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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TROJAN TRIBUNE: Freshmen teamed to improve academics

By Laila Fattal, Trojan Tribune Staff Writer

Wayzata High School assembled freshmen into teams in 2006. The original team was about 120 students. In 2007 they expanded into having two teams with about 120 students each.

This year there are about 540 freshmen among four teams.

The eventual goal of administration and school board is to put every freshman on a team. The purpose of this is to help ease the transition into high school.

Teamed students have math and science together in one semester, communications and civics in the other.

Being on a team for Nelson Hunstad (9) is extremely helpful considering he is new to the district this year. “It gives you a chance to get to know a community of people better,” Hunstad said.

Math and science team Mr. Oden and Ms. Campbell are find the team setup ideal. “We complement each other. We’re both focused on what’s best for the students,” said Mr. Oden.

For the majority the classes have the same people in them which help students build a stronger bond, according to Oden. “It gets you in your own crew of friends and lets you rely on people,” said Kevin Donlin (9).

Most students that were on a team in the past have said that they were glad they were, including Emily Doss (10). “Since the teachers were together, it made it a lot easier since the teachers both know what the other is teaching. Transitioning to high school was easier since the teachers were close,” said Doss.

“I think it is a huge benefit to see the math and science connection,” said Oden.

Shannon Hamer (11) was on a team in 2006 and disliked it. “I was with the same people for half the day so I didn’t get to meet as many people,” said Hamer. She switched out of being on a team by second semester because she didn’t want to have classes with the same people.

Not everyone is put onto a team, but the goal is to fit as many students onto a team as possible. The teams are set according to the classes the students have selected.

Currently, data is being collected on the success of students that have been on teams.

Administration and the school board want to decrease the amount of struggling students. If a student is struggling, being on a team will help identify them more quickly, they said.

The team teachers meet with the counselors, literacy coach, and principal often.
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