Viewpoint: Students achieving in and out of the classroomStudents in the South Washington County Schools continue to demonstrate outstanding success in the classroom and in their service to the community as well.
By: Mark Porter, District 833 superintendent, Woodbury Bulletin
In this year of New Beginnings and High Expectations it is my pleasure to share with you some examples of student success in a couple of different areas.
Students in the South Washington County Schools continue to demonstrate outstanding success in the classroom and in their service to the community as well.
Let me begin with two of many of our student achievement success stories.
The College Board recently recognized 104 students in the South Washington County Schools for their performance on Advanced Placement (AP) course exams (a score of 3 or higher, on a 1 to 5 scale, earns credit at many of the nation’s top colleges and universities):
• 2 were named National AP Scholars (an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more exams)
• 32 were named AP Scholars with Distinction (an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more exams)
• 13 were named AP Scholars with Honor (an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on four or more exams)
• 57 were named AP Scholars (scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams)
Congratulations to all of the outstanding students who received recognition from the College Board for their performance on these rigorous AP exams. Advanced Placement classes and exams are just one opportunity for students to challenge themselves with classes of high academic rigor and receive college credit for their efforts. Other opportunities include: College in the Schools, Project Lead the Way, and soon, International Baccalaureate.
In addition, Prithwis Mukhopadhyay, a junior at Woodbury High School, was one of 19 young adults from across the country receiving a $10,000 scholarship through the Davidson Fellowship Program that acknowledges rising stars in the field of science. Prithwis received his award at a ceremony in Washington D.C. this month. Congratulations to Prithwis for receiving such an elite and prestigious award.
As proud as we are of the academic accomplishments and successes of our students, we can all be proud of how our students are embracing the concept of service learning in a number of ways within and beyond our local community.
While the examples are from the middle schools, know that every level of our district coordinates similar opportunities for students. Middle school students are in grades 6, 7 and 8, and often we don’t think of children in this age group as being service minded, but these kids are out to prove us wrong.
At Lake Middle School 6th grade students are working on 200 fleece blankets for donation to a local women’s shelter, and are also making small cloth bags to be used in distributing games to patients at the Shriner’s Hospital. Cottage Grove Middle School students recently collected 1200 socks to donate to troops overseas through Operation White Sox.
Oltman Middle School has developed a Service Learning Group that together with their student council is coordinating a number of community improvement efforts, including a recent highway clean-up effort in St. Paul Park and Grey Cloud Island.
At Woodbury Middle School the after school Eco Club is coordinating building-wide recycling efforts in their effort to better serve our environment.
Finally, on Friday, Nov. 6, a non-school day for middle school students, 50 students from across the district participated in an all day event sponsored by our Community Education Department.
Students worked a full shift at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan, packing hundreds of meals for starving children around the world. They returned to the district to work with a local artists group to make soup bowls from clay for another charity event, “Empty Bowls,” that will be returning to the South Washington County Schools in the future. Kudos goes to these students for taking their leisurely day off from school and turning it into a day of service to others.
Focusing on student success in service is particularly important this time of year as we become increasingly aware of those less fortunate.
I encourage all of us to be more attentive than ever to the wide variety of charity events and opportunities in our communities, from our local food shelves to the Stone Soup Thrift Store, to the Holiday Train event in Cottage Grove on Dec. 12. Each of these and many others, present us with the opportunity to follow the example of our students and reach out to help others. All it takes is a little of our time, talent and treasure.
As always we will continue to maintain our focus on high expectations for our students in all aspects. For more insight into the lives of young people today, consider attending one of our fine arts events over the coming holiday season.
You will be sure to see more high quality opportunities provided to students and the talents they, in return, are sharing with their friends and family.
Mark Porter is the superintendent for District 833. His “New Beginnings, High Expectations” column appears occasionally in the Woodbury Bulletin.