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Prairie Science Class Wins Education Program of Distinction Award
Midwest Region, October 27, 2005
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Minnesota Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren presents the MREA Award of Distinction to Ken Garrahan (Prairie Wetlands Learning Center Director), Scott Colbeck (Fergus Falls Middle School Assistant Principal) and Dave Ellis (Prairie Science Class lead teacher).
Minnesota Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren presents the MREA Award of Distinction to Ken Garrahan (Prairie Wetlands Learning Center Director), Scott Colbeck (Fergus Falls Middle School Assistant Principal) and Dave Ellis (Prairie Science Class lead teacher). - Photo Credit: n/a

The Prairie Science Class, a partnership between the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minn., and the Fergus Falls Public Schools was recognized by the Minnesota Rural Education Association’s 2005 Profiles of Excellence Competition with an Award of Distinction. The award was presented at the MREA Annual Conference in October by Minnesota Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren.

The Minnesota Rural Education Association acknowledges the importance of preparing students for the 21st century. Successful schools require wisdom and shared creative leadership from the school board, administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community partners, and will reflect varied and innovative ways to improve their educational programs. This year's Profiles of Excellence Competition recognized innovative programs and efforts that serve as an example of educational opportunities for rural students.

The mission of the Fergus Falls Middle School Prairie Science Class is to use the local prairie wetlands ecosystem as an integrating and motivating context to engage fifth-grade students in science, math, and writing through real world, field-based learning experiences.

During the 2004-2005 school year, four sections of fifth-grade students (97 students) have been involved in the Prairie Science Class, spending two hours at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center daily. The Prairie Science Class focuses on the curricular areas of science, writing, and math, as well as provides opportunities for building technology and inquiry skills. These curricular areas are studied through integrated, field-based learning experiences focused on the local prairie wetlands environment. Students spend the rest of the school day at the Fergus Falls Middle School, where the remainder of math concepts and the curricular areas of reading, social studies, physical education, and health are covered.

The Minnesota Rural Education Association is comprised of 150 school districts located in non-metropolitan Minnesota, representing about 40 percent of the state's independent school districts. The organization was founded in 1985 by a group of school board members and administrators who believed that non-metro school districts needed a clearer voice in St. Paul.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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