K-4 News and Notes

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.

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Students in Jennie Friedrich’s and Matt Lewis’s fourth grade classes at North Elementary recently experienced a fun and ‘tasty’ way to learn about fractions and decimals.

After learning about fractions and decimals in math class, students in both classrooms applied their knowledge to real-world activities through a joint activity using food items donated by several local businesses.

Students divided up up the food and also determined prices for a whole, half, fourth, and other fractional parts. Prices were determined by students. Students were able to sell and purchase food.

All food sales were made with play money and paper credit cards. Students were responsible for making change and keeping track of their purchases. Students were assigned a specific amount of play money they were able to spend.

“A huge thanks to the local businesses that helped out with this project,” Friedrich said. “This engaging project would not have been able to happen without their support.”

Those businesses donating items included:

  • McDonald’s - hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and apple slices
  • Domino's Pizza - cheese pizzas
  • St. Peter Food Co-op - tangerines
  • Erbert & Gerbert’s - loaves of bread
  • Dunkin Donuts - munchkins (donut holes)
North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Students at North Elementary school took part in Junior Achievement (JA) programming lessons taught by local business volunteers over the last few months. JA grade level and standard based learning lessons are delivered through local business leaders who volunteer their time in the classroom.

Principal Darin Doherty was enthusiastic at the opportunity this year to continue to enhance the relationships with local businesses and our students while reinforcing work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills through experiential learning.  

“This program is a great avenue to strengthen what students are already learning in the classroom as our teachers continue to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential,” Doherty said.   

Students in second grade participated JA Our Community, by exploring production methods through a simulation game as they reinforced what they are learning about taxes, decision making and how money flows in the economy. Third grade students engaged in JA Our City, connecting financial literacy and learning objectives for third-grade social studies, including money management and the importance of economic exchange within a city. JA Our Region, followed the 4th grade social studies learning objectives by emphasizing what they are learning in the classroom about money-management skills, goods and services and global markets through a hands on activity of starting a business and making smart decisions about managing money.

Junior Achievement, Kindergarten-12th grade programming, is sponsored through a scholarship by a local business.  

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Student Council, which had goal of 500 items, collects 1,509 items for St. Peter Area Food Shelf

  North fourth grade Student Council members, along 
  Principal Darin Doherty, dropped off 1,509 food/non-
  perishable items at the St. Peter Area Food Shelf on 
  Friday morning. 

North Elementary’s Student Council hosted its annual Food Drive the week of November 26-30 and students in grades 2-4 collected 1,509 food and non-perishable items during this year’s drive. The final weight of those donated items was 1,026 pounds.

Student Council members, under the direction of advisor Brenda Guappone, had a goal of collecting at least 500 items this year and the final tally more than tripled that goal. North fourth grade Student Council members, along with Principal Darin Doherty, transported the collected items to the St. Peter Area Food Shelf on Friday (Nov. 30) morning.

"I am proud of the students at North Elementary School," Guappone said. "The Student Council set a goal that 500 food items would be collected during our Food Drive. The students at North blew that goal out of the water with a collection of over 1,500 food items, with a weight over 1,000 pounds!

"The St. Peter Area Food Shelf was pleased with the donation. I am happy to help sponsor this collection every year. It is great to see the students make a difference in other people's lives, and in their community."

The fourth graders led with 547 items collected during this year’s North Food Drive while the third and second graders were close behind with 528 and 434 items collected, respectively. The top class in each grade will be treated to a donuts and apple juice party at a later date. Those winning classes included:

* Fourth grade -- Mr. Noble’s class (139 items)
* Third grade -- Ms. Steele’s class (170 items)
* Second grade -- Ms. Koepp’s class (101 items)