What's Happening at WAO Elementary

July 2021

From Mrs. Johnson's Desk

Summer has been flying by! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July holiday and you are now enjoying some reprieve from the heatwave we just had. My family has sure been soaking up the sun and spending some time at the pool, trying to take in every moment of summer that we can. I hope all of you have as well!

Even with the summer break, we have still been very busy at WAO Elementary. We are in the midst of the hiring season as we look to fill various positions. We have also had some changes to our building plans. Unfortunately, there will be no construction happening due to high building costs so we are adapting and making plans for classroom locations. If Covid taught us anything it is to be flexible and flexible we will be!

In the office, we are working hard on preparing enrollment and registration for the 21/22 school year, developing schedules, and working on our onboarding process and staff in-service trainings and schedule. Busy busy!

In this month's edition of What's Happening at WAO Elementary you will find information on the following:

  • Summer Meal - July Menu
  • Dates to Remember
  • Curriculum & Program Updates 21/22
  • WAO Elementary Staffing Update

Keep enjoying your summer and give those kiddos a squeeze for us! We sure miss them!

Take care & stay safe :)

-Mrs. Johnson

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Summer meals are available to all kids age 18 and younger at no cost. To eat, just show up!

Where: WAO Elementary School (Cafeteria Doors | Door #1 - Grab & Go only)

When: Monday - Thursday | June 7th - August 26th, 2021

Time: 11AM - 1PM (Breakfast & Lunch included)

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July 12th - WAO School Board Meeting 7PM

August 2nd - 19th - Summer School Session #2

August 4th - Registration Day (info about this will be mailed out later this summer)

August 31st - September 2nd - Staff Inservice

September 7th - FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

21/22 School Year Curriculum & Program Update

Every year we look to do better and provide more to our students. We are excited to add a new handwriting curriculum as well as a new social/emotional learning approach and program to WAO Elementary during the 21/22 school year.
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Zaner-Bloser Handwriting

Research suggests that the benefits of teaching handwriting go beyond simply writing (Dinehart, 2014). There is increasing evidence of a link between the fine motor skills required in handwriting and the development of cognitive skills which lay the foundation for later academic success. When children write letters, they demonstrate better letter recognition skills which means they learn to read quicker.

Research suggests that the process of forming letters while handwriting activates neural pathways that are associated with strong reading skills. In fact, handwriting plays a crucial role in the formation of these brain networks which underlie the development of strong reading skills. These brain connections are only made when children are engaged in handwriting activities, not when tracing or typing letters (James & Berninger, 2019).

We are thrilled to be offering a researched-based and proven method to handwriting instruction to our students at WAO Elementary during the 21/22 school year and beyond. To learn more specifics on the program CLICK HERE!

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Responsive Classroom is a student-centered, social and emotional learning approach to teaching and discipline. It is comprised of a set of research, and evidence-based practices designed to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms and school communities for both students and teachers.

A team of staff members just completed a four-day training to prepare us to implement responsive classroom school-wide for the 21/22 school year and beyond. We are excited to be able to offer our students and staff common language, practices, and expectations throughout our building all while increasing our culture and climate and building a strong community for all.

What is Responsive Classroom?


We continue to add to our WAO Elementary staff throughout the summer. We are excited to welcome Zane Reller as our newest addition (pending School Board approval on July 12th). Mr Reller will be taking on our Elementary Physical Education position and will be working with students in PreK-3rd Grade during the 21/22 school year. Mr. Reller is a recent University of North Dakota graduate with a Bachelors in Kinesiology & accreditation in Physical Education. He has 10 years of coaching experience (Baseball 4-14-year-olds) and also worked as a paraprofessional for the Grand Forks School District during the 20/21 school year. We are excited to welcome Zane to our team!


Elementary Counselor


Substitute Teachers - $130 (possible increase for 21/22 school year - must have 4-year college degree)

Substitute Paraprofessionals - $12.06 per hour (possible increase for 21/22 school year - must have High School diploma or GED)

If you are or know of anyone that may be interested in these positions please have them contact me at the Elementary School (218-745-4441) or email me directly (kelseyjohnson@wao.k12.mn.us). All licensed positions are posted on EdPost.

CLICK HERE for current staff placements for the 21/22 school year!