Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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Editors Note: This is the first in an occasional series chronicling teachers' interesting summer activities. If you are a teacher who has done something interesting this summer, contact the Woodbury Bulletin at firstname.lastname@example.org . Quick. Think. How many countries have you been to in your lifetime? Nancy and Ryan Berg have been to more than 100. Nancy, a science teacher at East Ridge High School, and her husband have made a habit out of using summer vacations to go globe trotting.
The Stillwater Area School District's efforts to improve its students understanding of math has paid off. District 834 outperformed the state average on both the math and reading portions of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II test. District 834 includes a portion of Woodbury and all of Afton. MCA II tests are given in April to students in grades three to eight in reading and math, in 10th-grade in reading and 11th-grade in math. The MCA II measures how proficient students are in math, reading and science.
Back in 2004 former superintendent John Regan said farewell to District 833 when he made the decision to retire from a long career in education. But retirement didn't sit as well with him as he thought it might. For awhile Regan, 63, and his wife spent time in a trailer home on the outer banks of North Carolina fishing and relaxing. "We looked at each other one day and said 'This is not what our life is supposed to be," he said. "You can't recreate your life away because then it doesn't have meaning.
Some may consider geocaching a futuristic treasure hunt, but for others it's a fun afternoon enjoying the outdoors. Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department hosted a three-day geocaching camp last week at Tamarack Nature Preserve, Ojibway Park and Ravine Regional Park in Cottage Grove. A total of 13 students participated. "I think geocaching is so popular because people love treasure hunting," recreation specialist Michelle Okada said.
Now that Keith Ryskoski will be leaving the helm as superintendent for Stillwater Area Schools, the District 834 school board will have to find his replacement. Ryskoski has been superintendent for Stillwater Area School District for five years. "We are very sorry to see Keith go," school board chair George Hoeppner said. Hoeppner and School Board Vice Chair Natasha Fleischman said District 834 plans to hire an interim superintendent for the 2010-2011 school year before beginning a search for a permanent superintendent.
It's a sunny afternoon in one of Woodbury's dozens of neighborhood parks.. Maybe you and your kids are playing on the playground or having a picnic. The next thing you know, you see a wooden house rolling into the parking lot. The structure, decorated with Sesame Street characters, is home to some summertime friends. This is the Puppet Wagon. The Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department-sponsored Puppet Wagon has been putting on puppet shows in community parks for the past 27 years.
District 833 students channeled the likes of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein last week for District 833 Community Education's "Camp Invention" at Liberty Ridge Elementary. Camp Invention is a day-camp that has students, grades 1-6, participate in a variety of creative and inventive activities. Camp Invention was started in 1990 by Invent Now. "The goal of Camp Invention is to get kids thinking creatively, thinking outside of the box," said Jodi Hansen a coordinator for the day camp and a teacher in Worthington.
Some people may think 1950s horror and science fiction movies belong on "Mystery Science Theater 3000," but Woodbury resident Josh Craig has spent his much life recreating what he felt made those "B movies" great. "The acting isn't so great, the effects are laughable and they're just so much fun," Craig said.
Afton's Fourth of July parade has earned a reputation for its traditional and festive atmosphere, but the parade had rather humble beginnings. The community held its inaugural Fourth of July parade at the turn of the century, but another one wasn't held for many years, according to officials at the Afton Historical Society. "That kind of died on the vine," said Stan Ross, the AHS president. Ross has been an Afton resident for nearly 58 years, so he remembers clearly the year the current Fourth of July parade made its debut in 1975.
When Meridith Henke was younger she enjoyed listening to her mother Joy's assortment of instrumental CDs. One instrument stood out among them all -- the harp. When Meridith was six years old, she went to a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis where there was a harpist featured. She said she immediately fell in love. "I saw the harp there and it was just this beautiful instrument and it sounded amazing," said Meridith, now 13. "I just fell in love and I knew that was the instrument for me.