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Minnesota eLearning Summit

posted Aug 6, 2017, 1:03 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Aug 6, 2017, 2:59 PM ]

Thursday, August 3, 2017 went down as a momentous day for the Asian Penguins for a couple of reasons. First, four of the Penguins (Luther, Hoxeng, Chufue, and Anita) attended the Minnesota eLearning Summit with their teacher Mr. Stu Keroff. 

The group attended a couple of presentations from other teachers, but the big deal was that they were there to do some teaching themselves. The Penguins led their own workshop entitled "Use Open Source to Impact Your School: The Asian Penguins". There, they told the story about how Community School of Excellence was transformed by the Asian Penguins bringing Linux into our classrooms and our students' homes. Videos to come soon.

But even bigger than that was that the Asian Penguins were also on hand to accept an award. The Minnesota eLearning Summit presents an annual Excellence Award to recognize achievements in educational technology. In the category of Impact, the Asian Penguins were this year's winner!

Here's a snap from the awards ceremony:

Operation Elementary

posted Aug 6, 2017, 12:02 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Aug 6, 2017, 12:13 PM ]

Dear readers,

Another school year is about to begin, and the Asian Penguins have launched a new crowdfunding campaign. Titled Operation Elementary, the campaign is to get two more laptop carts (complete with laptops) for our elementary classes.

Our elementary students are being asked to do more digital learning than ever before, and we just do not have enough computers to go around. This campaign will help alleviate that situation.

Our goal is $10,000. What do we need? Your help, of course! To make a donation, go to:

Rice Street Parade

posted Aug 6, 2017, 11:49 AM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Aug 6, 2017, 11:49 AM ]

On July 30, 2017, a few of the Asian Penguins took part in what has become an annual tradition for them: they marched in the Rice Street Parade.

The Rice Street Festival is our neighborhood's annual community celebration, and the parade is one event during the festivities. Community School of Excellence models its civic pride each year by having an entry in the parade. The CSE Dancers are the main part of our entry, dancing and doing cartwheels for the 1.7 miles of the parade route. While the Asian Penguins don't do that kind of thing as a group (although a few of our members are on the dance team), we march along after the dancers to give our candy to the kids along the sidewalks. A good time was had by all.

The Crew before the parade.

End of School Year Report

posted Jul 25, 2017, 5:14 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Jul 25, 2017, 5:21 PM ]

The 2016-2017 school year saw some big things happen for the Asian Penguins. We had so many members this year it necessitated the formation of separate Junior Varsity and Varsity teams to meet the demand. In the end, we had 67 members, a new record!

Like in previous years, we sent teams to lead workshops and speak at conferences. The first was the Minnesota Educators' Academy (MEA) Conference in October 2016 in Saint Paul. The second was the Hmong National Development Conference in April 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was the first time we have taken a team of speakers to another state on an overnight trip. In addition to these, Asian Penguins Director Stu Keroff traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina in October to speak about the Asian Penguins at the All Things Open conference.

Our school's eighth graders completed a community project in order to perform service learning for others, and several teams of students came under the umbrella of the Asian Penguins for their projects. One team spoke to fifth grade classes about the Asian Penguins, one group mentored students on how to install software, two groups actually refurbished computers to give to families, one raised money for the Penguins, and one refurbished laptops to send to our sister school in Thailand. The laptops they worked on were delivered to our sister school by the students of the Global Connection team when they traveled to Thailand in June.

In addition to giving computers away on missions, we also gave them to families who came to the school to pick them up. When the final tally was done, we had given away 48 computers this year, breaking last year's record of 47!

Hats off to all of the kids of the Asian Penguins for a very successful year!

Missions of May and June

posted Jul 25, 2017, 4:53 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Jul 25, 2017, 5:20 PM ]

Well, another school year has come and gone, and in it the Asian Penguins managed to meet one of their goals for the year: every kid in the club got to go on a mission to deliver a computer to a family home. In May (once we were done with spring testing), we had two missions, and in June, during the last week of school, we had three.

Here are a few snaps to round out our year:

Mission #14: May 18, 2017

Mission #15: May 18, 2017

Mission #16: June 7, 2017

Mission #17: June 8, 2017

Mission #18: June 8, 2017

All told, over 65 students went on missions this year, more in any year of the club's history. A big thank you goes out to all of the middle school teachers for their flexibility, as these students were missing class to go on these missions. Also a big thank you to all of the people who bought snacks at our fundraisers this year and to all of the organizations and individuals who donated computers to help our cause. Thank you.

Penguins at the Hmong National Development Conference

posted Jul 5, 2017, 6:54 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Jul 5, 2017, 6:55 PM ]

The month of April is a busy one at any school in Minnesota, as most schools are deep into having students take standardized tests. The Asian Penguins, however, added one more thing to their plate. A team of Penguins traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to speak at the 17th Hmong National Development Conference.

This team was headed up by Stu Keroff, who was joined by student speakers Luther, Coreti, Monolisa, and Maximus. Each students spoke about a different aspect of the Asian Penguins, and each had to apply to be on this team. For all the students except Luther, this was their first speaking engagement with the Asian Penguins. Also a first, we had never done a conference outside of the Twin Cities, so we had to stay in a hotel. The kids loved that part!

Last minute rehearsal before our workshop.

Coreti gives here part of the presentation.

Here's the team after our presentation with Hmong singing star Pagnia Xiong! She was at the conference and performed the night before. She was standing in the hallway outside our conference room before we started and when the kids asked her in to watch, she came. It was a treat meeting her!

Fancy dinner on Saturday night. We had to teach the kids what all of those forks were for!!

3 More Out The Door

posted May 6, 2017, 4:29 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated May 6, 2017, 4:29 PM ]

Hello! In the time that has passed since Parent Teacher Conferences, our school has gone through Spring Break, reading and math interventions, and the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), our state's annual standardized tests. Because of all of this, Asian Penguins activities were somewhat curtailed. For instance, during MCAs, no club meetings or missions took place.

This does not mean that nothing at all happened, however. We still had a few kids working on software installation and a few families who had transportation came to us to get computers. During this time, we saw another three computers go to school families, which brings our total for the year to 32. Not too shabby!

And we are about to start missions again, so be looking for updates.

Stu Keroff Wins MSU Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award

posted Mar 27, 2017, 5:11 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 27, 2017, 5:13 PM ]

Asian Penguins director Stu Keroff is getting recognized by his alma mater for his work with the Penguins. The Minnesota State University Mankato Alumni Association will hold their annual Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony on April 21, 2017. Stu is the winner of this award in the category of Humanitarian, in honor of the Asian Penguins' effort of recycling used computers with open source software to help needy families.

Here's a link to a Mankato Free Press story about the event:

Parent Teacher Conferences March 2017

posted Mar 17, 2017, 5:54 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 17, 2017, 5:57 PM ]

March at Community School of Excellence means Parent Teacher Conference, where hundreds of families visit the school March 15 and 16 to talk to teachers, catch up with relatives and old friends, and visit The Asian Penguins table outside the Big Gym to get some candy and Hot Cheetos.

Just like last year, the we took referrals from teachers and staff for families who needed computers. We had computers ready to go, so that families who needed one could come down to the Penguin table to get one. At the table, we demonstrated to the family the software we installed, and then the Penguins would help carry the computer to the family's car.

And come they did. We had the biggest day in Asian Penguins history on March 15 by giving away nine computers. We actually ran out of completed machines! The next day, we worked to finish getting a few more computers ready and gave away three more, giving us a total of 12 for conferences and a total of 14 for the week (we gave away two computers at the beginning of the week). This ties our one week record of 14, which was set in March 2016.

The Asian Penguins reached another noteworthy goal on March 15 when we gave away our 100th computer! The lucky boy who got to take that home also got a bunch of balloons. We can count conferences this year as a success.

Here are some snaps:

Getting things set up.

Going over the night's referrals from staff.

Monolisa takes a turn as Tux the Penguin.

This lucky family got computer #100 and a bunch of balloons!

Good night from Community School of Excellence!

Mission #13

posted Mar 14, 2017, 10:41 AM by Asian Penguins

13 turned out to be a lucky number for the Asian Penguins as the completed their thirteenth mission of the year on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The team was made up of all sixth grade boys: Htwar Reh (leader), Vong (assistant), Henry (interpreter), and Moe Reh (photographer). The team got out to the house and got everything up in running in very short order, and then moved on to giving the family an introduction to Ubuntu Linux software.

Notables here: this was the thirteenth mission of the year, the fifteenth computer given away this year, and computer #95 for the Asian Penguins. Computer #100 could happen this week!

Here are some photos:

The team: Moe Reh, Vong, Henry, Htwar Reh, and Mr. Keroff.

Yes, we still do this in the winter time.

Demonstrating the software.

Back at school. Well done, team!

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