Friday, December 2, 2016

1st Grader's at Hilltop share their pride!!

Today's post is from Melissa Abernathy and Gretchen Campbell's first grade co-taught class

We are first graders in Mrs. Abernethy and Mrs. Campbell’s class at Hilltop Primary School. We are really proud of how...
  • We are making new friends-Will P
  • We are raising our hands to share our ideas- Oliver B
  • We are respectful and listen when others are talking- Ethan A
  • We treat others how we want to be treated-Emma B
  • We are cleaning up what we get out- Addison B
  • We treat our iPads kindly-Aidan H
  • We say thank you when we get something- Ella P.
  • We “be” honest- Lillian O
  • We own our actions- Adam H
  • We are safe in the classroom-Lola P
  • We are kind- Toby S
  • We respect others-Tannor K
  • We are building stamina in daily 5. We read and write the whole time! Brynn H
  • We fill each other’s bucket Vinny S
  • We do our best- Vivianna D
  • We always go down the slide- not up! Brooklyn S
  • We respect others abilities-Julien E
  • We keep our hands and feet to ourselves- Drew J & Charlie S 
  • We follow the rules on the playground- Wengel H
  • We follow directions quickly- AJ R.
  • We be nice to our teachers- Ludo Z
  • We are kind to everyone- Cameron D
  • We use a 2 finger touch at tag- Leif K
  • We play nicely with our friends- Charlie F
  • We raise our goals- Tobin D
  • We move our furniture carefully in the classroom- Jonathan S
  • We do the golden rule- Kenley T
  • We are working hard in math to write equations- Tristan S
  • We work quietly- Ashlynn K
  • We use spaces between our words in our journals-Aspen F
  • We make a picture in our mind when we read- Connor P
  • We find “invisible kids” and invite them to play- Halle W
  • We get started right away- Alyson 
  • We write a lot of sentences in our journals- Wyatt S
  • We draw a math mountain to help us solve our math equations- Tyler D
  • We have fun at Hilltop- Brandon A
  • We use learning plans to create and keep track of our goals- Jacksyn Z
We are so proud of how hard our learners work and how they are kind friends to one another!- Mrs. Abernethy and Mrs. Campbell

Mrs. Abernathy & Mrs. Campbell and their 1st grade students
If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Theatrical Production Pride

Today's post is from MWHS Assistant Theater Director and math teacher Meagan Lenz

Ever since I began teaching at the high school in the fall of 2008, I have found so many reasons to be proud to be a White Hawk. One of my biggest sources of pride, however, comes from serving as the assistant director for both the fall musical and the spring play for the past fifteen theatrical productions at MWHS. I say this so often, but there really is nothing quite like watching my theatre students grow from young eighth or ninth graders experiencing their first production to confident senior leaders who are exploring their characters like never before, tackling challenge music in the pit orchestra, or navigating the ins and outs of the technical elements of each show. I also feel such an extreme amount of pride in those students who decide to jump outside of their comfort zone and try something new for the first time - even if that means taking on their first role onstage as a senior!

Meagan with Emma & Joey
This year’s fall musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” was one of the most challenging pieces that we have decided to produce at MWHS! The amount of music the cast and pit orchestra had to learn and perform was tremendous, but every single student rose to the challenge. The result of their dedication and hard work was an extremely polished and impressive production. I am already looking forward to start our work on the spring play!

The Pirates of Penzance Cast and Pit Orchestra

I also wanted to take a moment to again thank the Westonka Community for their dedication to all of our performing artists and athletes as we look forward to opening our new Performing Arts Center and Westonka Activities Center in the fall of 2018. I was so fortunate to serve on the committee of staff, school board and community members that toured facilities around the metro area this summer, and it is so energizing and exciting to know that very soon our students - who deserve only the very best - will soon have the very best! The opportunities the new Performing Arts Center will provide to current and future White Hawks are innumerable, so once again, thank you Westonka!

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Building Community and Pride at the Elementary Level

Today's post is from Hilltop Principal Mike Moch

This year both Hilltop and Shirley Hills Primary School have embarked on an awesome adventure to build community and pride among our students using PBIS. PBIS, also know as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, is a framework that helps to build positive character in students. What's super fun is all of the work the staff has done thus far to build a positive culture that focuses on students! Our staff will be part of this training for two years. During the time we will collect data, adjust our thinking, accomplish goals and most importantly focus on ways to make students love school and learning. We have started out strong by establishing expectations, rewarding the great things our students do and working to teach the skills necessary to change behavior.

In January, we will kick off our Mission Possible theme of learning and discovering great behavior for our schools. We can't wait to share more about our progress as the year progresses!

Hilltop Students

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Week 8 - Westonka Provides Opportunity for Students to Share Ideas

Today's post is from senior Andrew LaFortune

We are fortunate to have endless opportunities as students in the Westonka District whether it be in academics, sports or activities.  One new opportunity available to students is just around the corner. Have you ever wondered what the student body in the Westonka Public Schools has to say about their future? We generally don’t get a chance to hear from students. This winter, Westonka DECA has taken on the challenge of organizing an event to let students take control and share their ideas about the future. The event, MoundTalks, will feature students in grades 7-12 speaking about a wide variety of topics all linked to the future. On December 4th, from 1 to 4 pm, students, parents, and community members are invited to hear student speakers share their passions about the future. Tickets will be available online through the Westonka Activities Department at a cost of $5 for students and $7 for adults.

One of the featured speakers, Zach Riffle, a junior at MWHS, will be speaking about how he plans to own his future in college. He believes that, “People tend to identify themselves by the two numbers of their ACT score, not the values that they have.” Because of this, his speech will focus more on the unique values that each individual can find in themselves and how college can be a stepping stone into the future rather than a barrier. Other speech topics presented by our very own students include: gender inequality, the differences between an artist and a non-artist, and cyberbullying. Come join us at MoundTalks on December 4th to show your #WestonkaPride as you support the students of our community and hear about what you can do to own your future!

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week 7 -- Empowering Teachers

Today's post is from MWHS Chemistry Teacher Sarah Morinville

I am in my 12th year at Mound Westonka High School. I have taught in other school districts and I never felt empowered during my first year in other districts. When I interviewed at Westonka, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. No other district had teachers on the interview panel that were asking deep pedagogical and content based questions. It was apparent right away that Westonka was a school district that listened and valued its teachers’ inputs.

After joining this amazing district, I was immediately given opportunities to join leadership groups. The best part is that no one is expected to stay on a leadership group forever. The community only wants people in groups who are passionate about the group’s mission. I have been part of Technology Integration and Learning Team, Department leader, School Improvement Team, Link Crew Advisor, and so many more. It is hard to keep track.

My colleagues who are in these groups with me are just as passionate as I am about providing the best experience for students as possible. Being part of these groups is like being in college again. I get to engage in academic discussion, collect data, draw conclusions, and my favorite part, share our findings.

I recently was able to collaborate with a group of teachers from the high school. We created a lesson for the rest of the faculty that taught them about book study. It was an amazing experience. Our faculty LOVES to learn from each other! I felt energized to work with a small group to create an outstanding lesson on striving to become a master teacher.

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I am always trying new teaching techniques and technologies in my classes. MWHS encourages teachers to try new sound techniques. I love sharing what I am doing and how it is going with our faculty but I also love to showcase our amazing school at teaching conferences. I have shared our Westonka education story at the local TIES conference for the last 4 year. I have presented at the EdLeadership conference. Our technology integration and learning team shared our in house development of interactive and personalized professional development. This past summer, I was showcasing Westonka’s personalized learning and during my presentation, I heard people say, “She works for a great district.” All I wanted to do is stop the presentation and say, “YES, I DO!”

My latest opportunity to share Mound Westonka High School’s innovation was at this year’s iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Summit in San Antonio, Texas. I worked with Kristin Wallace to create a personalized way for participants to learn about the three pillars of personalized learning. This means we created three lessons for each pillar. We had the participants create learner profiles and divide up into their preferred learning style. Participants were able to experience a personalized learning environment while learning about personalized learning.
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We were able to network and learn from districts around the country, but the best part is that districts seeked out Westonka! Districts from around the country were learning from us and they want to visit our schools. Participants were excited to take our resources back to their schools. One participant said, “I’m going to use your resources with my school to help them move towards a more personalized environment.” Westonka is not only helping teachers in district and at the local level but we are helping teachers nationally because we all have the same goal. We want students to be successful and prepared for the future!

When I reflect on my speaking and networking opportunities I have received in the last 12 years, I often ask myself, “how did this all happen?” It happens because Westonka empowers teachers to pursue leadership opportunities in educational passions. There is no other place I would rather work!
If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Week 6 -- Hitting the School District Lottery

Today's post is from parent and community member Sarah Reinhardt

In 2001 we stumbled into the Westonka School district unintentionally; drawn to the area by majestic Lake Minnetonka. We didn’t know it at the time, but we hit the school district lottery. The list of reasons to have pride in our schools is long and distinguished. I could drone on with pride about all the small school advantages and big school opportunities we have at Westonka. First and foremost though I am most proud of the education my children have received. Charlie is a sophomore and Jack is a recent 2016 MWHS graduate.

As we sent Jack off to the University of MN this fall I am so thankful that MWHS did such a fine job preparing him for the rigors of college. Specifically I am proud of the math education that he received at Westonka. (I am sure the entire blog-o-sphere did a collective groan just now.) Math isn’t a sexy or glamorous subject. It isn’t the “new” class that gets all the praise and glory. Yet, math is so important. The math teachers in all the Westonka schools are amazing. They are always willing to help the line of students waiting at their classroom doors in the morning and afternoon. Pride is cultivated daily in the halls of all of the Westonka schools. From the primary school days of Continental Math League, Math Masters competitions in middle school, Advanced Placement courses at the high school, we have a top notch program preparing our students for the future.

Jack, Sarah, Mark & Charlie

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Week 5 -- LINKing Students and Staff

Today's post is from senior Noah Brammer

When I was in 7th grade my parents sat me down in our kitchen. At first I was afraid that I was in trouble because neither of my siblings were with me. But then my mother spoke up and said, “Noah, we're moving to Minnesota.” With those five words my life that I knew so well had crumbled into pieces. I would be losing all my friends and the connections that I had fostered over the course of 12 years. Six weeks later, we moved to Mound, Minnesota. Since I knew no one prior to my move, I had a quiet summer with limited friends. School rolled around and I was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I remember thinking... “8th graders in the high school...Who does that!?” But it turned out much better than I expected. My junior Link leaders were incredibly outgoing, and I instantly had friends The process was so much easier than I thought, and I felt included from the start of 8th grade orientation.

Noah in 8th grade - back center 
As I matured and joined Link Crew in my senior year, I realized that it wasn’t just the outgoing kids or the link crew leaders that made me feel so welcomed back in 8th grade, but the staff that organized Link Crew and other activities. Looking back on my high school experience I didn’t realize how hard the staff work for the students. That's where my pride comes from -- through the unsung work and work ethic of Westonka teachers throughout the district.

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Week 4 -- White Hawks Football - Playing with PRIDE, Playing for Each Other

Today's post is from Grandview Dean of Students and MWHS Head Football Coach Nick David

As cliché as it sounds, I consider myself one of the luckiest football coaches in the world because I get the opportunity to work with outstanding young men on a daily basis as the Head Football Coach at Mound Westonka High School. As a former high school and college football player, my passion for the game of football and what it teaches players is insurmountable. It is no secret that the White Hawks varsity football team, like last season, is once again off to a great start. We are currently 5-0, ranked fifth in Class AAAA, and are getting better as a team with each and every practice and opportunity that we get. Every day MW football players walk the hallways at Mound Westonka High School full of PRIDE as they have made the decision to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Though winning is ultimately the goal we have each Friday night when we take the field under the lights, playing with PRIDE and playing for each other is much more important. To me, football is the ultimate team sport because it requires such a unique brand of teamwork. When you’re a part of a football team understanding your role and that of your teammates is critical in order to be successful. Trusting teammates to do their job is also of utmost importance. On a daily basis we talk a lot about being a “F.A.M.I.L.Y.” and how if we are going to be successful then we have to be completely selfless and sell out for each other. This selfless attitude that my players embody is very apparent throughout the high school, football fields, and community on a daily basis.

It has been very rewarding over the course of my four years here at MW to see this team grow into what and who they are today. Not only have they gotten bigger, faster, and stronger, and as a result became better football players, but they have grown into upstanding young men and role models for other students and future White Hawks football players. As I continue to tell my players, football does not build character, it reveals character and I would argue that no other football team exemplifies more character than the White Hawks Football Team.

2016 Mound Westonka High School Football Team 
Practice Like A Champion. Play Like A Champion. Live Like A Champion.

-Coach David

If you have a story that you would like to share, please fill out the Pride Blog Form! We would love to hear from you!