Construction phase begins at South
Cooperation is needed for students' safety as work progresses
Construction has begun at South Elementary as work on installation of the chiller began last Monday and it is expected to be completed by the time South’s Summer STARS Academy program begins in early July. New windows will be installed over the summer as well. The remainder of the construction projects will be completed during the summer of 2017.
With every new opportunity, come a few challenges. Construction materials and vehicles have moved into some spaces previously used as parking stalls so school officials are requesting parents’ assistance in helping us keep South’s students safe throughout this construction phase. Here are the things South is seeking cooperation on:
* With limited space, you may have already discovered that it will take longer to progress through the drop off/pick up loop. Please plan ahead and allow extra time for this.
* Please remember that the bus ramp is reserved for buses only.
* If you are utilizing the curbside drop off/pick up loop, please make sure that your child is getting out on the curb side. It has been reported that some students are getting out on the traffic lane side due to siblings car seats being on the curb side.
* An alternative drop off/pick up location is available below the hill on Washington Avenue. We staff this location and the sidewalk from this spot to the playground to make this a very safe option. Please let your child’s teacher know if you would like them to start using this location.
* Please respect the construction cones. They are there to identify work zones.
* Please be patient and cooperative with the traffic control staff. Their job is to keep your children safe and the traffic flowing smoothly.
“Thank you for your help in resolving these issues,” South Principal Doreen Oelke said. “We are looking forward to a safe, learning-filled final five weeks of school and to the improvements being done within our building.”
DonorsChoose.org program benefits North & South classrooms
DonorsChoose.org is a free non-profit website where public school teachers can receive funding for student resources, and some South Elementary and North Intermediate students have already benefited from the generosity of those donors over the past few years.
Sarah Hartfiel, who teaches kindergarten at South, and Angela Potts, the STEM teacher at North Intermediate, are part of a small group of District 508 teachers who have utilized the program which helps to obtain resources that will further enhance the educational opportunities of their students. Those items are often priced at $300 or less.
“This is a wonderful program to have available for teachers to help supplement classroom materials ,” Hartfiel said. “I first submitted a request probably about six years ago after our Horace Mann representative (Gretchen Rehm) put out word about the program during a meeting. I was really interested in finding out more and I began to think about what good it could do for my students.”
“Back then, before we started using iPads in the classroom, I really felt there was a need for a digital flip camera to help students record video of their projects or other classroom activities. Thankfully, after submitting my first request for funding I was fortunate enough to get a donor to fund the entire purchase. Over the years I’ve probably used the program six times and have been funded all but once.”
The charity was started by Charles Best, a new social studies teacher in the Bronx, who often talked with his colleagues about materials and experiences they wanted their students to have, but which they had no funding to support. He created DonorsChoose.org in 2000 so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.
DonorsChoose.org has served K-12 public schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including public charter schools.
“I first learned about this great program through Twitter -- I get a lot of great things from Twitter,” Potts said. “Through DonorsChoose.org I have purchased Ozobots and McGroovey's Box Rivets.”
“In both of my projects that were funded, the people that funded it seemed to have a connection to St. Peter. There has been great community support as well as business support. It is awesome to see that value, excitement, and willingness to support the school and most importantly, students. It was been as equally fun to submit the thank yous and pictures with our projects. To see and read the comments that donors post is humbling and so powerful for the students. When students see what others have been willing to donate to us and their willingness to share their thanks back to us - great things happen in the classroom.”
Teachers have to sign up for an account to use the website and once they determine what need they have they are able to use the catalogs from companies that are pre-approved by the charity.
“They have multiple catalogs from various vendors such as Best Buy and Lakeshore Toys or educational companies such as Kaplan Early Learning Company to consider,” Hartfiel said.
When a request reaches its goal for donations, whether it be through a single or multiple donors, the materials are purchased and sent to the school. Donors are then able to get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher who made the funding request, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Those donating more than $50 have the option to receive hand-written ‘thank yous’ from the students who benefited from their generosity.
Donors can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions.
If a project only reaches partial funding then the project expires and donors get their donations returned as account credits, which they can use to either choose a new project to support or use that amount to send the teacher they supported a DonorsChoose.org gift card.
According to the group’s website, DonorsChoose.org vets every classroom project request, purchases the materials and ships them directly to the school, provides photos of the project taking place, and supplies a cost report showing how every dollar was spent.
For more information go to www.DonorsChoose.org.
South first graders raise money for Camp Sweet Life
Mrs. Schultz's first grade class at South Elementary recently raised $402 for Camp Sweet Life through their recent Pencils for Purpose Sale, which was open to South students and staff.
Camp Sweet Life, a four-day camp held at Camp Patterson on Lake Washington in mid-August, helps transform the lives of young people with Type 1 Diabetes and their families by providing fun opportunities for learning, connecting, and sharing. Camp Sweet Life is the first camp for kids with diabetes in southern Minnesota and the goal of camp is for kids to have outdoor fun just like any other kid.
One of Mrs. Schultz’s students, Brayden Jordan, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 3, is an active participant at Camp Sweet Life. The funds raised through this sale will go help send two more children to Camp Sweet Life this coming summer.
Three members of the Camp Sweet Life Board of Directors were on hand in Mrs. Schultz’s classroom Tuesday morning to accept the $402 donation. Those board members present included Robin Jordan, Vickie Parsons and Mary Powers.
“Our class decided to have a fundraiser that would help support Camp Sweet Life,” Mrs. Schultz said. “The students decided what we would be selling and with guidance they came up with the idea of pencils, erasers, and bookmarks. Students were able to select the pencils they thought other students might like (such as bubble gum and grape scented pencils, SAINTS RULE pencils, YOU ARE A SOUTH STAR pencils, monkey pencils, rainbow pencils, happy face pencils, and $100 bill pencils). They also chose a variety of different pencil top erasers and different types of bookmarks to sell as well. Everything was 25 cents.
“I was very proud of the students and the students were so proud to help a friend and support a very good cause,” Mrs. Schultz added. “I also was so amazed at how well the sale went and for everyone's support and donations.”
“I give a lot of credit to Mrs. Schultz because the sale was her brainchild and she helped set this all up,” Mary Powers, Camp Sweet Life board member and Saint Peter Public School’s School Nurse, said. “Ms. Depuydt did a plant sale last year to raise money for Camp Sweet Life, and it was great to see us continue that tradition again this year.”
School district looking for K-3 Reading Corps tutors for 2015-16 school year
Saint Peter Public School District is looking for three full-time K-3 Reading Corps tutors for the 2015-16 academic school year. Additionally, we are seeking one full-time Kindergarten Reading Corps tutor. Full-time positions are able to be separated into two part-time positions, so if a part-time commitment is interesting to you, you are also encouraged to apply.
Minnesota Reading Corps continues to grow its base of tutors and students every year. In fact, piloted in 2003, the program has grown from 25 to more than 1,000 tutors, who will reach close to 30,000 children at more than 600 schools across Minnesota during the 201516 school year.
Reading Corps Members serve as one-on-one or small group tutors to students, grades K3, who are below reading proficiency or at risk of falling behind. Throughout their service, tutors receive extensive training and support to track and guide struggling readers’ growth toward literacy. Tutors would be responsible for effectively implementing research-based interventions given by the Reading Corps, collecting data, communicating with staff and parents, as well as serving in the community.
A full-time Minnesota Reading or Math Corps member is entitled to a biweekly living allowance (approximately $500), a $5,550 education award (which can be transferred to an eligible child, grandchild, or foster child if the member is 55+), student loan forbearance and interest repayment, and insurance benefits for full-time members.
● Strong interest in education, specifically helping youth develop reading skills
● Experience working with children, preferably with primary elementary ages
● Dedication to community service
● Computer skills, including the ability to use online database systems and email
● Ability to demonstrate appropriate reading skills
● Responsible, organized, flexible, motivated, professional
● Excellent oral and written communication skills
● Ability to make a commitment for 11 months of service (August 2015 to July 2016)
● High school diploma or GED and must be at least 18 years old, a U.S citizen or a lawful permanent resident alien
● Preferred: College coursework, college degree, or equivalent experience
If interested in serving St. Peter schools and community, please apply below: http://minnesotareadingcorps.org (Under Become a Member, choose Apply)
You are also welcome to contact Mollie Meyer (internal reading corps coach) at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 9342754 ext. 256.
The following are video links which provide more information on the Reading Corps program in Minnesota:
Minnesota Reading Corps Overview Video:
Minnesota Math Corps Overview Video:
Reading Corps Pre-K Program Video: