.
-Approval of the Principal Contract.
-Approval of the Superintendent Contract.

Meeting information is available on the district website. Future School Board meetings include a Work Session on Monday, February 13, which will be held at the District Office, 2990 80th Street East in Inver Grove Heights, and a regular meeting on Monday, February 27, which will be held at Hilltop Elementary School, 3201 68th Street East in Inver Grove Heights. Both meetings will be held at 5:30PM.



Academy of Powerful Parents (APP) Starts February
Academy of Powerful Parents
Parents of preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade students can join the Academy of Powerful Parents (APP) starting February 9, 6:00-7:30PM at Simley High School, 2920 80th Street East. Parents can learn strategies to help their children achieve academic success. Click here for more information about APP. Más información sobre Academia de Padres Poderosos (APP).

2017-2018 Year at a Glance Calendar Now Available
Click here to see the approved 2017-2018 calendar.

Add Your Input During Our Community Conversation
Inver Grove Heights Schools will join the West St. Paul and South St. Paul school districts to develop a plan to build equity, integration, and excellence in education for our students. We invite our families to add their voices at the Reimagine Minnesota conversation on Wednesday, February 22, between 6:00PM-8:30PM at South St. Paul Secondary, 700 2nd Street North in South St. Paul.

Transportation, childcare, and interpreters will be available, and a light dinner and refreshments will be provided. Please click here to RSVP, and in your RSVP, please let us know if you will need transportation or childcare.  

Please click here for more information about the Reimagine Minnesota event.


IGHMS and Simley Earn AVID Certifications

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) prepares students for graduation and beyond by teaching students learning strategies and familiarizing them with college. Every year, the AVID Center analyzes data from schools to determine the efficacy of each school’s AVID program. For the 2016-2017 school year, Simley High School was recognized once again as an AVID Certified Site, and Inver Grove Heights Middle School was recognized as an AVID Highly Certified Site.

Schools are only eligible for certification after they have had AVID in place for one year. Both IGHMS and Simley have been AVID Certified Sites every year since they became eligible. The certification means the AVID programs at IGHMS and Simley are accomplishing the necessary steps that will prepare students for academic success in high school and college.

However, IGHMS earned recognition as an AVID Highly Certified Site for the 2016-2017 school year. This certification indicates that the IGHMS AVID program is helping more students than those who were accepted into the school’s AVID program. AVID Highly Certified Sites show AVID college readiness practices in place throughout the school, instead of only in AVID classrooms.  

Spartans Selected for All-Conference Music Festival
All-Conference Choir  All-Conference Band

Nearly 20 Simley High School music students were chosen to perform at the Metro East All-Conference Music Festival. Kayla Durham, Ren Johnson, Yenlan Nguyen, Jessica Patrick, and Malachi Slaughter sang in the All-Conference Choir. They rehearsed an advanced choral repertoire for two days alongside students from the eight other Metro East Conference high schools.  

Thirteen Simley band members were selected to play in the All-Conference Band. Students from Simley were also selected to perform three of the five concert solos. 

FluteKissme Leenhiavu, Abby Stein; ClarinetKiri Ferguson, Danielle Ungurian; Bass ClarinetJulia Wright; Alto SaxCarter Erdman; Tenor SaxNikki Muller; Bari SaxSam Keran; TrumpetBen Borchard; French HornJosiah Tuione; PercussionMoriah Elkin, Scarlett Storo, Kris Wrobel


Pine Bend Student Earns Perfect Score at WordMasters Competition
Pine Bend WordMasters Champion
One student representing Inver Grove Heights Schools recently received a perfect score in the first of three meets in this year’s WordMasters Challenge™, a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually.

Competing in the very difficult Blue Division of the WordMasters Challenge™, 5th grader Mary Y. earned a perfect score of 20. Only 64 fifth graders in the nation achieved this result. Mary was coached by Pine Bend Elementary School 5th grade teacher, Theresa Bechay.

The WordMasters Challenge™ is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters Challenge™ materials have been specifically created for younger students in grades 3-8. They are particularly well suited for children who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.

The WordMasters Challenge™ program is administered by a company based in Indianapolis, Ind., which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools.

Give Kids a Smile Event Provides Free Dental Appointments
Minnesota dentists are offering free dental care to children in need on February 3 and 4, 2017. Appointments can be booked now. The Minnesota Dental Association has more than 2,000 dental professionals volunteering at more than 125 clinics across the state for Give Kids a Smile.

Locating a clinic with open appointments is as easy as calling United Way 211 (just dial 2-1-1) or by visiting Appointments can then be scheduled directly with the dental office.

Patients must be 18 years or younger and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Dentists will be providing free exams, fillings and sealants. Specific services provided at each location will be outlined when an appointment is scheduled. Volunteers speaking multiple languages are also available at many locations to help with language barriers.

“Minnesota dentists know every child deserves a winning smile,” said Dr. Kevin Dens, president of the Minnesota Dental Association and a practicing dentist in Baxter, Minnesota. “There is so much unmet need for dental treatment in Minnesota.”

Among the challenges:
-   Dental disease remains more prevalent today than childhood asthma
-   Nearly one in four children aged 2 to 11 years old has untreated cavities in their baby teeth, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
-   Well over half of Minnesota children enrolled in Medicaid have not received dental services in the past year - with the situation made worse by Minnesota’s lowest-in-the-nation ranking for reimbursement of government dental program fees

Minnesota dentists have provided free care to more than 65,000 young children and donated services valued at more than $17 million over the past 14 years to Give Kids a Smile.

To schedule an appointment or for more information about the Minnesota Dental Association's Give Kids a Smile, visit or @gkasmn on Facebook. 

Summer Academy
Summer Academy is a program for current kindergarten through 5th grade students to participate in a variety of learning opportunities to strengthen academic, social and emotional skills. The program is housed at Hilltop Elementary School, where participating students will receive transportation as well as free breakfast and lunch each day! 

This year’s dates are Monday, June 19 - Tuesday, July 18, from 8:30AM - 1:30PM. To better accommodate families' busy summer schedules, we will be moving to a four-day week this year (Monday - Thursday). Summer Academy will not be in session on June 23, 30, July 3, 4, 7, or 14.

Students will be recommended to the program based on a variety of criteria. If your child is recommended, an invitation and registration will be mailed home after Spring Break. Registrations can be completed online or by returning the forms to your child’s teacher no later than May 5, 2017.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Michelle Austin ([email protected] or 651-7469) or Sarah Zaiser ([email protected] or 651-396-7454).

IGHMS Students Build Confidence at Courage Retreat
IGHMS Courage Retreat game
Inver Grove Heights Middle School 7th graders attended a Courage Retreat hosted by Youth Frontiers. Students played games, talked in small groups, and listened to speakers to gain the confidence and courage to be themselves and resist peer pressure. 

The retreat encouraged students to respect others, step out of their comfort zones, share their honest opinions, and listen to the perspectives of others. Students worked together to play games, demonstrated their talents in front of their peers, and shared their past experiences with peer pressure. At the end of the retreat, students wrote down one act of courage that they would do, such as standing up for someone else or saying “no” when pressured.

Steve Miller Band Drummer Leads Percussion Clinic at ISD 199
Gordy Knudtson leads a percussion clinic
Steve Miller Band drummer, Gordy Knudtson, visited Simley High School last month to host a percussion clinic for students in grader 6-12. Mr. Knudtson taught students percussion strategies, including the Open/Close Technique. He also shared stories about his life, education, and career. Students heard about his time growing up in Minnesota, creating jingles for TV and radio, getting into the Steve Miller Band, and playing with well-known groups, such as Journey and Santana.

In addition to performing with the Steve Miller Band, Mr. Knudtson currently heads the percussion department at the McNally Smith College of Music and has developed the curriculum since the college opened.  

ISD 199 Superintendent and Board Members Meet with Legislators
ISD 199 administrators meet with legislators
199 School Board Chair Matt Schaefer, Clerk Sherry Warrick, and Member Paul Mandell and Superintendent Dave Bernhardson visited state Sen. Matt Klein and Rep. Regina Barr on Wednesday. The group talked about the school district’s perspectives, goals, and plans.

For more District News, visit and click the “News and Events” tab.

Check out the Inver Grove Heights Community Schools Facebook page for photos, updates, and more!
-This month, see photos of Jenny Lind Elementary School Principal Delon Smith speaking to Hilltop's Boys to Men, Simley's Teen Summit members donating clothes and toys to Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the IGHMS students vs. staff floor hockey game, and Dakota Electric Association's donation to the district.



  • Friday, February 17: Early Release Day (Secondary: 11:05AM, Elementary: 11:45AM)

  • Monday, February 20: NO SCHOOL for Presidents Day