School Spotlight: Maple Grove High School
In the Osseo School District, Maple Grove High School is the largest of the high schools. Since it first opened its doors in 1996, the school has grown to around 2,300 students, and its large size makes it crucial to create a sense of belonging.
“I want this is to be school where every student believes this is my school,” said Principal Bart Becker. “There’s space in this school to show up as I am and to be accepted as I am.”
Becker started his career at Maple Grove Senior High School as a social studies teacher in 2001.
In 2015, Becker returned to the school as principal, aiming to create a culture that brings out the best in every student
“Kids want to be a part of something special,” said Becker. “It doesn’t matter what the topic is, what the group is, what the activity, the class, if there is something that has that “it” factor that you can’t teach, you can’t name, but it’s there, kids gravitate towards it.”
A Focus on Engineering at Maple Grove High School
Take for example, the school’s significant offering of engineering classes.
Maple Grove High School offers more engineering classes than any of the other Osseo area high schools.
In one engineering course, students are learning the skills of computer science engineering. Their course work will result in the creation of a mock video game.
“Our school offers a lot of opportunities to become the best student you can be and be prepared for college,” said Jordan Stensland, a senior at Maple Grove.
Honoring Each Student’s Story at Maple Grove High School
Understanding each student’s story is helpful in guiding these young adults to the next step after high school.
“Every year, two million students go off to college, but only half of them finish,” said Mike Vecellio, college and career special at Maple Grove High School. “So there’s a lot of need in other areas that don’t require a four-year college degree.”
Last month, the school hosted its first technical college and career fair to expose students to the wealth of jobs in the trades.
“My role is to help them understand these are legitimate options for students who wish to enter the workforce and not have to take out student loans to get training, because apprenticeships will pay you,” said Vecellio.
A Chance to Shine at Maple Grove High School
Students have a chance to shine while at Maple Grove.
Activities such as the Spotlight Award-winning theater productions have been recognized by the Hennepin Theatre Trust for 11 consecutive years.
“The most important thing is just getting out there,” said senior Ellen-George Jackson about trying new opportunities.
Jackson remembers how honored she felt when school administrators asked her to emcee the school’s pep fest.
“Another reason why I felt like they cared for me because they individually asked me, thinking I was good enough for that,” said Jackson.
This school’s spirit is embodied in the four values of The Crimson Way:
motivation, gratitude, scholarship and honor.
Principal Becker shows that each week in a special way. During the morning announcements, Becker concludes the message by saying, “I love you” to all the students and staff.
“I simply believe somebody needs to hear it. Of our 2,300 students and 200 plus staff, somebody needs to hear that,” said Becker.
The goal at Maple Grove High School is to graduate scholars, which has everything to do with each student becoming their best.
“A scholar isn’t about earning a 4.0, it’s not earning an A+, it is you achieving your potential and putting forth the effort to do so,” said Becker.