From the Principal:
Monday, January 28, 2013 6:35 AM



Dear Parents,

     At this time of year with school tours happening and the MPS School Fair a few weeks ago, parents often ask “What makes Lake Harriet special?” Of course there are many things that contribute to the recipe of Lake Harriet; devoted teachers,  huge parent volunteerism, a dedicated PTA and Site Council, students getting the necessary support and guidance from home, and the overall Lake Harriet philosophy of educating the whole child and providing opportunities for each child to pursue where their strengths are.


     On January 16th we had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful vocal concert with grades 3, 4 and 5. The Winter Music Spotlight was a big success thanks to the hard work of the children, the direction of our vocal music teacher, Ms. Cuff, and many volunteers. This year we could not count on Ms. Cuff being here for the usual spring concert as she may be home with a new baby at that time. The children stepped up to being concert ready at mid-year and we are very proud of them.

 Below is a parent quote:

“The kids were clearly having so much fun. ‘Call Me Maybe’ was like

 something out of Grease ...the kids in front of me were totally singing

to each other and having fun … nowhere else have I seen kids have

so much access to guitars (electric!) and ukes and keyboards and drums.”


Next year we will not have our third graders at the Upper Campus. We will schedule the fourth and fifth grade vocal concerts the same evening, but leave a half-hour between grade levels to create more audience capacity in the gym. Thank you to everyone for your patience this year. Our vocal and instrumental music programs showcase our students’ talents in areas not identified in State testing. These are moments that showcase the whole child and value all talents.


     A few weeks ago on January 5th we held our own Lake Harriet GEMS and GISE STEM tournament here at Lake Harriet on Saturday. This was an exciting day, with a well organized schedule of competitions to determine which LHCS teams would move on to the regional competition. Thanks to Gwen Spurgat, Ann Smith and a huge number of parent volunteers. Each team exhibited creativeness, problem solving skills, presentation skills and enthusiasm. Although ten teams moved on, every team that day was a winner. Students were able to stretch themselves, and practice team building and leadership skills. Opportunities like GEMS and GISE often exhibit students’ strengths and leadership not obvious on State test scores. These opportunities are available to our students because of parent and teacher dedication to the whole child and our school’s mission to incorporate S.T.E.M. based approaches to education and problem solving.


     Saturday, January 19th was the Regional GEMS and GISE competition was held at Anishinabe Academy. It was an energy charged environment, filled with student teams eager to run their robotics programs and present their group presentations. Lake Harriet sent ten teams and swept category after category of first place awards. We will be posting a separate article in the Connection with results and photos.  Our staff, Mr. Marchetti and Mr. Tousignant, and many parents coached the teams of children. The students’ effort, teamwork and tenacity in problem solving garnered these levels of success.


     The winter Middle Grades athletics are now in full swing with girls’ and boys’ basketball. In February the Middle Grades Barnebirkie cross-country ski team will travel to Hayward, Wisconsin under the direction of Mr. Deperry and compete. Last year’s team was written up in the 2013 January/February issue of AFAR magazine. Take a look at, there are great photos too.


 So, “What makes Lake Harriet special?” We do!  All of us; staff, parents, students and our community. Thank you for seeing our children as our #1 resource to invest in for the future.


Mary Rynchek, Principal