Teacher conference

I went to Lake Middle School right after work for my son’s teacher conference.

For the last two conferences in fall and spring, I had to spend more than two hours each time to go around the rooms, wait in lines and talk to a few core subject teachers.

Today, there were hardly any lines. For each teacher, there were only one or two parents ahead of me. I was able to go around and visit with every teacher, not just the core subject teachers, but all teachers my son has classes with right now, including language, math, science, social studies, art, Chinese language, band, and gym. It was the first time I met the Chinese and gym teachers.

This time I finished the conference in less than two hours, and also got to talk to all teachers. That was great.

Teacher conference provides a good opportunity for me to talk with teachers and find out how my kids are doing in school and how they can improve and do better. It also provides an opportunity for me to find out who my kids’ teachers are and to connect with them.

Keeping good communication between teachers and parents are beneficial for all parties involved.

When the science teacher told me that Andy is doing well in the class and got an excellent grade for his recently finished project, I mentioned that science is not Andy’s strong subject. He doesn’t feel very confident in this subject area himself. The teacher was surprised about it. She said she would pay more attention and encourage him more in the class.

By communicating with teachers, both teachers and parents can better help the students improve.

As I said in a Woodbury Bulletin column, education is a joint venture.


LMS won 2nd and 4th in Math Masters


Two teams made up of ten 6th grade students from Lake Middle School participated in Math Masters Regional competition held at John Glenn Middle School in Maplewood today. They won the 2nd and 4th place in team competition. Each team member received a medal and a certificate.

A few students also won in the Fact Drill and Individual competitions.

My son won three medals, one from each category. He was happy and proud. It was a fun event.

Math Masters of Minnesota provides competitions in mathematics for fifth and sixth grade students in public, private, and home schools. The regional competitions are held around the state of Minnesota each spring.

In 2009, more than 4000 students competed at 35 different sites around the state of Minnesota and in Wisconsin.

Thanks to Lake Middle School for offering and sponsoring Math Masters this year. A especial thank-you to Ms. Tina Van Erp, Gifted Education Specialist at Lake and Woodbury Middle Schools, for coordinating the program, and to Riyad Moe and Hong Ding for coaching the two teams.


Winter band concert at Lake Middle School

Today the 6th grade band students at Lake Middle School performed the winter concert, their second concert in the school year 2009-2010. Their first band concert took place on Dec. 3, 2009.

About 150 students participated in the performance in three groups, one for the first year band students, and two for the second year band students. They also played together for the last piece “School spirit.”

My favorite from all 12 pieces performed today was “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart.

The concert was conducted by the Band Director at Lake Middle School, Mr. Roderic VanScoy.

My son plays clarinet in his second year. I wish he could treasure the opportunity of having band lessons at school and spend some time practicing at home.

Practice makes perfect. It’s especially true when it comes to playing an instrument.

Making blankets at Lake Middle School

Last week the 6th graders at Lake Middle School were treated to a pancake breakfast to celebrate the completion of their first trimester.

Superintendent Mark Porter was present to serve the students.

After the breakfast, the students made fleece blankets for donation to a local women’s shelter.

Band concert at Lake Middle School

Today I went to my son’s 6th grade band concert at Lake Middle School. Over 150 6th graders participated in the performance in three groups, one for the first year band students, and two for the second year band students. They all did a great job.

The concert was conducted by the charming Director of Bands at Lake Middle School, Roderic VanScoy. I don’t know how he teaches hundreds of students in so many different instruments. I am just amazed by how much he and all the other band and orchestra teachers can do. I have great appreciation and deep admiration for what they do.

I don’t play any music instrument. I never had a chance to learn an instrument while growing up. I want my kids to be able to learn and play an instrument. So I am very glad that our school district offers music programs at every school, from elementary to high schools.

A change happened this year along with the new middle school model. Every student at middle schools is requited to participate in either band, orchestra or choir. I think this is a great change. Music education should be a part of the school education for every child. 

A parent who sat next to me told me that all her five children went through Lake and played an instrument. When they first started with the band, all the kids in the band were white, now it’s very mixed and diverse. She said: "We have come a long way." 

She is right. Woodbury has definitely seen a lot of changes. It’s a positive change Woodbury should be proud of. 

I want to thank Mr. VanScoy for his hard work and a job well done. I also appreciate the presence of Lake Principal Todd Hochman and his support for the program.

Last I want to applaud all students for their wonderful performance. They have certainly made great progress in the last three months. I am looking forward to the next concert in spring.