K-4 News and Notes

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

By Tasha Timmerman
North Elementary Writer

A new school year brings new faces around district and North is no exception as we welcomed five new teachers for the 2019 - 2020 school year. We have one grade level teacher and four specialist teachers for everyone to get to know. Each new staff was asked about the education background and
degrees they have earned as well as to tell us two fun facts about themselves to share with the community.

Carolyn Fox, who grew up in Dayton, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota  Morris with an Elementary K-6 degree is our new Second Grade Teacher. Before coming to St. Peter,
Carolyn was a long term substitute in Anoka with first grade, and then she worked in Buffalo with second and first grades. Carolyn was hired as the MSU fellow and while working on her graduate
degree. She loves to camp and explore! Carolyn was lucky enough to have the experience of living in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, where she worked as a camp counselor and slept in a tent for four months. She also lived in New Zealand for four months, where she was able to complete
her student teaching.

Madison Bergren is one of two new faces around the Phy-Ed department this school year. However, she is not a stranger to St. Peter as she graduated from Gustavus this past spring with a degree in Health and Physical Education. While at Gustavus, Madison also played for the Gusties Women’s
Hockey Team. Madison grew up in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. Two fun facts about her are that she is scared of elevators, and one thing on her bucket list is to ride in the side-cart of a motorcycle.

Jordyn Jarr, who is the other new face you will find in the PE area, received his degree in both developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) and Health & Physical Education from Minnesota
State University-Mankato in December 2019. Following graduation, she did a long term substitute position at Blue Earth Area High School. She is not currently working on her masters but does plan to go back to get it at some point. She grew up and graduated from a small town in Wisconsin called
Bloomer, and graduated from Bloomer High School. Jordyn is also currently coaching Saints Volleyball. She loves to be outside, doing almost anything, including canoeing, hiking, exploring, walking, running, camping, playing games, and sports. She loves to hang out with family and friends and spend time with her two dogs, Pepper and Blaze. Her favorite foods are  dumplings (popular in her hometown), ice cream and she enjoy lots of different kinds of fruits, but of course not all those together! She also has two younger sisters, one goes to UW-Stevens Point, WI
and the other is a senior in high school.

Our Special Education Department also has two new faces this year. The first is Abby Chappuis, who was hired as the Third grade Special Education Teacher. Abby graduated in May 2018 with an Academic Behavior Strategist (Special Education) bachelor’s degree. She is currently working on
getting her Masters in Special Education with add-on licenses of Emotional and Behavior
Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Abby grew up just down the road, in Faribault and taught at Maple River West Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year. She is excited to be a part of
the Saint Peter School District! Abby is a major Vikings fan (as heartbreaking as it may be). Abby is also area record holder as she holds the Medford High School record for having the most 3 pointers made in a basketball game (seven 3-pointers).

North’s last but certainly not the least new teacher is Ann Johnson. She is the new Fourth Grade Special Education Teacher. Ann attended elementary school in Minneapolis and junior high and high school in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Wisconsin ~ Eau Claire and got her Masters Degree in Education from St. Mary’s University. Ann previously taught fourth grade in the Osseo School District. She also 4th and 5th grade and special education in California, co-taught English in the Japanese public schools, and special education at Prior Lake and Shakopee high schools. Ann has a therapy dog named Bonnie, who visits hospice patients with her each week. She also enjoys to run and has participated in three half marathons.

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

By Stacy Abel
South Elementary Journalist

   South students proudly show the rocks that
   they painted as part of the There’s Only One
   You project. The rocks were donated by Keeley
   Landscape Supplies.

Each year at back to school time, parents realize there is so much wisdom to impart on their children as they head into the school year with new teachers, friends, and possibly, a new school. Half of South Elementary’s student population is a new kindergartener. South staff members believe it is even more important to help students feel welcome and appreciated for just being who they are.

Since 2017, students at South Elementary School have had the story "Only One You", by Linda Kranz, shared with them. In the story, little Adri’s fish parents share some very important words of wisdom with their young fish. Some of the advice they give includes, “Always be on the lookout for a new friend;” “If you make a wrong turn, circle back;” and “Set aside some quiet time to reflect.” As little Adri is excited to begin exploring his big new ocean world with his new friends, his parents share one last bit of advice, “There’s only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place.”

Once again, all students at South Elementary had the opportunity to hear Adri’s story, as Principal Doreen Oelke read, Only One You to each kindergarten and first grade class. This year’s group of students will have the chance to begin to make their mark on this great new world of school by painting a rock that is as unique and special as they are. A special rock garden was started near the front entrance of the school to display the student’s rocks. As the garden expands, it will serve as a great reminder that together, we will make our world a better place!

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We can’t wait to welcome our students and their families. The teachers have been busy preparing to launch our new Fountas and Pinnell Classroom reading program and Bridges math curriculum. We are looking forward to having an incredible school year.

Online Sign Up for Welcome to School Conferences South Elementary will once again use the online conference scheduler called PTCfast. The link to this site will be shared out in an email to all South families. Th e scheduling window will be active beginning at 8:00 am on August 12th. Th rough this site, parents will be given the opportunity to sign-up for their preferred conference time. Please call Mrs. Kim Meyer (935-2754) if you do not have email, or you have not yet shared your email with the school.

Welcome to School Conferences
Our elementary program began the school year with Parent/Student/Teacher conferences on Monday, August 26th and Tuesday, August 27th. These conferences are an excellent way to introduce students to their teachers and begin to establish a strong partnership between school and home. During these conferences, students will be given a chance to find their desk/ lockers, put their supplies away, get their school photo taken, and get all of their questions answered about the upcoming year. We have found that these conferences significantly help to lessen school stress and anxiety. During conferences, parents will have the opportunity to visit with teachers, make payments on meal accounts, and complete important paperwork. All South staff members will be available. If you would like to schedule a meeting with a specific staff member who is not your child’s homeroom teacher, please contact the school office. As mentioned, we will also be taking individual school pictures at these conferences. If you miss this picture-taking event, your child will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken at a later makeup date.

The First Full Day of Classes
Kindergarten through grade 8 students began with a full day of classes on Wednesday, August 28th. It is important to establish routines that place your child within the building at 7:50 a.m. so that they are ready for instruction to begin promptly at 8:00 a.m. The day ends at 2:45 p.m. and buses leave the school grounds by 2:55 p.m.

Food Program
(Breakfast) South Elementary offers breakfast to all students. Kindergarten students receive breakfast at no charge due to designated funding specifically for this grade level. If you would like to have your child join us for breakfast, explain to them that when they arrive at school in the morning, they should come directly to the lunchroom. We start serving breakfast at 7:30 a.m.

(Snack Cart) - Students will be given the opportunity each day to select a snack from the snack cart. Details regarding costs can be found in the packet that was mailed to each South family household. We are committed to ensuring that our students enjoy nutritious snack options and we are grateful for the support we receive for this program from the Children’s Weekend Food Program.

(Lunch) - Lunch is served each day in the school cafeteria. Parents are always welcome to join their child for school lunch. Please call the offi ce to let us know you will be coming so that we can include you in our meal prep count.

South staff is proud to be a part of the Saint Peter Public School system. We look forward to a year of tremendous growth and achievement for ALL students. Enjoy the remaining days of summer. Students and families, I’ll look forward to seeing you in September.

Doreen Oelke, Principal

The logo for south elementary
Doreen Oelke

Doreen Oelke, South Elementary Principal   

  The Archer Daniels Midland Company of Mankato has a tradition of celebrating Earth Day in a very generous way. Each year the company selects one school for a tree donation. The criteria for choosing the school is that it must be one that an ADM employee’s child attends. This year, South Elementary was the lucky recipient of their donation.  ADM employee Scott Smith, father of first grader Brian Smith, and Environmental Coordinator John Kitzmann joined Ms. Liz Welter’s first grade classroom in planting a tree on the South Playground. “The students were very excited to receive and help plant the tree,” stated Ms. Welter. “I teased my students about driving by the playground when I am eighty and remembering this day. What a wonderful way to leave a special marker here at South Elementary.”

Tree Planting

John Kitzmann and Brian Smith from Archer Daniels Midland Company help Ms. Welter’s first graders plant a tree on the South Playground.


North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary hosted its annual spring play as the Northstar Players presented “A Fragment of Fairy Tales” at the school gym on Thursday (May 16). The play was broken down into two acts -- “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Rapunzel”

This year’s North play was produced and directed  by Bridget Mathiowetz and Dustin Lenhoff. It was adapted from scripts by June Barr and featured the music from www.bensound.com.

The following is a cast and crew list


Red Riding Hood - Vivian Hendrickson
Wolf - Kasey Johnson
Woodcutter - Elliot Klobassa
Woodcutter’s wife - Kady Thoms
Grandma - Jocelyn Gutierrez
Narrator 1 - Kaylee Dimmel
Narrator 2 - Maren Swenson

Rapunzel - Lyric Ruble
Prince - Laird Bly
Witch - Isla Gassman
Old Woman - Lydia Fell
Old Man - Jackson Schoenborn
Narrator 1 - Zophia Jenkins
Narrator 2 - Katelyn Niemeyer
Narrator 3 - Madelyn Rolfing

Crew members designed, painted, created, and brought the set to life! They also partake in the show as the background lights, set movement, and backstage help! Crew members included Jackson Schoenborn, Zella Erickson, Gabrielle DeVos, Lauren Christenson, Lily Prunty, and Morgan Rogers.