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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

News from Como Park High School – July 2018

Posted on 10 July 2018 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• For the second consecutive year, four cadets from the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at Como traveled to Washington D.C. to compete in the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl. Out of 240 other MCJROTC schools in the nation, the Como team qualified during the school year to be one of the eight finalists. At the nationals in late June, Como’s William Farley, Joseph Newman, Anderson Xiong and Francisco Dominguez-Jaramillo placed 2nd in the Marine Division.

• Academy of Finance (AOF) students (from l to r in submitted photo right) Phillip Chervenak, Curtis Love, Daiswaun Miller and Zakarai Jamari, built a stock portfolio as part of the BestPrep Stock Market Game. Their investment strategy resulted in a remarkable 2nd place finish for the entire state of Minnesota. The students’ collaboration, consultation, and market analysis were commendable and motivating. The team enjoyed a reception sponsored by BestPrep where they were awarded a plaque and certificates (see photo).

• The school year for teachers officially ended on June 11, but many Como teachers were back in classrooms leading instruction at St. Paul summer school sites by Monday, June 18. Several teachers also participated in professional development programs during June.

Augsburg University hosted an Advanced Placement (AP) Summer Institute for social studies subjects. Abdul Sannie-Ariyibi attended the training for AP Human Geography in preparation for teaching it next fall. Eric Erickson attended the AP Government training to modify content according to the new course design being implemented this fall. He also was invited back to the Foreign Policy Association Teaching Institute in New York City where he studied with educators as part of the North American Collaboration Initiative.

AP English teacher Kristin Mathieu was selected to grade the AP Literature and Composition national exams in Kansas City, MO. She also attended the AP Summer Institute at Carleton College to study AP Literature Advanced Topics.

• Como Cougars’ soccer players have been busy training and developing their skills in June through voluntary workouts. Players are also donating their time and energy to the “Soccer Stars” community program in collaboration with St. Paul Parks and Recreation. Soccer Stars provides fun introductory and developmental soccer activities on Tuesday nights.

Coordinated by Como boys’ coach Jonah Fields, boys and girls from the school teams lead the sessions and pair up with the young participants, to provide a personal and positive experience for all. Everyone is enjoying the Soccer Stars experience being held, for the first time this summer, on the new turf field at Como.

• The end of the school year also marked the end of careers in education for six Como staff members. Retirees Jackie Yarusso, Janeen Hedren, Susie Skalman, Gail Rosenow, Laurie Payton, and Theresa Neal were honored and celebrated at a reception in front of colleagues and family at Gabe’s By The Park. Their service to students and the Como community is indescribable here. Each brought unique talents and skills to Como that will be missed.

• Theresa Neal’s (photo right) 39 years in the St. Paul Public Schools concluded with four years as the Como Park High School Principal. From the fall of 2014 until the spring of 2018, Neal served the Como community by advocating and supporting students in their educational journey, and helping provide a sense of belonging for the students that walked through the doors. “When they walk into the building, each and every one of them are my children,” Neal said.

Students’ gratitude for Neal’s leadership could be seen on a daily basis in school and especially through a touching graduation ceremony. The gratitude is reciprocated. “I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the CPSHS school community,” Neal said. “I have been enriched, supported and became a better person, because of the individuals and opportunities that I experienced here. I leave knowing that Como will move on to greater heights – that the sky will be the limit for such a phenomenal school community! Como will forever be etched in my heart!”

• Como’s new principal, Stacy Theien-Collins (photo left) was selected in May. Theien-Collins has been an educator for 28 years and served as Murray Middle School’s principal for the last five years.

“I am so excited to be a part of the Como learning community. I have been welcomed in such a warm way,” Theien-Collins said. “Strong programs and curriculum make a school strong. Special programs, like AP and AOF, whether school-wide or targeted create quality learning opportunities and lead toward a community’s unique identity. We will work together to make sure we have pathways to learning and that those pathways are accessible to ALL learners.”

Principal Theien-Collins is also enthusiastic about the facilities improvements happening at Como. “Facilities matter! There is a large body of research showing school buildings have a profound impact on student and teacher outcomes,” Theien-Collins said.

“I am excited for what I have seen accomplished so far and envisioning the future that the additional changes and enhancements will bring. We know student health, behavior, engagement, school pride, learning and achievement are all impacted positively with new facilities.”

Construction of the new academic wing is supposed to be completed by the end of August and ready for the new school year. Upgrades and remodeling of west wing classrooms, bathrooms, library, and common areas this summer require the entire building to be officially closed until the last week of August. The Wenck Engineering and Construction Company is in charge of the building until then.

Shirley Erstad

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