Referendum Projects & Updates

Thank you school district voters for supporting the bond funding request on May 14, 2019. Now that funding has been approved, planning on projects have begun to improve school learning environments and enhance school safety at all schools. 

The bond referendum request was based on three years of planning, public input and research and allows Eden Prairie Schools to:

   
  • Ensure more children are prepared for kindergarten by moving our 4-year-old preschool programs from various locations into the elementary schools. ​​​Preschool will remain a fee-based program.
  • Support greater academic achievement by redesigning classrooms across the district to support a more flexible learning environment and personalized learning, helping students develop in-demand skills like collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.
  • Improve the middle school learning experience by moving 6th graders from the elementary schools to a more age-appropriate environment at the middle school tailored to their academic needs.
  • Improve safety and security across all eight schools by adding protective glass, lock down equipment, internal communication systems and additional exterior security​.​​​​
     

Designing Pathways

Overview

Eden Prairie Schools’ process to define a 10-year outlook of its academic programming and supporting facilities concluded in May 2017. Since then, the district has been moving forward with the academic programming recommendations that came out of the community-involved process including the expansion of Personalized Learning, online course offerings and capstone projects.

Over the last year, Eden Prairie Schools has gathered additional community-wide research about the recommended changes to grade configuration. Following this research, further questions and discussion, the Eden Prairie School Board unanimously agreed to, “move forward with recommendations for Designing Pathways as articulated by Superintendent Swanson in regards to grade level configuration, facilities, safety and security, and personalized learning spaces; to direct the superintendent to bring the board future ballot language options for a bond referendum totaling 39.9 million dollars; and support Superintendent Swanson continuing to develop choices for EACH student that will be brought to the board in the future.”

Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson’s Designing Pathways recommendation includes four components:

  1. Improve the middle school experience by transitioning 6th graders to a more age- and academic-appropriate environment at the middle school. Improvements include:

    • An updated learning environment with new classrooms, collaborative learning spaces and building-wide updates.

    • Stronger performing arts opportunities with a new performing arts space.

    • Improved traffic flow and safety for student pick up and drop off.

    • Students will eat lunch over a typical lunch period by expanding the cafeteria and preventing lunch periods from beginning at 10 a.m.

    • Providing choices for each student that also strengthen the Spanish immersion experience.
       

  2. Transition 4 year old preschool to the elementary schools to ensure more children are prepared for kindergarten. Improvements include:

    • Improved traffic flow at the elementary schools with the reduction of 6th grade and preschool starting on a separate schedule as the rest of the school.

    • Students will be more academically, socially and emotionally prepared for kindergarten by experiencing preschool in the same building as K-5.

    • Preschool and kindergarten teachers will regularly collaborate to ensure student success.

    • Preschool students will ride a dedicated preschool bus to the elementary schools.

    • Facilities at the elementary schools will be updated where appropriate.
       

  3. Improve safety and security across all eight schools by adding protective glass, lock down equipment, internal communication systems and exterior entry security.
     

  4. Redesign classrooms across the district that emphasize skills employers and colleges demand like collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.

  • “I believe this is in the long term best interest of students, the district, and the community,” said Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson. “We would also maintain our commitment to financial responsibility by keeping our taxes among the lowest in this area.”  

  • These recommendations would require community vote and approval for a $39.9 million bond. If approved by taxpayers, the cost of the proposal would be $6.50 a month on a $350,000 home. The school board will continue conversations about the proposal at future board meetings, including discussions about potential ballot language.

  • Additional planning will take place this school year regarding K-8 choice programming at the elementary and middle schools to support and strengthen current immersion programming and expand additional choices for students.

View the superintendents recommendation presentation

Initiatives

The following initiatives were part of a process that began in January 2016 with many opportunities for community involvement. This work aligns with the strategic plan and Boards Ends Policies and continues our vision for the future

Personalized Learning

Continue to work toward the Strategic Plan goals of personalized learning through expanding blended, hybrid, online and project based learning:

 

  • Utilize a blended learning model that is developmentally age and content appropriate
  • PreK-12 scaffolding with the use of interdisciplinary project based learning in teacher designed courses
  • Embed technology as appropriate to connect learning across subject areas
  • Strategically use technology to achieve the mission and develop 21st century skills and engaged citizens
  • Ensure all programming is grounded in standards and the use of innovative practices to recognize students' multiple learning styles and areas of interest
  • Continue to look at options throughout students' PreK-12 experience to personalize the education environment
  • All schools offer “choice” programming based on state and national academic standards while providing opportunities to develop innovative practices, recognizing students’ multiple learning styles and areas of interests.

High School Schedule 

  • Provide the option for high school students to take classes outside of the traditional school day or during summer term which:
  • Offers more choice in terms of time and place to meet needs of each child.
  • Allows for exploration of online academic opportunities.
  • Develops blended learning models utilizing hybrid and online coursework.

Capstone Projects

  • High school students are given the opportunity to complete an individual or collaborative interdisciplinary Capstone Project.
  • Capstone projects are student-created authentic work that demonstrate a wide range of skills and knowledge while providing some useful outcome to a community.
  • They are not a graduation requirement.
  • They support School Board Ends Policies and Strategic Plan to ensure students have access to an education that exceeds the minimum standards, prepares them for college and career, demonstrates a contribution to community as a citizen and is personalized.

Middle School Schedule

  • Continue to explore flexible block scheduling for grades 6 through 8 which:
  • Provides for exploration of interests to show student learning through multiple means and deeper learning and engagement through project-based activities.
  • Could look similar to the block schedule at the high school where students are provided more course options.

Middle School Teams

  • If a 6-8 grade configuration moves forward, middle school students will be organized into teams which:
  • Maintains small learning communities; supports a small school feel in a large building.
  • Helps students feel more connected to teachers, learning and the school community.

Grade Configuration Proposal

Proposed grade configuration changes are currently under review. The changes called for providing four-year-old preschool in all five elementary school buildings with 6th grade moving out of the elementary schools and into Central Middle School. This change would increase the number of students attending preschool, offer a stronger transition to kindergarten, and eliminate rental of a building used to house preschool programming. It also would bring 6th graders to an environment with students that are more socially, academically, and physiologically aligned. The movement would require a remodel of Central Middle School and community support of the funding to make the renovations.

Grade Configuration – Preschool

All four-year-old preschool students will transition to the five elementary school buildings in the district. The start time will be separate from the K-5 students and separate busing will be provided to and from school for half-day preschool. Full-day preschool transportation will continue to be provided by parents. 

Accommodations will be made where appropriate in bathrooms and playgrounds to ensure they are age appropriate for four-year-olds. 

Limited interactions will occur with preschool and other grade levels in the school. Supervision will be provided at all times in common areas like pick up/drop off, hallways, outside bathrooms, lunchroom, playground and in classrooms.

Grade Configuration – Middle School

All 6th graders will move to the middle school. Spaces will be expanded at the school to accommodate the increase in students at the school including 26 classrooms, a collaborative learning space, additional gymnasium space, music rehearsal space, expansion of the parking lot and improvements in traffic flow for pick up and drop off. The superintendent also recommended new construction for a performing arts space and remodel the multipurpose room (where performances are currently held) into an expanded cafeteria. 

The expanded cafeteria would allow students to eat lunch on a three period lunch schedule as opposed to a five period schedule. The current five period lunch schedule begins at 10:04 a.m. and ends at 12:25 p.m. A three period lunch schedule would start later in the morning. 

Students in the 6th grade Spanish Immersion program would be on the same team for math, science, social studies and language instruction in Spanish. This immersion team will include Spanish-speaking teachers. Immersion students will mix with non-immersion students for exploratory classes.

 

Process

Designing Pathways is a two phase community process to determine the long-term vision for academic programming and facilities over the next 10 years. The process began with a group of parents, staff, students and community members in the beginning of 2016 to design and request feedback on proposals. Thousands of community members provided their input on the proposals. Based on that feedback, academic programming recommendations were made.

Recommendations on grade configuration changes became the strong focus of the second phase of the process. Proposals were designed that made changes to our facilities in order to make the recommended grade configuration changes occurs. Feedback was again provided by thousands of community members - mainly parents, staff and students - prior to a final recommendation to the school board. Request for feedback from Eden Prairie residents without children will be considered this spring.

 

Academic Design Process (February-September 2016) 

The Designing Pathways process began with a comprehensive look at academic programming in Eden Prairie Schools to determine the long-term vision for academic design within the school district for the next 10 years.

Community input was gathered through a voluntary online survey at the start of the process. The feedback helped shape the options and vision the academic design team developed.  The Academic Design Team design team, made up of internal and external experts, met February through May 2016 to outline the academic vision and options. This process was facilitated by outside consultants at TeamWorks International to ensure balance and authenticity. 

In May of 2016 the community had opportunities to review the options and provide feedback during the Community Input Sessions. Feedback was collected via the input sessions and an online input form. The Design Team reviewed the feedback and released refined options to the community for a second round of feedback at the beginning of July 2016. Learning sessions were held to more thoroughly explain the refined options to the community and the revised academic options survey closed at the end of July. Options were refined based on the community feedback and the Superintendent made a recommendation to the school board in September 2016. The School Board unanimously passed the recommendations.

 

Facilities Design Process (September 2016-May 2017)

The phase 2 facilities process included a small design team of system level experts and five larger input teams made up of staff, students (elementary, middle and high school) and parents/community members. Opportunities to provide feedback online and in person were open to all throughout the process. A scientifically valid random sample survey was conducted by Morris Leatherman in April 2017 to gather a representative sample of parent feedback on the proposals. A total of 25 input opportunities were made available throughout the process.

Remaining transparent and neutral through this process is of the utmost importance, which is why we partnered with TeamWorks International to facilitate the work. TeamWorks is a local company that has a strong track record of working with school districts through change, planning and facility design processes, which have resulted in wide community support. Their guidance ensured the process remained authentic and was not unduly driven by district administration.

 

Designing Pathways Timeline

  • January 2016: Process Outlined and Announced

  • February 2016: Voluntary Survey Released

  • February-April 2016: Academic Design Team Meetings; Vision & Options Drafted for Review

  • May 2016: Community Input Sessions; Review & Comment on Options

  • June 2016: Academic Design Team Refines Options

  • July 2016: Second Round of Community Feedback

  • August 2016: Design Team Finalizes Options

  • September 2016: Superintendent Makes Recommendation to School Board; Phase 2 Process Announced

  • October 2016: Design Team Training and Data Review

  • November 2016: Design Team Drafts Options

  • December/January: Input Team Reviews Options (Round 1)

  • January 2017: Design Team Refines Options

  • February 2017: Input Team Reviews Options (Round 2); Public Input Sessions Offered

  • March 2017: Design Team Refines Options

  • April 2017: Input Team Reviews Options (Round 3); Public Input Sessions Offered; Design Team Finalizes Options

  • May 2017: Superintendent Makes Recommendation to School Board

     

Vision & Experience

The Designing Pathways process outlined an academic vision and experience families, students and staff will have once the recommendations from the process are in place and implemented. The vision and experiences outlined were created in partnership with thousands of students, staff, parent and community members.

Academic Vision

  • Students are empowered with choices and understand how those choices are relevant and authentic.

  • Equitable access is provided for each student to have opportunities and achieve success regardless of race, ethnicity, and/or income.

  • We provide a positive culture that is trusting, collaborative and balanced.

  • Differentiated, personalized professional development is supported and applicable to the academic design.

  • We are guided by innovation and active, continuous improvement.

Student Experience

  • I am valued and I belong.

  • People miss me when I’m gone.

  • My teacher thinks I matter.

  • I’m accepted by all my community.

  • I have friends and I’m glad I’m here.

  • I feel safe (physically and emotionally).

  • I feel comfortable working with people of different cultures.

  • I enjoy and understand what I am learning.

  • I have a say in what I’m learning.

  • I make connections with my learning.

  • I set and achieve goals.

  • I understand why what I learned is important.

  • School is interesting, engaging and meaningful.

  • I will use what I’m learning in the real world.

  • I am learning how to make healthy choices.

  • I am challenged and resilient.

  • I feel prepared.

Staff Experience

  • I am valued and connected.

  • I’m heard and I feel respected.

  • I have choice in what and how I teach.

  • I’m trusted and trust others.

  • I have engaged learners.

  • I know my students.

  • I feel supported by fellow staff, administration and parents.

  • I feel part of a team.

  • I am making a positive difference for students.

  • My students are growing and succeeding.

  • I feel successful.

  • I see the difference I am making.

  • I see the potential in all my students.

  • I love what I do.

  • I am prepared and supported.

  • I feel supported by colleagues, administration, and families.

  • I feel comfortable and skilled working with students and staff of different cultures.

  • I have work/life balance.

  • I know my role.

  • I have the tools, capacity and skills I need to do my job well.

  • I can competently facilitate personalized learning.

Parent Experience

  • My child is happy, cared for and safe.

  • My child loves learning.

  • My child is excited about school.

  • My child is inspired and motivated to learn and grow.

  • My child has friends.

  • I feel connected, respected and informed.

  • My voice matters.

  • My opinion is heard and respected.

  • I receive balanced feedback about my child.

  • I trust teachers and staff.

  • My child will succeed.

  • My child has opportunities to be engaged and involved.

  • Risk and failure is part of learning.

  • My child is included in all classroom activities.

  • The teacher seeks to understand my child and his/her learning style.

  • My child is resilient and perseveres

Design Team Members

Academic Design Team Members

The Academic Design Team members are made up of internal and external experts.

Name

Role

Randi Anderson

Personalized Learning & Instruction Department

Conn McCartan

Principal

Nate Swenson

Principal

Ann Swanson

Principal

Tim Beekmann

Principal

Gretchen Kleinsasser

Assistant Principal

Megan Skogstad

Teacher

Angela Taylor

Teacher/Eden Prairie Schools Parent

Stacy Natal

Teacher/Eden Prairie Schools Parent

Anita Gibson

Social Worker

Lindsay Welch

Teacher

Mark Anderson

Teacher/Eden Prairie Schools Parent

Scott Palmer

Teacher

Rachel Hicks

Teacher

Tom Baker

Teacher/Eden Prairie Schools Parent

Stephanie Baker

Q-Comp/Eden Prairie Schools Parent

Renee Rushdy

Elementary Parent

Richa Singh

Elementary Parent

Anisa Hashi

Elementary/Secondary Parent

Nolana Holloway

Secondary Parent

Cindy McGlasson

Secondary Parent

 

Facilities Design Team Members

The Facilities Design Team is made up of system-level experts that will craft designs that will then be reviewed by three input teams (parents/community members, teachers and students) before being shared with the public for feedback.

Team Member

Role

Location

Jim Anderson

Director of Facilities and Safety

ASC/District-Wide

Randi Anderson

Executive Director of Personalized Learning & Instruction

ASC/District-Wide

Tom Baker

Union Representative

Prairie View/District-Wide

Tricia Clair

Executive Director of Student Support Services

ASC/District-Wide

Michael Devetter

Architect

 

Randy Haar

Director of Transportation

Transportation

Zong Heng

Teacher

Prairie View

Shawn Hoffman-Bram

Director of Community Education

Education Center

Molly Hollenbeck

Associate Principal

Eden Prairie High School

Joel Knorr

Elementary Principal

Oak Point Elementary

Jodi Markworth

Elementary Principal

Cedar Ridge Elementary

Jason Mutzenberger

Executive Director of Business Services

ASC/District-Wide

Nate Swenson

Middle School Principal

Central Middle School

Felicia Thames

Associate Principal

Prairie View Elementary

Carla Thompson

Teacher

Central Middle School