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Bloomington Public Schools
Gifted & Talented Newsletter
Winter 2022
Upcoming Events

Middle School

First round of placements for Nobel and Dimensions Academy. Parents will be notified by the end of January.

High School

January 11 Dimensions Academy High School (DAHS) STEM and Humanities informational meeting 7:00-8:00p.m.
Meeting ID: 951 7990 0672
Passcode: pq1Ktx
January 19 - Deadline for nominations for first round consideration. Please complete the nomination form to let us know your interest in applying.

Elementary School

First round of placements for Elements and Dimensions Academy. Parents will be notified by the end of February.

High School

February 21 - Pre ACT for Dimensions Academy High School applicants. Students should complete the nomination form to indicate their interest in taking the Pre ACT test. The test will be administered at Kennedy High School in the cafeteria. Doors will open at 7:30 and testing starts promptly at 8:00a.m. Students should bring a water bottle, pencils and a calculator.


March 18 - Second round deadline for nominations to all programs.

High School

April 8 - Parents notified of DAHS placements.
Parent Ambassadors Needed!
Would you be willing to volunteer to be a GT spokesperson for our programs? Every year we have new families interested in our programs and often facing the difficult decision to leave their home school in order to attend our GT site. Tours have helped give insights to inform this decision, but with the pandemic tours have not been possible. We would love to have a short directory of parents who are willing to be contacted to share their perspectives on the programs. Please click the button below to add your name to this directory. . Thank you!
Education Opportunities for GT Families
MCGT speaker series:
Supporting Gifted Children during Stress

Coming soon! Stay tuned for the date!
A virtual option will also be available!

Gifted children and their parents have been experiencing increased stress and anxiety during the COVID 19 pandemic. Expand your knowledge of anxiety and gifted children, strategies to help, and how to continue to support yourself and others during this stressful time.

Presenter: Dr. Teresa Argo Boatman, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist in Plymouth, MN. She specializes in assessments, educational choices, and emotional health for gifted and talented children and their families. Dr. Boatman is the current president of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented.

Programming for Children Grades 1 – 5
Explore Robotics through the First Tech Challenge, Maker Space materials, Art and Craft area, and First Lego League Demonstration. Bloomington educators will present and guide explorations during this creative experience time.

Minimum of 10 and maximum of 40 Children.
Parent Program Fees:       Free as a Bloomington MCGT Member
                                           $10 General MCGT Member
                                          $20 Non MCGT Member
Children Program Fees:     $10 per child
Scholarships available through MCGT. Find more information here.
Join the MCGT Bloomington chapter!

Tues., February 1, 2022
Tues., March 1, 2022
Tues., April 5, 2022

Join the Bloomington Chapter of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented for a monthly coffee talk over Zoom. Check the Bloomington Chapter's Facebook page for updated information and Zoom links.

This will be an opportunity to connect with other GT Parents and discuss issues/questions/concerns. Hope to see you there!
Elementary News
Robot Day - Elements RV
Robot Day was a hit with the third graders in Mrs. Schearer's room at Ridgeview Elementary. 
Students worked with the Technology Integrationist - Becca Schulz - to learn about designing, making, and testing robots. 
Students then used the Edison Robots to maneuver through an obstacle course that they made. It was a great afternoon of technology and problem solving.
Conceptual Learning with Oak Grove DA students
Fourth and fifth grade students have been studying the concept of Power. They analyzed four important speeches by

  • Malala Yousafzai
  • Rosie King
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and
  • Seneca Tribal Chief Cornplanter

Students then identified examples of Power within one of the speeches and used those powerful words to create this word art.
Science Exploration with Ridgeview DA
Fourth and fifth grade students have had several weeks of maker space science activities.
Mission to Mars science

Testing out flight characteristics

Students use Makeymakey kits. Not familiar with this new tech tool? Students design their own controller using everyday materials such as play dough or graphite pencils. Then they can control their own game while they learn to code!
Check out the website for a sampling of Makeymakey projects!
Students engaged in an engineering challenge where they had to build something with specific resources to suspend pennies over blue tape squares on the floor.
Middle School News
Nobel Academic Highlights
Students in Mr. Teddy Wolfe's social studies class simulated Canadian Parliament as they took on various roles to debate, compromise, and attempt to pass a controversial land usage bill. Students learned Canadian parliamentary procedures and conducted research to prepare statements for deliberations.
The two competing parties were also given a personalized video message by Consul of Canadian Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, Colin McLeod, to kick off the project.

Mr. Wolfe served our program well as the long-call substitute teacher for the first quarter of 2021-22. We thank him for his outstanding efforts and are happy to welcome back Ms. Grace Diaz.
Meet Rose McGee, Founder of Sweet Potato Comfort Pie
Ms. McGee visited the Nobel program at Valley View Middle School to share her personal story around artivism (activism + art) and how she began her company. Rose then shared her sweet potato pie recipe along with several baking secrets so that our students could help carry out her mission of social justice with pie making and distribution.
The History
The sweet potato, or Ipomoea batatas, is a delicious and nutritious root vegetable that grows easily in the South because of the warm climate. West African captives, who were brought to the United States as slaves, used the word ayame. Over time that name was shortened down to the term yam. Whole sweet potatoes were roasted outdoors over fire for meals, and eventually pies were created for the plantation owners. After emancipation, when African American cooks gained more access to their own equipment and refined ingredients, they continued the tradition of baking with sweet potatoes – especially the pie.
Pie Activists of the Past. Educator and civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune (born to parents who had been slaves) was known for her creativity and resourcefulness. In the early 1900s, she sold sweet potato pies from her bicycle to help raise funds for a school for Black girls. Today, Bethune-Cookman University remains as her legacy in Daytona, Florida. Sweet Potato Comfort Pie founder Rose McGee (pictured), considers Ms. Bethune one of her personal heroes.
A Recipe for Change

“Sweet potato pie is the ‘sacred dessert’ of Black people, and it has power. Not only does it give us energy, this pie links us to history, it soothes our spirits and renews us for the much-needed work.”

~ Rose McGee
The Mission
is to advance racial justice and equity, heal damage caused by race-based trauma and elevate marginalized voices and experiences. We achieve our mission in three ways: by using the powerful Black cultural food tradition of making and delivering sweet potato pies; by facilitating story-circle dialogues, speaker series, workshops with intentional listening and authentic sharing; and by building multicultural alliances/relationships and youth/elder mentorships that deepen commitment to racial justice work.
Sixth, seventh and eighth graders made sweet potato comfort pies and offered them to district staff members for a charitable donation.
Students raised $540 in donations for Good in the Hood!
Students also wrote poems and messages that were included in each pie box.
The spirit of Thanksgiving was felt by all involved!
Nobel 8th Graders Continue their Empty Bowls Tradition
Our Nobel 8th grade theme: Realizing Our Actions
requires students to look to the future by asking these questions:

  • What might we create or design that could transform the world for a brighter future?
  • In what areas it is necessary to challenge the status quo?
  • What are some of the biggest needs in our world today, and what might each of us do to support a change that would benefit humankind?

This focus drives many volunteer and philanthropic opportunities.

One such event, Empty Bowls, raised $640 for Good in the Hood this year!
The students first created beautiful ceramic bowls during their expanded art block that were then used for the event.
Students then made turkey wild rice soup and served staff members. Attendees left donations for the soup and got to keep the bowl as a reminder of those who so often go hungry.
Olson DA Holds Trial

To wrap up the classic book "The Outsiders", Mr. Brandon Becker's DA8 Language Arts class created and role-played a mock trial. The trial involved many of the characters from the story and simulated a case in which one of the main characters had been accused of several crimes.
Students took on roles as witnesses, experts, the prosecution legal team, the defense legal team, etc. A small group of students from another LA class even served as the jury to hear the case over the course of three class periods and delivered what turned out to be a guilty verdict. Middle School gifted coordinator, Mr. Hildebrandt, served as the judge (gavel pictured).
High School News
Welcome BPS Graduates as Guest Speakers
Jordan Thomson, 2020 KHS Grad
Washington University, St. Louis 
Electric engineering & computer science major 
Jillayne Clarke, 2020 JHS Grad
Johns Hopkins University 
Applied math & computer science major with a minor in linguistics 
Our alumni spoke about a variety of topics:

  • What types of activities they were involved with in high school
  • What they were looking for in a college & why they chose the one they did 
  • Whether they like the college they go to & why 
  • What they are majoring in & if they've changed majors 
  • What advice they have for DA students 

This panel is a part of a college planning series for our DAHS students. The day before they talked through a roadmap to highly selective colleges and discussed an article titled, "9 ways to show college admissions you're a winner" as a way to get them thinking about what they'd want to ask their guest speakers. If all goes well, and the pandemic cooperates, we hope to take DAHS students on some college visits this spring!
Nobel 11 Interdisciplinary at KHS
This interdisciplinary class project has been revisioned to focus on critical and creative thinking for our Nobel students. Check it out!
Valley View Middle School Robotics Team
Valley View Middle School staff Deborah Orgeman, Sean Hildebrandt, Ben Powell, and team mentor Samantha Tarnowski led the Falcon Frenzy student robotics team in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge competition. Congratulations to the team on receiving the coveted Judges' Award for their Teamwork and Gracious Professionalism!
Way to go robotics team!

Sixth Graders: Aric Ahrens, Tony Elder, Anthony Hernandez, Angel Jaurez, Joshua Jeske, Rian Lesney, Damion Mizelle and Zaden Roberts

Seventh Graders: Elliot Miller, Victor Onuzulike, Jack Pehrson and Emre Zuchowski

Eighth Graders: Mason Drummond, Mia Mohamud and Izzy Sinner
Civics Bee Winners
The Bloomington League of Women Voters (LWV) created a 7th grade Civics Bee for our students. All 7th graders were given a qualifying exam. The top scorers were then invited to participate in their school's civics bee. Below are the competitors from each school.
Oak Grove MS
Valley View Middle School
Olson Middle School
The top three from each school level will now move on to an all-city civics bee to be held in January. Good luck competitors!
Congratulations to Santiago Young-Alaniz, Regan Isaac and Gretchen Gamble
Kudos to Sidney Zuchowski, Hans Sonnenberg, Emre Zuchowski
Hats off to Michael Meany, Ibrahim Hassan & Finn Dolmar
2021-2022 ExCEL Nominees
Congratulations to former DA students Snezhanna Medvedovski and Elias Caspari for being named Bloomington Jefferson High School's 2021-2022 ExCEL nominees!  

One female and one male student from Bloomington's high schools can be nominated for this award yearly. Criteria for the ExCEL Award includes: Junior in high school, participation in Minnesota State High School League sponsored fine arts and/or athletic activities, demonstration of leadership qualities, volunteerism and academic excellence.
Snezhanna Medvedovski participates in gymnastics (captain), track and orchestra at Jefferson. She is also on the “A” honor roll, a member of Pathfinders, student council, and NHS. Snezhanna also spends a great deal of time volunteering at her church.
Elias Caspari participates in soccer, show choir, and theater at Jefferson. He is on the “A” honor roll and spends time volunteering at both his church and community theater.
We are proud to have both represent Bloomington and also Jefferson High School in this statewide process. An independent panel of judges from schools throughout Minnesota will select ExCEL Award recipients in January. ExCEL winners will be recognized on KSTC-TV during the winter tournaments. Good luck Snezhanna and Elias!
For more information

Erin Boltik - Director of Gifted Talented K-12
Phone: 952-681-6497
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