Innovative program keeps
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High School opens its doors
Girls on the Run program
boosting confidence at UAE
ON ANOKA-HENNEPIN SCHOOLS
Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation
celebrates 25 years helping students succeed
I marvel at
the jolt of
positive energy that the
new year can
bring to all of
us, but particularly to our students. In our
schools, we are fortunate to
have this happen a second
time when our students return
from winter break.
Fifth grade students at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School in Brooklyn Center participate in a program called Dance to Learn,
which educators say helps children boost confidence and learn how to work with others, but in a different way than you would find in a traditional classroom setting. The program is also the kind of innovation the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation is looking for when it
awards grants, and is one of the reasons why it helped fund Dance to Learn.
On Feb. 27, the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation
(AHEF) will be celebrating something that is only possible due to
a generous community that believes in the power of education.
“This is our 25th anniversary,” said Tess DeGeest, the
AHEF’s executive director. “We’re celebrating a quarter-century of supporting Anoka-Hennepin’s educators and students
and supporting innovation and academic achievement.”
It’s funny to think about, DeGeest said. Twenty-five years is a
long time. The kindergarteners who were just starting their
educations during the 1990-91 school year when the AHEF
launched, are 30-year-old parents today, and in many cases,
the same people who are helping lead the foundation forward.
“When you think of it that way — it’s just really uplifting
and inspiring. Our community is so generous and amazing
and it really loves our schools,” she said.
the state of school funding was a bit messy when the foundation began.
“A lot of the money for schools is spoken for. We were
hoping that the foundation would provide some money that
would give that extra flexibility,” Gander said.
And the AHEF did just that. From the beginning, the
foundation solicited grants and donations, all of which were
funneled right back into the classroom. But as time went on,
simply providing more money to schools wasn’t enough,
Gander and Ragland said.
“The bigger reason that has grown in importance over the
life of the foundation is the opportunity to be innovative,”
Ragland said. “To support innovation and progress in the
schools is something that affects our whole future.”
A shining example of where innovation and a funding gap
meet is the Dance to Learn program at Evergreen Park
World Cultures Community School in Brooklyn Center.
The AHEF was the answer to a common problem in public
education: a shortage of money. According to Larry Ragland
and Bob Gander, two of the foundation’s founding members,
continued on page 4
Save the date!
GALLAGHER MEMORIAL 5K
Saturday, April 16
Anoka High School • 3939 7th Ave. N, Anoka
• Proceeds support literacy in our local public schools.
• Registration starts at 8 a.m. 5K run at 9 a.m.
• Pre-register to receive a t-shirt.
• Preschoolers’ run at 8:30 a.m.
• Participating children receive a free book!
A collective “can do” attitude prevails in our school
hallways and classrooms during these times of positivity.
This is likely because you
don’t have to look far to find
evidence of outstanding
performance by our students
One of our district’s strategic priorities is to prepare
students for college or career
options after school. AnokaHennepin students can take
pride in placing the district on
the prestigious Advanced
Placement (AP) Honor Roll,
one of only 11 Minnesota
districts. This distinction recognizes increased student
achievement in AP courses,
a factor which also results in
providing early college credits. It’s the fifth year in a row
that the district has received
this honor, increasing the
number of students that are
able to afford college through
their achievement in these
continued on page 6
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