K-4 News and Notes

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

The third annual North Elementary Clothes Closet event was held on November 23 and around 50 people came to the school to pick out cold-weather clothing. Donations of gently used coats, hats, mittens, and boots were collected at North Elementary, South Elementary, and the Middle School. 

  Around 50 people turned out at the third annual
  North Elementary's Clothes Closet event on
  Nov. 23 to pick up free cold weather clothing in
  preparation for this year's winter season.

The event was started two years ago by Quinn Rassbach, then a fourth grader at North and now a sixth grader at Saint Peter Middle School, who was motivated to help out after she saw kids on the playground at North without warm-weather clothes. She was assisted by her former third grade teacher, Breanna Steele, and some of her classmates with each of the clothing drives.

Recently, several volunteers including the Gustavus softball team, teachers, friends and family members of Quinn's, helped get all of the donated items set up in the North gym for the event. 

“We probably had about 50 or so people attend,” Breanna Steele said. “We got comments like ‘that is was an awesome idea!’ and ‘everyone should get involved in this the way kids grow out of clothes.’ It is nice to know people appreciate the event. It takes a lot of planning and prepping to make it successful!”

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Children’s author Mary Bleckwehl visited North Elementary School in late November and she will also be doing a presentation for students at South Elementary in mid-December.

 Children's book author Mary Bleckwehl (seated)
 signed copies of one of her books for some 
 North Elementary students.

Bleckwehl, who penned such children’s books as Claire’s Hair, Henry You’re Hungry Again, and Henry You’re Late Again,  did a presentation for each grade level at both North and South. She included info in her presentation about she became an author and how long it takes to write and publish a children’s book. 

During her time with the students, Bleckwehl involved kids in coming up with the worst things that ever happened to them and as a group they brainstormed how to turn those events into the central problem in a book. She also had samples and photos of the whole book production process including photos artists at work using both traditional materials and digital tools and samples of pages and covers before they are cut and bound.

Bleckwehl’s books are printed right at a printing business in Mankato and she had pictures of how the printing press used just four colors to make all the different color variations in her books. 

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

  The South Read A Thon Reading Bear
  sits in Mrs. Borchert's doorway letting
  people know that students were reading

South Elementary students took part in a reading relay on Friday, Nov. 8, as part of their annual Read A Thon event. 

“Our goal was to have someone in our school reading all day long and we had a schedule set up throughout the day where all of the classrooms got the chance to participate,” Heidi Wenner, South kindergarten teacher and one of the event’s organizers, said.

The traditional Reading Bear was brought to each participating classroom and the Bear sat just outside the door alerting those walking by that the students inside were taking part in the Read A Thon.

Students were encouraged to wear shirts with words on them, which prompted a discussion in many classrooms about the meaning of those words. Students also obtained sponsors/pledges for the event with the money going to support Star Pride activities at South Elementary.

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

  Tri County Solid Waste Director Al Christensen talks 
  to Mrs. Nixon's second graders about the importance 
  of recycling inside Dem-Con's Mobile Education Center.

North Elementary students learned more about how the recycling process works when Dem-Con Companies brought its Mobile Education Center trailer to the school on October 25. The trailer’s appearance at North was made possible with the help of Tri-County Solid Waste and the visit is sponsored by Davis Family Dairies.

The Mobile Education Center gives students the unique opportunity to see first hand how recycling happens at Dem-Con’s materials recovery facility (MRF). Among the discussion topics included what is and is not recyclable, as well as what products are created using recycled materials. Those working with the students included Al Christensen, Tri-County Solid Waste director, and Jennifer Potter, Dem-Com Companies education coordinator. 

“We usually coincide these visits to schools throughout the three counties we cover (Nicollet, Le Sueur and Sibley) with either Earth Day in the spring or American Recycling Day, which is coming up on November 15,” Christensen said. “The students at North Elementary are right in our target audience for sharing information with the about recycling and teaching them early on about good recycling habits. We are very thankful to Davis Family Dairies for making this program possible through their financial support.”

Dem-Con Companies, LLC is a third-generation family owned company that has been servicing the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota since 1965. What started as an MSW (multiple solid waste) landfill in the 1960s has evolved through three generations into an integrated solid waste processing company that can meet the needs of Dem-Con’s customers and communities. 

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.