News & Notes

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary fourth graders each received their very own hard-covered copy of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” on Tuesday as part of the Greater Mankato Area United Way’s book project which covers a four-county area in south central Minnesota 

  North's fourth graders pose with their new copy of 
  Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends."

Every spring since 2017, the Olseth Family Foundation and Greater Mankato Area United Way have provided approximately 1,700 brand-new, hard copies of this book to fourth-graders throughout Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties. 

North fourth graders gathered in the school’s media center to meet with Karli DesLauriers, Greater Mankato Area United Way’s office and programming manager, and Amanda Slingsby, a local United Way volunteer from the Jay Zender Agency. The two United Way reps offered some insight into the Olseth Family Foundation’s donation and S

ilverstein’s book, before distributing almost 180 copies to the North students.

After each fourth grader had a copy of the book, one of the fourth grade teachers, Ms. Mathiowetz, and a handful of fourth graders took turns reading their favorite poems from “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary fourth grade students in Mrs. Friedrich's and Mr. Lewis's classrooms, through the generosity of the local Domino's and McDonald's, took part in a fun math activity during an afternoon in late November.

  Abdullahi Farah waited on Principal Darin Doherty
  during Mr. Lewis’s restaurant unit as part of their
  math unit.

The classrooms set up a restaurant with the food donated from both local businesses. Students took turns selling and buying food from each restaurant.

"We used this lesson to help us apply our knowledge of fractions and decimals to real world situations," Friedrich said. "We're so thankful to Domino's and McDonald's for helping us out with this."

Students took turns being workers and patrons at the restaurant. Each student and staff member, who were patrons, were given a "debit" card with a $10 limit to purchase food. Principal Darin Doherty even stopped by to check things out and grab a quick snack!

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

  Quinn Rassbach (third from the left) and her
  North's Clothes Closet crew (l to r), Sophie Meyer,    June Elias, Keira Friedrich, Rahaf Salim and Julie

SPMS 8th grader Quinn Rassbach has organized this event for the last four years

Hi, my name is Quinn Rassbach and I am an eighth grader at Saint Peter Middle School.  My mission is to collect warm clothes and give them away to students and their families in the Saint Peter School District. Over the years I have always noticed that some of us don’t have warm clothes for the winter and I want everyone to have the opportunity to have warm clothes.

When I was in fourth grade I decided to organize an event that would help all students in the Saint Peter School District stay warm. If you would like to donate clean, new or gently used clothes, please bring them to your school’s office donation box by Thursday, Nov. 18. (Donation boxes are located in the office of all four buildings -- SPHS, SPMS, North Elementary and South Elementary). Some of the clothes we need are hats, mittens, snow pants, jackets, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts.

North’s Clothes Closet will be open for two days this year! Friday November 19th and Sunday November 21st. Everything is free! We hope you can make it!

Come Shop at North’s Clothes Closet! 

  • When: Friday, Nov. 19th 5-7p.m. & Sunday, Nov. 21st 12-4p.m.
  • Where: North Elementary Gym (815 N. Ninth Street, Saint Peter)  

More information about North’s Clothes Closet

Quinn Rassbach recently shared some more information about her worthwhile cause. The following is a Q&A with her about this year's event: 

When you first had this idea for North's Clothes Closet, did you have any idea that it would keep going all these years? -- When I first had the idea to do North’s Clothes Closet I was in fourth grade and I just wanted to help people who didn’t have the warm clothes that they needed for our Minnesota winters. I had always planned on continuing this project until I graduate from high school because there are always going to be people that need warm clothes and don’t have a way of getting them. I have been so lucky to be able to put this project in motion and I’m so excited to do it again this year. 

Are other students or staff involved with you in organizing/setting up for this project? -- I have the most amazing team of people helping me with North’s Clothes Closet. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Landsteiner helped me plan the very first North’s Clothes Closet and she has been so amazing these past years. She is always helping with planning the event, setting up the event, helping during the event, and cleaning up after the event is over. Mr. Doherty, North’s principal, is also such an important part of North’s Clothes Closet. Without his help I would never have been able to do this project in the first place and I cannot thank him enough for his help. He has been very supportive since the start. Miss Zitur has also been a great volunteer since the beginning. The last two years that I have done North’s Clothes Closet, the Gustavus Softball team has been a big help by helping with every aspect of North’s Clothes Closet. I also have a lovely team of my friends from school. I enjoy having friends from school help out every year because we work hard and are able to just have fun together at the same time. This year my friends helping out will be Kiera Friedrich, Rahaf Salim, Sophie Meyer, Julie Weber, and June Elias (all eighth graders at the Saint Peter Middle School). 

Do you take monetary donations, too? -- I do take monetary donations! I love to get new clothing for North’s Clothes Closet so that people can get nice and new clothing as well as gently used clothing. Monetary donations can be given through cash or check and can be left in an envelope (attn: Quinn Rassbach) at any Saint Peter Public School front office. If you have any questions you can email me at

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Kids in both buildings get the chance to take part in hands-on learning experiences

  These North Elementary 4th graders
  work on a STEM Challenge activity in
  which they had to stack six cups into
  a pyramid without touching the cups
  with their hands.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) students in Rachel Schweigert's classes at South Elementary and North Elementary have already been very busy with several class projects.

Schweigert spends the morning hours with students in grades 2-4 at North while moving over to South in the afternoon to work with Kindergarten and first grade students. The following is a summary of some of the work those students have been working on in her STEM classes to date.

Growth Mindset project
First grade STEM students started out the year learning about having a growth mindset, to prepare them for challenging engineering activities we will do later in the year, according to Schweigert.

  South Elementary first graders
  learning about the power of “YET”
  and having a growth mindset.

"We read the book “The Magical Yet” together and talked about how we can use the word ‘yet' when we talk about our learning," she said.

STEM Challenge
The fourth graders were given a STEM challenge. They were tasked with stacking six cups into a pyramid without touching the cups with their hands.

"They were only given four pieces of string and a rubber band to use," Schweigert said. "Using teamwork, this group created a tool to use to pick up the cups."

Car Seat Checkup event set for Sept. 25th for local families
Kurt Hildebrandt

A free Car Seat Checkup event is set for Saturday, Sept. 25th from 9 to 11 a.m. at the St. Peter Fire Department (227 West Mulberry Street). This event is presented by Saint Peter Police, River’s Edge Hospital, and Nicollet County Public Health.

“This is a great program that allows families to make sure they have their vehicle’s car seats installed properly and they are used correctly,” Officer Jon Hughes, Saint Peter Public Schools’ School Resource Officer (SRO) said. “Our number one goal with this program is to ensure your kids are safe when they are riding with you in a car seat, and by working with our families on installing their car seats correctly we can help accomplish that goal.”

Appointments for this event are preferred. To schedule a car seat check or if you need more information please contact the Saint Peter Police Department at (507) 931-1550 or via email at

Certified child passenger safety technicians will check for recalls and ensure all child safety seats are installed by manufacturer specifications. Each seat check takes approximately 30 minutes. Participants are also asked to bring all manuals for their vehicle(s) and car seat(s).

“In Minnesota, all children must be in a child restraint until they are 4'9” tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first,” SRO Hughes said.