Inspire 199 - September 2017
Published on Sep 29, 2017 17:25

Inspire 199 Family Newsletter

The Inver Grove Heights School Board met on Monday, September 25, with the following items on the agenda:

District highlights
  • Superintendent Dave Bernhardson and Board Member Paul Mandell presented the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) Director’s Award to Board Chair Matt Schaefer. MSBA honors board members who have completed 100 hours of training and attended presentations on being an effective board member. While board members have four years to earn the award, Director Schaefer earned his in less than two.

Consent agenda

  • Minutes from previous school board meeting
  • Minutes from the closed session on August 21, 2017
  • Minutes from the special meeting on September 11, 2017
  • Cash disbursements
  • Personnel transactions and donations
  • New positions
  • Schedule C theatre position stipends
  • Gifts and grants
Information items
  • Hilltop Elementary School Principal, Sue Vallafskey, presented Hilltop’s school improvement plan for the 2017-2018 school year
  • Board Vice Chair/Treasurer Sue Gliva presented Superintendent Bernhardson’s End of Year Evaluation for 2016-2017
  • Superintendent Bernhardson presented an election update 
  • Board committee reports
  • Membership reports
Action items
  • Approval of the Proposed 2017 Payable 2018 Property Tax Levy
Meeting information and video of the September 25 meeting are available on the district website, The next board work session will be held on Monday, October 9, at the District Office, 2990 80th Street East in Inver Grove Heights. The next board meeting will be held on Monday, October 23, at Salem Hills Elementary School, 3201 68th Street East in Inver Grove Heights. Both meetings will start at 5:30PM. 

Salem Hills and Atheneum Host STEAM Night
Salem Hills STEAM Night
Salem Hills Elementary School and its Atheneum Gifted Magnet Program hosted a STEAM Night for families. Numerous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities challenged students and their families to work together and use their creativity to problem solve. Families learned about and explored new technologies, such as 3D printers and a Sphero, which is a ball that students can control by coding on an iPad.

The Simley High School Robotics Team also visited the event to show students the team robot. Simley students built the robot last year, advancing to the worldwide FIRST Robotics Playoffs. Elementary students learned about the team and their options for the future. Families also enjoyed a light dinner and a Mariachi band. Friends of the Inver Glen Library sent each student home with an age-appropriate book to continue the learning together at home.  

Simley Link and IGHMS WEB Crews Welcome New Students
The first day of school can be exciting, but it can also be intimidating, especially when students start at a new school. This year, Simley High School and Inver Grove Heights Middle School started school for 6th and 9th graders one day early to help them ease in to their transition. Extracurricular groups of upperclassmen, Simley Link Leaders and IGHMS WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) Leaders, also attended the 6th- and 9th-grade only days to help familiarize them with their new schools and connect with them to make their transition easier.

Simley formed Link Crew last year to help incoming freshmen transition smoothly into their new school. Each Link Leader was given a group of new students to connect with at 9th Grade Orientation before the first day of school. Throughout the rest of the year, Link Leaders acted as resources for their 9th grade groups.

“Freshmen are welcomed to our school by older students who have discovered what it takes to be successful in high school,” Simley English teacher and Link Crew co-organizer Bobby Mandell said. “It's like having an older sibling who can teach you all of the unwritten rules so you don’t have to make mistakes just to learn them.”

This year, Simley took another step toward helping new students transition and IGHMS implemented a similar change for incoming 6th graders: 9th and 6th graders started school one day before their classmates to familiarize themselves with the new buildings and environment. The only upperclassmen around were Link Leaders at Simley and the middle school’s WEB Leaders, who applauded students as they arrived, made them feel welcome, and helped them navigate their new environment throughout the day. Both WEB and Link leaders will also continue to act as resources for the 6th and 9th graders throughout the school year.

Simley Wrestler Earns Gold Medal at World Championship
Simley's Wrestling World Champion
In the spring, Simley High School junior and two-time 2A wrestling state champion, Greg K., traveled to Ohio to try out for the United World Wrestling (UWW) Cadet Nationals. This summer, he returned from the 2017 Cadet World Championship with a gold medal.

Greg has been wrestling since he was in kindergarten. He said his goal has always been competing in world championships, so when he had the chance to try out for the UWW Cadet Nationals, he took it. Despite having had knee surgery only two weeks before trials, Greg earned a spot in Nationals. He trained with the top wrestlers and coaches, learning what he could from them, and won all of his matches to qualify for the World Championship in Athens, Greece.

At the World Championship in September, Greg wrestled the best athletes in the world while unable to straighten his arm due to an elbow injury. Still, he won all four matches by 10 points or more. He won his final match against Russia’s Ismail-Bek Nirov 2-1, earning the 100kg gold medal. Greg’s win also helped America earn four golds in the Men’s Freestyle World Championship, something that has not happened in nearly 25 years, and place second as a team.

Greg hopes to compete in more state, national, and world championships in the future and maybe even the Olympics. After the Cadet level, which consists of competitors ages 15-17, Greg will be able to compete in Junior-, University-, and Senior-level championships.

School Board Chair Earns MSBA Award in Less Than Two Years
Board Chair Schaefer
Inver Grove Heights School Board chair, Matt Schaefer, recently earned the Director Award from the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA). The award recognizes board members who have completed 100 hours or more of MSBA programs within the past four years. MSBA programs and trainings help board members better serve their districts and communities by providing information about school finance, education legislation, and more topics unique to school districts. Director Schaefer, who was inducted as a board member in 2016, earned the recognition in less than two years.

Rotary Club Helps School Districts Purchase 3D Printers
ISD 199 accepts grant from SSP/IGH Rotary
The South St. Paul/Inver Grove Heights Rotary Club awarded local school districts a grant to purchase six 3D printers. Inver Grove Heights will receive three 3D printers, South St. Paul Public Schools will receive two, and Intermediate School District 917 will receive one. 3D printers can be used in makerspaces, classrooms, and media centers to help students solidify their STEM skills, especially with coding and engineering. Thank you to the Rotary Club for its generosity!

Inver Grove Heights Schools Referendum
All in for Inver Grove! Referendum November 7
Inver Grove Heights Schools will have two questions on the November 7, 2017, ballot. Click here to subscribe to bi-weekly referendum email updates and learn more about the district's referendum at and in the video below:

All in for Inver Grove: Referendum 2017 from ISD199 on Vimeo.

ISD 199 is Now Hiring!
ISD 199 is now hiring for part-time bus driver, bus paraprofessional, and lunchroom monitor positions. Click here to see all of the vacancies.

For more District News, visit and click the “News and Events” tab.
Check out the Inver Grove Heights Schools Facebook page for photos, updates, and more!
-This month, see photos from IGH Days, Hilltop's and Pine Bend's Cinnamon Bun breakfasts, Simley Spartan Superhero visits to the elementary schools, and Simley Link Crew's visits to elementary schools. Also, get more information about our November 7 referendum.

  • September 22-November 6: Absentee voting available
  • October 2-6: Homecoming Week
  • Friday, October 6: Early Dismissal, secondary schools dismiss at 11:05AM and elementary schools dismiss at 11:45AM
  • Monday, October 16: Last day to a Free and Reduced Meal applications and receive uninterrupted benefits if you received free or reduced-price meals last year. Click here to learn more about applying for Free and Reduced-Price Meals.
  • Tuesday, October 31: Early voting starts

For more information about the Inver Grove Heights Referendum, please visit and click here to subscribe to bi-weekly referendum email updates.