This is an ongoing list of just some of the many accomplishments of ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools students and staff. Additional submissions always welcome; send to 






Forty-three students from Osseo Area Schools were recognized for their achievements at the Star Student Awards, presented last month by a committee from the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce. This committee helps build a connection between students and local businesses. Students were chosen for the awards based on their applications and letters of recommendations.

After a successful run of “The Pajama Game” last fall, the Maple Grove Senior High theatre department recently received several Spotlight Education honors from Hennepin Theatre Trust, including: Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre; Outstanding Overall Production; Outstanding Ensemble Performance; and Outstanding Overall Technical Team. Students Sam Irvin and Tim Edwards were also recognized with Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role honors.

Theatre students at Osseo Senior High also have a lot to be proud of this winter. Their production of “Hairspray” racked up many Spotlight Education honors, too, including: Overall Performance Honorable Mention; Student Orchestra Honorable Mention; and Ensemble Performance Honorable Mention. Garmunee Phillips was also recognized with Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role honors.

Caleb Truax, a 2002 graduate of Osseo Senior High, can add “world boxing champion” to his already impressive resume. In December, Truax claimed the IBF world super-middleweight championship in London. This victory marked the 30th win of his professional boxing career.

The Maple Grove Senior High debate team qualified six students for the state tournament this weekend. Anjali Balakrishnan and Saranya Putrevu will compete in the Public Forum category; Alex Chun and Adithya Balakrishnan will compete in the Lincoln Douglass Debate category; and Kevin Jacobson and Kara Svercl will compete in the Congressional Debate category. A special shout-out to Alex and Kevin who are section champions in their categories.


Students at Weaver Lake Elementary are benefiting from some recent donations made by local scouts. Earlier this school year, a group of four Girl Scouts from Maple Grove Middle School built a new lost and found container for Weaver Lake in fulfillment of their Silver Award requirements. The Girl Scouts—Emily Achenbach, Maddy Ahlquist, Katherine Brandt and Julia Graves—donated the structure to Weaver Lake in November. Last spring, Weaver Lake alumnus Carter Holthaus earned his Eagle Scout honors by designing and creating iPad charging stations for the school.

Last month, Boston Scientific employees donated gifts, gift cards and clothing to 53 Osseo Area Schools families in need. Thanks to our friends and community partners at Boston Scientific for helping make the holidays brighter for families in our district! We also appreciate the hard work of our school and district social workers who serve these families year-round and helped coordinate the donations.

Students at Basswood Elementary collected 700 toys for a SPARK-sponsored holiday toy drive in December. SPARK, which stands for Serving People with Acts of Random Kindness, is a local organization that empowers students to serve families and individuals in the Maple Grove community.

Staff at Maple Grove Middle School are collecting personal hygiene items, new and gently used clothing, and school supplies for students in need. Donations are provided from staff, community members, and through partnerships with St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, the Maple Grove Lions, and Maple Grove Rotary.

The Maple Grove Rotary donated 1,400 sets of winter gloves and hats to our students last month. Through this partnership with our schools, they’re able to keep students warm in what has been a chilly start to winter. 


Minnesota Department of Education State Library Services awarded grants to Zanewood Community School and our four middle schools to improve access to library services and build students’ 21st century skills. This will allow Zanewood to develop STEAM-focused reading materials and lesson plans for pre-kindergarten students. At the middle school level, Brooklyn, Maple Grove, North View and Osseo will look to enhance student learning with “engagement and creation centers” that feature a 3D printer, modeling software, and more.

On Dec. 19, 40 second-graders from Garden City Elementary listened to former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page read his book, “Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack,” at Brookdale Library. Some students even received their first library cards during the visit! Thanks to Brooklyn United Methodist Church and the Minnesota Methodist Conference for supporting this special opportunity for students.

Students in Jennifer Phillips’ second grade class at Fair Oaks Elementary have a golden opportunity this year thanks to Classroom Champions, a program that connects world-class mentors with students to help children achieve their goals. Phillips’ students are paired with Sophia Herzog, a 2016 Paralympic swimming silver medalist. Herzog and the students stay in touch throughout the year through video chats and information sharing on a Google Plus page, all while exploring themes like diversity, goal setting, character building and creating community.

Local partner Boston Scientific is supporting learning at Zanewood Community School through donations of money, time and science supplies that help the school offer a STEAM-focused curriculum to students. A $1,500 donation this year allowed Zanewood to pursue a number of initiatives, including creating a Textiles Lab and Virtual Reality Lab in the MakerSpace area. The organization also supports Zanewood’s Lego Robotics League Teams throughout the year.

For the last three years, Osseo Area Schools Food and Nutrition Services has been partnering with Hennepin County to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits. One way the partnership seeks to accomplish this goal is to introduce new vegetable recipes to students. All school nutrition managers are trained by professional chefs on the new recipes. This collaboration with Hennepin County is made possible through the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership grant awarded to Osseo Area Schools in 2015.


Jessica Gillespie, French teacher at Park Center Senior High, and Donna Ohlgren, library media specialist at Rush Creek Elementary, have been named Osseo Area Schools 2017 TIES Exceptional Teachers. This award recognizes educators who incorporate technology into their teaching and effectively engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. Additionally, Anthony Padrnos, executive director of technology, received the TIES Minnesota Technology Leader of the Year award for his excellence in leadership, innovation, community building and more during his time at Richfield Public Schools.

After the district hosted special education professionals from Ukraine, Armenia and India last May, Joy Fredrickson—student services coordinator for Osseo Area Schools—had the opportunity to travel to India last fall. During her time there, Fredrickson followed up on the country’s inclusion-based projects; engaged in conversations around inclusion; and conducted workshops on inclusive education. The partnership and experiences in India have contributed to continued examination and actions to support improvement of inclusive practices in our district.




Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center senior high schools have announced their nominees for the Minnesota State High School League’s 2017-2018 Triple “A” award program. These students excel in academics, arts and athletics, and will compete with other students statewide for college scholarships. Maple Grove will be represented by Jenna Benson and Christopher Kwon; Osseo will be represented by Darian Clark and Gabrielle Holton; and Park Center will be represented by Rachel Huser and Aaron MacMurdo.

For the 10th year in a row, Osseo Area Schools had a record number of students earn AP Scholar recognition from the College Board. Our three comprehensive high schools had a combined total of 103 AP Scholars, 38 AP Scholars with Honor, and 41 AP Scholars with Distinction. Class of 2017 Maple Grove graduates Allan Khankari, Kevin Nguyen, Alyssa Risch and Sikai Yang and 2017 Osseo Senior High grad Jack Ewing earned National AP Scholar honors.

Congratulations to the Osseo Area Schools CI-Adapted soccer team for its state championship “three-peat” on Nov. 18. The Pirates were victorious against Chaska to win a third consecutive state title. The PI-Adapted soccer team also competed at state, placing third after defeating the team from St. Paul Humboldt.

In early December, teams of engineers from Osseo Area Schools competed at the FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge tournament at Park Center Senior High. Students represented Basswood; Garden City; Palmer Lake; Zanewood; Brooklyn Middle; Osseo Senior and Maple Grove Senior. These FIRST competitions are part of a global robotics and engineering program.

Precious Kennedy, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High, was featured as a CCX News Standout Student on Dec. 6. Kennedy, who excels in Advanced Placement classes, is described as resilient by her teachers. She is involved with DECA, Model United Nations, and National Honor Society, and has her sights set on majoring in biology.

Kindergartners and second-graders at Cedar Island Elementary partnered to create Veterans Day cards for vets at the Maple Grove-based Arbor Lakes Senior Living Center. Students also made cards for veteran family members of their fellow Cedar Island classmates.

Last month, 250 Fair Oaks Elementary students and their siblings received bicycles as part of a donation event sponsored by nonprofit organization Free Bikes 4 Kidz. In addition to receiving the bicycles, each child was also fitted for a helmet to help ensure they ride safely.

A group of third- and fifth-graders at Basswood Elementary led a successful “Stuffed with Love” stuffed animal drive in November. These teddy bears are just a few of the items that will be donated to patients at the Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

After a similar event last spring, Zanewood Community School hosted its second Scholars’ Choice Day on Nov. 15. With 30 classes offered throughout the day, students had the opportunity to learn new skills and were exposed to a variety of concepts that support the school’s STEAM focus.

For the third consecutive year, Osseo Area Schools Community Education is partnering with Stages Theatre Company to provide more than 300 students across six elementary schools with the opportunity to hone their acting talents in “Alice in Wonderland.” Students will perform throughout the year for classmates, staff, families and community members.

Members of Renee Pelton’s 2015-2016 third grade class at Park Brook Elementary are in their third and final year of a partnership with Three Rivers Park District to help redesign the play area at French Regional Park. The students are featured in a recent video from Three Rivers Park District that describes their involvement with everything from playground logistics to engineering to design.

Kate Maguire, superintendent of Osseo Area Schools, was honored with the Rotary Club of Maple Grove’s 2017 Business Ethics and Leadership Award on Nov. 18. In addition, Dr. Maguire received a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of her substantial contributions to humanitarianism and educational service.

Elm Creek Elementary is home to many dedicated teachers, including Julie Blue, a first grade teacher who was recognized by WCCO-TV with an “Excellent Educator” award on Nov. 22. Mrs. Blue was praised for providing students with hands-on learning opportunities and for keeping parents updated via her weekly “Blue Notes” blog.

Rachel Raz, social worker at Weaver Lake and Rice Lake elementary schools, is featured in a new public art installation in downtown St. Paul. Titled “Speaking of Home,” the exhibit has transformed four of St. Paul’s public skyways into a monumental public artwork, exploring the meaning of home among first-generation Minnesota immigrants. Family photographs of 58 immigrants and refugees who live in the Twin Cities have been blown up to fill each panel of the skyway bridges, turning them into a giant lightbox. Each is accompanied by text telling the story of the person featured.

Last month, staff at Garden City Elementary participated in a “Giving of Thanks” program where they raised money to help families pay off meal debt. In total, staff donated $500 to the cause—enough money to help more than a dozen of the school’s families with their negative meal balances.

Sara Schreiner, Spanish teacher at Park Center Senior High, was awarded an Active Learning Center Grant from Steelcase, a furniture design company. Through this grant, Schreiner’s classroom is now decked out with new tables, chairs and white boards. She also learned instructional techniques to increase student involvement and effectively use the physical space in her lessons.

Steve Reisetter, music teacher at Zanewood and Park Brook elementary schools, premiered a new compositional work earlier this month based on the African American spiritual titled “Mary, Mary.” The North Suburban Band, Twin Cities Youth Chorale, and North Suburban Chorale performed the piece and received a standing ovation from the audience. Fernbrook Elementary music teacher Ann Williams directed the children’s chorus during the performance.





On Nov. 9, the Maple Grove Senior High football team made an incredible comeback by scoring three touchdowns against St. Michael-Albertville in the game’s final minute. This season, the Crimson also won their fifth consecutive section title. The team’s season ended Nov. 16 in the state semifinal game against Eden Prairie.

Meredith Haakenson, a member of the Maple Grove Senior High girls’ soccer team, was named the Star Tribune’s 2017 Metro Player of the Year. Haakenson also received Class 2A Ms. Soccer honors from the state coaches association. Hassan Kamara, a senior at Park Center Senior High, earned an all-state soccer honorable mention and was selected to the Star Tribune’s All-Metro Soccer Team.

Osseo Senior High cross country running standouts Vaughn Thomas and Lex Davis qualified for the state meet this fall. Thomas is a senior at Osseo and Davis is an eighth-grader at Maple Grove Middle School.

After a season in which they both won their respective section championships, the Maple Grove Senior High boys’ soccer team finished fourth in the state tournament in early November while the girls’ team earned second place honors.

Several Park Center Senior High student-athletes committed to continuing their education and athletic careers on National Signing Day earlier this month. Kylee Cox signed to play volleyball at Gustavus Adolphus College; Jarius Cook signed with North Dakota State University to play basketball; Destiny Truly will join the bowling team at Arkansas State; and Meghan Dubois will head to Concordia University as a member of the basketball team next year.

Osseo Senior High’s Gabrielle Holton was featured as a Standout Student on CCX News on Nov. 7. Holton, who shines on the theatre stage, in the classroom and on the athletic field, plans to study marine biology in college next year.

In October, former Minnesota Vikings player EJ Henderson stopped by Park Center Senior High to award the Vikings Community Captain Award to Aaron MacMurdo. This award is presented to varsity football players throughout Minnesota who excel on the field, in the classroom, and in their community.

As part of their “We Scare Hunger” campaign, students at Basswood Elementary collected more than 3,500 items for CROSS Food Shelf.

Woodland Elementary students and staff celebrated Unity Day in October by creating stepping stones that will be displayed in the school’s courtyard to help reinforce the theme of “STEP UP.”




Lieutenant Robert Coder, a 2007 graduate of Park Center Senior High, participated on a fly-over to mark the opening of the X Games in Minneapolis this summer. On his way there, Coder, who is a pilot in the U.S. Navy, took a birds-eye view photo of his alma mater.

Zoe Adkins, a varsity tennis player for the Maple Grove Crimson, captured the Section 5AA girls’ singles tennis championship on October 17. Zoe will now compete in the Minnesota State Tennis Tournament.

Fair Oaks, Oak View and Palmer Lake elementary schools received $500 “Game On” grants from Action for Healthy Kids to help expand student access to physical activity and healthy foods in school. Fair Oaks, Oak View and Palmer Lake are among 23 schools in Minnesota to receive Game On grants this year.

The Maple Grove Senior High boys’ and girls’ soccer teams won their respective section championships on October 17. The girls defeated Centennial 3-0 and the boys were victorious against St. Cloud Tech 3-1 to advance to the state tournament.

Members of the National Honor Society at Osseo Senior High recently volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. During their volunteer shift, students packed 16,200 meals—enough to feed 44 kids for an entire year.

A slight chill in the air didn’t stop students at Elm Creek Elementary from participating in Walk to School Day on October 4. Sponsored by Minnesota Safe Routes to School, the event provided students and families with an opportunity to increase their physical activity and connect with friends, classmates and neighbors. At school, students were welcomed by Principal Beth Ness and Osseo Mayor Duane Poppe.

As part of the annual Osseo Reads tradition, Osseo Senior High students passed out bookmarks to elementary students throughout the district on October 18. This event serves to inspire our district’s youngest scholars to develop a love for reading.

Students at Zanewood Community School and Fernbrook Elementary participated in Cardboard Challenge events earlier this month. These events give students the opportunity to hone their inner engineer and artist—allowing them freedom to let their creativity soar. From robots to animals to cardboard computers, there were some ingenious designs on display at both schools.

Fair Oaks Elementary students celebrated Farm to School Month by participating in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch on October 12. The event takes place across the upper Midwest and seeks to promote the region’s apple orchards; celebrate healthy eating; and connect rural and urban communities.

Philip Luoma Anderson, a teacher at Maple Grove Middle School, had a special opportunity to meet Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at FinnFest in Minneapolis last month. Anderson gave the president a photograph of the homestead his great-grandfather established after emigrating from Finland.





Four students from Osseo Area Schools have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program. Osseo Senior High’s David Nguyen and Maple Grove Senior High’s Ethan Donaldson, Daniel Du and Ashvin Pidaparti are among the highest-scoring Minnesota students on the 2016 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They represent less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors. Each semifinalist will now compete to receive one of more than 7,500 scholarships.

An Osseo Area Schools alumna and hockey standout will be inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame this fall. Krissy Wendell-Pohl, who graduated from Park Center Senior High in 2000, is one of ten members in the League’s class of 2017. During her senior year, she had 110 goals, 55 assists, and led the Pirates to the state championship. Wendell-Pohl is a two-time Olympic medalist with Team USA and won two national titles at the University of Minnesota.

The PTO at Elm Creek Elementary received an Honorable Mention distinction in PTO Today’s 2017 Parent Group of the Year search. PTO Today is a national media organization that promotes parent involvement in schools.

Alan Page, former Minnesota Supreme Court justice and player for the Minnesota Vikings, visited with third-graders at Garden City Elementary this afternoon. Page read students his book, Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack, and encouraged students to go after their dreams by learning from their mistakes and working hard in school.


This summer, Osseo Area Schools students at all four Kidstop locations and The Spot worked hard to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Through several events such as a walk-a-thon, silent auction and car wash, students raised more than $5,900 for JDRF and collected items for the organization’s silent auction this fall.

Minnesota Timberwolves player Jamal Crawford visited Crest View Elementary on September 12 to deliver backpacks and school supplies to more than 300 students. Crawford worked with nonprofit World Vision USA to donate the supplies for students; he also donated supplies to Crest View teachers to help get the school year started off right.


Two Osseo Area Schools students participated in STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair. James Schrode from Maple Grove Middle School presented his exhibit on conductivity, while Jamison Adams from Woodland Elementary showed off his robot to fairgoers. Both students were grand prize winners at Kidstop’s STEM Fair last spring.

Last school year, 12 students in the marketing class at Park Center Senior High partnered with nonprofit The BrandLab to gain real-world marketing experience through summer internships. Student Tyrus Jenkins was also awarded a rolling $4,000 scholarship that will support him throughout his college journey.   

Two teams of students from Osseo Area Schools were semifinalists in the 2017 Minnesota Cup—a statewide entrepreneurial competition where entrants competed for prize money, support and training to help make their ideas a reality.

  • From Maple Grove Senior High, the team of Akhil Gupta, Ian Lim and Sam Byun represented their business, Crimson Café, which serves convenient and quality coffee to students and staff at the school.
  • From Maple Grove Middle School, the team of Meghan Barton, Abby Polen and Paige Meierhofer created an app called “Eye on Walleye” to support the preservation of the walleye population in Lake Mille Lacs and boost tourism to the community.




Palmer Kraus and Hannah Theisen, 2017 graduates of Maple Grove Senior High, were named two of the four Triple Threat Award winners at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s annual Spotlight Showcase in June. Triple Threat winners demonstrate excellence in singing, acting and dancing, as well as community leadership, teamwork and artistry. More than 80 high school juniors and seniors across Minnesota applied for the award. Kraus and Theisen are the first Osseo Area Schools students to receive this honor.

A 2016 Maple Grove Senior High alumna is among this year’s ambassadors in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Program. Ellie Brimeyer will represent the Minneapolis Aquatennial at nearly 300 community festivals and events in North America throughout the next year.

Osseo Senior High grad Bashiru Kormah was elected as Day Student Body President at Augsburg College for the 2017-2018 school year. During his senior year at Osseo, BK was named an Act 6 Scholar and last spring, he earned a Newman Civic Fellowship at Augsburg. He has also served as a Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth intern for our district’s community education program.


Ela Kanade, an eighth-grader at Maple Grove Middle School, created a mural to show her school’s commitment to equity. The mural, which will be displayed at the school, features a woman with a variety of colors in her hair, representing the skin tones of people who attend and work at the school. The rainbow depicted in the young woman’s eyes symbolizes peace and understanding.

Osseo Area Schools and the City of Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Department partnered to update playgrounds at Elm Creek, Rice Lake and Rush Creek elementary schools this summer. The city worked with stakeholders at each school in a collaborative process to generate ideas and solicit feedback.

As part of her Girl Scouts Gold Award, Maple Grove Senior High junior Megan Gosian collected 22 musical instruments and donated them to Osseo Area Schools. The donated items will allow students to have more options for choosing an instrument they prefer when participating in music programs at school.


Summer Kidstop students at Weaver Lake Elementary have had a busy summer of learning and discovery. From gleaning cake decorating tips from Nadia Cakes’ Erin Campbell to understanding weather cycles with KARE-11 Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson, there was no shortage of weekly adventures for students.


Several Osseo Area Schools principals made personal connections with residents of their school communities during this year’s National Night Out. Shown in this photo are Elm Creek Principal Beth Ness, Maple Grove Senior High Principal Bart Becker, Osseo Senior High Principal Michael Lehan, and Maple Grove Middle Assistant Principal Sara Looby, along with members of the Maple Grove Police Department.

Emily Bollinger, English teacher at Park Center Senior High, was selected to participate in the “Bridging Cultures Initiative” last month. Through this national program, Bollinger exchanged ideas and perspectives with eight other U.S. teachers and 20 teachers from across the globe. This opportunity was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and sponsored by the Illinois-Northwestern African Students Consortium.

Kindergarten teacher Marci Rahne was named “Best Elementary Teacher” by Maple Grove Magazine. Rahne has more than 20 years of teaching experience in Osseo Area Schools. This fall, she’ll bring her teaching talents to Cedar Island Elementary.



Osseo Area Schools
Educational Service Center
11200 93rd Avenue North
Maple Grove MN  55369