SPOTLIGHT

    • WedNov14 Stevenson Lifetouch Picture Retakes Stevenson Elementary
    • ThuNov15 FHS Target Services Conferences 4:00 PM to 7:30 PMFridley High School
    • ThuNov15 Hayes Conferences 4:00 PM to 8:00 PMHayes Elementary
    • ThuNov15 Stevenson Conferences 4:00 PM to 8:00 PMStevenson Elementary
    • ThuNov15 FHS Fall Musical 7:00 PMHigh school auditorium

Four months into the job, Superintendent Dr. Kim Hiel is connecting with students on a new level, encouraging them to live without labels, overcome their fears, and reach their dreams. On the week of October 22, 2018, Fridley High School (FHS) 9th grade students were treated to a special presentation by Dr. Hiel during their Physical Education (P.E.) and Health class period. She was invited to share her personal story with students. Dr. Hiel empowered students to live without labels, as labels limit potential. 

“No matter what a person looks like, no matter where a person comes from, you never give that person a ‘single story’ by putting a label on them. But as soon as we put those labels away, we become limitless. So don’t ever let someone else limit what you can do,” Dr. Hiel said.

The 9th grade P.E. and Health classes are completing the unit “Better You,” which focuses on self-care, social and emotional wellbeing, and mental health. The unit teaches students to maintain a healthy mindset and put in the effort to reach their goals.

As an African American woman, Dr. Hiel has faced the challenge of overcoming social constructs throughout her career path. When the Fridley School Board unanimously selected her to be Fridley’s next superintendent, Dr. Hiel became one of only two African American female superintendents in Minnesota. She encouraged students to never let stereotypes define them or the person they want to be.

“Remember, you are in charge of how successful you are going to be,” she said. “For me, I had to want it, and I had to work hard to achieve it.”

More than anything else, Dr. Hiel said she has worked hard to be successful to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

“Dr. Hiel is a prime example of a successful person who serves as an amazing role model for our 9th graders,” said FHS P.E. and Health teacher Anthony Branitski. “To be successful, you need to have the right mindset and the willingness to work hard to achieve your goals.” 

Through struggles, setback and failures, Dr. Hiel told students to never let fear stop them from attempting a task.

“Don’t ever be afraid to fail because you always learn from your mistakes,” she said. “Only then will you become a risk-taker; only then will you change the world.”

Fridley Public Schools social workers attended the Minnesota School Social Workers Association (MSSWA) Conference in Minnetonka on October 28-30, 2018 - where they participated in a variety of workshops including suicide prevention, trauma-informed schools, adverse childhood experiences, ethics and more.

Fridley Area Moore Lake Social Worker MacKenzie Laurion said she valued the trauma-informed schools training at the conference.

“We discussed how we interact with students in our buildings, how external challenges can impact students in the classroom, and how prevalent ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) are for the children and youth that we work with,” Laurion said.

Fridley Public Schools was one of a few districts to receive funding from a Minnesota Department of Education grant in 2016. This funding enabled the district to hire a social worker for each of its schools, ensuring that our students and families receive comprehensive support from preschool to 12th grade. The social workers are each members of their schools student support services team.

New for the 2018-19 school year, Fridley Community Education was able to add a new social worker position. The new position, filled by Bethany Grove, works full-time at the Fridley Community Center and serves as a resource to seniors, community members and Fridley Preschool families.

Stevenson Elementary students participated in a Fun Run fundraiser on October 31, 2018. During the school day, each grade-level took a turn to run laps, collecting a Lego block to represent each lap. Families pledged to donate a certain dollar amount per each lap that their child completed, up to a maximum of 38 laps.

The fundraiser was held by the Stevenson Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) to raise money to benefit Stevenson students. The funds will support various initiatives including field trips, family-centered events and special projects.

The PTO was collecting funds until November 7, but the current tally is over $4,000.

Stevenson PTO president Shanna Larson said the weather was perfect for an end-of-October fun run and students, as well as parents, were able to enjoy the beautiful day while raising money for a great cause.

“Our goals as a PTO are to plan around the tenets of supporting our school, strengthening families, and building community,” she said. “I feel like we accomplished all three during our annual fall fundraiser and look forward to what we can accomplish the remainder of this year.” 

  

  

 

Through an e-mentorship program with Cummins Inc., business students at Fridley High School (FHS) are connecting with local professionals to learn career-ready skills. Cummins, a manufacturing plant in Fridley, are partnered with FHS students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB-DP) business class and career exploration class, as well as Fridley Moore Lake Area Learning Center (ALC) students. This partnership allows students to learn how to improve their communication and networking skills, and create meaningful working relationships with business professionals.

Students have been communicating with their mentors since the beginning of the school year on advice on choosing a college, career exploration, building a resume, and more. On October 23, 2018, FHS and ALC students had the opportunity to meet their mentors in person during a “working lunch” at the high school.

FHS Work-based Learning teacher Stephanie Warner said this is a valuable experience that all students can benefit from, as they are able to receive guidance and gain communications skills.

“This could also mean a potential network connection for future employment,” said Warner. “This helps them explore career options and understand the progression of skill-building and gaining experience.”

Fridley Public Schools' partnership with Cummins has supported hundreds of students in many ways over the years. This e-mentorship partnership first began in 2010 with the Fridley High School Transition program. Since 2017, the relationship has expanded to include FHS business classes and ALC students.

FHS senior and DP business student Jamia Johnson values the relationship that she has been able to make with her mentor.

“This is all very new to me and outside of my comfort zone, but participating in this program has sparked my interest in business,” said Jamia. “It’s nice to have someone to give me advice when I need it. Our mentors are established in their careers and they are able to give us a different perspective since they’ve already been through high school and college.”

Cummins engineer Amber Cederholm, who is partnered with Jamia, said she is excited to make this connection.

“I’m glad I get to know this amazing scholar and I’m excited to see what her future holds,” said Cederholm. “I love being able to give her support where she needs it, and to be a resource for her later on.”

Fridley students participating in this program will also have additional opportunities to engage with their mentors throughout the year in planned events such as an employee round table Q&A session, Cummins plant/acoustic test center tour, spring barbeque and picnic, and a canoe outing at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

 

  


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