Newsletters 2017-18 Focus newsletter, [2] Fall | Page 4

PREPARING STUDENTS FOR LIFE Superintendent column cont. from page 1 purpose and a sense of hope for the future. Many AHTHS alumni pursue post-secondary programs in their chosen career pathway, enter the local workforce directly filling in-demand jobs, or in some cases, both. We are incredibly proud of our staff and students who participate in this program. There is little ques- tion our partnerships and facility decisions are equally crucial to the impact of this program. Students who could have been high school dropouts are now col- lege and career ready and prepared to build a future. When people ask me about the district, about why we’re a good school system, I think of examples like this, where opportunities were created to meet the needs of our students and our community. Excellence comes in all shapes and sizes. Student needs drive our decisions. In the weeks ahead, voters across our district will consider reinvesting in our schools based on a set of community-driven recommendations to improve safe- ty and security in all of our schools, while meeting the space needs for every student. Details regarding the ballot questions and information on voting are includ- ed with this issue of the Focus. Please take the time and be sure to vote on or before Nov. 7. ■ Anoka High School graduate, Burnsville Police Chief, Eric Gieseke remembers the chal- lenges of portable classrooms Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke, a 1984 graduate of Anoka High School, and the sub- ject of this fall’s graduate spotlight (see page 8), said he remembers his time in the Anoka-Hennepin School District fondly. But there was one experience he was not so fond of: portable classrooms. “Having been in one of those portable classrooms back in seventh grade, I was not a big fan,” he said of the portable classrooms Jackson Middle School still has today, more than 35 years later. “We used to have to walk outside, and it wasn’t a great experience back then. I can imagine students would probably feel the same today.” On Tuesday, Nov. 7, residents of Anoka-Hennepin will have the opportunity to make district schools Fit for the Future by addressing facility needs for students today and in the future. The plan will create safe and secure learning envi- ronments through the removal of portable classrooms like the ones Grieseke remembers using more than 35 years ago, construct additional schools and classroom space where student populations are significantly grow- ing, offer solutions for maintaining quality schools by improving science labs, media centers, and flexible learning areas throughout the district; and address class sizes at all levels — elementary, middle and high school. Gieseke said he thinks portable classrooms create safety and security issues by having students coming in and out of the school rather than having students all within the same building. “I think there’s a lot of safety issues with that, whether their personal safety or, like me, if they get kicked out of class, it gives them a good opportunity to leave,” he said. “I’m actually shocked (the district) still has them. Ultimately the goal should be what’s best for the students and what will promote the best learning environment.” For more information about the Fit for the Future plan, visit Have a specific ques- tion? Call the Fit for the Future hotline at 763-506-3383 or email [email protected]. Make sure to follow @AHSchools and as well. ■ PAGE 4 Five candidates to vie for three seats on Anoka-Hennepin School Board The Anoka-Hennepin School District’s School Board will have a new member next year. William Fields, who currently represents District Four (northern Andover, Ham Lake, Nowthen, Oak Grove and northeastern Ramsey) on the School Board, is not seeking re-election. Anna Dirkswager and Brian Herda, both of Andover, have filed t