Author: Isaac Kerry

Eden Prairie High School has a new principal striding through the halls. Nate Gibbs has taken on the role previously held by Robb Virgin, who has moved on to a new role with the district. As a child, Gibbs knew he wanted to follow in his family’s footsteps of public service. “My grandma was a teacher in St. Paul schools, my dad is a firefighter with the St. Paul Fire Department,” Gibbs said. “It was very clear growing up I wanted to be involved in public service in some capacity.” Gibbs began his education career in St. Paul Public Schools…

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Eden Prairie Schools EPIC summer program has seen a raft of complaints the past few weeks detailing parents’ issues with transportation. The Eden Prairie Moms Facebook Group has had several posts from concerned parents about their children getting on buses when they are not supposed to, and vice versa. Lauren Eland shared the story of her 6-year-old son being incorrectly placed on a bus when he should have stayed at school for Eagle Zone. He then rode for an hour before it brought him back to school. Eland said she went to the school to check on him, and he…

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The Eden Prairie School Board is beginning to host information sessions for potential candidates interested in running in the November election. A meeting was held on Tuesday, June 20, and another will be held after the filing deadline is complete. Board Chair Adam Seidel and Superintendent Josh Swanson were present to answer questions and give advice. Five seats will be up for election on Nov. 8. Four of these seats are full, four-year term positions. Current board members holding these seats are Seidel, Aaron Casper, Debjyoti Dwivedy, and Steve Bartz.  A final seat is also up for election to fill…

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Felicia Thames is ready for her next big challenge after a career with the district that has spanned over 16 years and seen her in roles ranging from first grade teacher to Prairie View Elementary principal. Starting July 1, she will become the principal of Central Middle School. She takes over from Nate Swenson, who is returning to his hometown to become principal of Little Falls Community Middle School. Thames has always been drawn to education. As a child, her next-door neighbor was the high school principal, who encouraged her to serve on various school committees. “I feel like I’ve…

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One subject loomed large over U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips’ town hall meeting at Hennepin Technical College in Eden Prairie on June 1: the nation’s epidemic of gun violence. While many topics were covered, including health care and inflation, the recent devastating mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, were clearly at the forefront of the audience’s mind. Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case randomly selected questions from the audience, and no other subject ended up getting discussed more. Phillips, D-3rd District, began addressing the issue by breaking the news that another mass shooting had just occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma.…

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It’s been hard to write school news stories this week. I’ve been sitting on a few interviews that I need to write up, but talking about remodeled schools and new learning environments just seems so meaningless in the face of such soul-crushing tragedy that has come out of Texas this week. This week’s events hit especially close to home for me. In my role here at EPLN, I’ve been inside more schools in the last couple of months than I have in years. My oldest daughter is 9, the same age as so many of the victims. And just last…

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The Eden Prairie School Board voted Monday night to bring two funding referendums before city voters in this November’s election. One referendum would renew the technology levy that is set to expire in 2025. The other would seek to renew and increase the operating levy that is also set to expire in 2025. The technology levy is currently used to support the school district’s technology infrastructure. This includes student devices, classroom technologies, and training for teachers. The language approved by the board Monday night would renew the levy at the same level it was passed in 2013. This would result…

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Twenty-two seventh and eighth graders from Central Middle School attended the State National History Day competition the week of April 18. On May 1, the winners were announced, and six of the eighth-grade students will be advancing to the national competition in June. This is the highest number of students Eden Prairie has ever sent there. The first National History Day was held in 1980. Each year over 500,000 students from across the country compete by creating academic research projects. Each year has its own theme. The 2021-2022 contest asked students to pursue research centered around the idea of “Debate…

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The cast of Central Middle School’s spring musical had a unique opportunity this year: the chance to perform the inaugural play in the new Performing Arts Center. After giving four performances last week, students and teachers agreed that the new space was a game-changer. “Our old stage could only seat 250 people on folding chairs,” said Lauren Scherer, a seventh grade science teacher at CMS and choreographer for the show. “The room actually projected audio backwards — sometimes people on the stage could hear the audience better than the audience could hear them.” Scherer said kids on the crew had…

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Eden Prairie Schools Superintendent Josh Swanson recommended that the school board prepare referendums renewing both the district’s technology and operating levies for this November’s election. Additionally, Swanson recommended the board support increasing the operating levy from $1,642 per pupil unit to $1,899 per pupil unit. This would result in approximately a $7.50 per month increase in taxes on a house valued at $430,000. Those recommendations occurred during the Monday, April 25, Eden Prairie School Board meeting. Swanson stated that this expanded funding would be used to offset the impact inflation is causing and allow the schools to continue the education…

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