• Open World Learning Community

    Senior Calendar 2016-2017


    Senior Pictures

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016 @ OWL


    National College Fair

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016—families attend 5-8 PM (bus from OWL)

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016—students attend 9 AM -12 PM


    FAFSA/College Financial Aid Night

    Tuesday, October 25 & Thursday, February 16, 2017

    6:00 – 8:00 PM


    College Application Deadline

    At least one application due

    Monday, December 5, 2016


    College Application March to the Mailbox

    Friday, December 9, 2016

    9:30 AM OWL Auditorium - 11:00 AM Family Potluck Lunch

    All Seniors are REQUIRED to attend

    All Senior Families are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend

    *Please plan ahead.


    Final Senior Portfolios Due to Dave

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017


    FAFSA (Financial Aid Application) Due

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017

    Proof of Submission due to Katie


    Senior Meeting must be scheduled
    Tuesday, January 24, 2017


    Senior Meetings Held

    April 3 – May 19, 2017

    At the senior meeting, students present:

    • Graduation Portfolio
    • Senior Expedition Project


    Graduation Rehearsal

    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    11:00 AM - 1 PM Graduation Rehearsal and Photos

    O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University

    2004 Randolph Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105


    Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony

    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    6:30 PM Graduates Arrive

    7:00 PM Graduation Ceremony

    O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University

    2004 Randolph Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105


    Class of 2017

    “The Pioneers: OWL’s First EL Class”


    This document is meant to offer seniors and their families information important to a successful year.

    Senior Pictures on Wednesday, September 28: Rebecca Palmer, science teacher and awesome photographer, has volunteered again this year to take FREE senior pictures of this year’s class. During fall retreats, on the day when all seniors are together, we will go down to Harriet Island (lots of great backgrounds) for the photo session. Students will sign up in Senior Seminar (or stop by Katie’s room if you do not have Senior Seminar). Rebecca will take individual shots and small group “buddy pictures.” We will also take a shot of each student (even those not choosing to do a Senior Picture) for our Senior Bulletin Board, to show where each student is accepted to college. Finally, we will get an all-class photo—so be sure to be there!

     National College Fair on October 4 – 5: This event with booths from hundreds of colleges at the Minneapolis Convention Center is a great source of information for families. This year, instead of holding our own College Knowledge Night, we encourage families to attend this fair. The National College Fair does a great job of gathering reps and providing breakout sessions on numerous topics. OWL will be taking a bus of students and families to the fair and back—saving on parking—on the evening of Tuesday, October 4 from 5 – 8 PM. If they have not attended the night before, students in grades 10-12 will attend this event on Wednesday, October 5 during the school day from 9 AM – 12 PM.

    Graduation Portfolio: The Graduation Portfolio is a collection of a student’s important learning experiences from secondary school that serves as an invaluable record of their time at OWL. To be eligible for graduation from Open World Learning Community, students must complete and present a graduation portfolio. This is a document that consists of 7 letters of reflection, at least 3 letters of recommendation, samples of work (papers, projects, art, history day projects, etc.), and awards and certificates.

     Students must have a reflection letter in each of the following areas:

    • Coherent Communication (English (required), World Language, Art, Music, Theater (optional))
    • Social Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Science and Technology
    • Service-Learning
    • Personal Development
    • Post-High School Plans

     Reflection letters, typically 1-2 pages each, are meant to summarize the student’s learning in each area, highlighting experiences, challenges and reflecting on their growth. Letters of Recommendation are formally submitted to staff in writing, using a request form with a copy of the reflection letter attached. Portfolios are to be completed during the first semester of Senior Seminar. If students do not have Senior Seminar, they should be working with their Crew Leaders to complete a portfolio during first semester. Samples of past portfolios are available for you to review in Katie’s room or Tim’s office. Final Portfolios must be turned in to Dave and Katie on or before Tuesday, January 24. Students requesting an extension must communicate with Katie and Dave in writing and have a meeting to discuss the matter before the January 24 deadline. Each senior will present their Graduation Portfolio at the Graduation Meeting in the spring.

     College Application Process: The Class of 2017 will be the 7th consecutive OWL class to have a 100% College Acceptance Rate. This is a hallmark of EL Education Schools and sets OWL apart among Minnesota schools. To be eligible for graduation from Open World Learning Community, students must be accepted by at least one institution of higher learning. This can be a 4-year college or university, or 2-year community or technical college. To help with this huge task, the counseling staff and school administration will each work with a small cohort of students to ensure that their plans are progressing. Students will also receive support from their Crew Leaders and, of course, their families. Much of the work on applications will happen during Senior Seminar. Deadline: At least one application must be submitted by Monday, December 5.

     College March to the Mailbox is Friday, December 9 @ 9:30 AM: Last year we started this new tradition at OWL. This event has two purposes: to celebrate the achievements of our seniors early in the year (not just at graduation) and to energize our younger students to see themselves as future college graduates. Our first experience with the College March was extremely positive and we are sure that this year’s March will be fantastic. All seniors are REQUIRED to attend. All senior families (including extended families) are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend. Please plan ahead. If students have a PSEO class or other obligation, they must make prior arrangements to be at OWL on December 9.

     You may be wondering who still sends in their applications via U.S. Mail. The answer is that we will submit applications online, but the symbolism of this event is so strong that we will still mail something that day—transcripts, thank you notes to College Admissions Counselors, family members, teachers, etc. Here is a working timeline for the event:

     9:30 AM OWL Auditorium—Community Meeting with all OWL students, district leadership, local press

    10:15 AM College March out of OWL and down the hill, lined by grades 6-11— cheering wildly

    10:30 AM Arrive at Riverview Library—short ceremony/meet Post Office staff

    11:00 AM Potluck Lunch at OWL for seniors and families

    12:00 PM Event concludes

     Financial Aid for College: College tuition prices continue to rise each year, but there is a great deal of financial aid available to students that can make paying for college much more affordable. All families must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid) to be eligible for financial aid. This application takes less than an hour to complete and can result in thousands of dollars in aid. You have two options to complete the FAFSA: You can apply starting October 1 using your 2015 taxes or wait until February, using 2016 taxes. Families can choose whichever option is best for them. You should pick the year in which your family had the lowest income. If both years are the same, it could be best to apply in the fall, as the earlier you apply, the better. To help in filling out the FAFSA, OWL will offer evening workshops on Tuesday, October 25 at 6 PM & Thursday, February 16 at 6 PM. Please RSVP if you plan on attending a help session. Come to school with your tax documents and we will help you complete the application. If you have questions on filling out the FAFSA at any time this year, please do not hesitate in contacting our staff. Proof of Submission must be given to Katie before Tuesday, February 28.

     Scholarships: Applying for scholarships, if done in a focused and diligent manner, can be one of the best paying jobs you will ever have. Students are encouraged to research and apply for as many scholarships as they can. Through Naviance (a college and career platform used by all SPPS students) our counseling staff will provide students and families with lists of possible scholarships throughout the year. They will also suggest specific scholarships for students and help them with the completion of the applications.

     Service-Learning Hours: The Service-Learning requirement, a key feature of OWL since 1971, sets our graduates apart from their peers. Students must complete 150 hours of service to the school and 150 hours of service to the community to be eligible for graduation. If a student has joined OWL after 7th grade, the total number of hours required is modified by 50 hours per year (25 less school service hours/25 less community service hours). If students have not yet completed the minimum number of hours, they should make a plan IMMEDIATELY to complete them in a timely manner. School service hours can usually be added to the student’s daily schedule as a teacher’s aid. Community Service hours can be set up at any number of local organizations. Talk to your Crew leader or Tim if you need help setting something up.

     To log in your hours, go to open.spps.org. Under the Our Program tab, there is a section on Service-Learning. On the right hand side of this page, there is a form to fill out for each experience. Be sure to log in all you have done NOW: Audubon, Du Nord, Outward Bound, OWL Against Hunger, etc. Final deadline for completion of service hours: Monday, May 15.

     Senior Project: In the second semester of Senior Seminar, students will design, research, complete and present a Senior Project. Also referred to as a personal learning expedition, this project is intended to be a showcase of students’ achievements in an EL Education School, bringing together the skills and knowledge acquired to produce a meaningful product for an authentic audience. The topic of this project is chosen entirely by the student, and should be of great interest to them. Some possible topic ideas are: Adolescent Obesity, Organic Farming, Diabetes, Racial Profiling, Music Education. After having the project approved, students will research their topic through reading and interviews. They will then write a paper explaining their topic and what they hope to accomplish. The best projects will involve a service component. All projects will have a product and be presented to their graduation committee at their Graduation Meeting. We will begin working on topic selection in mid-December (after the College March). Final deadline for projects: Wednesday, May 19.

     Graduation Meeting: While the Graduation Ceremony in June is the public celebration where diplomas are awarded, the Graduation Meeting in the spring is the official moment that students become eligible for graduation. Students invite their families, Crew leader, teachers, counselors, administrators, friends (including at least one junior) and any other significant person or community member they would like. The agenda at the Graduation Meeting is to present the Graduation Portfolio and Senior Project. After the student’s presentation, each attendee talks about the student and their readiness for graduation. These meetings are powerful and often emotional experiences that serve as a capstone to a student’s time at OWL. Students must sign up for a Graduation Meeting time by Tuesday, January 24 to allow families, friends and staff to be sure they can attend. The meetings will be held from April 3 – May 19. There will be no meetings after May 19.

     State Seal of Biliteracy and Bilingualism: Students who are bilingual and biliterate may be eligible for a special seal or certificate to be applied to their diploma. If they have received a passing score on the AP Spanish test, they will be awarded the seal. If they speak Spanish and have not taken the AP test or speak another language (such as Hmong, Karen or French), they can sign up to take a language proficiency test. Students interested in this option will sign up with Tim during October.

     Graduation Ceremony is Tuesday, June 6 at 7 PM: We will be holding our ceremony at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105. The rehearsal will take place at St. Kate’s at 11 AM – 1 PM.   After rehearsal, we will take photos of the group in cap and gowns. Graduates should plan to return by 6:30 PM or earlier. There are no tickets required to attend and graduates can feel free to invite as many people as they would like.

     Graduation Committee: Since the Class of 2017 is the largest class in our 45 year history, we would like to form a committee of students, parents and staff to help plan an excellent ceremony. This group could potentially plan an additional end of the year celebration around the time of graduation. Possible ideas include a senior dinner, a senior party, or a post-graduation reception. To be clear, this must be a parent and student driven event. OWL is not in a position to plan, staff or financially support a Senior Party. Please let Jolene know if you would like to volunteer. The group will meet starting in January.

     Speakers Wanted: Parents are invited to speak at the College March (December 9) and the Graduation Ceremony (June 6). Please let Jolene know if you are interested.

     Questions or concerns? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Katie Craven          Senior Seminar Teacher    katie.craven@spps.org

    Jolene Yang           Counselor                         jolene.yang@spps.org

    Jane Treat Young   College Counselor              janetreat.young@spps.org

    Mary Sellers           Family Engagement           mary.sellers@spps.org

    Dave Gundale         Principal                           dave.gundale@spps.org

    Michelle Bierman     Assistant Principal             michelle.bierman@spps.org

    Tim Leone-Getten    Program Coordinator         timothy.leone-getten@spps.org