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  • Welcome to the Community Education Happenings Blog!

    We write this blog to keep you up-to-date on all of the things happening at Community Education, from new class opportunities and instructors to renovation plans and construction work at the CEC. We'll give you a behind the scenes look at events, classes and projects.

    Community Education is about you - our Byron community #ByronBears, and you inspire us to try new things and bring people together through activities and learning. Thank you for being part of Community Education!

  • New Equipment for Byron Strong

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 4/24/2023 1:00:00 PM

    Byron Strong was recently awarded a $1,000 grant for training equipment from the Byron Community Foundation! Byron Strong is a long-running fitness program offered by local trainers through Community Education. Byron Strong hosts training classes Monday through Fridays at 5-6 am at the High School. Each class runs about two months and features high-intensity workouts that combine the elements of the popular competitive fitness style training programs, including cardio, Olympic weightlifting, and more. Trainers rotate leading sessions to keep things fresh for participants.

    With the grant funds, Byron Strong will be adding new high-quality dumbbells and foam plyo boxes to help participants increase strength and agility.

    Thank you to the Byron Community Foundation for supporting  health and wellness programs in Byron!


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  • Pop-Up Food Shelf

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 4/17/2023 10:00:00 AM

    Sometimes we need just a little help from our friends! And that is exactly what happened with the pop-up food shelf at the Community Education Center. With the assistance of Christine Jostock, District Social Worker, and a group of Middle School students, we hosted a mini food shelf from April 10-14.

    Middle School students brought over canned and dry food that they had collected. They set out items on six tables and grouped items by categories. Over the course of the week, Byron community members were able to drop in and pick up food items.

    By the end of the week, there was just a small amount of food left! This short pop-up food shelf confirmed that there is a great need for a more permanent food pantry in our Community Education Center. Fortunately, Community Education received a grant from Olmsted County SHIP and we will launch a food pantry in Fall 2023!

    Thank you!

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  • Starting Up a Food Pantry at the CEC

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 2/27/2023 8:00:00 AM

    Food insecurity is on the rise and locally, Byron is seeing an increased need for food. Many young families and senior citizens struggle to make ends meet. With the increase in food costs - over 10% in 2022 - due to inflation and supply chain issues, many individuals and families are living with the very real burden of not knowing where their next meal will come from.

    After meeting with our school social worker and connecting with others, Byron Community Education is planning to start up a food pantry at the Community Education Center. Fortunately, we were awarded a small start-up grant through SHIP (Statewide Health Initiative Partnership) Community Fund. This grant will help us create a space to store food donations and distribute food to those in need. After the renovation is complete at the CEC this summer, we will have a dedicated space on the south end of the Center for the food pantry!

    We are still in the very early planning stages. Over the next few months, we will connect with more individuals and organizations to partner on the start up. We need to determine how and when customers will be able to access the food pantry and establish the process/timeline for collecting donations. This food pantry is not designed to be a substitute for other resources (i.e. Channel One Food Bank, BearPack Program). We know that traveling out of town and the cost of gasoline can be a significant barrier for many to access food resources. Having a local food pantry option will increase access and reduce barriers.

    We will need volunteers to help drive this effort.

    If you are interested, please contact us! If you have ideas or connections, please reach out to us. We know that this is a high community need and through this project, we will be able to fill a gap in Byron. We look forward to developing partnerships and supporting our students, families, and senior citizens who need this resource.

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  • 4 Things You Should Know about the CEC Renovation Project

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 2/22/2023 7:00:00 AM

    4 Things You Should Know about the CEC Construction Project

    1)  Construction has already begun!

    There are new lights in the Big Gym. New water meters have been installed. Walls have been removed. Holes have been drilled and/or filled. Plumbing and electrical work has been started. HVAC changes are underway. Supplies have been delivered. Packing up classrooms and spaces has begun.

    2)  Major renovation on the south end of the building will begin during Spring Break.

    Construction crews will work on renovations on the south end including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, windows, flooring, and casework in various classrooms/offices. New classrooms including a Makerspace studio, Culinary Arts classroom, Conference room, and Mind/Body studio will be opened in Fall 2023. 

    3) The Community Education Center will close on May 17!

    May 17 is the last day that Community Education Center building will be open. The building will be shut down to the public and no programs will take place at the CEC for the summer. The CE office will be relocated to another building in the district. Preschool classes end on May 12. Staff will finish packing up classrooms, offices, and spaces.

    4)  Save the Dates October 28 & 30

    Community Education will host two open houses in October for the community to see the renovated spaces and new classrooms. We can't wait to share this new space with you! Hopefully, we will be able to start offering classes and activities in the renovated CEC in September; however, we know that we may need to shift that due to construction and furnishing installation timelines.

    Please "bear" with us as we make this exciting transition!



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  • Sweetheart Dance was Sweet

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 2/17/2023 12:00:00 PM

    The first ever ECFE Sweetheart Dance was a success with over 70 people in attendance!

    sweetheart dance banner

    Children and their special adults danced, played games, and made crafts. As so many parents know, the days are long and the years go by fast. This was a night to savor time together and create memories.

    Thank you to all who attended!

    Jen and Katie

    Check out photos from the event:


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  • ECFE Adds a New Parenting Resource

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 1/19/2023 5:00:00 PM

    Early Childhood Family Education - Parent Educator, Ann Miksch, is always looking to support parents and she has brought a fun new option – a Parenting Podcast. Parents can join this virtual chat via Google Meet. There are six sessions per Podcast scheduled for 8-8:45 pm.

    Topics may include:

    • Meltdowns and tantrums
    • Eating habits
    • Sleep issues
    • Appropriate developmental expectations
    • Setting boundaries

    Join in to get great advice on parenting challenges. The first session is on February 6. There is no fee for the podcast. Here is the schedule: February 6, 13, 27, March 6, 13, and 27.

    We are so lucky to have Ann on the ECFE team and so happy that she can share her expertise and guidance with Byron families. We hope you will tune in for this new ECFE Parenting Podcast and connect with Ann on challenges you may be facing as a parent. She has a lot of books, websites, and resources to share!

    Contact:  Ann Miksch at ann.miksch@byron.k12.mn.us


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  • Byron Preschool: Plans for the 2023-24 School Year

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 1/9/2023 9:00:00 AM

    As we move closer to construction at the Community Education Center, plans for the 2023-24 school year are taking shape. Next year, all Preschool classes will be housed at the CEC. Early Childhood Special Education will move to the CEC as well, which will improve service delivery for many students.

    We are in the process of mapping out the Preschool classes and sections that we will offer. Again, there will be a mix of full day and half day programs as well as two and three day per week classes.

    The building will be getting a facelift as well as infrastructure upgrades to electrical, HVAC, and more. An elevator will be added to increase access to the second floor of the Preschool wing. Construction will begin mid-May 2023 and be completed by the start of Preschool in the fall.

    Byron Preschool provides classes for students ages 3, 4 and 5. If you would like to learn more about Preschool options for your child, consider coming to the Preschool Information Night on February 23 at 6 pm. You can take a tour, meet staff, and learn about teaching and learning.

    We hope to see you on February 23!

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  • You asked for it – and we are giving you more Pickleball!

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 1/4/2023 7:00:00 AM

    Pickleball as a recreational sport has exploded over the past two years. Last year we offered open gym sessions at the Byron Middle School. This past fall, we added sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Community Education Center. For Winter/Spring 2023, we expanded offerings to include open gym on Mondays/Wednesdays and Tuesdays/Thursdays mornings at the CEC and open gym for intermediate players. Pickleball open gym is offered on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

    For players looking to expand their skills, we added “Learn to Play Pickleball” and a “Beyond the Basics” class. Our Winter/Spring Class Catalog has a whole page of Pickleball options!

    Gym space continues to be in high demand for school athletics and activities, Community Education classes, and youth sporting organizations. We will do our best to fit in all of the Community Education classes and activities we can. It definitely is a challenge and we’ll keep working to find a good balance to meet the needs of the Byron community!

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  • Burn Off Energy at Family Open Gym

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 12/28/2022 9:00:00 AM

    Ask any parent and they will probably tell you that winter months are challenging! Children can be, well, a little squirrely during the long, cold months of winter. While we don't have a cure for cabin fever, we are offering something to help.

    FAMILY OPEN GYM on Saturdays and Sundays in February. There might be some group activities provided by Angie Puffer in the CEC Big Gym or Commons; however, the majority of open gym will be unstructured play time. Bring your own balls and sports equipment, shoot hoops, play a game of dodge ball or bean bag toss. Children must be supervised by an adult.

    open gym

    We know how important it is to have indoor recreation opportunities for children. Thank you to Angie Puffer for creating and running this program for Byron families!

    Jen and Katie

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  • Cooking and Crafting Up Some Magic

    Posted by Katie Schmitt on 12/20/2022 6:00:00 AM

    magic cooking

    Community Education will be offering a new cooking and craft class inspired by Harry Potter! This class will explore food from the Harry Potter books. Students will get to make recipes from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook in the new Culinary Arts Kitchen at the Community Education Center. Participants will also create magical crafts in the new Makerspace Classroom.

    The session allows students in grades 3-5 to immerse themselves in a beloved book series while engaging in STEAM learning activities. Whether they've read the books or seen the movies, students will enjoy exploring food and crafts in this class.

    Students can take the after-school activity bus to the CEC building. If you need your child to return to the Primary or Intermediate Schools for PK, please fill out the e-form during the registration process. You must register a week before class so that we have enough materials for all of the students. 

    HURRY! Registration is filling fast for this popular session.

    Sign Up

    Date:  Monday, March 13

    Time:  3:00-4:30 pm

    Fee:  $19.00; $10.00 for optional cookbook

    We can't wait to co-teach this Harry Potter themed class!

    Jen and Katie

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