• MonDec18 ECFE Classes closed
    • MonDec18 Early Childhood Screening 10:00 AM to 2:00 PMFridley Community Center
    • MonDec18 Stevenson PTO Executive Board Meeting 6:00 PM to 7:00 PMStevenson Elementary
    • MonDec18 Stevenson PTO Budget and General Meeting 7:00 PM to 8:00 PMStevenson Elementary
    • TueDec19 ECFE Classes closed

Congratulations to Andrea Baker, Fridley Public Schools December 2017 Employee of the Month! Andrea is the district’s finance specialist who works primarily in special education billing.

“Andrea is a very supportive colleague,” said Stephanie Warner, Fridley High School’s Work Based Learning Teacher. “She has the best interest of students in mind while completing her job in an efficient manner,” she said.

Andrea came to Fridley Public Schools in 2013 in a newly created position of finance specialist. She previously worked in the special education department at Edina Public Schools.

“The finance specialist position was created to ensure that we were using special revenue in the most effective manner,” said Matthew Hammer, district director of business and finance. Special revenue includes title programs, integration funding and special education funding, areas that Andrea had experience and expertise, Hammer added. “She has done an outstanding job of maximizing all available funding the district is entitled to and ensuring that students have the resources thy need to be successful at school,” Hammer said.

Warner added that Andrea’s skills and knowledge, beyond those of finance, has helped make the Special Services department run smoothly and effectively. She takes on more work to help others out and get the job done. “She displays all the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile attributes in her work and interaction with others,” she said.

Laura Seifert-Hertling, the district’s director of special services, said that Andrea is highly knowledgeable (an IB Learner Profile trait) in her field, and does her job with a high level of integrity. “She is one of those people who you know will get the job done,” said Seifert-Hertling, adding that Andrea’s knowledge of finance far exceeds anyone else that she has ever worked with. “Her diligent approach to problem solving and thinking creatively, continue to align funding that support many of our programs and students,” she said.

Andrea’s colleagues across multiple departments agree that she is a tremendous asset to the district. She is efficient, smart, quick-thinking, and approaches her work with a holistic view that looks at the big picture to be able to help make the smaller pieces that contribute to the larger picture work efficiently.

“Many administrators in the district confidently look up to Andrea to help problem solve some of our most complicated and challenging funding issues,” said Hammer. “With her immense knowledge on special revenue and her can-do attitude, she has helped save thousands of dollars for the district,” he said.

Seifert-Hertling echoed the same sentiments. “Bottom line is Andrea can figure almost anything out if it is a good thing for kids,” she said.

District staff surprised Finance Specialist Andrea Baker with her December Employee of the Month award on December 6, 2017.

Fridley High School’s Spanish Club is making a considerable dent on behalf of the homeless this holiday season.

For the fourth year in a row, the club held a clothing drive to benefit the PRISM thrift shop.  About 25 bags filled with clothes and shoes for all ages were collected in early December throughout the high school.  Those clothes can be given to those in need or sold at PRISM’s thrift store, which, in turn, raises funds for food and services for the homeless.

Advisors Emily Latzka and Liz Winkelman worked with students on the campaign.  Latzka noted her entire car was full of the bags of clothing, ready to be delivered.

“Our Spanish Club kids are awesome,” Latzka said.  “It’s important to both Lizzie and I that community service is part of the club.  We cook and have activities together, but we also talk about ways to help out our fellow community members.”

This fall, club members also raised money for earthquake relief in Mexico by selling Fridley Tiger tattoos.  A friendly competition was added to this service project, as the first class period that brought in the most clothes would win doughnuts to share.

Winkelman underscored the positive impact the clothing drive had on club members.  “Our kids love the drive and have fun looking through all of the different style,” Winkelman said.  “They genuinely love doing things that help the community!”

The Fridley Area Learning Center E-lympics team took 3rd place honors in the December 7, 2017 state competition.

E-lympics is a semi-annual trivia competition sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs.  The event pits the state’s area learning centers against each other in a friendly and educational contest.  Topics include algebra, geography, literature, biology, art, sports and Minnesota history.  Teams are allowed to use their internet savvy skills to help them find answers.

Three questions are immediately posted as competition begins, with one additional question posted every five minutes.  Teams have up to 30 minutes from the time each question is posted to submit and answer for that question.  At the 90-minute mark, the session’s three final questions are posted and the teams have 30 more minutes to complete their submissions.

This was the third competition for the Fridley crew, and they went up against 27 other teams.  The students were led by math teacher Jennifer Pearson.

“I believe our students demonstrated great enthusiasm while participating this year,” Pearson said.  “Their sense of camaraderie was very encouraging as they divided questions among the team based on students’ interests and strengths and celebrated each other’s victories.”

The team will head into competition again this spring.

Front row, l to r: Ciara Heflin, Karie Heflin, Shakira Chapman, Ashley Romero Enriquez

Back row, l to r: Danielle Horton, Evan Kraus-Jensen

Not pictured: Shane Asplund, AJ Foster, Dae’John Purnell, Sumaya Yusuf


Fifteen students from R.L. Stevenson and Hayes Elementary Schools participated in the annual Shop with a Cop program on December 6, 2017 with the Fridley Police Department. The FPD Shop with a Cop is a program provides a fun-filled afternoon for children while creating positive relationships with law enforcement.

“Often when a child encounters police for the first time, it’s during a crisis situation,” Fridley Police Department Crime Prevention Specialist Courtney Rolfe explained. “Shop with a Cop allows children to get to know Fridley officers during a positive interaction. It builds a relationship of trust and the kids get to know officers in an informal setting.”

Fridley High School Resource Officer Randi Oman added that Shop with a Cop is able to help children feel more comfortable around police officers.

“The two students I shopped with this year moved to Fridley from Chicago. I asked them if they were nervous or scared to hang out with me for the evening. To both questions, they replied yes. They didn’t know who to expect,” Oman said. “It’s not uncommon for kids to feel apprehensive about police.”

By the end of the event, the students were able to build a friendship with Oman, who was also able to introduce them to peers from Stevenson Elementary School.

“It’s important to show them that police are “real people” and we are there for them if they need us,” Oman said.

Fridley Public Schools and the Fridley Police Department have partnered for this initiative for 12 years. Each child was given a $75 Walmart gift card, funded by the Walmart Community Grant Program, to purchase presents for their families.

Uniformed officers picked up the students after school in their squad cars, then headed over to the Fridley Walmart. A total of 21 officers, six FPD staff members, nine FPD Explorers (young adults working hands-on with officers to explore a career in law enforcement), and staff from the two elementary schools participated in the event. Following gift wrapping and labeling, the students enjoyed a meal with their police officer partner, courtesy of Subway restaurant located within the store.

The event not only provides a positive experience and the joy of Christmas to children in need, but it also strongly resonates with the officers of the Fridley Police Department.

“It’s an incredibly uplifting event to participate in,” said Rolfe, who leads the initiative. “Whether the student is participating due to a financial need or if they could just use a positive experience with local police, they get a chance to know Fridley officers as people. And seeing the pride and joy on a child’s face as they describe who they were able to buy gifts for is priceless.”

Fridley Middle School Resource Officer Mark Mickelson said participating in Shop with a Cop each year is very rewarding. “The gift of giving is the meaning of the holiday season,” said Mickelson. “The best part about Shop with a Cop is watching the kids decide what to give to their family members. Each gift is personally selected with thought and care.”

Oman added that the event is very meaningful to her. “I love to see the kids and officers smiling, laughing, joking and being silly together,” Oman said. “These kids remind us of the good in the world, why we do our job, and how important it is to remember we have the support of a great community behind us. These families help to rejuvenate my sense of purpose and connection to the community we serve.”


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