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Independent School District 191A 1976 Burnsville Current photo of a School Board meeting.
16 teachers prepare to retire 2016The Savage Pacer June 13, 2016 interview a number of the 16 long time school district teachers who retired in 2016.
Included were: Leanne Banks, Mark Challgren, Mary Hatrick, Jean Jaeger, Linda Lange, Roely Lawrence, Mark Mraz, Charlene Ostendorf,
and Jane Wegleitner. Mentioned, but not interviewed were - Marilee McLaughlin, Beth Wsterhouse, Lynn Pauly, Terry Walters, Diane Miller and Pam Hauer. (4 pages).
District 191 Health Services 2017 -2018District 191 brochure outlining the Health Services provided in each of the schools.
1957 Independent School District 191 School BoardFront row - Rose Kyllo, Eleanor Caspersen, Dorothy Studer
Back row- Joseph Adelman, Herbert Lundberg, Pat Connelly, James Kelleher and John Metcalf.
Over 1000 students expected, 1960 school yearThe Minnesota Valley Review reports that there will be some changes made this fall as youngsters living in Savage, Burnsville, Glendale and Eagan wend their way back to school.

For one thing there will be a lot more students, some 1000 in all, when the school doors open September 6.
Burnsville Cheerleaders1964 Newspaper clipping of Burnsville's Cheerleaders.
District schools open September 2 with 7,034 students 1969August 28, 1969 Dakota County Tribune reports that September 2, 1969 is the first day of school and School District 191 expects 7034 students to attend ten different schools including Rahn Elementary in Eagan, opening this year.
Weekly school lunch menu 1978Each week the community newspaper published the school lunch menu for the following week. Since Burnsville was served by multiple school districts, both Burnsville and Rosemount are listed.
Independent School District 191 Board of Education 1981 - 1982The 1981 - 1982 Independent School District's Annual Report to the Community includes photos of Board of Education members:

Daniel Cybyske (chair), Frances Potts (clerk), Gladys Scheunemann (treasurer) and directors Robert Alpers, Richard Bonin, John Coskran and Phyllis Evans.
First Day of School 20172017 First Day of School, random photos compliments of School District 191.
Diamondhead Education Center The Diamondhead Education Center off Burnsville Parkway 2019.
2011 - 2012 City of Burnsville Residents GuidePage 19 of the Guide addresses: Burnsville being served by three school districts - and a listing of the schools.
District 191 teachers get their own police academy 2011April 25, 2011 St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that once a week Burnsville, Eagan and Savage teachers are playing students during a teachers academy effort by the Burnsville and Savage police....
Braves - What's in a name?After many years of area students commuting to the various buildings to attend school, Burnsville senior high school became a reality in 1956. Until then our athletic teams have been called the "Black Dogs". With the move to the senior high our logo was changed to the "Braves".

Now, 21 years later, another change is seriously being considered. The controversy started when Kennedy H.S. featured the slogan "Burn the Braves" at their 1976 homecoming. Buttons featured an Indian burning at the stake.

Answering complaints, Kennedy argued that the word "Braves" naturally suggested savagery. Indeed, the dictionary describes a "brave" as "a North American Indian warrior".

Our logo support that image; warm-ups have a warrior on them and the letter jackets have a chief. The negative connotations not only anger Native American groups but feminist — as the chief/warrior logo excludes females. For these reasons, the local committee is discussing a change. It would take approximately 5 years to phase out the Braves name and be replaced. School colors, black and gold, would remain the same. But given the arguments, time and cost can't be considered.

(source: 1978 KOTA Yearbook)
Burnsville High SportsWorkout area at the newly expanded Burnsville High School. Photo compliments of School District 191.
Burnsville High School Theatre Guild The Music Man 2017 presentation at Burnsville High School. Photo compliments of School District 191.
Burnsville school bus 2017Burnsville Schools bus - 2017. Photo compliments of School District 191.
School District 191 Referendum vote Nov 7, 2017On November 7, 2017 residents in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will be asked to vote on two school funding requests - renewing an existing operating levy and increasing that operating levy. The increase in question 2 can only be approved if voters first approve the renewal in question 1. These are the Information pieces created by the School District to encourage a Yes vote. The materials were published in three languages: English, Spanish and Somali which are -- by far -- the top three languages most spoken by families from among the 80 or so languages they do speak.
Teachers receive Chromebooks 2017The School District reports April 25, 2017 that nearly 180 middle school teachers received Chromebooks as part of Vision One91 and the district's plan to increase classroom technology. All middle school students will receive the same devices before the start of school.
Saying goodbye, District 191 retirees 2018The Savage Pacer May 19, 2018 profiles a number of the staff members from the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District who will retire.
Independent School District 191 School BoardIndependent School District 191 - School Board 2018 - 2019.The board members are (back row, left to right) Jen Holweger, Scott Hume, Eric Miller, Darcy Schatz, (front row, left to right) Abigail Alt, DeeDee Currier and Leslie Chester.

Superintendent School District 191 job description 2019The job posting for a new superintendent for Independent School District 191 to be filled in 2019.
Apple Valley High School 2020A portion of Burnsville, based on their location, attends Apple Valley High School.
Apple Valley High School 2020A portion of Burnsville, based on their location, attends Apple Valley High School.
Apple Valley High School 2020A portion of Burnsville, based on their location, attends Apple Valley High School.
Qorsho Hassan2020 BU MN Teacher of the year Qorsho Hassan

A Burnsville elementary school teacher was named the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Thursday by Education Minnesota.
Qorsho Hassan was named the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Aug. 6 by Education Minnesota. (Courtesy of Education Minnesota)

Qorsho Hassan is a fourth-grade teacher at Echo Park Elementary School in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District.

“It means a lot,” Hassan said of the award. “It’s very validating.”

“They are the reason I was selected as the recipient (of the Teacher of the Year award) and are my why,” she said.

Growing up in Ohio as a Muslim girl of Somali descent, Hassan said she faced a lot of Islamophobia in school and didn’t see herself reflected in the teachers she had.

“I didn’t have a representative teacher, and I just always yearned to teach others and kind of be what I needed when I was growing up,” she said.

In November, Hassan was also recognized as a “Topnotch Equity Leader” by Kinect Education Group.

Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union, selected Hassan in April as one of 10 finalists for the Teacher of the Year award from a field of 134 nominees.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who was a teacher himself before entering politics, congratulated Hassan on Twitter Thursday night.

“Thank you for ensuring each and every student that enters your classroom can have a bright future and an opportunity to succeed,” Walz wrote.
Qorsho Hassan MInnesota Teacher of the year.August 14, 2020 - Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News - photo by John Gessner:

Hassan is first Somali American female to receive award

Qorsho Hassan says she became emotional when she was named the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year on Aug. 6.

“I felt all sorts of emotions, mostly shock and excitement. I was also really emotional because I was sitting behind my mother and as soon as my name was announced, I could see her shoulders shake,” Hassan said. “She became very emotional because I think leading up to that moment, she has done so much for me to support me as an educator and the child of, you know, an immigrant and she has just supported me with her hard work and her resilience to living in a country that has given her a lot barriers, has made things difficult for her."

Hassan, a former fifth-grade teacher at Gideon Pond Elementary in Burnsville and a current fourth-grade teacher at Echo Park Elementary in Burnsville, is the 56th recipient of the award. She’s also the first female Somali American to be named Teacher of the Year, according to Education Minnesota.

She worked in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District in 2019-20 and was hired this summer to work in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District for 2020-21.

An independent selection committee representing Minnesota leaders in education, business and government chooses the Minnesota Teacher of the Year from individuals who are nominated and who then choose to become a candidate.

“Being aware of the lived experiences of my marginalized students and their communities makes me fight harder to ensure they receive high quality-education,” said Hassan in an essay submitted to the Minnesota Teacher of the Year judges. “I am highly reflective and think about how to be open-minded, flexible, and adaptive to meet the needs of my students. I build strong relationships in order to know every single student as an individual. I use de-escalation techniques to make sure my students feel valued even in their most challenging moments. By having high expectations and standards for all my students, I am able to see academic growth and progress as well as improvement in confidence and communication. I challenge systems of oppression such as poverty and racism by demanding more resources for my students and their families. I believe that if students are in a learning space where they feel safe, seen, and heard, they will succeed and that is what I am able to provide for my students.”

Echo Park Principal Logan Schultz said he’s excited for Hassan to be working at the school because she brings passion and an equity-driven approach, which is a win for the community.

“Qorsho brings a student-first, relationship and empowerment approach to the classroom. She is a passionate advocate for her students and will push our building, staff and district to put equity first in everything that we do,” he said.

Nicole Jenne, a parent of one of Hassan’s former students, wrote in a letter supporting Hassan’s nomination that there’s a lot of focus in schools on how a teacher’s classroom is performing academically but people rarely see or highlight how a classroom is performing emotionally or socially.

“I had the honor of being able to go into her classroom on occasion and each time I would enter you could feel a sense of calmness and community. These students knew they were cared for, they knew that this was their place, for some it may have been the only place they felt as if they belonged. Each one of these students are going to grow up and go into this world, while we all want them to be prepared academically, we also want them to be prepared to be a positive community member," she said.

She taught for three years in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District before she was laid off earlier this summer with 51 other probationary teachers and 12 tenured teachers. Before that she worked for three years in Ohio and one year as a teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as part of a Fulbright Fellowship. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s plus from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.

Hassan said the “last in, first out” policy (where the last person hired is the first person laid off) “really impacts” teachers of color, and she was not the only teacher of color released from District 191.

“While the district makes the budgetary and personnel decisions, at the end of the day, I think the union’s also complicit in changing that contractual language and they haven’t. And you know, students of color make up 50 percent of that district,” she said. “So it’s jarring to know that they already had minimal representation before and now they have even less, and that’s a huge loss for them. That’s a huge loss for the Burnsville community.”

Hassan has made it a point to teach at multicultural or integrated settings so she can be a representative for her students.

“In particular for my students of color, I really want to be a mirror for them that they see themselves in me,” she said.
all qorsho hassan 1 web.jpg

In District 196, currently there are 64 teachers of color. The district hired 36 new teachers of color for the 2020-21 school year.

As of Oct. 1, 2019, there are 11,233 students of color in District 196, representing 38.2 percent of the district’s student population. At Echo Park there are 818 students with 501 of those being students of color.

Those types of demographics attracted Hassan to apply for a job at Echo Park. They are similar to Gideon Pond, she said.

“I know that there are also more teachers of color at Echo Park, and so I’m excited to join that community and create an affinity group for those teachers and really support our work,” she said. “Because I do believe that while it’s important to have Black educators in schools, it’s also equally important to support and retain them.”

When asked about her education philosophy, Hassan said she believes in holistic teaching and making sure educators are keeping students’ humanities close. She also believes in having high expectations for students of color and supporting them along with making sure that all students are successful.

“That also means that we need to grapple with the fact that our education system is rooted in racism and it creates a lot of inequitable barriers for students of color,” she said. “So, I really challenge that system and I make sure that I am providing as many resources to all my students, but in particular, my students of color who I know, need more resources and need more support from me.”

During her time with District 191 she worked with now Gideon Pond Principal Isis Buchanan to start an affinity group for staff of color. The group became a place for those people to unify, debrief, problem-solve and to be there for each other, Hassan said.

Hassan said she “wants to dip her feet into the district first” but she’s spoken to Schultz about creating an affinity group for the staff of color at Echo Park, particularly teachers of color.

Hassan said she’s hoping to use her Teacher of the Year platform to inspire teachers and she believes it’s important to lean into anti-racist work now more than ever. Educators should do the work not just read about it or learn about it through the texts. They should learn through experiences from their students and communities.

“(They should) really learn from their failures as they make mistakes, not to shut down not to be complacent, but to really do their part in being anti-racist and being anti-xenophobic and ensuring that our schools are a place for students to thrive, and that all of our students are seen in and out of the classroom,” she said.

Education Minnesota, the 86,000-member statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, ECFE and ABE teachers from public or private schools. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: The SMARTer Kids Foundation, the Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, United Educators Credit Union, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors and Education Minnesota ESI, according to Education Minnesota.
School District 191 - page 20Published in the Burnsville Community Guide, Sun/Thisweek News years 2020 - 2021.
Community Education for allPublished in the Burnsville Community Guide, Sun/Thisweek News years 2020 - 2021.
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