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Two teachers from the local area attended the Rachel’s Challenge Educational Summit in Plano, Texas, June 27-29, through a sponsorship provided by Dakota Electric Association. Jennifer Bordonaro, Burnsville, Eagan, Savage School District 191, and Jessica Hallin, Inver Grove Heights District 199, learned strategies to replace bullying and violent behavior with kindness and respect.

Rachel’s Challenge, a non-profit organization started by the Scott family after the Columbine shootings in 1999, hosts the conference. Rachel Scott, whose life was marked by kindness and compassion, was the first victim in the tragic shootings.

The Educational Summit provides educators with an opportunity to learn practical classroom applications for social and emotional learning. Speakers at the event include: Darrell Scott, motivational speakers Dr. Rick Rigsby and Kyle Maynard, educator Erin Gruwell, 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki, and others.

Dakota Electric has sponsored the Rachel’s Challenge program for many local high schools in the area and saw this as another way to help schools provide a good learning environment.

“I had an amazing time at the Educational Summit,” Hallin said. “The event was life changing.”

“I have been deeply impacted, both personally and professionally,” Bordonaro said, “and I am looking at ways to equally impact the students of Independent School District 191 in the upcoming school year and in years to come.”

“We saw this conference as a way to continue the positive support of our schools through a proven organization,” Peggy Johnson, Dakota Electric’s community relations director, said.