By Sarah CR Clark

Here’s a roundup of news from some of our local schools:

Avalon School

Seniors pitch

Thirty-seven Avalon seniors pitched their yearlong capstone Senior Project ideas to fellow students and community members at the Fall Gathering Oct. 6.

During this school year, each graduating Avalon student will devote 300 hours researching a topic of their choice and then present finished projects next May.

Some project topics presented by this year’s seniors include; animation, the history of Woodstock, overfishing and pollution of ocean, transition and trans experience and Ronald Reagan.

Each student will receive support from formal project committees consisting of a community expert, a couple teaching staff members, a person from home and an Avalon 11th grade student.

Avalon Program Coordinator Tim Quealy reflected on the wide variety of student projects, present and past.

“We’ve had kids get their pilots licenses, last year a kid built a cabin,” he said. “Senior projects are often career exploration oriented. Students will do job shadows and information interviews to try to figure out what they’d like to pursue.”

Quealy told a story of one Avalon alum who now works as an audio engineer. When he was a student at Avalon, his senior project was on audio production. The student’s community project expert became their professional mentor.

Ultimately, the Avalon student earned a degree in sound engineering and now runs a recording studio. That student attended the 2022 Avalon Fall Gathering as an alum and will now serve as a community expert for a current student’s project.

Avalon’s practice of senior projects, a 20-year tradition, was awarded the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools’ Innovation Award in 2019.

Twin Cities German Immersion School

Fall student exchange visit

For two weeks in September, TCGIS eighth graders hosted ninth grade students from three partner schools in Nordrhein-Westphalia.

The 37 German teens lived with eighth grade host families as they experienced daily life in Minnesota that included: baseball games, apple orchards and pumpkin carving, family weddings, day trips to Duluth and trips to Target, along with many other things such as family meals and after-school activities.

Besides visiting classes, the German students toured the Minnesota Capitol with their American hosts. State House Rep. Athena Hollins invited them to participate in a short debate and vote in the Minnesota State House Chambers.

Now, the German Immersion School’s eighth graders will begin preparing for the next part of their exchange: visiting their German partners next May and June.

TCGIS has one of the largest back-to-back exchange programs in the United States, with 99 students participating from TCGIS and its partner schools.

Students at the Twin Cities German Immersion School recently visited the Minnesota Legislature with foreign exchange students.
Photo courtesy of Katharina Schirg.

MACS 2022 Innovation Award

The Minnesota Association of Charter Schools selected Twin Cities German Immersion School in September as recipient for its 2022 Innovation Award in the category of “Creating different and innovative forms of measuring learning outcomes” for the school’s self-developed German literacy assessments.

These assessments screen for German letter sound fluency (K-1st grades) and German reading fluency (1st-5th grades) and are administered one-on-one three times a year as a way to determine whether a student is struggling with literacy more broadly or specifically with German as a second or third language.

German film screening

The public is invited to a free screening of the German film “Hannah Arendt” at the University of St. Thomas on Nov. 16. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with an introduction by TCGIS Executive Director Kirsten Christensen.

Murray Middle School

A note from Principal McKenzie

“We have had a fantastic start to our school year. Students are excited and staff are energized.

“Currently, we have full, fall athletic teams; an almost full, Flipside afterschool program; and academic exploration and learning are well underway.

“We are very fortunate to have a number of families that have come forward to be a part of our 2022-2023 school year Parent Teacher Organization to support Murray. Meanwhile, others have joined our Parent Advisory and Climate Team, which helps with school-wide goals and initiatives.” 

Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a freelance writer for the Bugle.

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