North trio earns top honors at Southern MN Regional Science Fair
North purple ribbon winners at the Southern Minnesota Regional Science Fair included (l to r), Vanessa Krueger, Konrad Wernsing and Autumn Pauly.
Fifteen students from North Intermediate School took part in the Southern Minnesota Regional Science Fair on April 26 and three of them came home with purple Grand Prize awards.
This was the 63rd year Minnesota State University-Mankato has hosted the event. It has a rich history involving many participating students, parents, teachers, principals, business and community leaders, judges, faculty from neighboring colleges, and MSU administrators, faculty, staff and students – both undergraduates and graduates.
Those three North students winning Grand Prize awards include:
Autumn Pauly -- A Bird’s Eye View. Grand Award Gold Medal and Special Award: A.M. Exchange.
Konrad Wernsing -- Mite-y Bees. Grand Award Gold Medal.
Vanessa Krueger -- Get Your Brain in Shape: Male vs. Female. Grand Medal Gold Medal.
North AE students place first and second in Stock Market Game
Those students on the two North AE Stock Market teams which placed first and second out of 500 teams in a state-wide contest includes: front row (l to r), Raven Crane, Kaylee Moreau and Sophie Rao; back row, Jack Leonard, Connor Snay, Levi Powers and Haydon Grams.
North Intermediate fifth graders had four teams participate recently in the Stock Market Game, put on through the SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) Foundation, with two of those teams placing first and second out of 500 teams in this part of the state of Minnesota for grades 4-6.
The students involved are part of North’s Academic Enrichment (AE) program which provides students opportunities, outside of their regular classes, to learn and develop. This was the first year the fifth grade students participated in the contest.
“Those two teams went back and forth during the contest with the girls group leading most of the way before the boys went ahead of that at one point,” Scott Robinson, North’s AE advisor, said. “However, the girls were able to pull it out right at the end, but to have two teams from one school place first and second is really great.”
The Stock Market Game, which took place from January through April of 2014, is an educational program for students in grades 4-12 and adults that stimulates learning about economics, finance and American
Teams are given $100,000 of virtual money to invest in any of the three major markets: the Nasdaq National Market, and the New York and American Stock Exchanges. Teams may trade any
common stock or mutual funds. Teams may trade as often as they want during the fourteen weeks.
The contest puts participants in real-world situations where students practice the content and skills they’re taught in math, English language arts, economics, social studies and other school subjects. Even more important, it also helps students develop positive money habits and prepares them for the future.
Members of North’s winning Stock Market Game team included Raven Crane, Kaylee Moreau and Sophie Rao. Those on the North’s second-place team included Jack Leonard, Connor Snay, Levi Powers and Haydon Grams.
North sixth grader gets schoolmates asking “Have You Seen the Green?!”
Many North Intermediate students helped support one of their own, Emma Soderlund-Hartung, by wearing green to school on Tuesday to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)
Sixth grader Emma Soderlund-Hartung, who was born with cerebral palsy (CP), helped bring recognition to the dysfunction by helping to declare Tuesday (March 25) as “Have You Seen the Green?!” Day at North Intermediate School .
Tuesday was National Cerebral Palsy Day and Emma along with a large number of her classmates and other schoolmates at North wore green in support of those with CP. This is a new campaign and it was Emma’s wish was to have North be one of the first schools in the area to show kids with CP everywhere that people not only support them but they also support the fight to find better treatment and, someday, a cure.
“It was exciting to see so many kids wearing green and I was very surprised by it,” Emma said. “It kind of made it feel like a Friday (here at school).”
CP is a central motor dysfunction which affects the muscles and movements of those afflicted by it. National CP Day was started to help create awareness about the condition which is estimated to affect roughly 800,000 people living in the United States, 500,000 of them being children.
Emma, whose parents are Emily Soderlund and Josh Hartung, often needs her wheelchair or walker to get around but that hasn’t stopped her from attending classes regularly at North, where she is a student in Mr. Kaus’s sixth grade class.
North’s STEM teacher testing Google Glass device in classroom
North STEM instructor Angie Potts (left) talks with fourth grade student Shea Hildebrandt about a project he is working on during her class. Potts is wearing the Google Glass XE she recently received as part of a beta test program for the new technology device that isn't available to the public, yet.
Being on top of the latest technology for education is something for which St. Peter Public Schools tries to achieve for its students and staff.
School administration often encourages its staff to stay engaged on the latest technological offerings to find out how they can improve the learning experience for each student. The district has always been very receptive to spending funds on technology, and it also has invested a lot in infrastructure and equipment to insure students have the tools needed to succeed.
One of the many dedicated teachers who adhere to that philosophy is North STEM instructor Angie Potts, who is part of a beta-test for the Explorer Edition program for one of the most anticipated technology devices -- the Google Glass.
Google Glass is a hands-free, wearable computer that users wear on their head like a pair of glasses. It’s screen is an optical display that appears in front of the right eye, but when the users eyes get adjusted Potts says it is the equivalent of looking at a 25 to 28-inch flat screen TV from about eight feet away.
The computer is operated through a small touchpad on the side of the glasses frame or by voice command.
“I’ve always been a bit of a technology geek and when I saw I could possibly get a pair I knew I had to apply,” Potts said. “I originally submitted the application for the Explorer Program about a year ago, but didn’t receive word until about three weeks ago that I had been accepted.
“I then spoke with John Lustig (St. Peter Public School’s Technology Coordinator) and he was very open to helping acquire them. We went to Dr. Olson and he was very supportive and receptive. He had just been in a meeting discussing technology, the district’s support for students’ technological lives, and how the district could stay on the cutting edge of technology.
“Being a bit of a techie, when I received word that I was going to get a ticket to claim the glasses it was a little like Christmas morning for me. I received the email during my prep time and I started jumping up and down right away. I had to call my husband and parents right away to let them know the big news.”
Potts has learned quickly in the nearly two months she’s had Google Glass, which the district purchased for around $1,500, that it has many practical applications and uses for school staff. Through its ability to record video and pictures its a great tool for self assessment but it’s also has many valuable uses for classroom work as well.
“So far I’ve used Google Glass for all four grades (3-6) in their STEM classes, with video and picture applications being the easiest to implement. I also have created vignettes of photos and web research. The 5th-graders made model cars out of pasta and 6th-graders made mousetraps.”
“I really enjoy the ease of posting on social media, searching the web, listening to rss feed updates of current events, and most importantly having figured out how to screencast it all to our classroom SMART board for the students to view in live time.”
Google Glass XE can use Google applications such as Google Now, Google Maps, Google+ and Gmail. Third party developers are also coming up with new apps for the device all the time.
“Other companies are developing more and more apps, or what Google calls Glassware, all the time and it’s very exciting what they are finding out they can do,” Potts said. “Each day I make it a point to find out something different about how to use the glasses. I do that by following a lot of different Google groups and other social media sites finding out what works for other people.”
“I’m still working through all the Glass options to continue to enhance and push the classroom learning. It’s been wonderful so far and it’s exciting to be involved in the pre-release stages of a program like this that really is on the cutting edge of technology.”
North PE classes to participate in snow shoeing
North physical education 9PE) classes will participate in a snow shoeing activity starting Tuesday, February 18th. This snow shoeing activity is being implemented because of its emphasis as a “Lifetime Activity.” Snow shoeing provides a variety of benefits which include balance, coordination, motor skill and a cardio-respiratory workout.
This will be a one lesson activity and take place right on the grounds of North Intermediate. We highly recommend students wear appropriate clothing. This should include, but is not limited to, gloves, stocking hats, jackets, warm socks, boots, and snow pants.
If you have any questions regarding this activity, please contact Kris Sandborg, North PE instructor, at 507-934-3260 ext. 650 or by email at email@example.com
Below is the following class schedule for snow shoeing:
Tuesday February 18th the following classes will be snow shoeing -- Fox, Gareis, Kaus, Malz, Vavreck
Wednesday February 19th the following classes will be snow shoeing -- Landsteiner, Preheim, Myhra, Veith, D. Johnson
Thursday February 20th the following classes will be snow shoeing -- Lenhoff, Nelsen, Lund, Helget, Hartfiel
Friday February 21st the following classes will be snow shoeing -- Galetka, Guappone, Lusty, Olson, J.Johnson
Monday February 24th the following classes will be snow shoeing -- Cosgrove, Hinton, Keller, Jennissen, Smith
North Intermediate hosts annual Spelling Bee
Fifth grader Jack Leonard takes top honors to advance to regional event
North Spelling Bee participants this year included: front row (l to r) Sophie Rao, Connor Snay, Jack Leonard, Isaiah Miller, Grace Werner; back row, Julia Marlow, Benny Combs, Nolayn Vande, Jaden Neubauer, Megan Farniok, Megan Beran and Olivia Rezmerski. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)
Knowing the proper spelling of the word, ‘tomahawk’, vaulted fifth grader Jack Leonard to the North Intermediate School Spelling Bee title during Friday afternoon's event in the school’s media center.
Leonard, who is in Nina Preheim’s class, and sixth grader Isaiah Miller, who is in Ty Kaus’s class, locked up in a very hard-fought final round before Leonard secured to win by correctly spelling ‘tomahawk”. Leonard now advances to the 2014 South Central Service Cooperative (SCSC) Regional Spelling Bee set for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at South Central College in North Mankato.
Others competing in this year’s Spelling Bee (and their teachers) included sixth graders Benny Combs (Jennissen), Julia Marlow (Keller), Jaden Neubauer (Myrha), Olivia Rezmerski (Malz) and Grace Werner (Veith) along with fifth graders Megan Beran (Lusty), Megan Farniok (Gareis), Sophie Rao (Lund), Connor Snay (Helget) and Nolayn Vande (Olson).
John Robinson, North’s academic enrichment instructor, was the moderator for this year’s spelling bee while Christine Priebe and Halie Gudmonson served as judges.
North single point of entry office now open
New entrance area designed to make school safer
Except for the arrival of some office furniture and some minor glitches, the new single point of entry office at North Intermediate School which opened for the first time in 2014 on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
The single point of entry office, which occupies space that was previously part of the girls locker room, was designed to make the building safer for students and staff inside, according to Margot Jennissen, principal intern and sixth grade teacher at North.
“We’re just waiting on some office furniture to arrive, but we’ve been able to use some tables to get things set up in time for when school reopened,” Jennissen said. “There also have been some minor technical issues with the door locks, but those should be fixed soon and we’ll be good to go.”
Students will still be able to access the building as they normally before and after school hours. However, from 7:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. anyone without card key access will have to enter North through door #1 (west side of building by gym) and first make a stop at the single point of entry office before being allowed access inside the main part of the building. Kristie Davis is the administrative assistant who will be staffing that office.
“Even when parents are coming to pick up their kids we’ll still hold them in the main office until their parent arrives and then we’ll walk them across the hallway to the new officer where they will get picked up,” Jennissen said.
Q&A with outgoing North Principal Karen Coblentz
School's top administrator to move to Arizona in early 2014
North Principal Karen Coblentz (left) passes the baton over to interim principals Nancy Kluck and Bill Dixon in preparation for Coblentz's upcoming departure.
The Spotlight recently had a chance to catch up with Principal Karen Coblentz as she nears the end of her seven-year career as the principal at North Intermediate School.
Karen's last day on the job will be Friday (Dec. 20). Former North Principal Bill Dixon and South Principal Nancy Kluck will serve as interim principals for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year along with the help of administrative intern Margot Jennissen.
The following is a Q&A with Coblentz about her time here at North:
* What are you going to miss most about your time at North?
The thing I will miss most about North Intermediate are the people. The staff, students, and families are a remarkable group of people who all work together to help our children be successful. The staff work very hard and are so committed to our students and to each other. We are a family and each day we help each other through the good times and the not so good times. I enjoy coming to work each day, greeting the staff and students, and trying to help make each person's day a little better.
* Are there any particular unusual/humorous memories you'll have from North that will stand out?
There are so many great moments that I will take with me from North that I am not sure where to start. Each day, the staff members put smiles on each other's faces by having some fun. This is a hard, challenging job and one needs to keep a sense of humor. There have been many pranks played between staff members over the years and those have been great. I will also remember becoming a human sundae for the students after they worked hard on the testing. I think it took a couple of weeks to get all the toppings out of my hair! There are many memories of things that students have said or did that have been wonderful and made my day. One student informed me that the district didn't need to hire a replacement for me as he would take over the building. He actually would have enjoyed it!
* What do you see as the biggest changes that has occurred in your seven years at North?
There have been many changes in education over the past seven years. We have seen an increase in the integration of technology into instruction. We also have had many new staff members hired in the building. When I started, there were about 470 students in the building, now there are about 620! We use all spaces in the building plus some.
* How would you like to be remembered from your time at North?
My motto has been, "Life is good." I hope to be remembered as someone who always believed that, always looked for the good in people, worked hard and played hard. I believe we only get each day of our lives one time - why not take some chances, make some changes, and do what is best for our students. I hope to be remembered as the principal who smiled a lot, laughed each day, yet worked hard and kept high expectations of myself and of others.
* What are your plans for the future once you leave North?
I am getting married and moving to Phoenix. Once there, I plan to take some time off and enjoy life. In the future I will look for a job possibly in education administration or teaching at the college level. I have the opportunity to look for a new adventure in life and know that whatever it is, it will be great and I look forward to it. I want to thank the Saint Peter Public Schools and North Intermediate. I have thoroughly enjoyed this district and wish the district the best in the future.
Single point of entry project at North is underway
Construction crews at North Intermediate have been busy converting a part of the girls locker room into a single point of entry office area. The project is supposed to be completed and the new office operational when school resumes after holiday break. (Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)
Construction crews have been busy recently working on the new single point of entry projects at both the North Intermediate and South Elementary buildings.
Both of the renovation projects are being done to help enhance the safety and security of each building and give staff at both schools better control of those entering and exiting the building during the normal school day.
Met-Con of Mankato is the contractor the district hired to do the single point of entry projects and were on the scene over the holiday weekend getting a good start on some of the work that may have been disruptive during a school day. They will continue the work during the school week and plans are in place to minimize noise and disruptions for the students.
The construction portion of the project is slated to be done by December 20 and staff at both schools confirmed they hope the new office spaces will be up and running when school reconvenes on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, after the lengthy winter holiday break.
The South project will involve moving Principal Darin Doherty and his secretary Lois Warren along with the school’s main receptionist Denise Roggow into former room #1. Visitors to the building will be required to enter the new office during the school day before access is granted to other parts of the building.
The current South principal/main office area will be converted into classroom and work areas to make up for space lost during the transition of room #1.
The main entrance will remain open for parents and visitors to use during the school day, but students are using alternative entry and exit points at the start and end of the school day.
The North project involves converting a portion of the girls locker room on the east side of the gym into an office where school receptionist Kristi Davis will be able to monitor those who enter or exit the building during the school day. North’s main office and principal’s office will remain in the same location.
North Food Drive nets more than 1,800 lbs. in donations
Members of the North Intermediate Student Council take time from loading up two pickups full of food donations they collected during the school's annual Food Drive.
North Intermediate School's annual Food Drive was deemed a huge success once again as the 26 classes in grades 3-6 provided the St. Peter Area Food Shelf with some much-needed donations just in time for holiday season.
This year’s Food Drive, which was put on once again by the North Student Council and held the week of Nov. 18-22, netted 1,803 pounds of food and around $200 in monetary donations. Since 2010, North students have collected right around 8,100 pounds of food and $570 in cash for the St. Peter Area Food Shelf.
Those classes at North Intermediate collecting the most for each grade include:
* Mr. Malz -- sixth grade
* Ms. Gareis -- fifth grade
* Mrs. Hinton -- fourth grade
* Mrs. Cosgrove -- third grade.
“This is a wonderful project for our students and they really get behind it,” Kathy Woyda, school social worker for North and South who helps organize the Food Drive, said. “With around 45 percent of our enrollment at both North and South participating in the free and reduced lunch program we definitely know there is a need in our community and this food drive really helps low income families in our area.
“Also, there is a need for our students, and in particular our student council member, to experience what it is like to physically help others. While they don’t give the food directly to those families in need, they are involved from start to finish in planning the food drive, putting up posters and getting the word out, collecting the food each day and eventually delivering the food to the Food Shelf downtown.
“It’s a great experience for them and they do such a great job each year seeing it through.”
The North Student Council is comprised of two members from each of the 26 sections which make up grades 3-6. This year’s student council advisors are Mr. Malz and Mr. Myrha.
North 5th graders tour Kasota Prairie
Students in the fifth grade at North Intermediate took a cold trip to the Kasota Prairie during the week of October 21-25.The trip was led by the members of the Ecology Bus. This trip was sponsored by Unimin and was completed as part of the study that students do in Life Science on interactions among living things.
The field trip took place over a one week period, with one class riding the bus out to the Kasota Praire at a time. During the trip there and back, students answered questions about the tall grass prairie, plant and animal life on the prairie, and how the land and animals interact. The real learning at the prairie included identifying camouflaged animal furs, finding textures and patterns in the grasses, and walking the prairie for signs of animal life.
Despite the cold October weather, students were excited to see first hand how we might have lived before industry and commercial enterprise became common. Leaders of the trip had great hands on learning activities to help with concepts like adaptations, competition, and survival. The fifth graders have not had this opportunity for nearly ten years now, but thanks to Unimin, they were able to get their field experience learning again in out in the natural setting.
Fifth graders get a special Veterans' Day visitor
National Guard soldier Robert T. Swanson met with a classroom of fifth graders at North Intermediate as part of Veterans Day festivities and to talk about life as a soldier. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)
Some North Intermediate fifth graders had a special Veterans' Day treat today when they actually got to meet with a real life soldier, Robert T. Swanson, a National Guard member who attends MSU-Mankato.
Swanson, who is an E-4 and will become a sergeant soon, has been in the military for four years and is a former high school classmate of Sarah Larson, a Gustavus Adolphus College student who is student teaching with Jo Johnson's class.
The fifth graders learned about what life is like for a soldier to go through basic training and other classes. They also had a chance to ask Swanson questions about military life.
Swanson, who serves as an air traffic controller with the Guard, is a law enforcement major at MSU.
North Intermediate School group picture
The entire student body and staff gathered on Nov. 1 for a group picture as part of the final days of activities for the School of Excellence celebration. LifeTouch snapped a more formal shot like this one which is available for purchase through the North Intermediate School office. (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)
North celebrates School of Excellence Award
Students and staff from North Intermediate receive the School of Excellence Award from Jon Millerhagen (at podium), executive director of the Minnesota Elementary Principal Association (MESPA). (Photo by Kurt Hildebrandt - School Information Coordinator)
North Intermediate School was recognized at a special program on October 28 as a recipient of the 2013 Minnesota School of Excellence Award, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) along with support from the Minnesota Department of Education.
North was one of just 12 schools in the entire state to receive this prestigious distinction.
The program was held at St. Peter High School gym to accommodate the large crowd that turned out for the event.
“We are very excited about to receive this honor and a lot of hard work was done by our staff during the last school year to even be eligible for this award,” Margot Jennissen, North Intermediate sixth grade teacher and principal intern, said. “It’s a thrill to be one of only 12 school recognized by this program from around the entire state and we will be the first of those 12 schools to host a celebration of this honor.”
Last year North staff completed a comprehensive application which included a self assessment of our staff and students, surveys of parents/staff members/students, and meeting six high standards of achievement.
Due to the intensity of the process, North Intermediate will be able to retain their School of Excellence recognition for seven years.
For more information on the School of Excellence Award and a list of 12 winners go to www.mespa.net.
Third Floor Youth Center moves to new location
By Kurt Hildebrandt
Over the years the Third Floor Youth Center has established itself as a popular program for kids in grades 3-6 to participate in after school hours.
While the popularity of the program has maintained strong numbers over the years, finding a place to call “home” for the Third Floor has been difficult as it has bounced around locations a bit since its inception in 1997.
This school year the Third Floor, which is a joint effort between the St. Peter School District and city of St. Peter, has moved to a new location this school year on the North Intermediate School gym stage. The previous few years the program had been located in a former computer lab in the south wing of the school but because of classroom space constraints it had to be moved to the stage area of the North gym.
“This is my first year as coordinator of Third Floor, but the kids really seem to enjoy the new location,” BethAnn Emley, Third Floor coordinator, said. “We have 120 kids signed up but we usually have anywhere from 45 to 60 kids here each day which works well with the space we have. If we start getting more than that we will have to work some things out especially if one of the other areas isn’t available.
“From what we’ve seen the kids haven’t really noticed the change in location and they have transitioned up here very well. It’s a wonderful program which gives kids a place to go after school for a couple hours and be active..”
While students in Third Floor can participate in a variety of activities on the stage area including ping pong, air hockey and foosball along with a video game area with plenty of comfortable seats, they also have access to the gym for games like dodge ball, the cafeteria for board games such as Bingo, the computer lab for homework help and/or Internet access and, weather permitting, the outdoor playground area.
North student council members also provide snacks for the concession stand which is available.
The free program is open to St. Peter students in grades 3-6 and students do have to register in advance at the North office in order to take part in the Third Floor activities. Once they are signed up, students are required to check in when they arrive and check out when they leave.
Emley, who also works as a special education paraprofessional at North during regular school hours, has an assistant (Jennifer Leslie) on staff and they both are employed by the city. There are also as many as three to five work study students from Gustavus Adolphus College that help out each day during the week.
“Without the Gustavus students this really wouldn’t be possible,” Emley said. “Jennifer and I are able to do a lot of things, but the Gusties really make this thing go. We love having them with us.”
Utilizing the space available is important in making a program like the Third Floor run smoothly.
“Special education uses the space some during the school day, but we’re definitely making it work,” Emley said. “We also might have a bit of a conflict during the spring because the high school golf team has used the stage to set up its net, but I’m sure we’ll find a way to make that work, too.”
For more information on the Third Floor Youth Center contact North Intermediate at (507) 934-3260 or the St. Peter Recreation Office at (507) 934-0667.