Inspire 199 - November 2017
Published on Nov 30, 2017 17:03

Inspire 199 Family Newsletter

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The Inver Grove Heights School Board met on Monday, November 27, with the following items on the agenda:

District highlights
  • Simley High School and Inver Grove Heights Middle School Activities Director, Will Short, presented fall athletes, who talked about their seasons and the benefits of being on extracurricular teams. ISD 199 Director of Community Education, Barb Pierce, and Spartan Kids’ Care Coordinator, Erica Tollefson, presented a video featuring students in Spartan Kids’ Care who talked about their favorite parts of the before- and after-school care program. They also introduced Simley Theatre students to talk about the theatre season so far and how the activity has advanced their learning.

Consent agenda

  • Minutes from previous school board meeting
  • Minutes from the special meeting on November 13, 2017
  • Cash disbursements
  • Personnel transactions and donations
  • Gifts and grants
  • Field trips
  • TriDistrict council member
Information items
  • Inver Grove Heights Middle School Principal, Jodi Wendel, provided the board with an update on the school’s activities and goals. Her presentation featured a PLTW student, AVID students, and WEB leaders to highlight how the district is moving toward whole-student development while personalizing learning.
  • ISD 199 Director of Learning Teajai Anderson Schmidt presented the 2018-2019 Intra-District Transfers and Open Enrollment Parameters
  • The Policy Committee presented the First Reading for Review of Policies 701, 701.1, 701.2, 702, 703, 704, 705, and 620
  • Board committee reports
  • Membership reports
Action items
  • Approval of the Resolution Authorizing Issuance of Certificates of Election and Directing the School District Election Clerk to Perform Other Election Related Duties
  • Approval of Substitute Teacher Rates
  • Approval of the Substitute Teacher Vendor
  • Approval of the 2017-2018 Revised Budget
  • Approval of the 2017-2018 Superintendent Goals

Meeting information and video of the November 27 meeting are available on the district website, The next board meeting will be held on Monday, December 11, at the District Office, 2990 80th Street East in Inver Grove Heights at 5:30PM. 

Nearly 90 Simley Students Earn AP Scholar Awards
Advanced Placement (AP) classes challenge students with college-level coursework and provide an opportunity to earn college credit while they are still enrolled in high school. Students earn college credit depending on their AP exam score at the end of the year, which can range from 0-5 points. In addition to college credit, students can also earn recognition as an AP Scholar with high AP exam scores. This year, 89 Simley High School students with AP Scholar Awards in four categories:

  • AP Scholar - Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.
  • AP Scholar with Honor - Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
  • AP Scholar with Distinction - Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
  • National AP Scholar - Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of those exams. 

Three of the 89 students earned both the AP Scholar with Distinction Award and National AP Scholar Award. Congratulations to all of Simley’s AP Scholars!

Hilltop and Salem Hills Teachers Earn Exceptional Teacher Award
Hilltop and Salem Hills Exceptional Teachers
Exceptional Teacher Awards recognize teachers who go above and beyond to engage students. This year, local education group TIES awarded Hilltop Elementary School 5th grade teacher Jessica Goodwin and Salem Hills Elementary School 1st grade teacher Kevin Warner.

Mr. Warner was recognized for his skills in building relationships and introducing his young students to technology. Ms. Goodwin was recognized for putting ideas into action, teaching her students coding and blogging through hands-on lessons.

IGHMS STAR Advisory and Hilltop Boys to Men Build Leadership Skills
STAR Advisory Class with guest speaker
Inver Grove Heights Schools is committed to whole-student development, and this month, two programs focused on developing students in and outside the classroom began. Hilltop Elementary School started another year of the Boys to Men Program for 5th grade boys while Inver Grove Heights Middle School launched its Striving Toward Academic Responsibility (STAR) advisory class for 8th grade girls.

Hilltop's Boys to Men Program, led by assistant principal Tony Washington, started the year with a visit from the program's founder former Hilltop assistant principal and current Pine Bend Elementary School principal Quennel Cooper. Principal Cooper talked to students about the program's history and students set goals for the year. The students will work to achieve their goals throughout the year while attending monthly Boys to Men meetings that will help them build confidence, leadership, and a sense of responsibility. 

IGHMS STAR students will learn similar lessons throughout the year through guest speakers. Students have already heard from Minnesota RollerGirl Casey Worthington who spoke about how changing behaviors can affect how people see you and from Bethel University professor Dr. Karen McKinney who spoke about setting one's own experience. The guests talked about personal stories that changed their outlook and how they overcame obstacles to success.  

Simley Students Research Future Options at College Fair
Simley College Fair
Simley High School held a College Fair to give every student a chance to learn about their options after graduation, even if they didn’t get a chance to attend the Minnesota National College Fair. College and university representatives from Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, and other Midwest states brought information for students and answered their questions during the fair. Students were asked to think about their preferences for a post-secondary school, such as deciding between two-year or four-year, large or small population, and urban or suburban environment. Students also researched whether certain colleges would be a good fit for them.
Pine Bend Celebrates Veterans and Those Serving with Wall of Honor
Pine Bend Wall of Honor
Pine Bend Elementary School celebrated Veterans Day with a Wall of Honor to recognize students' and staff's loved ones who have served or are currently serving. Thank you, veterans and active servicemen and servicewomen.

Pine Bend and Salem Hills Showcase Musical Talent at the Simley PAC
Pine Bend Musical
This November, Pine Bend Elementary School 2nd-5th graders and Salem Hills Elementary School 3rd-5th graders nearly filled the Simley High School Performing Arts Center for their musicals. Pine Bend performed Disney-inspired songs, dances, and instrumental performances by grade. Music teacher Micah Klotz also challenged audience members to use their phones for an interactive multiple choice quiz game called Kahoot. She explained that classrooms frequently use the game to engage students and gauge their knowledge of different subjects.

Salem Hills Musical

The Salem Hills musical, “Goal,” featured a few classic songs, but students told an original story of an elementary school soccer game and the reason soccer is referred to as joga bonito in Portuguese, which translates to “beautiful game.” Students showcased their acting, singing, dancing, and instrumental skills throughout the play.

Thank you to everyone who attended the performances and supported the students!

Thank You for Your Support, Inver Grove Heights!

All in for Inver Grove!
On Tuesday, November 7, the community approved both school district referendum questions - an operating levy increase and a capital projects levy. The referendum results according to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State are below.

Question 1: Operating Levy Increase
58.60% – Yes
41.40% – No

Question 2: Capital Projects Levy
58.16% – Yes
41.84% – No

We are excited that the Inver Grove Heights community voted in favor of our operating levy increase and capital projects levy. You spoke up for public education, for our students, and for the future of our community. We are humbled by your support, and we thank you for your trust. We promise to honor that trust by continuing to be good stewards of your tax dollars, making sound financial decisions focused on providing quality education that is accessible to all Inver Grove Heights students.

We will keep our referendum theme, Career-Focused. College-Ready. Competitive., in mind as we move forward. Follow us on our Facebook page and the district website at for updates on our next steps.

We value your input and will continue to seek your feedback as plans are refined over the coming months.

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

Nordstrom, Stensgard, Lounsberry Chosen for Board 
On November 7, voters selected Cindy Nordstrom, Lynette Stensgard, and Carrie Lounsberry for the ISD 199 School Board beginning January 2018. Next year will be Lounsberry’s first year on the school board while Nordstrom started on the board in 2010 and Stensgard started in 2005. Lounsberry will take the seat of Paul Mandell, a board member of 12 years who decided not to run again.

For more information about each board member, visit and click the member's name.

Sign Up for the December 11 School Board Listening Session
 Listening sessions are designed to create a more informal setting for residents to engage in conversations with board members about school or district concerns. Representatives from the school board will be available during these sessions to discuss issues with Inver Grove Heights residents.The next listening session will be held on Monday, December 11, 2017, from 5:00-5:30PM. Please click here to sign up for a listening session in advance.

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 the Native Pride Dancers' presentation at Simley for German exchange students, the Spartan Superheroes visits to the elementary schools, Pine Bend's STOP Bullying assembly with Viktor the Viking, and more.

  • December 1: NO SCHOOL - End of trimester 1
  • December 4: Trimester 2 begins
  • December 11: School Board Listening Session
  • December 22-January 2: NO SCHOOL for Winter Break

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