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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Two Woodbury high schools may have some future teachers waiting in the wings. More than two dozen students at Woodbury and East Ridge high schools just completed the first ever "Teacher Cadet" program. The program held a reception June 1 at Woodbury High School for outgoing cadets and new cadets. "For piloting the program, these students are phenomenal," said teacher Regina Seabrook, who organized the Teacher Cadet program at Woodbury High School.
After teaching for 40 years in South Washington County schools, Mary Wellman has seen a lot of changes transpire. She has seen everything from female teachers being forbidden from wearing pants to no outdoor recess to not having specialist teachers. "I've seen a lot of changes, but the thing that has remained constant is the 8- and 9-year olds," said Wellman, who will wrap up her career this month with her third graders at Liberty Ridge Elementary. "I'm young enough where I can still do a lot of other things," Wellman, 62, said.
It may have a rainy day last Tuesday, but that didn't dampen the spirits of Woodbury High School seniors when they celebrated the end of their high school careers with Senior Service Day on June 8. Students volunteered at various community service project sites and closed out the day with a picnic. "It gives them an activity that is fun for most of them," WHS teacher and Senior Service Day coordinator Bobby Nunn said.
After several months of hard work, the Afton Planning Commission passed its wind energy ordinance on to the Afton City Council. The planning commission held its regular meeting Monday where it held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. The planning commission intends to recommend approval of the ordinance to the city council. The ordinance will allow for wind turbines in the city. The ordinance identifies turbine restrictions based on height, noise and setbacks.
Woodbury High School calculus teacher Brian Bonfig has been teaching his students the importance and value of math. Bonfig, 59, said he believes he is also teaching students how to be responsible in school and in life. "Its not only our job as teacher to teach and pass on the knowledge we have, but also to guide the students in the right direction to become good citizens," he said.
A year ago, East Ridge High School wasn't a reality. Now District 833's newest high school is finishing up its inaugural year. The Woodbury Bulletin sat down with ERHS principal Aaron Harper to discuss the high school's inaugural year and its challenges and accomplishments heading into the 2010-2011 school year. Woodbury Bulletin: Have you felt that the community has grown to accept East Ridge over the last year? Aaron Harper: No, and I don't anticipate that East Ridge will be accepted anytime soon.
Think back to your kindergarten days. Maybe you remember the games or art projects. Maybe you remember sharing time. Maybe you remember your teacher. For three Woodbury High School seniors -- Ellie Ryan, Natalie Pascutoi and Bethany Duffey -- they get to relive their kindergarten days in Jodi Weinfurter's class at Royal Oaks Elementary on a regular basis. The three girls frequently come back to Royal Oaks to help out Weinfurter in the classroom. "The classroom hasn't changed at all," Duffey said. The girls remember how their teacher hasn't changed at all either.
First graders may not necessarily do the grocery shopping in their homes, but it is still important for them to know about healthy foods. At least that's how teachers at Royals Oaks Elementary feel. First-grade students at Royal Oaks took a field trip to Rainbow Foods twice in the last two weeks, to learn about healthy nutritional choices. "Be a Smart Shopper," which is part of the Field Trip Factory programming, teaches students the importance of health and wellness, how to plan healthy meals and how to make good food choices.
Rocket scientist. Computer scientist. Civil engineer. Machinist. Those are just a few of the many career paths that are available in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. District 833 Community Education held a STEM Career Day May 25 for Woodbury and East Ridge high schools and Five Oaks Community Church in Woodbury. "We want to encourage kids more and more to get involved in the STEM careers and learn more about it," Sue McKeown, of Community Education, said.
New Life Academy principal Nancy Wetsel will be retiring this year after 30 years at the private Christian school in Woodbury. Wetsel's last day will be June 30. "I love education, but I think I need to kind of transition out of it," said Wetsel, 60. "I've been here half my life, so it's time for someone new to come in." Wetsel's husband, Curt, is also a longtime member of New Life Academy as its activities director. He started at NLA the same time as his wife. "We wanted the children to love learning," Wetsel said.