Chaska Middle School East student receives national honor for history research

August Butterworth, a Chaska Middle School East student entering high school this fall, is among the nation’s best for National History Day. Butterworth’s project, “The 1971 FBI Burglary: Taking A Stand Against Illegal Government Surveillance” earned 3rd place last week out of more than 3,000 projects nation-wide. She focused on a Pennsylvania FBI office break-in in 1971 which revealed a 15-year-old FBI program, COINTELPRO, to spy on U.S. citizens.  The FBI never identified the burglars, who only came forward in 2014. Butterworth interviewed two of them, Bonnie and John Raines. More than 1,000 stolen files showed that targets of FBI surveillance were civil rights organizations and anti-Vietnam War activists but also ordinary citizens who merely had similar beliefs. Making this information public led to greater Congressional oversight of the FBI and CIA, and to new laws to protect U.S. citizens from unauthorized surveillance. The University of Minnesota sponsors Minnesota’s National... read more

District to complete purchase of land for future elementary school

Following through on a 2015 referendum pledge, the district will have land in Chaska for a future elementary school. The School Board approved a purchase agreement for 2.45 acres of land in southwest Chaska. The land is northeast of the intersection of Highway 212 and County Road 44 (Big Woods Boulevard). In February, the district and the City of Chaska negotiated purchase of 3.2 acres of land. The two parcels are adjacent and will be combined for a future elementary school site. There are no immediate plans for construction. District officials anticipate housing growth in this area of Chaska, which means school enrollment growth. The school will be next to a city park and with a shared-use agreement with the city, future students will be able to use part of the park land for recess and outdoor activities. Similar arrangements are in place for many schools in Eastern Carver County. They save taxpayers maintenance costs and create efficient use of public green space. Eastern Carver... read more

New leaders, familiar faces in E. Carver Co. Schools

On July 1, Clint Christopher will be superintendent of Eastern Carver County Schools. Jim Bauck is retiring (see front page) and the School Board hired Christopher in January after a competitive hiring process. Amy LaDue will be Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. She joins us from Owatonna Public Schools where she was director of teaching and learning. She held many jobs in that district including curriculum coordinator, principal, Title I coordinator and elementary teacher. LaDue will oversee day-to-day implementation of the district’s curriculum and support schools and school administrators as they continue personalizing learning across the district. Beth Holm has been appointed principal of Chaska Middle School East where she has served as interim principal after Jim Bach was hired as Chaska High School principal. Dick Ungar became principal of Chanhassen High School in April. He has been interim principal since January. Ungar has been part of Eastern Carver... read more

Reimagine Minnesota

Eastern Carver County Schools joined with other metro-area school districts as part of “Reimagine Minnesota.” Families and students from our district participated in a community conversation at Minnetonka High School on Feb. 15. The conversation included people from that district, Orono, Hopkins, and Wayzata Public Schools. They discussed how to ensure an equitable education for all students. School districts organized Reimagine Minnesota in order to develop options for lawyers, judges and policymakers around school desegregation. A lawsuit was filed in 2015 against the state of Minnesota claiming that segregation is persistent in metro-area schools and negatively affects the education of students of color. The suit goes before the Minnesota Supreme Court later this year. If the court agrees with the claims, the judgment could be wide-ranging and involve many different school districts. Reimagine Minnesota was an effort to listen to students and families before developing solutions... read more

Expanding Spanish immersion education in our district

Eastern Carver County School has offered a high-quality immersion school since 2012 at La Academia, a two-way, dual language Spanish immersion school. After five years, the school will move in the Chaska Elementary School building this fall. La Academia will have space to grow to four sections at each grade level if demand for the program continues to increase. The move to a larger school is possible due to construction of Carver Elementary. Current Chaska Elementary students will attend either Clover Ridge and Carver Elementary Schools in the fall. These plans, and other attendance area changes, have been communicated to families since the summer of 2016. As for La Academia fifth-graders who are fluent in Spanish, they can choose Spanish immersion classes at Chaska Middle School West this fall. Students can take a 6th grade Communication Arts course in Spanish called Expresiones, and a U.S. History course in Spanish. They are taught in Spanish yet content and standards are similar... read more

Jake Jauert inspires children through innovative instruction

Jauert has an interesting mix of educational degrees. He has a B.A. in Elementary Ed, a Masters degree in Exercise Science, and a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. The secret to his success as an elementary teacher is his ability to take all his knowledge about brain development and the positive effects of movement, and to apply it everyday in his classroom. When you visit his classroom, you’ll notice there are no neat rows of desks or assigned seats. He has designed and built furniture for his room so that it can be moved around and used in different ways. And it allows for open spaces to be used for an “instructional brain break” in the middle of class.  Kids may not even realize they are learning math concepts as they use specially designed floor mats to “hop” their way through multiplication tables. Jake Jauert’s 1st grade students love to learn, and they give their teacher a lot of the credit for why.  “He makes learning math fun,” one young learner said. “He is just... read more