K-4 News and Notes

Middle school logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Each month, teachers will be nominating two students from their house who show Saints PRIDE to become our school’s All Stars. These are students who show Preparedness, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy in their learning, attitude, and behavior.

The following students have been nominated for the month of October. Congratulations and keep up the amazing work!

Oak House: Maya King & Ethan Harbitz

Spruce House: Sammy Rubisko, Saul Ramirez & Charlotte Hagen

Maple House: Isabelle Mish & Keira Friedrich

Pine House: Robin Hibscher & Marcie Severson

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

  Parent Tech Support Nights were held recently at 
  South Elementary for the school's Somali-
  speaking and Spanish-speaking families to
  familiarize them with Seesaw, South's online
  learning platform. 

Parent Tech Support Nights were held at South Elementary School on October 1st for Saint Peter Public Schools' Somali families and on October 12th for SPPS's Spanish families. The purpose of these events was to familiarize families with South's online learning platform called Seesaw.

Translation services were provided at both sessions, which were facilitated by South staff members Kaari Bly and Laura Zender. Affey Sigat (Somali) and Maripsa Romero (Spanish) served as translators, while Reading Corps tutors and leadership team member Liz Welter provided childcare. 

During the evening, staff members walked students and their parents through the step by step process of recording the student's attendance and using Seesaw to access assignments on digital learning days. 

"One of the biggest lessons we learned from last year's distance learning experience was that we did not have the opportunity to properly instruct our students and families on the tool that we used to deliver instruction," South Principal Doreen Oelke said. "Our goal this fall was to integrate the technology when we have the students in session and support families in using the technology so that they can be successful during distance learning days. These sessions are one way to address language barriers that may prevent students from engaging in their learning. It was wonderful to see so many attend."

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary students (grades 2-4) recently had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at how an election is run, even getting the chance to participate by casting a ballot in a mock election of some of the more popular federal, state and local races.

  Iris Sharstrom and Silas Larson cast their ballots
  β€‹β€‹β€‹β€‹in North Elementary’s election on Nov. 3rd while
  Kalyse Hawker awaits her turn to vote.

Voting booths were set up in various locations around the building giving students the chance to cast the ballot, but not before they learned more about the election process through YMCA of the North’s “Kids Voting” program. Through this program teachers presented a host of nonpartisan lessons, resources, educational tools and hands-on activities for K-12 students that support state benchmarks and encourage the development of civic knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors.

“For social studies we thought it would be a great idea to do an election unit with our upcoming presidential election right around the corner,” North fourth grade teacher, Jennie Friedrich, said. “We had three major learning objectives in the unit: 1.) Students can describe how candidates take action to inform voters on a specific issue 2.) Students can explain what an election is and participate in an election. 3.) Students can explain the importance of voting.” 

“We did a unit on the election process that was led by my student teacher Ms. Annie Fox from Gustavus,” North second grade teacher, Jodi Nixon, said. “We learned the different rules that there are if you want to run for President. We talked about the different jobs that the President has. We had the students fill out a voter registration card and we had them write about what they would do if they were the President.”

In Friedrich’s class, the unit was taught by her student teacher, Gustavus student Liz Kvebak. She taught the students about election objectives by participating in a mock election in which every student got the opportunity to run for class president.

“Students worked together to compile a list of issues that are relevant to North Elementary and their lives,” she said. “A few examples they came up with included: 10 more minutes of recess, pet visit day, more playground equipment for recess, school garden and many more.  The students then took these issues and had to either create a poster, mailout, speech, recording, or commercial to inform their voters aka their classmates.”

To see the results for how the North students voted as well as how students across the state voted please see the following link --> https://studentsvoting.civicengine.com/results

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

This summer North’s PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports) team met together to come up with ways the team could teach Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) to all students during this school year. The PBIS team includes Bre Steele, Kari Malz, Nikki Zitur, Ryan Hassing, and Matt Lewis) 

  Mrs. Wenner and Ms. Zitur were the ‘anchors’ for
  this segment of the second-ever edition of
  SaintsCenter, which was taped recently by North
  PBIS members Mrs. Malz, Ms. Steele, Mr. Hassing,
  and Mr. Lewis. 

“We established some principles that we want to stay true to when providing SEL to our students,” Lewis said. “During this time, we also came up with the idea of SaintsCenter and have continued to come up with topics (scenes) that we want to have the students teach each other about.”

SaintsCenter is a weekly web series loosely based on ESPN’s famed SportsCenter, the sports news television program that regularly runs on that network. To see the first episode of SaintsCenter, please click HERE.

Some of the things the SaintsCenter crew have covered include the following:

  • How to wash your hands
  • Why students and staff are wearing masks and how to wear them properly
  • What a learner looks like in the classroom
  • What qualities or attributes make a Saint.  

As a PBIS team, the group’s goal is for the students to hold each other accountable, and we want the students to identify skills they deem necessary to be successful. 

“We are currently asking students for their opinion on what it means to be a Saint, and their answers are profound,” Lewis said. “Basically, we are trying to create a positive environment where everyone wants to help each other and see each other grow and feel successful. 

“We are nowhere near where we want to be, but we feel we are already making some great strides!”

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

  South Elementary School Counselor Laura Zender 
  working with students on mindfulness techniques. 

Nervous, curious, courageous - returning and beginning in-person learning for our K and 1st graders at South Elementary has brought with it a variety of emotions.  One way that South is supporting students through this transition is through classroom lessons with Laura Zender, Elementary School Counselor.  

As part of this transition, first grade classes at South are reading Worry Says What? and learning mindfulness techniques.  In this picture, they practice Take 5, a simple trick to help you take 5 deep breaths.


1. Stretch your fingers out.
2. Use your pointer finger of your other hand to trace your hand. 
3. Breathe in while you trace up each finger. 
4. Breathe out while you trace down each finger.