District 508 News and Notes

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Public Schools are looking for district parents and community members to become a part of its World’s Best Workforce (WBWF)/Staff Development District Advisory Committee.

The WBWF/Staff Development District Advisory Committee plays a key role in guiding and providing input on the World’s Best Workforce Plan and the Staff Development Plan. The committee meets on a bi-annual basis to: 

  1. review plans for each WBWF goal area.
  2. provide input on strategies for meeting each goal area.
  3. to review progress in meeting the goals tied to each component.
  4. to receive input from site teams relative to the plan.
  5. to provide input on the district’s Staff Development Plan. 

Those interested in being a part of this Advisory Committee should contact Saint Peter High School Principal Annette Engeldinger at 507-934-4212 or aengeldinger@stpeterschools.org by October 30.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Two grants were awarded recently by the Saint Peter Education Foundation in the amount of $7,385. Those two grants were awarded to the following projects:

  • The Nintendo, Design and Cardboard-Nintendo Labo (North Elementary) - $3,660.00
  • The Nintendo, Design and Cardboard-Nintendo RIGAMAJIG (South Elementary) - $3,725.00

“We are extremely grateful for the Saint Peter Education Foundation and the grant funds they provide,” Saint Peter Superintendent Dr. Jeff Olson said. “The funds we receive through these grants help support innovative educational opportunities for our students. We look forward to putting in place the programs that were funded and in evaluating their success on behalf of the students of District 508.”

The following is more information on where the grant money is being used:

North Elementary Grant: Nintendo, Design and Cardboard

Students will use the Nintendo Labo software to build a cardboard fishing rod, RC car, or motorbike.  After completing the build, students use the Nintendo switch screen and controllers to bring their cardboard creation to life.  Students follow Labo software instructions to program their cardboard for fishing or racing adventures. Once students feel comfortable with the initial program, they will be able to experiment and explore the many ways they can alter their cardboard build.

“The Nintendo Labo program gives students an opportunity to read nonfiction, technical writing, follow directions, program, code, build, and work through the design thinking process,” Angie Potts, STEM teacher for North and South, said. “It is an awesome opportunity that I had a chance to pilot this past year with the support of Nintendo and the Institute of Play in New York.  After piloting this program with two of the six third grade classrooms, I’d love to provide the opportunity, each year, to all third graders.  

South Elementary Grant: Rig-A-Ma-Jig

The RIGAMAJIG provides students with a safe way to design and build like an engineer, according to Potts.  They are able to use tools and materials that are age appropriate. They are able to create objects that move, explore simple machines, and build large scale models.

“Students in both kindergarten and first grade will have the opportunity to participate in introductory lessons with the RIGAMAJIG,” Potts said. Students will go through lessons to learn expectations of the materials as well as practice how to build with the materials.  We will have several mini challenges for students to work together to build with RIGAMAJIG.”

After the introductory lessons, students in both grades will continue to use the RIGAMAJIG as extensions to their projects.  Kindergarteners and first graders will use RIGAMAJIG to build a variety of structures, as well as things such as letters of the alphabet, or a bridge that will be able to support a variety of bigger weights.

About the Saint Peter Education Foundation 

The Saint Peter Education Foundation provides funding to support innovative, creative and experimental teaching and student learning experiences in Saint Peter Public Schools.

Individuals, groups, and organizations wishing to contribute to the Saint Peter Educational Foundation should go to www.stpeterschools.org/about/education-foundation or contact Dr. Olson at jolson@stpeterschools.org.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Eight newcomers and two incumbents among those who filed as board candidates

A total of 10 candidates have filed for the four seats on the Saint Peter School Board that will be up for election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The four seats up for election, which are each four-year terms, are currently held by Ben Leonard, Tim Lokensgard, Mark Karlsrud, and Bob Meeks. Leonard and Lokensgard have field for reelection while Karlsrud and Meeks opted not to run again. 

Other candidates who filed include (listed alphabetically by last name), Mohamed Abdulkadir, Julie Carlblom, Bill Kautt, Bill Soderlund, Tracy Stuewe, Andrew Vander Linden, Bernadette Volk, and Molly Wendroth.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt,

Kurt Hildebrandt, School Information Coordinator

One hundred and forty-five members of the Saint Peter High School senior class received their diplomas on the evening of May 31 during the annual Graduation Commencement at the SPHS gym.

This year’s graduation is the second ever to graduate from the current Saint Peter High School building, which opened in the fall of 2017.

Senior class president Lauren Mayer provided the welcome on behalf of her classmates while fellow seniors Isaac Peterson, Momo Abdi, and Kaiden Burmeister also spoke during the event.

Jordan Paula, who just completed his first year as SPHS Activities Director, served as the guest speaker for this year’s graduation.

The evening included the traditional playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” by the SPHS Concert Band, under the direction of Dave Haugh, along with the SPHS Concert Choir’s performance of “Omnia Sol (Let Your Heart Be Staid)”, which was directed by Scott Hermanson. The SPHS Concert Band closed the evening out with “Fanfare and Recessional” in which the SPHS Class of 2019 made its final walk through the gym, this time as the newest graduates of Saint Peter High School.

Students walking to graduation

SPHS Principal Annette Engeldinger leads the Class of 2019 to the west entrance of the building before graduation commencement begins. 

Graduate Hat Toss

The Class of 2019 does the traditional tossing of the graduation caps after receiving their diplomas.


Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt
Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson, Superintendent of Schools

The end of the 2018-2019 school year provides us with a chance to reflect on the tremendous work of our faculty, staff and School Board to inspire a passion for learning in all students.  The wide-ranging, personalized, innovative and student-centered learning experiences on display throughout the year were nothing short of amazing; everyone involved is rightfully exhausted and deserves a fun and relaxing summer!

Each summer, the School Board sets the strategic priorities that provide district-wide focus throughout the school year.  For 2018-2019, the priority areas were safety and security, core instruction, leadership development, and financial stabilization.  Here is a sampling of just some of the work completed in these four areas:

  • Safety and Security
    • Implementation of enhanced lock-down protocols (ALICE) throughout the PreK-12 system
    • Review of the police liaison services program resulting in the hiring of an additional school resource officer  
  • Core Instruction
    • Ongoing faculty development in a professional learning community model focused on academic standards, learning targets and common assessment
    • Review of PreK-12 English/Language Arts and Mathematics curricular areas leading to faculty development on small group instruction, resource selection and differentiated learning for all students
  • Leadership Development
    • School Board member development related to contract negotiations, equity and its continued commitment to building strong community relationships.
    • Principal participation in the Institute for Courageous Leadership, a series focused on cultivating principals’ ability to lead with racial competence and advance student achievement for all.  
  • Financial Stabilization
    • Legislative advocacy in St. Paul that articulates Saint Peter’s commitment to public education and the resources needed to deliver the high-quality educational services that our community expects and our kids deserve.
    • Long-term budget planning that includes a November 2020 operating referendum renewal, student enrollment projections, and school district priorities.  

It’s been a busy year, but busyness isn’t an indicator of success.  Each of these areas aligns to the school district’s vision, mission and core commitment to ensuring high levels of learning for all students.  Student learning can be and is measured in a variety of ways, and our faculty and administrators embrace the accountability that comes with having high learning expectations for all.  Moving forward, Saint Peter schools will continue to strive for and achieve great things, and as our School Board chair likes to say, “Keep the main thing the main thing”.  Onward, Saints!