Peggy Isaacson

Blog

Winter Holidays

It doesn’t seem as if it can possibly be close to the winter holidays when I look out at the Peace Garden and see grass and not a bit of snow.  We all know how quickly the weather can change here, though, so we’ll be having students bring home all their winter gear over the break, but they’ll need to bring it back in January.  We are no longer sharing any clothing from the lost and found, so it is very important to be sure to send your child to school with snow pants, boots, hats, mittens and coats.

It’s a pleasure to see the first Eagle’s Nest go out.  This school newspaper has been a long standing tradition at our school.  It’s been going on for over 20 years!  It’s been nice seeing all of the writing going on around the building in anticipation of the Eagle’s Nest and for other projects.  One of the projects I have seen is the Savannah students have been working on sending letters back to their Pen Pals at Bridgewater Elementary School in Northfield.  The Savannah students seemed really focused on their writing knowing that they had an audience outside of their classroom that they were writing to.  It’s a very cool project!

I am writing this the day after our Holiday Program which was wonderful.  I have gotten so many positive comments about the performance.  It was special seeing Matthew put together his first program and to pull it off so beautifully.  We are grateful to all our families for the support and effort you put in to make this program a success.  I know from personal experience the morning after a concert can be challenging as a parent!

As we move closer to the winter break we also move into another phase of the school year.   By the end of January we will be half way through this year and the days will be getting longer.  I hope all of the Nerstrand families enjoy the winter break.  Looking forward to seeing you in 2016

From the Desk of Maggie

I have been looking through old binders and files in my office and came upon our Mission Statement, which we still have today.  Our mission statement says that Nerstrand Elementary School will empower students to be self-directed, lifelong learners by providing a nurturing, multiage environment that fosters cooperation and character development.  

On this same page it then went on to state specific purposes of our school.  I believe we worked on these when we initially chartered.  Our staff at that time did a great deal of reflecting on what were essential characteristics of Nerstrand School we wanted to preserve and articulate.  The one purpose that jumped out at me was that Nerstrand School was to provide a warm, nurturing, joyful environment filled with curiosity and celebration.  In an era where testing is emphasized it is refreshing to talk about the joy and celebration of learning and to emphasize that as part of our purpose.  I believe that purpose is still relevant for us today.
 
In parent surveys and information gathered from visitors one of the most consistent comments/compliment we have received is that the atmosphere of our school is positive, warm and nurturing.  As visitors walk through the Peace Garden and into our school I hope everyone feels a sense of community and caring.  
 
I hope that children and adults always feel welcome at our school and as we prepare for conferences we look forward to seeing families.  Conferences will be held November 23rd & 24th from 3:30-8:00pm and on the morning of the 25th.  

A Note From Maggie

Happy Autumn Everyone,

 
We are having such a beautiful fall and that makes our beginning of the school year that much better.  This is my favorite time of the school year and brings back wonderful memories of when I was a child in elementary school.  Around the building I see teachers putting up autumn decorations, Larry's put the corn stalk outside the front of the school, the leaves are turning and we have completed our first walk to the State Park.   I hope that your family's return to school has gone smoothly, although I know from personal experience it's one of the biggest upheavals for families each year.  
 
Over the next 3 to 4 weeks we will be giving  NWEA (Maps) testing and are hoping to have all of those results in time for conferences in November.  Only 1st through 5th graders take these tests and they are tested in both reading and math.  Please check your child's Weekly Peek to see when they will be testing.  
 
It's definitely gotten chillier this week so it looks like it's time to dig out the winter gear.  Please be sure to contact me if you have questions or concerns.  The communication between home and school is such an important part of children's success.  I hope you all feels comfortable contacting me.

 

 

Prairie Appreciation Rescheduled

Because of the large amount of rain we've had the last couple of days, we have decided to reschedule Prairie Appreciation Day for next Friday, Sept. 25. Two staff members went out to the Prairie this morning and it was very muddy and wet where our activities are to be held, The forcast is also calling for more rain around 1:00 today, about the time we are to board busses. We hope you will consider volunteering next week, Thank you for your help.

Family Letter

Dear Families,
It has been a busy first week of school and we are off to an exciting start! I am so pleased to be back at Nerstrand School as the Director. It has been such fun to see familiar families and to meet new ones. I hope you always feel comfortable talking to me about concerns or questions and positive things happening with your child(ren) at our school.
Monday, September 14th, we will start having Homeroom. Homeroom is a time when siblings are together in one of our classrooms in a kindergarten through 5th grade experience. A big focus of homeroom is to establish community within our school, and also for children to be in the Spotlight each year. I will kick off Spotlight on Tuesday, September 15th with an all school meeting. I am grateful to Lori Amy for designing the Spotlight posters each year and this year it will be tied to the Peace Garden. Homerooms will be studying one of the areas of the Peace Garden this year and will learn a bit about the culture and customs of their country. Homerooms will be sharing their knowledge with each other in the spring.
We have also made plans to purchase ipads for classrooms. We are finalizing this order but are looking at purchasing 5 ipads per classroom for student use. Because of our internet infrastructure we are challenged with technology use but teachers are excited about using ipads in their classrooms in a variety of ways.
Next week we head to the Prairie on Friday as we study the Prairie and Savannah biome. According to Larry Richie two weeks ago he saw hundreds of monarchs on the Prairie preparing for their migration to Mexico. We may luck out and see some monarchs that have come down from Canada making their way to Mexico.
Finally, I want to thank Bonnie Jean Flom for stepping in as interim Director until the position was filled and I was able to get back to the U.S. Bonnie Jean has been a wonderful friend to this school for many years and has always done so much to promote it and to ensure its success. Thank you Bonnie Jean!
Also, thank you parents for your support of your children and this school. Our staff knows the importance of your involvement in your children’s lives and in your involvement of this school.

Sincerely,
Maggie Kiley

In Loving Memory

This past summer Nerstrand School lost a past principal and friend to our school and community. Dennis Deanovic passed away last July and leaves a lasting memory with us in the shape of an elephant in our Peace Garden. The Jack Cruikshank family made a memorial gift donation to the Deanovic family who in turn passed it on to the Peace Garden Committee at Nerstrand School. A trellis with a Chinese motif was purchased and placed in the garden by the Great Wall of China. We thank both the Deanovic family and the Cruishank family for the beautiful donation.  

We would also like to thank all the families who have generously donated monetarily to the Peace Garden in the past. It has allowed us to add to the Peace Garden every year. Thank you very much!

Pictured: Alex, the grandson of the Cruikshanks' and a member of the Peace Garden Committee.

State Rep. Brian Daniels visits Nerstrand School

Minnesota State Representative Brian Daniels was a guest at Nerstrand School on Friday, Feb. 20. Representative Daniels was given a tour of our school by two of our student ambassadors. The ambassadors described some of the many things that make Nerstrand school so unique, such as our multi-age classrooms, our K-5 family based homerooms, daily instruction in music and phy-ed for all students, and the many opportunities our students have to be involved in their school through student committee participation.

After the tour Representative Daniels met with Director, Lori Arndt and Business Manager, Keith Johnson to discuss small school revenue for charter schools, a legislative proposal which would positively impact Nerstrand School.

Parents, Friends, Community Members, Alumni, Join Our Band

Please join our 5th Grade Band on Thursday, April 30, 2015. The musical selections have been chosen for this year's Community Celebration. "America the Beautiful" by Samuel A. Ward arr. Higgins, "Popcorn Prelude" Mike Hannickel, "Jester Dance" Mekel Rogers, "Majestica" Brian Balmages,  "St. Anthony Chorale" attributed to Franz Joseph Haydn arr. Mark Williams, "Cabaret" from the musical Cabaret by John Kander, "Surfin' U.S.A." music by Chuck Berry arr. Michael Sweeney.

Parts available are: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba and Percussion. Percussionists will need to supply snare drum and bell kit. Many percussionists are needed this year.

Music can be picked up beginning Monday, February 23, 2015 in the school office.

Rehearsal will be on Thursday evening, April 30 in the gym from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The Community Celebration will begin at 6:45 p.m. with the band.

Thank you for joining us for this fun evening!

State Senator Vicki Jensen Visits Nerstrand School

Minnesota State Senator Vicki Jensen was a guest at Nerstrand School today. Senator Jensen was given a tour of our school by two of our student ambassadors. The ambassadors described some of the many things that make Nerstrand school so unique, such as our multi-age classrooms, our K-5 family based homerooms, daily instruction in music and phy-ed for all students, and the many opportunities our students have to be involved in their school through student committee participation.

After the tour, Senator Jensen met with Director, Lori Arndt and Business Manager, Keith Johnson to discuss small school revenue for charter schools, a legislative proposal which would positively impact Nerstrand School.

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

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