Inspire 199 - March 2017
Published on Mar 31, 2017 17:18

Inspire 199 Family Newsletter


The Inver Grove Heights School Board met on Monday, March 13, with the following items on the agenda:

• District highlights

o ISD 199 Director of Learning, Teajai Anderson-Schmidt, presented students who volunteered to act as facilitators during the February 22 Reimagine Minnesota event.
o TriDistrict Community Education Youth Programs & Resource Development Coordinator, Annie Platek, presented highlights from community education’s winter activities. Students from Simley Theatre, Robotics, German Club, Math Team, Knowledge Bowl, and Quiz Bowl talked about their experiences.
o Simley High School Activities Director, Will Short, presented the students in winter sports. Students in Nordic Skiing, Alpine Skiing, Gymnastics, Boys Hockey, Dance Team, Basketball, Swimming and Diving, and Wrestling gave an end-of-season review.

• Consent agenda

o Minutes from previous School Board meeting
o Minutes from previous Closed Session meeting
o Cash disbursements
o Personnel transactions and donations
o Gifts and grants

• Information items

o Superintendent Dave Bernhardson presented the ISD 199 Student Advisory Council. Students talked about their meeting with Mayor George Tourville at Inver Grove Heights City Hall
o Inver Grove Heights Middle School Principal Jodi Wendel presented an update on her school and their plans for the future
o Director of Business Services, Heather Aune, presented a budget update for 2017-2018
o Board Vice Chair and Treasurer, Sue Gliva, presented the Superintendent Mid-Year Evaluation
o Board committee reports
o Membership reports

• Action items

o Approval of the Inver Grove Heights Middle School First Day of School adjustment, which will change the first day of school for 2017-2018 7th and 8th graders to Wednesday, September 6. This will give incoming 6th graders a day in their new school by themselves.

o Approval of the 400 Personnel Policy Series MSBA Only, No Changes, or Retirement Second Reading for review.

Meeting information and video of the March 13 meeting are available on the district website. Future school board meetings include a work session on April 10 and a regular meeting on April 24. All of the meetings will be held at 5:30PM at the District Office, 2990 80th Street East in Inver Grove Heights.



ISD 199 Sees Significant Increases in Graduation Rates for 2016

ISD 199 graduation rate increases compared to statewide increases
At the end of February, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released graduation data for school districts across Minnesota. While the data showed progress in increasing graduation rates and decreasing achievement gaps throughout Minnesota, Inver Grove Heights Schools showed significant growth in every student group. Graduation data reveals more than who is graduating from the district’s Simley High School, it helps district staff identify the effectiveness of different initiatives.

MDE reported graduation rate increases in every student group and special population in Inver Grove Heights Schools. Student groups are categorized by the ethnicity or race a student identifies as, including “Hispanic” or “White and not of Hispanic Origin,” and special populations are categorized by specific services that some students receive, including “special education” or “free and reduced price lunch.” The largest graduation rate gains were in the “Black and not of Hispanic Origin” group, the “Special Education” population, and the “Free and Reduced Price Lunch” population, which all showed gains in the double-digits.

Click here to read more about graduation rates.

Student Uses EMT Skills to Save a Choking Victim

Simley EMT student

Simley High School students can learn lifesaving skills in the school’s EMT program, but few may realize how soon they might need those skills. One Saturday, Simley senior and EMT program student Nativia Morgan was working at Chuck-E-Cheese when her skills were put to the test and she saved a life.

According to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of Americans do not feel prepared to perform CPR, either because they haven’t been trained or it’s been a while since they refreshed their training. Nativia is not part of that statistic. After learning lifesaving strategies in her EMT classes, she didn’t think twice about jumping into action when a patron began choking. She dropped what she was doing and provided first aid for the situation. When that didn’t seem to work, she checked the airway and removed a blockage, allowing the patron to breathe freely.

“I didn’t really think about it,” she said. “I saw someone choking and immediately went to help.”

Her training paired with her helpful personality thinking has saved more than one life. Nativia also recalled jumping in a pool to rescue her cousin.

“I’ve always been that person who is protective of others,” she said. “I hate to see other people get hurt.”

Academy of Powerful Parents Graduation

APP Graduation
Congratulations, Academy of Powerful Parents graduates! On March 23, 2017, participating parents graduated from ISD 199's seven-week program. APP provides information and resources to help parents of preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade students start their children off on a path to success.

Two Simley Artists Featured at St. Paul Gallery
Simley students chosen for Best 100 Art Exhibit
Two of Simley High School’s top artists were chosen to display their work at Les Farrington’s Best 100 Art Exhibition. The annual juried art show for students in grades 9-12 is sponsored by the JCI of St. Paul. Seniors Eric Burling and Laura Stickney were chosen in late February to participate in this prestigious art show. Laura’s drawing portfolio and Eric’s photography were chosen from nearly 1,000 entries from area schools. The students also received Merit honors for their work at the March 2 Opening Ceremony. Eric also won a Juror’s Award for a $100 scholarship.

Eric’s and Laura’s artwork will also be on display at the District Art Show in May, alongside the work of many other Simley artists.

Hilltop's First International Night a Success Thanks to the Community

Hilltop International Night

Hilltop Elementary School held its first International Night this March to celebrate cultures from around the world with food, artifacts, and performances. Students learned about cultures such as Hmong, Mexican, Native American, Norwegian, Thai, and more through cultural art, books, outfits, and crafts. They also tried dishes from Somalia, Finland, Kenya, and Egypt, and adults took part in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Parents and students also performed cultural dances and songs.

Thank you to all of the parents and students who made the very first International Night a success by bringing artifacts and food, volunteering to perform, or simply attending.

Pine Bend Demonstrates Their Talent with 2nd-5th Grade Music Program

Pine Bend 2nd-5th Grade Music Program

Pine Bend Elementary School 2nd-5th graders performed in the 2nd-5th Grade Music Program this month. They sang songs from "Wizard of Oz" and played instruments for the large audience of parents and community members gathered in the Simley Performing Arts Center. Thank you to everyone who attended the performance and helped organize the program.

Simley Musicians Earn 35 Superior Marks and Two Best of Site During MSHSL Contest

Student plays solo piece for MSHSL judge
Simley High School hosted its second MSHSL band competition on March 14. More than 150 students from Simley, Richfield High School, and Henry Sibley High School played in the 3AA Instrumental Solo & Ensemble Contest. Students presented their musical selections to judges who scored them for aspects such as rhythm, technique, interpretation, and articulation.

Of Simley’s 78 soloists and ensembles, 35 received the highest score of “superior.” Thirty-five students received “excellent” ratings and 8 received “good” ratings. Judges also chose two Simley performers, Moriah Elkin and Taylor Riess, as “Best of Site.”

ISD 199 Celebrates Literacy and Seuss
Hilltop students celebrate Read Across America with Dr. Seuss-themed activities
ISD 199 elementary schools celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day on March 2. Students did activities focused on Dr. Seuss and reading as part of the national event. Community members came to Hilltop Elementary School to read Dr. Seuss books aloud to students. Visitors included the police and fire department staff, IGH Animal Hospital staff, ISD 199 board members and administrators, and city officials. Some students created "Cat in the Hat" headbands after writing different words ending in "-at" on them, and at lunch, students enjoyed green eggs and ham, but only after showing some hesitation, like Sam I Am from Dr. Seuss' book "Green Eggs and Ham."

Simley Theatre Presents "Anything Goes" April 27-30
Simley Theatre presents Anything Goes
Join Simley Theatre for a good time on the high seas as they perform their spring musical, Cole Porter's “Anything Goes.” This classic musical follows a hilarious cast of ship passengers as they help their lovelorn friend win over a woman on board who is already engaged.

Thursday, April 27 at 7:00PM
Friday, April 28 at 7:00PM
Saturday, April 29 at 7:00PM
Sunday, April 30 at 2:00PM

Performances will run from Thursday, April 27-Sunday, April 30, at the Simley High School Performing Arts Center (2920 80th Street East in Inver Grove Heights).

Children under 5 years old - $3
Students and senior citizens - $5
Adults - $10

Tickets for Simley High School’s musical production of “Anything Goes” are now on sale at Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Community Education office at 651-306-7870 or visiting the Community Education Office at 2990 80th Street East (ISD 199 District Office). Visit for more information.

ISD 199 Recommended Article
Getting the right amount of sleep is important for everyone, but it is especially important for children. Sleep helps the brain recharge and function at its full potential the next day, which means that students are more likely to feel positive and better prepared to learn. 

The Minnesota Sleep Society has compiled important information about sleep for families. The organization’s article includes the importance of sleep to the brain, ideas for healthy sleep routines, and ways to identify and address when children aren’t getting enough sleep. Click here to read the Minnesota Sleep Society article.

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 a video of the Salem Hills 1st and 2nd Grade Musical and photos of the districtwide 5th Grade Band Concert, Salem Hills Literacy Night, and Hilltop's International Night.



  • Friday, April 14: NO SCHOOL
  • Thursday, April 27-Sunday, April 30: Simley Theatre "Anything Goes" Spring Musical, details at

2017-2018 Year at a Glance Calendar Now Available

On March 13, the ISD 199 Board approved a change to the Inver Grove Heights Middle School calendar. Students who will attend 7th and 8th grade next school year will start school on Wednesday, September 6, giving incoming 6th graders a day on September 5 to familiarize themselves with their new school. Click here to see the approved 2017-2018 calendar.