Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued new rules for school lunches this year including lowering sodium, fewer calories and required produce, it was behind the local curve. School District 833 Nutrition Services has made many changes in the past five years to ensure students are getting more healthful food. It eliminated high-fructose fruit drinks from schools and closed down deep fryers at middle schools.
Pathway to Excellence, School District 833's strategic plan, has been in place for a year so it was time for a yearly checkup at last week's School Board workshop. Not all areas were reviewed, including student achievement, because of the process of hiring Superintendent Keith Jacobus, and the departure of Rick Spiccuzza, who was assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment before leaving for another position. Areas updated included technology, creating a positive and safe student environment, recruiting, hiring and developing employees and
School District 833 students continue to score above the state average on standardized exams, according to the recently released Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results. South Washington County School District students have scored above the state average since the testing began in 2000.
County, city and School District 833 officials will work together to find safer routes for kids to bike or walk to school. The goal is to find safe ways to get to Cottage Grove, Grey Cloud, Pullman, Red Rock, Royal Oaks and Liberty Ridge elementary schools and Cottage Grove Middle School. South Washington County School leaders are working with Cottage Grove and Woodbury city officials, Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg and Kim Ball and Jean Streeter of the county's Public Health Department. Though a federal Safe Routes to School planning grant, a Minnesota Department of Transportati
New Superintendent Keith Jacobus took his place beside the District 833 School Board for the first time last week and, so far, he's making good on promises he made during board interviews. He told board members of his "100 days plan" to make visits to schools, district facilities, cities, communities and meet citizens on each of his first 100 days in the district. Between July 5 and July 16 - the night of the first meeting - he's made 23 visits around the district so that puts him ahead of schedule. By the time 100 days have passed, he'll make a lot more than 100 visits, he told board membe
As Keith Jacobus moves into his office this week as the new School District 833 superintendent, he's making it clear that he plans to stay there for the long haul. "I wasn't intending to come here and look for something else," Jacobus said in an interview. When Jacobus applied this spring for the job to replace Mark Porter, who's contract was not renewed after one three-year term, he said he wasn't seeking superintendent jobs in other districts. "This is a premier district," Jacobus said, and it could be one of the best in the nation. "It's a good fit for me.
When School District 833 teachers return to class in the fall, all 1,200 of them will have new Mac laptop computers that they can also take home. The South Washington County School Board approved the computers for $1.2 million from Apple Inc. The laptops are replacing outdated desktop computers that will be used in other areas of the district or recycled, according to Keith Ryskoski, assistant superintendent for secondary education.
People grow from their experiences, Mark Porter said as he reflected on his 30 years in School District 833 with three of them in the highest post as superintendent. In an interview this month, Porter said he hopes to grow as he moves on in his education career. Porter's contract was not renewed by the School Board in December and the board conducted a nationwide search and hired Keith Jacobus who takes over July 1. Porter said he has followed a "varied career path" but the non-contract renewal was his first reversal. After graduating from St.
The District 833 School Board is expected to approve $155.7 million in spending for South Washington County Schools in 2012-13 and use $3 million in reserve funds to balance the budget. The board also proposes to cut $1.2 million from the budget and is not making an annual $2.5 million contribution to a fund that pays retiree benefits because it already is fully funded. The district's reserve account would be at $11.2 million heading into 2013-14, still trending down but slowing somewhat from previous years when more reserve dollars were used to bala
Not only was it a long recovery from a horrendous car crash caused by a drunken driver in the fall of 2010, but Sean Fitzpatrick missed most of his senior year at East Ridge High School . Though his body had healed, he remained unmotivated, even after his buddies graduated, in part because school "had not been my favorite thing." But earlier this year, Fitzpatrick, of Woodbury, pulled himself together and enrolled in the Diploma Center and finished his credits in record time at the rate of one a week, according to Principal Jim Stucco. Fitzpatri