November 2, 2006






A  Letter from the Principal

The Seward staff is continuing to improve their practice.  Teachers meet weekly or bi-weekly in cluster groups to look at student work and learn research based strategies to implement in the classroom to help students learn.

            Part of the cluster time is also used to learn more about the Institute for Learning, which is out of the University of Pittsburg.  Lauren Resnick, with others, has developed a program to improve student achievement.  Fifteen Minneapolis principals and central office heads began learning about this program a year and a half ago.  I spent a week during the past two summers, and a week last January learning in Pittsburg.  I am very excited about what I have been learning, and know it will impact Seward staff and their practice. 

            The grounding theory behind the Institute is that all students can raise their intelligence through effort.  That effort creates ability.  In an effort based system, there would be clear expectations for achievement, fair and credible evaluations of achievement, as much time as necessary to meet learning expectations, expert instruction, and celebration of success.

            The Seward staff is studying effort creating ability and the systems to have in place to support students.  The institute teaches that there are nine principals of learning.  Seward staff and students are working on Clear Expectations and Academic Rigor.

            There are many Seward staff involved in training.  Karen Swigart, Jan Stefan-Friberg and I are on the Cohort I team, and meet twice a month with professors from Pittsburg.  There are expectations that we will share what we have learned with the Seward staff.  Katharine Skibbe, Patrick Toohey, John Roper-Batker, and Marilyn McGovern are on middle school disciplinary literacy teams, and are teaching their new learning in middle school clusters.  I am also on the elementary reading team with district curriculum directors and elementary and K-8 superintendents.  We are developing a balanced literacy approach for reading to be used for K-5 next fall.

            There is a lot of talk in the district about IFL, and I want you to be informed.  If you want to learn more and have questions, please call.


            Dr. Marilyn



Hmong New Year    

The Hmong New Year begins on the new moon near the beginning of December. It is a very important and special celebration for the Hmong people. In more traditional times in Laos, New Year celebrations provided the only break during the year. The traditional Hmong life demands hard work, and the New Year provides a welcome rest. The rice and corn harvest will have been completed before the several-day celebration begins. New Year festivities provide a chance for socializing among farmers, who have no free time the rest of the year.                                                                                     

Many things have changed for the Hmong living in Minnesota. The cold winter weather doesn’t permit outdoor festivities. The dates of the annual public celebrations must also be scheduled to meet modern demands. One of the largest Hmong New Year celebrations takes place at River Center in St. Paul, usually on the weekend after Thanksgiving. There will be another large celebration at the Metrodome in Minneapolis in early December. These gatherings provide a mix of old customs and newer ones. The celebrations are open to the public. Traditional songs, some of them complex rhymes, can be heard along with modern music. There will be many vendors, selling everything from Hmong music CDs to the imported fabrics needed to produce the beautiful Hmong clothing that many Hmong wear to mark the event.                                                                    

Traditional Hmong culture recognizes that the New Year is a time to look forward and greet the future with a fresh start. It is a joyous time to join in the wishes for good health and prosperity in the coming year.                                                                       

HAPPY NEW YEAR!             --Tom Keiser


Lunch Room and Recess Expectations:                Lunchroom:                                                                                    

1. Use quiet voices

2. Follow directions of all adults

3. Clean up after yourself


1. Practice safety

2. Stay in designated area

Minneapolis Public Schools Pre K-12 School Information Fair: Saturday, November 18, from 9 am to 2 pm at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (1300 Nicollet Mall, downtown Minneapolis). Parking will be validated at the Loring Parking Ramp.

 HELP! Seward Employment Opportunity: Two basketball coaches are needed for a Middle School boys and girls team.  The season runs from Nov. 27th-March 9th.  Practice and game times are after school between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. This is a paid position! Please contact Doug Brown, MS Science Teacher and Athletic Director, if you are interested in applying, or if you have more questions.  612-668-4950 or

PTSO 3rd Annual Seward Montessori Fund Drive

            (aka Direct Donation Campaign)

The drive is up and running.

A letter has been sent to your home.

Don’t procrastinate, write a check today or go to the link below and donate online.

This fund was started a few years ago when parents expressed interest in the option of simply donating directly to the school.

This fund has been highly successful in the past and w/your help and generosity it will continue to be so.

The goal is to raise $18,000 to help pay for many worthy causes at our wonderful school including the graduation celebration, field trips, culture night, school supplies and much more.

To donate online, visit, click donate, then donate now, then select the option that allows you to specify the school fund (simply write Seward), then complete the rest of your form to make a gift.

Feel free to call or email w/ any questions: or 612-721-1715.


Native American Family Involvement Day

November 16, 2006

Sunrise Ceremony at Anishinabe Academy

2225 East Lake Street 55407

Begins at Sunrise on November 16th


Closing Ceremony/Feast and Pow-wow at the

Minneapolis American Indian Center

1530 East Franklin Ave.



Sponsored by Minneapolis Indian Education, and Native Path to Wellness

Questions?  Call MPS Indian Education at 612-668-0610

Please Join us!!!



Lots of used books needed for the




Drop off used books on the stage of the Multipurpose Room, from November 10 to November 16. Then come on

Friday, November 17, 2006

5:30 to 8 pm

books, food, music and fun!


Call Elizabeth Lincoln or John Lauber (612-722-3922) with questions, or if you can help out.


The Annual 6th Grade Canoe Trip was awesome! A huge thank you to all the volunteers who made the day a success (there are some great pictures of the trip, on the bulletin board by the front door). Parent volunteers: John Klein, Sandra Kalmins, Dustin Denison, Genero Vasquez, Jane Greenberg, Karen Girardeau, Jim Chenoweth, Sue Peterson, Todd Mortenson, Ann Kreider, Raz Russell, Kim Lund, Peter Engebretson, Dixie Kress, Mickey Hallet, Gigi Carr, Todd Larson, Renee Peterson, Thom Skelley, Paige Pelini, Maria Arboleda, Wes Hayes. Staff and community members: Patrick Toohey, Doug Brown, Dave Hedstrom, Elizabeth Wariboko, Tom Keiser, Mary Delander, Catherine Henderson, James Henderson (Catherine’s dad), Janey Erickson, Erik Erickson (Janey’s husband), George Spears, Jeff Wells (family friend), and Cara Steichen (Augsburg student).

Seward PTSO Officers for the 2005-06 school year:
Susan Sullivan, Chair,

Laura Murray, Vice-Chair,
Julie Brekke, Communications Chair, 
Fariba Sanikhatam, Treasurer,
Mary Cady, Fund-raising Chair,
Katherine Lewis, Events Co-Chair,
Kerry Cashman, Events Co-Chair,

SMLC, 2006-07

Parent Representatives
Kari Kleven (co-chair):

Angela Mansfield:

Lisa Ray:

John Lauber:
Tom Hanson:
Claire Colliander:

Teacher Representatives

Linda Reiner (Special Ed; co-chair):

Susan Hughes (Middle School):

Agnes Kilpatrick (E2):

Karen Swigart (E1):

Gwen Lyon (Kindergarten):


The Seward Splash is a publication for the Seward Montessori community, courtesy of the PTSO (the Parent, Teacher, and Student Organization of Seward Montessori). It is distributed on alternating Fridays, with minor adjustments for holidays and breaks. Deadline for submission of material for publication is the Friday before the publication date. All material may be submitted through the Seward office or to Deb Dornfeld (612-729-3574 or ; please send your item as part of the body of your email, NOT as an attachment). We reserve the right to edit or decline material due to space or other limitations. Principal: Dr. Marilyn Levine, 612-668-4950 or