WISE Guys turned off the lights in its Edina Community Center (ECC) location for the final time on June 1. In one sense, it’s the end of an era. But change and moving forward isn't anything new to this long-standing, dynamic program. (See this timeline for more details).
Our school age care program opened in 1986 with a total of 40 students. The idea for the program came from a group of parents who saw a need for high-quality care coordinated with the school day, and brought the idea to the Edina School Board.
Fast forward to the 2016-17 school year, when our program served 1349 students in grades K-9. 800 students are enrolled in our summer programs. With widespread construction throughout district buildings, our summer program for students in grades K-5 will housed at Creek Valley and Highlands elementary schools, and grades 6-8 will use Calvin Christian School and Weber Park as home base.
Over the years, the program has grown and developed to meet community needs and reflect professional best practices. Many long-time community education employees, including Meg Barrett, Jane Tierney, Carrie Proctor and Seth Ryan, got their start as School Age Care staffers. (Combined, Meg, Jane, Carrie and Seth have 101 years of experience in Community Education!) Several current staffers were once participants in the program as students.
During the last week of school in May, WISE Guys staff packed up the ECC program in preparation for a move to summer locations and then on to the elementary schools for the new site-based model beginning in fall 2017. During a lively pizza break, staff shared some favorite memories from the ECC era, including:
Here’s to many more adventures in the new locations!
Throughout the winter and spring of 2017, instructors from Urban Boat Builders have been working with Edina middle school students on building a 15-foot canoe. They met after school in the Edina Community Center's community woodshop, in a class offered by Edina Community Education and made affordable for all with support from Edina Give and Go.
The students participated in all aspects of boat building. By far, their favorite part of the boat building process was soaking, steaming and bending the wood pieces that formed the frame of the boat. "It was so cool," said one student. "Actually, it was hot. We had to wear gloves."
The process wasn't always easy. Students had many opportunities to put their science, engineering and math problem-solving skills to the test. They also had to dig deep and learn about teamwork and perserverance: "There is a surprising amount of sewing in boat building," one participant said.
But they stuck with it, and earlier this week, students successfully launched their boat at Lake Calhoun and took a paddle under the bridge and over to Lake of the Isles. It was the first time in a canoe for several of the students. Click here to see more photos.
The tradition of sharing May Day baskets is alive and well in Edina Community Education, where we know that the simplest gestures of human connection can really brighten someone's day.
Not sure what the May Day basket tradition is all about? Here’s a quick summary: on May 1, you make some simple “baskets” from paper, or milk cartons, or tin cans. You decorate them and fill them with flowers and little candies. Then you sneak up to a friend or neighbor’s door, make sure no one is looking, hang the basket on the doorknob, ring the doorbell, then R U N! It’s a sweet tradition meant to celebrate affection (and maybe love) and the return of spring and blossoms and hope. Click here to learn more about the May Day Basket tradition from the Edina Historical Society, and click here for more from National Public Radio’s history department.
Here in Edina Community Education, we are carrying this tradition forward. Lynn Wallin, who teaches “Senior Sit Fit,” made May Day baskets tied with ribbon and filled with pansies for her fitness participants. “I love to share these simple gifts,” she says. “They are a reminder that the little things that we do are so important to us as humans, friends, and members of society.”
The Volunteer Program staff also shared the May Day spirit. Carynn Roehrick and Alison Auerbach created flowers with Dove chocolates as the petals. They delivered the sweet treats to the front desk administrative assistants at all of our schools to thank them for their hard work and support of our volunteer tracking efforts this year. Arlou McPherson, pictured here at Edina High School, is always busy making the school run smoothly for students, staff, parents and volunteers. She looks forward to enjoying a little chocolate to keep her moving throughout the day!
Edina Family Center van driver Dave Sandell is excited about his new ride!
He's had to wait a while to get behind the wheel. The new Ford transit van was due to arrive in January, but Ford makes all of its fleet vehicles in Spain, and until now there hasn't been an available spot on a ship to transfer the van to its new home in Edina.
The preschoolers who ride the van were wide-eyed and proud the first time they got to ride in the new van. For Dave, a tall guy, the height of the van is one of his favorite features. "It's so much easier to get all the kids buckled in."
Everyone is also enjoying the van's radio, a feature their previous van lacked. Dave is a classical music lover, and he enjoys sharing this passion with his riders. "The other day the kids were having fun and getting kind of loud, and one of them piped up and said, 'why don't you put on that nice music?' The rest of the ride was much more enjoyable," he said.
The shiny new van also adds to the mystique surrounding Dave for many of his small passengers. They think he just might be Superman (notice Dave's baseball cap in this photo). "I have the kids almost convinced that I just might be the real deal," he says. What are Dave's superpowers? "Flying to the moon, eating cars . . . absolutely anything they can dream up."
Approximately 45 students per year take advantage of the transportation service, offered to students who would otherwise not have a way to get to school at the Edina Family Center. The new van is one of four total vans in the Family Center "fleet," and Dave is one of five part-time drivers. Dave has been driving vans for the Edina Family Center since 2001 (at safe and legal speeds, not faster than a speeding bullet).
Community Education is an opportunity for local citizens and community schools, agencies and institutions to become active partners in addressing education and community concerns. Community Education brings community members together to identify and link community needs and resources in a manner that helps people to help themselves raise the quality of life in their communities.
The statewide Community Education delivery system serves 1.7 million school age youth, nearly 300,000 children age 0 to 4, and over 900,000 adults each year. This efficient system is able to generate $6.00 for every $1.00 of aid/levy it receives, extending the impact of programming dollars well beyond their initial potential.
Community Education is a unique education concept that embraces these beliefs:
Community Education results in:
Working together - through Community Education - Communities can address such concerns as: child care and extended day care programs; substance abuse; senior citizen services; student achievement/school effectiveness; community pride/support for schools; unemployment/underemployment; literacy/diploma and degree completion; community economic development; and many other community ideas.
This information was provided by the Minnesota Community Education Association which can be seen at www.mn-mcea.org