Inspire 199 - October 2017
Published on Oct 31, 2017 17:18

Inspire 199 Family Newsletter

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

District highlights
  • Simley High School and Inver Grove Heights Middle School Activities Director, Will Short, presented Simley wrestler Daniel (Greg) Kerkvliet, who won the gold medal in the United World Wrestling Cadet World Championship. Greg is the first student in Simley’s history to have done so.
  • ISD 199 Superintendent Dave Bernhardson presented this year’s Student Advisory Council. Students talked about their first meeting and some of the discussions they had around start times, community education offerings, and other subjects that directly impact them.

Consent agenda

  • Minutes from previous school board meeting
  • Minutes from the special meeting on October 9, 2017
  • Cash disbursements
  • Personnel transactions and donations
  • Gifts and grants
  • Substitute nurse pay
Information items
  • Salem Hills Elementary School Principal, Tina Willette, presented Salem Hills’s school improvement plan for the 2017-2018 school year, including comments from 4th grader Courage Okojie, who spoke at H2O for Life’s fundraiser and helped the organization raise $75,000. The funds will help H2O for Life organize service learning projects at schools like Salem Hills so students can help children in other countries access clean water, something Courage is now passionate about.
  • ISD 199 Director of Learning Teajai Anderson Schmidt presented an enrollment update for the school board
  • The ISD 199 Director of Learning also presented a state testing update
  • Superintendent Bernhardson presented an election update 
  • Board committee reports
  • Membership reports
Action items
  • Approval of the School Board Self-Appraisal Process
  • Approval of the Equity Alliance Extension
Meeting information and video of the October 23 meeting are available on the district website, The next board work session will be held on Monday, November 13, at the District Office, 2990 80th Street East in Inver Grove Heights. The next board meeting will be held on Monday, November 27, at Inver Grove Heights Middle School, 8167 Cahill Avenue in Inver Grove Heights. Both meetings will start at 5:30PM. 

Salem Hills 4th Grader Speaks From the Heart at Fundraiser
Courage's Fundraiser Speech
Salem Hills Elementary School has partnered with H2O for Life for 10 years to teach students about the global water crisis and engage them in service learning that helps those without access to clean water. This fall, H2O for Life asked Salem Hills 4th grader Courage O. to speak at the annual H2O for Life Water Ball, and he helped the organization hold its most successful event yet. 

Courage told the audience about his first interaction with H2O for Life. He saw a video of theirs that explained the struggles that people in Africa face because they don’t have access to clean water. 

“I was shocked by what I was seeing,” he said. “I thought everyone had what they needed.”

The video spurred him to action. He wanted to help not only because he saw people in need, but also because his parents were born in Africa. 

“Those people in the video are my people,” he said. “That’s my family tree.”

He talked about how H2O for Life believed in him to make a difference, despite his young age. Throughout his speech, members of the audience were seen wiping away tears. Click here to listen to his full speech.

Courage’s testimonial helped H2O for Life raise more than $180,000. The funds will support service learning projects across the U.S. to battle the global water crisis. 

Student Advisory Meets for the 2017-2018 School Year
17-18 Student Advisory
Each year, Inver Grove Heights Schools Superintendent Dave Bernhardson gathers 4th, 7th, and 11th graders from every school to participate in Student Advisory Council. Students learn about what is happening at a districtwide level and provide a student perspective to help administrators and board members make decisions that affect students. The Council met for the first time this year on October 11 to discuss their responsibilities and take a tour of the ISD 199 District Office, learning what each department does and how they work together to help the district function.

Salem Hills Teacher Named KS95 Teacher of the Week
Lori Gustafson
Salem Hills Elementary School 3rd grade teacher Lori Gustafson was the KS95 radio station's Teacher of the Week this month! A parent nominated her after she helped her child get excited about learning. Click here to listen to the on-air interview.

Marine Corps Band New Orleans Visits Simley and Community
Marine Corps Band New Orleans
The Marine Corps Band New Orleans visited Simley to host brass, woodwind, and percussion clinics for Simley band students. Marine Corps Band members taught Simley students techniques and ways to improve. In the afternoon, the Marine Corps Band performed for students, staff, and the community.
IGH Royalty Collects and Delivers Donations to Local Schools
IGH Royalty donation
?Miss Inver Grove Heights Scholarship Program members collected and delivered school supply donations to local schools last week as part of a service project. The 2018 Royal Family includes ISD 199 students Hanah Litz, Felicia Buysman, Ashley VanKempen, Grace Westpfhal, and Cheyanne Smith.

Inver Grove Heights Schools Referendum: November 7
Inver Grove Heights Schools will have two questions on the November 7, 2017, ballot. Click here to subscribe to weekly referendum email updates and learn more about the district's referendum at Watch the video below and more at to learn how approved questions will help students.

Career-Focused & College-Ready. All in for Inver Grove! from ISD199 on Vimeo.

Early Voting Starts Today, Oct. 31
Early voting will be held at the ISD 199 District Office (2990 80th Street East), Western Service Center, and Dakota County Administrative Center until November 6. Click here to learn more about early voting.

Meet the School Board Candidates
The terms of three current school board seats (Paul Mandell, Cindy Nordstrom, and Lynette Stensgard) will expire on January 3, 2018. Voters will elect three residents to serve on the seven-member school board of ISD 199. Eight candidates filed to run for a seat. To help inform voters, the district asked candidates to answer a questionnaire about their run. Click here to read the responses candidates submitted.

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 Simley Homecoming, the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch at elementary schools, the Marine Corps Band New orleans visit to Simley, and more. Also, get more information about our November 7 referendum.

  • Now-November 6: Vote early at one of the three early voting polling places. Click here to learn more about early voting and polling places.
  • November 4: Extended voting hours, 8:00 AM - noon
  • November 7: Election Day. Vote today, if you did not participate in early or absentee voting. Find your polling place, which will be open 7:00AM - 8:00PM, at
  • November 9-12: Grades 6-12 Fall Play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Senior citizens can attend a free preview of the performance on Wednesday, November 8, at 3:30PM. Visit for more information. 
  • November 23-24: NO SCHOOL for Thanksgiving Break

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