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News & Notes


The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

Children age 5 on or before September 1, 2020, who reside in District 508, are eligible to enter kindergarten and should plan on attending Kindergarten Registration Night on Thursday, March 19, at 6 p.m.

Children will have the opportunity to see the school, meet the kindergarten teachers and learn about programming. Parents will have a chance to submit all of the school entrance paperwork that was mailed to them in early February. 

Registration materials are also available on the Saint Peter Public Schools/District 508 website at If you have any questions please call Marlene Willson at 507-934-2754, ext. 3045.

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

   South first graders use virtual reality headsets to
​​​​​​​   explore the International Space Station. 

First grade students at South Elementary are currently learning about space, astronauts, and tools that are used in space to help astronauts live in zero gravity.  Students have watched a variety of short video clips of Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who creates videos of astronauts doing everyday things in the International Space Station (like brushing teeth or sleeping).  

Beyond watching astronauts in action, students have created astronaut helmets and paper rockets. Students will soon launch their paper rockets with straws and build an astronaut tool.  With these objects, the students will create a class green screen video of all of them using their tools in outer space.  

“To help bring all the perspective and mind-blowing thought of what space travel would be like to life, the students utilize their virtual reality headsets to explore the International Space Station,”  Angie Potts, South’s STEM teacher, said. “As students work in stations, they rotate through to the virtual reality headsets and get to see an up close experience of a real module and all the tools and equipment inside.  Students feel as if they can reach out and touch the astronauts.”


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.

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!