Inspire 199 - November 2016
Published on Nov 30, 2016 17:37


The Inver Grove Heights School Board met on Monday, Nov. 28, with the following items on the agenda:

  • District highlights
  • Simley Activities Director Will Short led a Fall activities presentation. Students from girls and boys cross country, football, marching band, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis, and volleyball as well as swimming and diving coach Tonya Iverson spoke about their seasons.
  • TriDistrict Community Education Youth Programs & Resource Development Coordinator Annie Platek and Spartan Kids’ Care & K-5 Youth Enrichment Coordinator Erica Tollefson presented highlights from Community Education. 
  • Superintendent Dave Bernhardson and ISD199’s Student Advisory Council presented the Board with an update on their first meeting of the year. The council talked about their discussions about school start and end times, after-school activities, and future meeting dates.
  • Consent agenda
  • Minutes from previous School Board meetings
  • Cash disbursements
  • Personnel transactions and donations
  • Gifts and grants
  • Information items
  • Link Crew Coordinator and Simley High School English teacher Bobby Mandell and Simley Middle/High School Transition Assistant Principal Carol Ellison presented Link Crew information to the School Board. Link Crew connects upperclassmen with incoming students to ease the transition from middle school to high school and enhance school culture.
  • Director of Food Services Cathi Krick and Food Service Management Solutions Senior Consultant Jean Ronnei presented the Board with a food service report.
  • Board member Matt Schaefer reviewed the School Board Self-Appraisal process.
  • Board committee reports
  • Membership reports
  • Action items
  • Approval of the Dependent Eligibility Audit, which is anticipated to take place January 2017
  • Approval of Community Educations fees, such as Spartan Kids’ Care fees for summer and 2017-2018
  • Approval of Equity Alliance Extension for the 2017-2018 school year
  • Approval of the Superintendent Goals for 2016-2017

The meeting video and supporting documents are available on the district website. Future School Board meetings include the meeting on Monday, December 12, at the District Office (2990 80th Street East) at 5:30PM. The School Board will not hold a separate work session meeting this month.



Emergency Weather Information
Winter weather is on its way, and that means potential school cancellations and delayed starts. Every decision to close or delay school due to the weather impacts families because many need to find alternative care for their children when school is not in session. However, the safety of students, staff, and the community is the prime concern when the district makes closure or delayed start decisions. We take into account: road conditions, visibility, snow depth, wind chill, the forecast for the remainder of the day, and the actions of our surrounding districts. Parents always have the option to keep their child home if they are worried about weather conditions.

If the decision is made to cancel or delay school, information will be sent to families through the outbound calling system. Additionally, families can find information:

  • On the district website:
  • On social media: or @isd199 on Twitter
  • On TV: Twin Cities television network affiliate stations will add “Inver Grove Heights Community Schools” in the news crawl
  • On the radio: WCCO-AM (830) radio will announce “Inver Grove Heights Community Schools”
  • On the district information line: 651-306-7875

If school is cancelled, daytime and after-school community education activities, including early childhood and Spartans Kids’ Care, will be cancelled. However, Spartan Kids’ Care will be open if school is cancelled due to extreme cold. Elementary and middle school after-school and evening activities will also be cancelled. Decisions about evening high school and community education activities will be posted on the district website,

If school is delayed, all school buses will operate on a delayed schedule. Morning offerings will be cancelled.

If the weather becomes challenging during the school day, schedules may change. Changes would be announced through the outbound call system, the district website, and on radio and television. Students are released early only in the event of an emergency. Families are encouraged to develop a plan with their child to prepare for a possible early dismissal. Keep in mind that students may be evacuated in certain emergency situations and may not be able to go back into the building to get keys or other belongings. 


ISD 199 Announces Two Exceptional Teachers

TIES Exceptional Teachers

Inver Grove Heights Middle School teachers Genna Hamilton and Zeb Wahlberg have earned the TIES 2016 Exceptional Teacher Award. The award recognizes teachers who integrate technology into their classrooms to help students succeed and innovate with new technology.

Genna Hamilton, a IGHMS English teacher, uses blogging, Google Classroom, and Schoology to engage her students in lessons and facilitate their learning.

In her nomination, Principal Jodi Wendel said, “She has helped other staff shift their technology skills and she is always willing to try something new.”

Zeb Wahlberg, a social studies teacher, uses technology to develop his students’ 21st century skills, which will be necessary for their future careers. Principal Wendel said he builds collaboration skills into all of his lessons and credits him with an excellent understanding of how technology enhances learning.  


ISD 199 Students Honor Veterans at Community Programs

Pine Bend students sing at State Veterans Day Program Hilltop students sing at Timber Hills

This Veterans Day, students honored veterans and those who are actively serving by participating in two Veterans Day Programs. Pine Bend Elementary School 4th graders joined the State Veterans Day Program, and Hilltop Elementary 1st graders joined a Veterans Day Program at Timber Hills Senior Living.

The State Veterans Day Program at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights featured Gov. Mark Dayton, state senators, Inver Grove Heights Mayor George Tourville, and many other state officials. Pine Bend music teacher, Micah Klotz, brought Pine Bend 4th graders to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing service songs to honor each military group. Mrs. Klotz, who has also been a member of the Army National Guard since 1999, appeared in uniform and played with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Band during the State Veterans Day Program in addition to directing the students. 

At Timber Hills Senior Living, Sara Getting’s 1st graders visited the community’s Veterans Day Program to sing and read a poem thanking veterans. The students sang a compilation of patriotic songs, such as “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “This Land is Your Land.” 


District’s Student Advisory Council Holds First Meeting

ISD 199 Student Advisory Council

On November 10, the district hosted its first Inspire 199 Student Advisory Council meeting of the year. All of the district’s students were represented at the meeting by 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from every school. The first meeting served to help students get to know each other, understand their role and the district, and learn to become a team.

Students introduced themselves, thought of future agenda items, and discussed topics like school start times, meals, and community education activities from a student perspective.

“The Student Advisory Council aims to bring student voice into district-level conversations,” Superintendent Dave Bernhardson said. “The members meet with district leadership to discuss how Board and district decisions will impact students.”

The council helps students learn how to collaborate and share their views in an open, constructive, and respectful way. Members of the group will also attend three board meetings during the school year to represent student thoughts and ideas on different topics.


IGHMS Students Donate to Preschoolers at Day Shelter

Middle school students donated to a day shelter that educates homeless preschoolers

Inver Grove Heights Middle School students are paying it forward this month to show gratitude for their education. Christina Barbato’s and John Dorfner’s advisory groups collected donations throughout the month to purchase Montessori activities for The Family Place’s Casa de la Bella Montessori. TFP is the only day shelter in Minnesota that provides education for homeless preschool students.

“Our advisory groups had a general discussion about how we could positively impact the world we live in,” Ms. Barbato said. “We discussed struggles families in our community and in our classroom face and tossed around a couple of places to volunteer at or donate to.”

The classes decided to donate activities that the school could use over and over again. The items will help the organization further its goal of reducing generational homelessness by developing young children physically, emotionally, and mentally and teaching them lifelong creative skills.

Thank you to everyone who donated, especially 8th grader Jeffery Kramlinger who donated multiple times, for helping students learn about community service and make a positive impact.


Simley Hockey Players Visit with Elementary Students

Simley Hockey players read to elementary students, played with them at recess, and ate with them at lunch

For the past five years, Simley High School hockey players have visited elementary schools to act as role models for younger students and get involved in their community. This year, hockey players visited Hilltop and Pine Bend elementary schools. At Hilltop, the players read to kindergarten students and talked to them about hockey. At Pine Bend, the boys hockey team answered questions during an assembly, ate lunch with students, and played with them at recess.

Simley boys hockey coach, Austyn Kryzer, said the visits not only benefit the elementary students but the high school students as well.

“The high school hockey programs aim to develop future leaders in our community,” he said. 


Salem Hills 3rd-5th Graders Put on a Sweet Performance

Salem Hills Elementary School 3rd-5th grade students performed their Music Program at Simley High School’s Performing Arts Center. Students played instruments, sang songs, and acted in a musical based on the children’s board game “Candyland.”


Food Service Expands and Updates Programs and Facilities

Lunch boxes debuted at elementary schools as another affordable, convenient meal option

After observing the food service programs of neighboring schools and listening to feedback from students and the community, ISD 199’s Food Service will end 2016 with some exciting changes. The program will continue its focus on nutritious, balanced meals by providing more locally grown food, new menu items for each building, and a lunch box option at the elementary schools. Hilltop Elementary School will also unveil a makeover of its kitchen and cafeteria on December 5.

The ISD 199 elementary schools offer two hot entrée options for students every day. To expand on meal options, the department has introduced lunch boxes at the elementary schools. Lunch boxes are pre-packed with popular food items that students can customize with their choice of fruits and vegetables in the lunch line. In addition to the providing more options for students, lunch boxes only cost $1.80.

“The district is able to offer a pre-packed meal for elementary students that addresses all of their nutrition needs,” Director of Food Services, Cathi Krick, said. “Lunch boxes also provide an option that is more convenient and affordable than most bag lunches from home.”

Though Inver Grove Heights Schools meals already exceed the national dietary guidelines, the department has continued to expand its offerings. To provide more locally grown foods, the district buildings will hold a Minnesota Thursday each month starting in January, which will feature meals built around a Minnesota-grown ingredient, such as local apples. Also, cafeterias now offer more protein at breakfast and more variety in their fruits, vegetables, and whole grains so every student can find something they like. Additionally, the schools have held taste-tests and plan to offer two new menu items each month based on student preference.  

“Meals are another way we can support our students,” Superintendent Dave Bernhardson said. “Providing quality nutrition can help our students in and beyond the classroom, forming lifelong healthy habits.” 

The department has also begun a makeover of its cafeterias, starting with Hilltop’s facilities. The cafeteria will feature fresh paint, new signage to encourage healthy habits, and updated serving line.

“We want our cafeterias to reflect the positive experience our staff provides,” Mrs. Krick said.

The Hilltop renovations will be unveiled at lunchtime, 10:45AM, on Monday, December 5, at a public grand opening. Inver Grove Heights Schools Food Service plans to continue developing and updating its programs and facilities in the coming years.


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 Simley’s “You Can’t Take It with You” performances and the various community service efforts of ISD 199’s schools.



  • Thursday, December 1: End of Trimester 1
  • Friday, December 2: NO SCHOOL
  • Monday, December 5, 10:45AM at Hilltop Elementary School (3201 68th Street East): Cafeteria and kitchen makeover unveiling
  • Monday, December 12, 5:30PM at the District Office (2990 80th Street East): Truth in Taxation and School Board Meeting
  • Monday, December 12: Superintendent Dave Bernhardson will host an informal Inquire Inform Inspire Community Talk at Caribou Coffee (9008 Cahill Avenue), 8:30AM-9:30AM, and answer questions about the school district. No registration required; event is free and open to the public. Please click here to learn more about the Inquire Inform Inspire Community Talks.
  • Thursday, December 22 - Monday, January 2: NO SCHOOL for Winter Break