MLE recognizes students for their best qualities

Luke Kocher, a Monticello native and cross country bicyclist who recently tackled the 3,000-mile Bike Across America Race spoke with MLE students about the word stamina last month. (Photos submitted)

There are some innovative activities going on at Maple Lake Elementary School and one of them is the Character Word of the Month.
Character Word of the Month is a school-wide focus on a single word that not only broadens vocabulary, but teaches about character and citizenship.
The school kicks off each month with a five-minute presentation from someone who epitomizes that month’s word, then teachers go back to their classrooms and build activities around it, MLE counselor Lisa Weninger said. Finally, staff choose one student from their class or grade that best fits the character word. Their picture is taken and posted on a monthly character bulletin board at the entry of the school and they are that month’s “shining star” students.

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Maple Lake students have Irish Pride

Students at the Maple Lake Elementary School display posters with the Irish Pride Expectations at a start-of-the-year Irish Pride celebration. The event is to introduce or remind students what school expectations are. They are, from left, Gwen Geyen, Jordana Jude and Corbin Golby. (Photo submitted)

Picking up a classmate’s books when they fall to the floor, offering help to a peer who may not ask for it, but is obviously struggling, or standing up for someone who is being bullied; these are ways students at Maple Lake schools demonstrate Irish Pride.
Irish Pride is part of a school-wide expectation system that is based on the following rules: Be respectful, be safe and be responsible.
“We take different parts of the school day, when they are in the cafeteria, the hallway and even the bathrooms, and we clearly define what safety, respect and responsibility looks like in each of those areas. From there we do what we can to reward students who display that behavior,” Judy Sloneker said.


Maple Lake students celebrate We Day

Jacob Klatt, Mitchell Koss, Jacob Weese and Sean Hazzard take their seats in the Xcel Energy Center for We Day, Sept. 20, as a part of Maple Lake’s Friends of Rachel group.

Maple Lake students pose for a group shot before heading to the Xcel Energy Center on Sept. 20 for We Day, a celebration of youth making a difference in local and global communities. (Photos submitted by Kath Heffron)

WE Day is a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities. WE Schools is the year-long program that nurtures compassion in young people and gives them the tools to create transformational social change.
WE Day combines the energy of a live concert with the inspiration of incredible stories of leadership and change. This stadium-sized event—held in 14 cities in the U.S., Canada and the UK—brings together world-renowned speakers and performers with tens of thousands of youth to celebrate the power of service.
Earn Your Way to WE Day
You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day—you earn it through service. Through the year-long WE Schools program, schools and groups take on one local and one global action and report back on their results to earn their way to WE Day. And thanks to our generous sponsors, the event itself is free to attend.


Backpack Buddies bring hope to families in need

Organizers of the Maple Lake School District’s Backpack Buddies chose backpacks like these to carry food to families in need because they are inconspicuous among a school full of students carrying similar bags. Bags full of food are sent home with qualifying students every Friday afternoon. (Photo submitted)

There are still families in need in the Maple Lake School District, but those needs are being seen too thanks to the school’s innovative food supplement program, Backpack Buddies.
Maple Lake started off the school year with the highest number of backpack families to date, and officials estimate more will sign up as the year progresses.
So far, a total of 21 backpacks are going home to families who otherwise would be hard pressed to provide healthy meals to their children every day, Elementary Social Worker Lisa Weninger said.
Kindergarten through 12th grade students can qualify for the program which sends backpacks full of food home every Friday.
Initiated in 2013, the idea behind the program is that when students’ basic needs are met, then they will do better at school.


He-Man volleyball and Powder Puff football Juniors come out on top

The MLHS juniors defeated the seniors 2-1 at the He-Man volleyball game on Sunday evening. Front Row: Kaleigh Beehler, Amber Klug, Mollie Scheiber, Kora Fuller, Linsey Rachel, Bynn Paumen, Kaitlyn Murphy and Margaret Graham. Middle Row: Adam Holmgren, Hunter Manka, Ben Rivers, Jacob Fynboh, Katelyn Fuller, Jordyn Hausladen, Rachel Loch, Chloe Riviere, Anna Becker, Caitlin Weege, Grace Thiele, Catie Fobbe, Mackenna Brown and Emma Spike. Back Row: Grant Mergen, Devon Lyons, Andy Mavencamp, Zach Eder, Nate Hogan, Cole Trager, Jason Webb, Tyler Weimer, Henry Stecker, Lauren Borell, Shauni Johnson, Emily Rasset, Megan Wasserman, Clara Greenhagen and Hanna Stewig. (Photos by Chad Pingel)

Juniors Ben Rivers and Cole Trager look on as Austin Pingel sets the ball.

Lauren Heeralall in the foreground threw the ball to Jennifer Malwitz as Ashley Schmitz blocked Shauni Johnson.

Maple Lake schools think outside the box

At Wolf Ridge students may learn how to test the PH balance of a stream or climb an indoor rock wall. (Photos submitted)

The outdoors is the classroom for these sixth grade Maple Lake students who made the trip to the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center last year. Students learn about environmental issues, personal growth, team building and outdoor recreation.

Students are learning to think outside the box at Maple Lake schools where faculty are not afraid to try new approaches to education and know how to foster a student’s strengths and interests.
Every spring the entire sixth grade, led by sixth grade classroom teacher, Steve Fuchs, make the five-hour trip to the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center where students spend three days participating in hands-on learning experiences that could not take place in the regular classroom setting.
Situated on 2,000 acres of land overlooking Lake Superior, students do everything from testing the PH balance of a stream to indoor rock climbing.

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Resource rooms give students the tools they need

Trish Ludwig works with elementary students in the Focus Room. Her job is to teach students how to be respectful, safe and responsible. Above, Ludwig is pictured with Anthony Baatz, sitting, and Joey Novotny.

Mary Beth Barder is able to offer one-on-one time with a student in the Maple Lake High School’s Strategies Room. The room is a place where students can get help with homework, organizational skills or just find a quiet place to study. (Photos submitted)

Students who need extra help are getting it at Maple Lake schools where cracks that some students inevitably seem to fall through are getting smaller and smaller.
At the high school help can be found in the Strategies Room where students can find assistance with homework, time management skills, or simply a quiet place to work.
At the elementary level it’s called “Irish Support” where the underlying theme is to teach behavioral expectations in the same way math or reading is taught.
But district wide, the goal is the same, to give students the tools they need to succeed.
Both programs are funded through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. According to the MDE website, the idea is to assist students who need additional academic or behavioral support to succeed in the general education environment with the goal of reducing the number of inappropriate referrals to special education by providing supports early to struggling students.


Volunteers make a difference at Maple Lake Schools

Amanda Walhowe is a frequent story book reader at Maple Lake Elementary. She volunteers her time to read to kindergarten through third grades, and The Costume Shoppe in Maple Lake donates the costume. Volunteers read to students every Friday morning. Volunteer Coordinator Celeste Dahlstrom said it’s a nice break for students at the end of the week. (Photos submitted)

Maple Lake Firefighters are just some of the volunteers needed to pull off the mock crash. The school district puts on a mock crash every four years to remind high school students just how serious car accidents can be.

Marie Mavencamp has been volunteering at Maple Lake Elementary since 2007.
To the kids she meets in the hallway she’s the “lady who dresses up.” But she is much more than that.
A retired school teacher, one of Mavencamp’s roles is as a story book reader. Once a month she dresses up in a costume donated by The Costume Shoppe in Maple Lake, and reads a book to kindergarten through third grade students in the school media center.
“It’s fun, and I enjoy being silly with the kids,” she said.
Mavencamp is one of 300 or so volunteers that donate their time in some capacity, whether assisting teachers in their day-to-day activities or helping out with special events.

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Technology takes students to new places

Maple Lake Elementary students communicate with a class in another part of the country using Skype during a Global Read Aloud. (Photos submitted)

Kindergartners learn math skills with iPad apps while brushing up on their iPad skills as well.

It’s not unusual to find a group of teenagers having a discussion about a book at Maple Lake High School.
What may qualify as unusual is when those discussions are taking place with teenagers on the other side of the world.
This is the kind of activity that happens at Maple Lake schools on a fairly regular basis thanks to technology.
“When I started, Maple Lake didn’t have a lot of tech,” technology teacher Nicole Casebolt said. “We infused a lot of technology and we were ahead of the game. Now we’re falling behind. Now teachers know how to infuse technology into the curriculum, but they don’t have access to it. It’s a balance trying to get them the tech they need to do a project.”

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Library’s Read & Redeem winners

The winners in the drawings for grand prizes for the Read & Redeem Summer Reading Program each received $10 in Chamber Business Bucks and 5 Muller Family Theater passes. Christina Ogram was drawn in the Grades 4-6 graduate group, George Sylvester in the Pre-School - K graduate group, and Danica Hageman in the Grades 1-3 graduate group. Read & Redeem is a free summer reading incentive program offered by the Maple Lake Library. Watch for 2017 information next spring.


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