Annual Open House - August 28

We are looking forward with excitement to kicking off the start of a new school year! We invite you to attend the Nerstrand School Annual Open House—before the start of the school year! Please mark your calendars for a wonderful Open House evening on Thursday, August 28, from 6 – 7 p.m.

We extend a special welcome to families who are new to Nerstrand Elementary School. New parents are invited to stay after the Open House for a meeting in the Media Center from 7 – 7:30 p.m. for an opportunity to be provided with information about school and answer questions. Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns.

Kinder Go Round will be taking place during the morning of August 28th to welcome the new Prairie students. Kindergarten parents are encouraged to also attend Open House in the evening, where children will have an opportunity to meet their K-5 homeroom teachers.

Kindergarten and First Grade Multiage Moves Forward

In building on our successes at Nerstrand Elementary, we have been transitioning the multiage grade configurations for the past two years to offer a consistent experience for all students that is aligned to our school mission. Our mission to provide a nurturing, multiage environment which fosters collaboration and character development, has led us to look comprehensively at grade configuration. 

Last school year, Savannah (which was previously grades 1 - 3) transitioned to a grades two and three multiage. We call the kindergarten and first grade experience ‘Prairie’, using the team name for two grade levels represented -- the same way that we do for each of our other teams: Savannah’ for grades two and three, and ‘Woodlands’ for grades four and five. 

Since the beginning of this school year the kindergarten and first grade students have been learning together in multiage groups during specialist time for physical education and music. Beginning second semester, their learning in science and social studies themes began as multiage groups. Math will remain at grade level, as is also the case in Savannah and Woodlands.

Educational research indicates that students benefit both academically and emotionally from being placed in multiage classrooms. Multiage classrooms and homeroom experiences are among the things that make Nerstrand Elementary student learning experience unique. 

The Nerstrand School Board is committed to transitioning the kindergarten and first grades to multiage to strengthen the overall learning experience by offering it consistently at each level. Next Fall, the K-1 students will begin the school year, in a multiage classroom, like the other teams. 

The Nerstrand School Board believes that the transition to kindergarten and first grade multiage learning will allow students to build on their successes effectively throughout their learning continuum at Nerstrand Elementary. We are excited about the multiage transition work and the opportunity to offer continuity to the experience in ways that strengthen the learning outcomes for all students.


Art Adventure Program Comes to Nerstrand School

Kurt Klett presents Maggie's students with A Rainy Day on Hennepin Ave. circa 1902

The Art Adventure Program introduces K-6 students to works of art from a variety of cultures. Trained school volunteers visit classrooms with posters of art relating to a common theme, such as animals, celebrations, or relationships. This year the theme is How People Lived. This program is a way of bringing works of art that can't leave the museum into elementary school classrooms. Each of the ten Art Adventure reproduction sets features eight works of art chosen around a theme of particular interest to children. A Picture Person in a volunteer from the school community who presents the reproductions in the classrooms. Before they visit any classrooms, Picture People come to the museum for a training session on the reproduction set their school will be using that year.  The Picture Person encourages the children first and foremost to look at the reproduction and talk about what they see. They will facilitate the discussion with thoughtful open-ended questions and related props rather than delivering "lecture" style information.Picture Person presentations provide students with a rare opportunity to spend time looking at art and express what they see in words. Students gain confidence in their ability to find meaning in artifacts from a wide range of world cultures. They practice seeing things from another person's point of view, whether it's their classmate's or the artist's. They feel the thrill of meeting an old friend when they later come upon familiar objects at the museum. And, not least, they enjoy meaningful contact with a visiting member of the school

Holiday Sharing Project

As you step into out school these days, the halls are filled with many happy children practicing their holiday program songs. Or maybe you notice the smell of tempra paint. Why you ask? The children are busily drawing and painting some of the background pictures that will be used for the program. As you travel on down the breezeway you will notice decorated garland hanging from the ceiling and a decorated tree in the greenhouse. But these are not just any decorations. These decorations are hats, mittens and golves that will be donated to St. Vincent DePaul, in Faribault, and given to children and families in need. Our holiday program this year is titled, "The Snow Tree" and focuses on the gift of giving. In that spirit, we are asking for donations of new hats, gloves, and mittens for individuals who are in need. This is an opportunity for our school family to support this local program and help children and adults to stay warm during the winter months. Over the years, we have been impressed by how these projects collectively unite students, while at the same time teaching them the value of giving to those in need. The donations will be delivered to the St. Vincent DePaul facility in Faribault on Friday, December 20th in the morning. We have a good start, but need many more items to reach our goal. If you can help, please send unwrapped hats, mittens, or gloves to school before the 20th of December and let's see if we can fill the garland and tree. And of course, we would like to see you at our Holiday Program which will be on December 19 at 12:45 and 6:45 PM.

Our Tipi Experience as Told By Larry

Once every three years at Nerstrand School we set up the tipi to study and reflect on the life of the Dakota
Indians who lived in this area along the Straight and Cannon Rivers.  They were members of the Wapakute
Tribe.  Their villages moved often, always in rythum with nature and the seasons of the year.
We will share what life was like for a Dakota family and how the children learned their role as a member of the village where they lived.  The food we serve
will depend on how sucessful this seasons hunt will be. It was always that way for the Wapakute.
The Dakota had a very strong sense of community.They often had to work together, travel together, hunt together and share their food.  Great celebrations
were held for important events.  We remember the Dakota for all these things but most of all we remember them as survivors in a very harsh enviroment


Give To The Max Day



Nerstrand Elementary School is celebrating Give to the Max Day on November 14!

What if you could help our school win $1,000 just by giving ten bucks? On November 14, Give to the Max Day, you can. Your generous support means the world to Nerstrand Elementary School now more than ever. Join us on November 14, Minnesota’s Give to the Max Day, and help us win a $1,000 Golden Ticket. By partnering with GiveMN, an online giving website for Minnesota schools and nonprofit, Nerstrand Elementary School will have 25 chances to maximize your gift on Give to the Max Day!


By making a donation on Give to the Max Day, your gift could help us win one of the hourly drawings for schools to add $1,000 to a person’s randomly selected donation.


At the end of Give to the Max Day, one donation to a school from across Minnesota will be randomly selected for a $10,000 Super-sized Golden Ticket! Help us increase our odds by making your gift on November 14 by visiting and searching for Nerstrand Elementary School Technology Fundraiser!


With the seed planted in 2012 to purchase 12 iPad 2s for our school, we are now dreaming of how learning can be enhanced with a cart of iPad 2s for an entire classroom to use.  The iPad cart will allow our school to bring up to 30 iPad 2 devices to any room in the building, and keep them charged, configured, synced, and updated.  The addition of a full cart of iPads will enable each of our students in a single classroom to have access to this versatile, powerful tool that is changing the face of education. 


Donors can double their funds by donating!  We have received matching funds of up to $2,000.  Together, we hope to raise more than $5,000 on Give to the Max Day and we’re counting on your help! Remember to give November 14th. 


Music, Community Members, Bingo and Cards

What more could you ask for at a Community Coffee? How about students greeting you at the door! That all happened at Nerstrand School on Thursday, November 7 as Ellen and Maggie's Homerooms were the hosts for this after school coffee. Community members were greeted by two Woodland students Kayla and Kendra, from the 5th grade band presenting a Baritone Recital. Community members then went to the Media Center where they were greeted by Holden, Sydney and Natayla who told them about the events that would take place. Guests and students were served cookies, coffee or juice and other treats and then the real fun began playing bingo and cards. We hope you will join us for the next Community Coffee on April 3rd, 2014.

Japan Educators visit our school


Our friends from Japan have visited us several times at Nerstrand Elementary School to continue their research on student-centered education. This week, on the morning of October 31, 26 visitors toured school with Nerstrand Elementary student ambassadors, gathered school data and ask questions about programming and curriculum.

The leaders of the group, Kenshi Uesugi, Principal at Green Hills Elementary and Middle Schools, Mr. Mizutani and Ms. Yoko Ide, have been visiting and hosting EdVisions Schools staff and teachers for the past ten years.  This was their third visit to Nerstrand Elementary. Most of the visitors in the group were Japanese university students. This group has formed The Project Based Learning Institute of Japan ( Both Professor Uesugi and Yoko work at from Chiba University ( Along with the leaders, the visitors included: teachers, nonprofits employees (that are working to prevent drop outs), College of Education faculty and the company Community and Education Project (  

The focus of the trip was to look at the need for student-centered education in Japan and to help the group build a framework for this “student as the worker” model (rather than the “teacher as the worker “ model in traditional education). During the afternoon, the group visited Avalon Charter School in St. Paul.


Discovery Day at the Big Woods

It takes 7 generations of monarchs to travel from Minnesota to Mexico and back to Minnesota next spring. Most of them left 2 weeks ago, and are now as far south as northern Texas. Some of them will lay eggs their and die. The new butterflies will then go on to Mexico. 

We made butterfly mobiles at the craft station to remind us of the beautiful Monarchs that have begun their migration away from the windy, autumn Minnesota prairie!

Kindergarten Kids Build a Corn Shock

It was just another day in Kindergarrten on Thursday morning as Larry Richie and his band of Kindergarteners ventured out into the rain to make the annual corn shock that stands tall by the bell. The students put on all their gear and one after another went to Larry's truck to retrieve the corn stalks that would eventually build their big corn shock. Larry talked with the students about why farmers made corn shocks and how they used to pick corn by hand instead of using the big machines we have now. The corn shock turned out great and the squirrels will have a good snack before the winter comes.