Upper Campus End of Year Update
Monday, May 27, 2013 6:30 AM


Dear Parents and Community,

   Once again the rapidly approaching ‘end of the school year’ is upon us. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for Upper Field Day activities which begin tomorrow. Please begin asking your children to bring their things home from their lockers and to check the Lost and Found for their missing items.

   I have had some inquiries about how Media is being redesigned to fit our STEM mission. The new STEM position will serve grades 4-7 for 2013-14 and hopefully expand to 4-8 for the following year. Each fourth and fifth grade class would have an hour a week of specialist time focusing on Foss science kits and Engineering Is Elementary/MN Science Museum units that are in addition to those being covered in their classrooms.  Sixth and Seventh grade classes would have access to computer robotics programs and additional computer engineering programs. The STEM offering is a new concept for us within the specialist instructional time. The first year will be an exploratory time to test which products work the best for various grade levels. Each year the STEM program will become stronger as it is refined. Students will still have access to the computer lab and build computer skills within the STEM domain. In addition, Mr. Streit will be coordinating student book check-out and returns for Upper campus.

     The Upper campus Advanced Math Pathway will continue with grades four and five in a telescope format. That means in fourth the A.M. P. students will cover all of the fourth grade and half of the fifth grade materials and Standards. In fifth grade the A.M.P. students will cover the other half of fifth grade and all of sixth grade materials and Standards. The sixth grade will cover seventh grade materials and Standards and also begin Algebra, the seventh grade will cover Algebra and Intermediate Algebra, and the eighth grade A.M.P. students will cover Geometry with PreCalculus.   

     I have had questions from middle grades parents asking for more information on the new middle grades ‘Options’ for Thursdays during specialist time. This spring middle grades students for next year were given an opportunity to make ranked selections from their specialist course offerings. For four days each week all middle grades students would have exposure to their grade level specialist courses. Each week on Thursday students would have an advanced curriculum of their selected specialist area. An example of this would be:  a student selects ART; on Thursday in ART a more challenging concept and skills would be taught. This would be different work than that being done in the regular non-option ART class. The student would have two art projects in process, one for the Options advanced class and one for the regular specialist ART class. This same concept would follow for students who selected vocal music or PE or STEM or Health, depending on the grade level of the middle grade student. This is a new plan we are offering in an effort to provide middle school students with more choice and develop their talents in their strength areas. If this new launch is successful and carried over to the 2014-15 school year, students would again make selections in the spring for the following year. They could continue in the same Option choice or explore selecting a new choice.

     This summer, in July, the installation of the new lockers will be happening. We are eliminating all the old lockers. Because many of these were so skinny in width or stacked double in height, installing enough new large lockers for every student to have their own locker will require utilization of all available wall space. When you return in the fall many hallway bulletin boards will have been removed.


In addition, during the summer a new projection screen should be installed on the stage. This will be a permanent screen that has an electronic control for rolling down for use and recoiling for storage. In September the MN Heart Assoc. will be introducing a Healthy Hearts Jump Rope unit and donating equipment. Also, middle grades students will have an opportunity to participate in our new debate team through the MN Urban Debate League and supervised by Mr. Streit. The debate team will compete against other MPS and St. Paul schools. Finally, in the atrium there will be a new large banner hung with the LHCS Mission Statement.

     I want to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful support you have given Lake Harriet Community School and me over the past five years while I served as your principal. It has been a great collaborative effort for our children. I am proud of what we have accomplished together. We have built a program with a healthy balance of the Arts and STEM, a program that continues to strive to challenge all children and provide a wide array of areas each child can stretch their talents. I am confident that the new Upper Campus principal, Dr. Aaron Drevlow, will be a good fit for the Lake Harriet community and continue to grow the school.

     The final question I am being asked is, “Mrs. Rynchek, what will you do when you retire?” I will be riding my bicycle, kayaking up north, reading, gardening and thinking about all of you.


Have a great summer and be safe!



Mary Rynchek