News & Notes

Graduate Portrait
Darin Doherty

Saint Peter Public Schools is committed to developing career, college, and life readiness skills in our PreK-12 students to prepare them for their future. 

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District 508 awarded $21,000 grant for innovative curriculum & instruction
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Public Schools was recently awarded a Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant of more than $21,000 which will be used for innovative curriculum and instruction practices.

The Minnesota Department of Education created a Title IV grant opportunity this summer that capitalized on three specific areas of need within districts: well rounded education opportunities, safe and healthy students, and technology enhancements.  The grant funds, specific to the well rounded education opportunities portion of the state’s grant program, awarded to District 508 will be used for makerspace and hands-on learning opportunities for elementary and middle level students.

Angie Potts, Saint Peter Schools’ Instructional Coach and Innovation Specialist, first learned of the grant opportunity during a coding cohort workshop in the Twin Cities in the summer of 2017.  

“The timing was perfect for Saint Peter Schools because the fall of 2017 saw the creation of dedicated makerspaces at both South and North Elementary,” Potts said. “In addition, the middle school was extending STEM time and the high school was embracing project-based learning.  Because of the continued push for innovation in the district, the grant was a perfect opportunity to seek outside funding to supplement these initiatives.”

With the support of Superintendent Dr. Paul Peterson and the help of Business Manager Tim Regner, the district submitted a grant application at the end of August to extend the innovative initiatives with state funding.  

"Creative and innovation learning are key parts to our graduate portrait, and we are really excited to accelerate this work with students and teachers,” Peterson said. "Angie's leadership in this area has been tremendous.  She is passionate about creating authentic learning for all kids and supporting teachers as they continue to transform their instructional practices to improve student learning."  

The grant provides opportunities for resources for students from primary to middle school to manipulate, code, and create.  Some of the grant materials include different age appropriate robots, 3D printers, building materials, and virtual reality field trip excursions.  The grant also creates opportunities for a variety of district professional development to support teachers and learners as well as private school collaboration to continue to extend innovative learning for all students.

Keeley, Solaiman earn SPHS & Sub-Section 8 Triple A Award honors
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter High School seniors Jordan Keeley and Rafat Solaiman were recently announced as the school’s 2018 Triple A (Academics, Arts, and Athletics) Award winners. Those two have also been named the Sub-Section 8 Triple A Award winners as well and will now have a chance to compete for the Section 2A award.

“Jordan and Rafat are as good as it gets when it comes to participation and leadership,” SPHS Activities Director Steve Alger said. “They are both heavily involved in SPHS co-curricular activities and, academically, are two of the top students in the senior class.  Beyond the hard work that these two have displayed in their activities and studies there are no better examples of kindness, compassion and mentorship.  Naturally, there was tough competition for this award and the selection process was difficult for the committee, but I think they got it right when they selected Jordan and Rafat.”

Established in 1988, the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple A Award is sponsored by AAA-Minnesota and Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care. The award goes to high school seniors who have a “B” or better grade point average (GPA) and participate in League-sponsored athletic and fine arts activities. Triple "A" Award recipients are selected by a multi-level process involving the League's member schools and administrative regions.

The following are brief profiles of this year’s Triple A Award winners:

Jordan Keeley
The daughter of Jeff & Kim Keeley, Jordan carries a 4.06 weighted GPA and has taken a rigorous course load during her time at SPHS, including Advanced Placement (AP) and College in School classes.

“I think it is an unbelievable honor to be chosen to represent this school and community,” Keeley said. “It can be hard balancing a full schedule between athletics, academics, and the arts, but it all pays off in the long run. I’ve learned about what it means to be a leader, have good character, and better myself as a person. I can’t thank my incredible family, coaches, and teachers enough for everything they have done for me. Sometimes it gets stressful, but with all their support, staying focused and continuing to work hard is a lot easier. The experience I’ve had in all of my activities has been unbelievably wonderful.”

During her time at SPHS she has been member of the SPHS choir (9th through 11th grade) as well as being active in the school’s visual arts program where she earned a superior rating her junior year.

Keeley is a three-year participant in the SPHS fine arts programs as a member of the SPHS choir (grades 9-11) and the school’s visual arts program the past two years where she earned a superior rating her junior year.

Athletically, she is a multi-letter winning student-athlete in swimming (grades 7-12), hockey (grades 8-12), and track and field (grades 7-11). She has also earned All Big South Conference honors three times in hockey and twice in track and field.

Her future plans include attending St. Mary’s University (Winona), and pursuing a double major in pre-physical therapy and international business, and also continuing her hockey and track careers at that level.

Rafat Solaiman
The son of Mohammed & Rose Solaimain, Rafat carries a 4.36 weighted GPA and has worked hard academically during his time at SPHS through a challenging course load. He also has taken Advanced Placement (AP), Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO), and College in School courses during that time.

“I feel honored to have won the Triple A award,” Solaiman said. “It is definitely a prestigious award and I know there were plenty of great candidates in my class for this award. Being selected for this award encourages me to keep maximizing my effort and commitment in all of my activities and academics. I hope to represent this award to the best of my ability for the rest of high school, and even years after.”

Solaiman is very active in the SPHS fine arts program having participated in choir (grades 10-12), band (grade 9), and speech (grades 7-12). Rafat is a three-time state speech tournament participant with one season remaining, and has twice earned superior solo ratings in choir. Outside of school he is an accomplished pianist, earning a spot as a Minnesota Music Teachers Association State Finalist during his seventh and ninth grade years.

Athletically, Solaiman is a multi-letter winner in soccer (grades 9-12) and tennis (grades 7 -11). He was a three-time All Big South selection in soccer as well as a four-time All Big South performer in tennis. The senior standout has participated in the State Tennis Tournament three times -- placing second in doubles his sophomore year and fourth his junior year, and also as part of the Saints’ state team entry which won fifth place honors his freshman year.

His future plans include attending college, although he is undecided on which school at this time. He plans to pursue a major in a science, most likely biology, but is undecided if he will pursue athletics at the collegiate level.