University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Extension > Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners > July 2015


On this blog, we share regular updates about the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners partnership between Extension's Children, Youth & Family Consortium and Bruce Vento Elementary School.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tips for harvesting? Remember your bags.

By: Nora Fox

This past Saturday I packed up my gardening tools, new puppy, and dirty tennis shoes and headed to the community garden at Bruce Vento. I hadn’t thought to bring extra paper bags for the vegetables to be harvested, but I wish I had!

After spending about an hour weeding and cleaning up the beds, I decided to reach out to some local neighbors to encourage them to harvest some of the vegetables. There were plenty of green tomatoes, eggplant, and basil to choose from, and even some corn has popped up since my last visit! I saw a father and daughter waiting by the bus stop across the street and asked if they would be interested in picking some vegetables later. The father seemed a bit surprised, but as soon as his daughter’s eyes lit up with excitement at this opportunity, he said he would bring her by later in the afternoon after they returned from their trip downtown.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Calming Room Plans Are Progressing

By Sara Langworthy, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium
7:30 a.m. is really early for a meeting. Especially on a Monday.

But Judy, Scott, and I, along, and two fabulous College of Design students Emily Devore and Rachel Grothe met Monday to discuss progress on the Bruce Vento Elementary School calming room. As you may recall from this post, we worked with Dr. Abi Asojo and her 23 sophomore interior design students to do initial proposals for the calming room space. The space is meant to help children who face difficulties with emotional regulation learn strategies to calm themselves and return to class quickly.

We've been lucky enough to continue to collaborate with Rachel and Emily, who have received Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) funding, to assist us in finalizing the design. They are working directly with project staff to ensure the design meets student needs, which has included researching materials and costs and communicating with school district staff to abide by district construction codes. Rachel and Emily were from two different design teams in Professor Asojo's class, but have come together to bring the strengths of both of their styles to this project.

Monday, July 13, 2015

This is Bruce Vento

By Taylor Johnson, Graduate Research Assistant, and Sara Langworthy, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

“The strengths are in our kids. Our kids are really cool kids. They show up. They come everyday.”
— Scott Masini, Principal of Bruce Vento Elementary School

Despite the fact that students face challenges of trauma, neighborhood violence, and food insecurity, Bruce Vento school staff have built an energizing, supportive, healthy environment for their students. The staff are warm, welcoming and committed to each other and to the students. “You have someone here to pick you back up at Vento,” says Carolyn Rottman, the school’s behavior specialist.

The partnership with Family Innovations to provide mental health services for students in the school has deepened the trauma-sensitive environment, providing even more supports to student learning and wellness. Staff remind families of their counseling appointments and teachers welcome the Family Innovations counselors to work alongside students in classroom. “The staff have been wonderful...It’s been really collaborative. It’s a really unique environment,” reflects Kiley Krocak, mental health provider from Family Innovations. It’s not just the teachers working to make their classrooms more conducive learning environments, all of the staff at Bruce Vento are working toward a more trauma-sensitive environment. As Krocak points out, “You just see they’re willing to do what it takes to help these kids and reach out.”

Want to see more about our partnership with Bruce Vento Elementary? Subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we’ll be posting videos about the ongoing work happening at the school. Or subscribe to this blog to stay up-to-date with what’s happening at Bruce Vento.


Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Learners is an ongoing partnership between the Extension Children, Youth, and Family Consortium and the Bruce Vento Elementary School. Together, along with many other partners, we are developing engaging learning environments that promote student learning and wellness.
  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy