February 15, 2007





Letter from the Principal


Dear Parents and Guardians:


We are approaching the time of the year when we plan our program for next year.  The Budget Task Force, which is made up of parents and teachers, had its first meeting on February 13.  Everyone is invited to participate, and our next meeting is February 27.  The amounts of funding we will be working with will be released April 10, and then we will have two-three weeks to finalize our plan.  We will again have a parent meeting to discuss funding and program options.

To get everyone thinking about the school budget, I will use the Splash to review with you each fund, and how the money was spent this year.

This week I will describe our Title One funds.  For the 05/06 school year we received $236,512 in Title One funding.  Seward is a school-wide Title One school.  The funding is to be used to support parent and family involvement, and student achievement.  We have used the funding to buy a .5 teacher to support students in Middle School.  We have added time to two Special Education teachers, to teach students needing more help in our E1 and E2 classrooms.  We also use funding to support four Educational Assistants to help students in their classrooms. 

The Media Center is supported by one Educational Assistant, who helps students check out books and find resources.  The other is our Technician, who supports all the technology in the building.

We have two Parent Liaisons to help families adjust to Seward, and plan family involvement activities.  Many families are very thankful to have an additional person speak for them.  These staff members help support families with resources.

We also use Title One funding to purchase instructional supplies and materials for classrooms.  This funding has purchased problem-solving materials to help students improve their mathematical reasoning.

Title One is an important funding source for Seward.  On April 26, plan on attending our meeting to give your input into our plan for fall.



Dr. Marilyn

On Thursday, 2/8/07, Marilyn Levine was honored by the Minnesota Elementary and Middle School Principal's Association (MESPA) with a 2006-2007 Division Leadership Achievement Award.  The award expresses appreciation to outstanding principals, who have contributed generously to improving education.  These excellent individuals serve as role models and sources of inspiration to other principals and educators.

VOLUNTEERS WANTED: have lunch with your child at school! Join her/him for lunch, and help out as needed, in the lunchroom and/or playground. You simply sign in at the office, receive a visitor badge, and then enjoy a few minutes together. This is a great way to get to know your child's classmates as well. You are welcome to come at your convenience, and as frequently as you wish. Thank you! Lunch times:

10:05-10:40 am- Rooms 124, 113, 114

10:10-10:45 am- 111, 104, 118, 116, 110 (115 pm)

10:40-11:15 am- 101, 102,103,105,109,117

11:15-11:45 am- 203, 204, 205, 206 (6th graders)

11:40 am-12:15 pm- 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212

12:15-12:45 pm- All 7th and 8th graders


Thank you again, Seward for donating over 1,000 pounds of food, and for your generous giving of $ and food gift cards to families over break.

--Sincerely, Seward Staff


Student Council minutes, February, 2007. Meeting called to order; Valentines for Seniors discussed; school song is needed; new mascot discussed; school colors (green and white) possibly used more around school; Talent Show set for May, after tests; admission fee possible; Wellness Policy discussed and its implementation: no sweet Birthday treats, no cookies in school lunch; Middle School council met; acceptable behavior for a dance talked about; possibly a March Dance;  dress code discussed especially: pajamas, baggy pants; Middle School teachers object to Pajama Day, changed to Jersey Day; meeting adjourned      -Collin Knopp-Schwyn, SC Secretary


Seward Students going to Space Camp: Every year students apply for an opportunity to learn about space and flight, during 5 Sunday afternoon learning events, culminating with a one week trip to a NASA facility in Huntsville, Alabama. To make this happen, the students commit to raising the necessary funds.  This year, they are selling the always popular Blue Sky Guides, along with selling candy and other fund raisers.

What is the Blue Sky Guide? It is a book with 324 discount coupons with a great local twist!  Coupons are for . . . eating out (Birchwood Café, Izzy’s Ice cream, Blue Moon Coffee ); Museums or a sporting event; using the Light rail; Purchases at Lunds, Mother Earth Gardens, Hardware stores, Seward Coop, Bachman’s, and many, many more places to go, things to do and ways to save money. 

The Blue Sky Guide can be a great gift for friends, family or even yourself. Cost $20

If you want a Blue Sky Discount coupon book contact one of these Seward Students:  Sam Coady, Arianna Eady, Zach Fjerstad, Etta Harkness, Shona Kramer-La Borde, Eva McCauley, Annika Myers, Abby Norling-Ruggles, Becky Norling-Ruggles, Sadaf Pruitt, Caylamina Roberts, Olivia Strebe, Kati Thiel, Sam Wegner, Hector Wesley, Renee Westrich.


Seward Family Rollerskating Night! Only $1 per person. Sponsored by our PTSO. Thursday, March 1st 6-8pm; Rollergardens (5622 W. Lake St. St. Louis Park). Free bus! If you wish to ride the bus, please let Mary Delander know by February 19th. All Seward families (sorry, no friends) are welcome to come. We will have the Rollergardens ALL to ourselves. *All students must come with a supervising adult. Adults must plan to stay and supervise the children that they bring. *You don't need to buy skates. The fee of $1 includes skate rental! Questions? Call Mary Delander at 612-668-4952.


The room 106 preschoolers sometimes get messy, and are wondering if there are any clean preschooler pants and underwear (sizes 3, 4, or 5), socks (little), or a winter jacket (size 5) that need a new home. If so, please see Beth or call 699-9194. Thanks for all the support!


BOOTS WANTED! Sizes 12-8. Thanks; call Mary Delander, 668-4952.


Senate Education Committee Notes (brought to you by Parents United Network): early this month, conversation centered on early literacy, especially the statute that requires children to read by grade 2. The Minnesota Department of Education testified that best practice workshops are available to help districts and teachers with strategies for literacy.

            There was testimony from Dr. Ann Casey, U of M, about the Response to Intervention model, which uses intense early intervention. She referred to our existing model of determining special services need as "wait and fail," since, for a child to receive special services according to federal statute, a child needs to be tested "behind" their peers.

            Serve Minnesota spoke about its Minnesota Reading Corps program, which is targeted to young children who are having difficulty reading, and uses AmeriCorps volunteers to intervene with intense early literacy strategies. Because of its success, they want to expand the program to preschool. This program is referenced in the Governor's budget. 

The committee met in Edina and North St. Paul early this month. The presentations from the districts continue to be impressive. Edina centered on early childhood education, special education funding, and a conversation from the Minnesota Association of School Administrators about the need for a longer school year. There was the suggestion of a pilot program to begin studying the effects of moving to a 45-15 school calendar. There is interest in this model helping students retain learning (A 45-15 model is one where students attend school 45 weekdays and then have 15 weekdays off. So students attend school year-round for 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off, with one 5-7 week longer vacation usually placed during the summer months).

            There was a special presentation from the superintendent of District 287, a consortium of districts that collaborate to provide specialized education for students from all member school districts. Together, these schools can provide what no one school could. The costs for educating each of these students can range from $40,000-$60,000 per child and this cost is charged back to the sending district on a tuition reimbursement model.

            In North St. Paul-Oakdale-Maplewood School District, the testimony focused on the need for technology in our classrooms and the stories could have been from most districts around the state. They were asking for dedicated and dependable dollars for technology. An interesting statistic presented was that business strives to use 3% of their annual budget to renew technology.

            Remember, this committee is on the road and presents a great opportunity for parents to be part of the process in your own backyard. To find out where they will be next, check www.parentsunited.org


Also at the Capitol, All Day Kindergarten (brought to you by Representative Jim Davnie): Several different bills that would make voluntary all-day kindergarten available in every school district across the state had their first hearing last week. Minneapolis already offers all day kindergarten to many students, but does so by taking money from older students to finance it.  This means larger class sizes, older textbooks, and less opportunity for older students and inconsistent opportunity for kindergartners. 


If you want to know more about Montessori education:

Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood, by Paula Polk Lillard. New York: Schocken Books, 1996. Available in the Media Center.

1998 Montessori Community Resource, includes information on Montessori education, reading lists, web links, school resources, software, classroom guides, and more. Minneapolis, MN: Jola Publications (612-529-5001).

A Parent’s Guide to the Montessori Classroom, by Aline D. Wolf. Hollidaysburg, PA: Parent Child Press, 1980 (814-696-7512).

Public School MOntessorian. A quarterly newspaper for Montessori education. Ideas and information to improve the lives of children and adults associated with public school Montessori programs. Minneapolis, MN: Jola Publications, annual subscription $12 (612-529-5001). Current and former Seward teachers serve as editorial staff.














Seward PTSO Officers for the 2005-06 school year:
Susan Sullivan, Chair, sullivancoadyhome@yahoo.com

Laura Murray, Vice Chair, lwmurray@gmail.com
Julie Brekke, Communications Chair, julie.brekke@ppl-inc.org 
Fariba Sanikhatam, Treasurer, Pruitt@mcg.net
Mary Cady, Fund-raising Chair, mfcady@aol.com
Katherine Lewis, Events Co-Chair, klewismpls@aol.com
Kerry Cashman, Events Co-Chair, kerrymcashman@hotmail.com

SMLC, 2006-07

Parent Representatives
Kari Kleven (co-chair): klevens@mn.rr.com

Angela Mansfield: angelalbm@earthlink.net

Lisa Ray: lisaray321@msn.com

John Lauber: jlauber@mn.rr.com
Tom Hanson: tadhanson@msn.com
Claire Colliander: colliander@visi.com

Teacher Representatives

Linda Reiner (Special Ed; co-chair): lreiner@mpls.k12.mn.us

Susan Hughes (Middle School): susanh@mpls.k12.mn.us

Agnes Kilpatrick (E2): phoxisland@aol.com

Karen Swigart (E1): kswigert@mpls.k12.mn.us

Gwen Lyon (Kindergarten): gwenlyon@mpls.k12.mn.us