Principal’s Corner

Dear MMW Families,

There has been so much in the news lately about vaping and teenagers, I reached out to our resources at Tonka Cares to find information to share with all of you.  As a school and school district, the health and well-being of our students is of the highest importance. We continue to focus a great deal on student’s abilities to make healthy decisions as these choices can have considerable impact on future mental and physical wellness.

As many of us have heard, there is significant concern being raised around vaping. Based on studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in concert with the FDA, vape rates were shown to increase by 78% amongst high school students nationwide, with a reported 3.6 million high school and middle school students now using e-cigarettes. As a result of these figures and the obvious impact it has on students’ health and the belief held by some that vaping is “safe,” we thought it pertinent to provide a bit more information to parents. 

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. Vape devices like JUUL, do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of several fine particles (many of which have been proven carcinogenic). Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.

What’s in it? 

The e-liquid is generally composed of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with a varying degree of nicotine, as well as a variety of other chemicals (formaldehyde) and metals (lead). These devices can also be used with THC-containing (component responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects) or even synthetic drugs like flakka (amphetamine like effects). Because the e-liquids come in a variety of youth-directed flavors, there are a variety of odors which range from fruity to floral and hence do not smell of traditional tobacco products, or in the case of THC- containing liquids, like marijuana.

What’s the harm?

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical and is particularly harmful to the developing adolescent brain. Evidence suggests that nicotine interferes with brain maturation and can have significant long-term effect on cognitive development and mental health even with brief or intermittent nicotine exposure during adolescence. Similar to opiates (heroin), nicotine acts on the brain’s pleasure pathways, creating feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. Research also indicates that nicotine exposure can also increase the risk of addiction to other harmful substances. Moreover, these aerosols result in exposure to variety of other harmful chemicals and carcinogens.

What to look for?

Often, subtle behavior and health changes may suggest experimentation with e-cigarettes/vape devices. These changes include an increase in water consumption or other liquids; frequent nosebleeds; bloodshot eyes; an increased use of cologne or breath mints (to mask the smell); and fruity smells with no obvious source. You may also notice changes in sleep patterns, irritability and coughing. Note that online purchases require only legal name, date of birth (age 21 and older), and last 4 digits of social security. You may be surprised to hear your child has this information of yours….

What’s being done?

As a result of unprecedented increases in adolescent vape use several communities (and states) nationwide have begun progressive change in minimum purchase and use age. To address the availability of e-cigarettes locally the Cities of Minnetonka and Excelsior recently joined the growing Tobacco 21 movement by passing city ordinances which limits the purchasing of all vape and tobacco related products to those age 21 years and older. These changes go into effect January 1, 2019. These changes do not criminalize the behavior but rather decrease access of these substances to youth. For more information on these prevention strategies click here Minnetonka City CouncilClearway.org. Moreover, as a result of the trends in use and the clear targeting of youth advertising campaigns through social media and obvious youth-directed flavored e-liquids and pods (including cotton candy, sour worm, vanilla vapor), the FDA has moved to ban flavored e-liquids. As a result JUUL has moved to limit the sale of flavored pods to online shoppers only and states they will eliminate social media accounts. While these represent positive change in the vape trends which have clearly targeted youth, the attraction and use of these chemicals and devices clearly has had significant impact.

For information please visit Tonka Cares. All of the information provided seeks only to better equip you to have discussions with your youth about vaping and potential consequences of use.

Thank you, as always, for your consideration, and partnership in developing our students for future success and well-being.

Paula Hoff, EdD

MMW Principal

Current Activities Open for Registration

– Bright Watch (Study Hall)

– Hub Club

– MineCraft Club

 MMW Coders

– RAKtivists Club (Random Acts of Kindness)

– Unplugged Game Club

– Yearbook Club 

– All School Musical Open Jan 3rd! 

Click HERE for more information and to register.

Auditions for the All School Musical

  • Thursday, January 3rd in the Choir room 4-5:30 
  • Call backs TBD on Friday, Jan. 4th 4-5:30
  • Sign up on the door of room 129 for cast and crew.

(Students will learn a song from the show and will audition with that song)

Performance Dates are March 14, 15, 16, 2019

Attention all Middle School Girls:

Rise & Shine it’s Coding Time.  Grab your BFF’s and join us at The Loft for an overnight Lock-in. This slumber party will shine bright with pizza, snacks and plenty of girl bonding. Girls of all “coding” abilities will love the combination of making, coding, creativity and collaboration. During this event, girls will design costumes, sets, and programs for a scene of their choice. The lock-in will take place on February 1st at 5:00 p.m. at The Loft at MHS, parents and families will be invited to join us for a showcase celebration at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning (Feb 2nd). Cost per student will be $60.00 and will include, dinner, snacks, breakfast and fun! Please sign up via this link to reserve your spot, sign up through MME Revtrak even if you attend MMW. Permission slip and health forms will be needed to complete your registration. These forms will be emailed home in January. Scholarships are available, please contact laura.rosati@minnetonkaschools.org or lisa.reed@minnetonkaschools.org  with any questions.

8th Grade Embedded Health

The high school health teachers will be visiting MMW on Jan. 7th & 8th  and will be talking to 8th grade classes about healthy relationships, effective communication and the importance of gratitude in relationships. 

School Climate Update

We believe all students can make positive choices when on the bus whether it’s to/from school or for a field trip. Sometimes students struggle with consistently making good choices in an unstructured setting. If there are any bus issues, incident reports are written by bus drivers and sent to MMW. Extra behavior support is provided as needed. Please remind your child of appropriate bus behaviors. Some important points to review and discuss include:

  • Walk on and off the bus
  • Stay seated until your stop
  • Use earbuds or headphones if listening to music
  • Keep voice volume low
  • Use appropriate language
  • Respect all students and adults

Our school-wide expectation to SAIL (Safety, Actively engaged, Integrity, and Leadership) needs to extend to the bus as well. We are extremely proud of how hard our students work to be respectful and cooperative.

The RAKtivists’ teddy bear drive was a great success. Thanks to all who participated! We are looking forward to delivering these cuddly gifts to children in need. The RAKtivists have also been encouraging students to share what they are grateful for on our gratitude graffiti board and presenting a weekly kindness challenge every Monday over the morning announcements.

Finally, we have been promoting our “Eyes Up, Phone Down” hallway initiative. We are sharing videos and images on the Tonka Tron as well as putting up student-created posters throughout the building encouraging students to make our hallways tech-free. This allows for much smoother passing times.

Please contact Heidi DeVaun, Student Climate Para, if you have any questions or suggestions.


Now Hiring Para Substitutes!

Para Substitutes are important partners in helping Minnetonka Schools ensure there are caring and qualified adults supporting our students every day — even when our paraprofessionals are out ill, engaged in training, or planning innovative opportunities for our students.

Benefits of being a Para Sub include: 

  • Flexible Schedule (You decide when you work!)
  • Opportunity to try a variety of positions, grade levels and buildings
  • Increase your chances of being hired for para openings that are posted during the school year
  • Temporary/short term positions offered to para substitute pool first
  • Great first step back into the work force or a great second career
  • Stepping stone to a career in education
  • Opportunity for college students home on break

Click here for more information and to apply!

MMW Yearbook – Order now to avoid the end-of-year scramble! 

The 2018-19 MMW Yearbook is now available to pre-order. The cost is $30 and they will be delivered to MMW in late May. Click HERE to place your order. Make sure to retain your e-mail receipt!


Show your holiday spirit and support for MMW staff! We are collecting $10 gift cards, or cash donations, to give to all staff members to show how much we appreciate all they do. Cards can be from anywhere — restaurants, gas stations, craft stores, movie theaters, pet food chains, hardware stores, etc. Anywhere you shop, chances are someone on the staff likes that place too! Please do NOT specify which staff member your gift is for. Our goal for this year is 420 gift cards. There is a collection box in the Main Office. Please make sure to donate by December 19, 2018. Warm wishes for a joyful holiday,

PTO Staff Appreciation Co-Chairs

CAREER DAY – Parents, grandparents, friends are invited to sign up to share their job/career stories at MMW Career Day on Friday, 3/1/19. Sign up for a 1 hour time commitment (20 min presentation + Q&A given to two groups of students). Please share this link with anyone who you think might be interested. https://goo.gl/forms/Oal0x1P4f4nO0aC23

Click HERE to check out the MMW PTO website.

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