South Washington County, MN

Your CITY and DISTRICT meetings

JAiME for SCHOOLS’ March Feature is the opportunity to apply for an event, Speaking Proudly, on the topic of “Securing ‘the Blessings of Liberty’ in 21st Century America.” High school girls from across the state of Minnesota will speak at the Minnesota State Capitol in June, and applications to compete are being accepted between March 1 and April 1, 2023.

Scroll to the end for more event details …

time for speaking…



The school district is beginning to talk more about their NEW Long Range Facilities Plan this month. They will hold three Community Meetings over the next three months. The first meeting will be on Tuesday, March 21 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at Cottage Grove Middle School. It is described as a reviewing of the results (phone survey and demographics) plus a sharing of the priorities. It will be extremely important for the community to speak up while these plans are being shared because it’s going to move quickly! The preliminary 5-year facility plan will be done in April, and the final plan will be complete by May 23rd.

Just a quick review of the NEW facility planning process after voters declined the August 9th referendum: The districts Community Listening Sessions took place in October and November 2022. There were 35 staff/parent sessions, 2 govt/elected official sessions, and 8 community sessions. The feedback is available to view HERE. A Phone Survey was formulated based on the Listening Sessions, and the results of that were presented by Peter Leatherman at the February 2nd, 2023 Workshop Meeting. His presentation is available to view HERE. The demographics report quickly followed at the very next meeting in February. Hazel Reinhardt’s presentation is available to view HERE).

Troubled by the recent School Board vote to eliminate their very own right to school board assignments, I opened my mail in January and found SoWashCo’s 2023-24 ENROLLMENT GUIDE. On the very first page was an invitation to “Take a Tour” … So that is what I did.

As SoWashCo approaches another round of facility planning in 2023, I took some time to tour the schools. It is not unusual for me to tour private schools, but it IS unusual for me to tour public schools. The public is not normally allowed inside its own public school buildings – as odd as that may sound. I toured 8 schools across the district. I was surprised, and also not surprised, by what I learned.

Each building has its own story, its own history. The most welcoming schools were not necessarily the most modern or expensive. Buildings alone do not make good schools.

People do.

School Tours

Cottage Grove Elementary School : I began with CGES. The political messaging was a little distracting, but the building itself was clean and well kept. The staff was cordial, but for whatever reason it did not feel particularly inviting or friendly.

Liberty Ridge Elementary School : Built 8 years later, LRES is the exact same floor plan as CGES, yet it feels much more child-centered and warm. I appreciated the focus on academics within each classroom and across the school as a whole.

Newport Elementary School : You can tell a lot about a school when you go on a tour, including the sincerity of the staff. Every person I met at NES was optimistic and genuine, from the front desk to the kindergarten teacher and school principal. I was, and still am, interested in learning more about Title 1, so this was a very helpful tour.

Crestview Elementary School : My intent in touring was to listen and learn, and CES did not disappoint. The principal was very knowledgeable about the new ARC reading curriculum and world languages program of the past. I also learned about the culturally responsive teacher training with Dr. Becky Bailey which led me to understand better how the district intends to minimize the number of disciplinary incidents. Hmm.

Woodbury Middle School : What an interesting history this building has. At one time, when the district was much smaller, 3M leased out a portion (I believe that was in the 80’s). After the addition and remodel of 2002 and 2018, WMS now has this great space on the second level where hallways open up into the library. I love the warm friendly feeling of the space, however I do wish there were more books on the shelves.

Woodbury High School : My favorite part about WHS was the numerous quotes stenciled on every wall. I do wonder who decides which quotes are selected. It does not bring me joy to say that this was by far the most negative experience I have had on any school tour … ever. The staff was rude, disinterested, gossipy and well … inexcusably mean. I don’t need to go into any great detail, but a building renovation will not fix what is wrong with WHS.

East Ridge High School : ERHS is the No. 1 reason I pulled my son and daughter out of the public school system to begin with, and it wasn’t the building I had a problem with. It was the negative learning environment created by the principal and his office staff. I can see now that Inclusion Rooms are normal, as are the Safe Spaces. They are everywhere … which makes me wonder, is a space without the label “safe” considered unsafe? Hmmm.

Park Senior High : Again, I like the history. PHS was built in 1964 and has seen many renovations since then. If the Supt had allowed me to go on a normal tour like a normal person, I think my impression of Park would have been better than any of the other high schools. As it happens though, you cannot force trust, and forcing me to tour a school at 7:30am when the building is near empty only causes me further suspicion.

Independent School District 833 S C H O O L


833 School Board Meetings

Workshop Meeting : March 2nd @ 6:00.

Strategic Planning Meeting : March 1st 5:30-6:30

Business Meeting : March 23rd @ 6:00

School Board Members

  • Melinda Dols
  • Patricia Driscoll
  • Louize Hinz
  • Simi Patnaik
  • Katie Schwartz
  • Eric Tessmer
  • Sharon VanLeer

7362 E Point Douglas Rd S, Cottage Grove, MN 55016

South Washington County C I T Y


Council Members

  • Mayor Bill Palmquist
  • Annie Perkins
  • Lucia Wroblewski
  • Stan Ross
  • Randy Nelson

Council Members

  • Mayor Myron Bailey
  • Steve Dennis
  • Tony Khambata
  • Justin Olsen
  • Dave Thiede

Board Members

  • Chairman Paul Schoenecker
  • Supervisor Richard (Dick) Polta
  • Supervisor Dan Ohmann

Board Supervisors

  • Dawn Johnson, Seat 1
  • Matt Ruben, Seat 2
  • John Stohfus, Seat 3
  • Julie Windschitl, Seat 4
  • Mike Femling, Seat 5

Council Members

  • Mayor Laurie Elliott
  • Kevin Chapdelaine
  • Tom Ingemann
  • Bill Sumner
  • Marvin Taylor

Council Members

  • Mayor Sandra J. Dingle
  • Jeff Haggerty
  • Tim Jones
  • Jeff Swenson
  • Bruce Zenner

Council Members

  • Mayor Anne Burt
  • Andrea Date
  • Steve Morris
  • Jennifer Santini
  • Kim Wilson

March Featured Event :

Speaking Proudly

An Oratory Competition for High School Girls

Apply in MARCH for June 17th, 2023.

The Topic of 2023 will be

Securing “the Blessings of Liberty” in 21st Century America

Link to the Speaking Proudly website where you will learn how to get started.

Speaking Proudly is a nonprofit project of Metro Republican Women.

PAST calendars

MARCH calendar

South Washington County, MN … time for speaking. March Feature is the opportunity to “Speak Proudly” at the Capitol, An Oratory Competition for High School Girls … As SoWashCo approaches another round of facility planning in 2023, I took some time to tour the schools. I was surprised, and also not surprised, by what I…

Keep reading

FEBRUARY calendar

South Washington County, MN Your CITY and DISTRICT meetings SO YOU WANT TO RUN FOR SCHOOL BOARD and SoWashCo PLANNING : FACILITIES, STRATEGY, and ACHIEVEMENT & INTEGRATION February will be an important month of school board meetings to pay attention to since the completion of resident FEEDBACK means developing the framework around a new facility…

Keep reading

JANUARY calendar

South Washington County, MN Your CITY and DISTRICT meetings time to get organized January Meetings There is something about January that makes us reflect, assess and reorganize. January is the month of FRESH beginnings and RENEWED hope. Finance has been the topic of the day at meetings around town, and I will give a brief…

Keep reading

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: