Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Hive

The Hive at Valley View and the Cyber Cafe at South View offer our middle school students opportunities to practice the transition from home to school and out into the wider community in safe, welcoming environments. Kudos to the staff, parents and students who make these experiences positive!
Ric Dressen @EdinaSuper

“Mom, I need my Hive money!” was the early morning refrain at our house many days this winter. With lunch at 10:30 a.m. and play rehearsal sometimes lasting as late as 6:45 p.m., our sixth grader would not have survived without The Hive, the snack cafe at Valley View Middle School. 

The Hive operates to give kids staying after school a chance to grab something to eat before heading to an activity or after-school program or walking home. Approximately 30 parent volunteers take turns staffing the cafe, which is open for about an hour after school Monday through Thursday each week. The Hive sells “relatively healthy” snacks, according to Valley View parent and Hive manager Cindi Laurent. She is responsible for keeping the shelves stocked – not an easy job, given that the cafe serves roughly $100.00 of snacks each day.  

Kids can choose from a variety of offerings, including granola bars, cheese sticks, beef jerky, Chex mix, juice, Gatorade and smoothies. Top sellers are smoothies and muffins. The Hive does not sell pop or candy. It prices numerous items in the 25- to 50-cent range, with the student budget in mind. Clearly the selection is popular, given that 50-75 kids visit The Hive each day after school. “The kids love it. It really adds to our school climate,” says Valley View Dean of Students Lillian Ziff.

The Hive is decorated with a mural of vivid green rolling hills and trees. Soft pop music plays in the background. Outside in the adjacent hallway, five tables with stools provide space for friends to eat their after-school snacks together. “It’s nice to get a little snack after school,” commented sixth grader Isabella. Kyle, a sixth grader who shared a table with three friends, note that “we can do homework while we eat and the food is pretty good and cheap.” 

Our son’s many trips to The Hive fueled not only his appetite, but his growing need for independence.  He could decide when he wanted to stop by The Hive. In this kid-dedicated space, he could make his own food choices and socialize away from omnipresent parental eyes.  

The Hive gives to kids after school in more than nutritional ways. All profits are donated to Valley View after-school programs. In the past, Hive proceeds have contributed to the cost of after-school homework support.

Sarah Morris

Thursday, February 23, 2012


19 committees! Wow! Concentrated support like this from our parents and community is one reason why Edina Public Schools have been recognized as a Grammy Signature School. Thank you to all who give our students this opportunity to shine.
Ric Dressen @EdinaSuper 

The 59th annual Pops Concert, presented by the Edina High School Concert Band, is underway at Fick Auditorium. The show is much more than a typical band concert: it combines music, skits, short films and unexpected talents of all sorts. The performance is unique in that it is almost entirely created by the students themselves. Nevertheless, a show of this scope also requires the time and talents of many, many volunteer parents. The timeline is short, only 6 weeks from start of production to the final curtain, so parent involvement is key. As one of those parent volunteers, I can give you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

There are 19 specific committee chairs, each tasked with some segment of the production, from tickets to publicity to costumes. While the students and band director Paul Kile fashion the content of the show, parent volunteers are filling all the duties that a production of this size creates.

Well before the show ever hits the stage, parents begin the campaign to get the word out. Media outlets are contacted, posters and buttons are created and distributed, and advertisers are solicited for participation. The performance program is designed and yard signs are created and planted. 

A Silent Auction is presented each evening. This auction is the sole fundraising event benefiting the entire EHS Band program.  Solicitations for donations are all handled by volunteer parents, as is the entire auction itself.

Parents also are responsible for creating the costumes for the show. Working with the costume designer, Carol Ann Winther, volunteers spend hours sewing, fitting, retrofitting and custom-sizing pieces used in the dazzling production numbers. 

One of the committees is responsible for compiling a “Senior Slide Show,”a traditional and sentimental part of the production recognizing this year’s senior band members.

Once the show is ready to open, photos, advertisements, personal messages and student biographies have all been compiled and edited by volunteers to be included in the show program. Preparations have been completed for ticket sales, flower and balloon sales and food concessions.  Ushers have been recruited.

As the curtain opens each night at Pops, there are at least 40 volunteer parents at work in and around Fick Auditorium, including backstage where quick costume changes and unexpected repairs are being made. Our work doesn’t finish when the curtain comes down.  By 10:00pm, when the show is over and the instruments are back in their cases, students are exhilarated, but also exhausted, hungry and thirsty! Following each performance, one family hosts the band and stage crew at their home for a meal and a viewing of the tape of that night’s performance. Again, parent time and donations make up the event.

Pops is a huge production, one that requires the time and effort of many, many parent volunteers, many of whom take on multiple tasks. It is fast and furious, and can be, at least for a time, all-consuming. It is also a privilege and an honor to volunteer for Pops. The band experience for my student has been absolutely amazing, and Pops is the culmination of that. I would not trade this volunteer experience, this opportunity to give something back to EHS Band, for anything in the world. 

Don't miss the final performances of the 59th Annual Pops Concert, APOPScalypse, this week.  Shows are Thursday 2/23, Friday 2/24 and Saturday 2/25 at 7:00pm. Order tickets online at

Cindy Awes