Monroe Newsletter

What's New at Monroe

-February 2017-

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From the Principal

Happy February!

Last year, we asked parents and staff to take a survey about Monroe. We received some excellent feedback on things we are doing well and areas to improve. One of the questions asked was "What are some things that you would like your student to be able to experience that they currently cannot?" We are currently in the process of discussing options as we plan how Monroe (and Mankato schools) can make changes to improve how we serve kids. While some of these items were addressed in our October newsletter, here are the main ideas that staff and parents shared with us:

  • More time for lunch/recess and more opportunities to be active during the day
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Multiple life skills taught combined with educational experiences (ex: field trip to a bakery)
  • More field trips
  • Experimental/project-based learning
  • Foreign language options
  • Additional Math interventions
  • Service projects

If you have other ideas of ways we could improve your student's experience at Monroe, feel free to send me an email at or give me a call at school.

Steve Johanson

Fostering Student Wellness Together

We want to work with you to foster wellness in our children. We have committed staff that will be alert to the issues our students bring to us. We want you to know that in each of our buildings we have school nurses, school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers along with our teachers, administrators and staff that will be available to our students to process their concerns. Open communication between home and school is critical to the well-being of our students.

In our schools, we work daily to help students deal with the stresses they face. Parents are our partners in helping their children learn to face challenges successfully, whether it is the stresses of everyday life, such as academic difficulties or problems with friends, or severe adversity, such as a serious illness or family crisis.

The National Association of School Psychologists recommends the following to build resiliency:

1. Think positive! Modeling positive attitudes and emotions is very important. Children need to hear adults thinking out loud positively and being determined to persist until a goal is achieved. Using a “can do” problem-solving approach to problems teaches children a sense of power and promise.

2. Express love and gratitude! Emotions such as love and gratitude increase resiliency. Children who are cared for, loved, and supported learn to express positive emotions to others. Positive emotions buffer kids against depression and other negative reactions to adversity.

3. Express yourself! Resilient people appropriately express all emotions, even negative ones. Adults who help kids become more aware of emotions, label emotions appropriately, and help children deal with upsetting events are giving them useful life skills.

4. Get fit! Good physical health prepares the body and mind to be more resilient. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise and adequate sleep protect kids against the stress of tough situations. Regular exercise also decreases negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression.

5. Foster competency! Making sure that children achieve academically is great protection against adversity. Also, children who develop individual talents are much more likely to feel competent and are able to deal with stress positively. Working together we can help children see their strengths.

Protecting our children against all of life’s unexpected painful events is not possible. Giving them a sense of competency and the skills to face adverse circumstances can be a valuable gift to our children. Resiliency can be built by understanding these important foundations. The more we practice these approaches; the better able our children will be to weather whatever life brings.

Climb 2 Feed Kids

Great job to the Monroe Team that participated in the Climb 2 Feed fundraiser! The event drew 45 teams from the Mankato area. Each member on the team climbed 768 steps at the Bresnan Center at Minnesota State University. All the teams combined to raise a record-breaking $97,000 for the BackPack Food Program.

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Monroe News Cast-MNC

Make sure to watch the Monroe News Cast! The students have been working hard on putting together a weekly broadcast about school happenings, teacher interviews and Monroe PRIDE.

Night At The Museum

Come join the fun at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota on Tuesday, February 7 from 4:30 pm-7:30 pm. This is a Monroe only event, so come out and experience the Children's Museum and all that it has to offer. This is FREE for all Monroe Families! There will also be a Book Fair sponsored by the Monroe PTO. Volunteers are also needed to make this night a success. Please go to the following link to sign up to help- Night at the Museum & Book Fair Sign Up

Clothes Needed

The health office is in need of various items of clothing:
  • Boys small pants
  • Boys underwear, size 5-8
  • Girls small pants
  • Girls underwear, size 5-8

The PTO Needs Your Help!

The PTO is looking for a secretary for their upcoming meetings. The meetings are usually on the third Monday of the month at 6:30 pm in the media center. If you would be able to help out with this position, you can email the PTO at or call Jackie Murray at 507-382-5342.

PLC- 2 Hour Late Start-February 14, 2017

On the second Tuesday of every month the teachers meet for a Professional Learning Community Meeting. Buses will run 2 hours late on late start days. Monroe School will begin at 10:00 AM, rather than 8:00 AM on these days. To accommodate parents that need childcare on late start days, we will provide supervision beginning at 7:40 AM for students needing this service. However, parents MUST complete the online form to sign your child up. There will be no charge but it is very important that we have an accurate count of students arriving early to plan for adequate adult supervision. You will be asked to complete a registration form for each month. This is the link for the February 14 PLC Sign Up- February PLC. Activities for students during this time may include such things as homework help, quiet reading, and story time. Breakfast will be available serving from 7:40-7:50 AM.

**If you sign your child up and they DO NOT come, we ask that you CALL THE SCHOOL by 8:00 AM that morning as we will be taking attendance.

Children not needing childcare on the late start days should arrive at school between 9:40-9:50. Students arriving to their classrooms after 10:00 AM will be marked tardy.

Late Start Dates: The Second Tuesday of Every Month

  • February 14
  • March 14
  • April 11
  • May 9

Knitting Club Sale

The Monroe Knitting Club will be having a sale of their knitting creations. There will be scarves, hats, gloves, and mittens. The money made from this event will go to a charity of the clubs' choice. The sale will be in the main entryway of Monroe on Tuesday, February 14, from 2:40-3:40.

Science Fair-February 21

Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 may participate in our annual Science Fair. Mrs. Mehlhaff will be giving out informational packets to interested students this month. This is a great experience for your child to plan and complete a long-term project and to present it to interested adults. It is a terrific learning experience for your child and for your family. Science Fair Boards are on sale in the office for $2.50.

**If you are interested in judging the science fair, please contact the Monroe Office.

Spring Conferences

Grades K-5 Conferences have been scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, March 14 - 3:20-8:00

5th Grade Students with the last name beginning with A-H

  • Thursday, March 16 - 3:20-8:00

5th Grade Students with the last name beginning with I-Q

  • Monday, March 20 - 3:20-8:00

5th Grade Students with the last name beginning with R-Z

You will be able to sign up on line for conference times. The link to schedule will be open February 21 and will close on March 3.

Kindergarten Round-Up-April 20

Children who will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2017 are eligible to attend kindergarten. Make sure you are signed up by February 17 at Central Registration. Kindergarten Round Up will be on April 20. If you have questions you may contact Central Registration at 207-4037.

Weather Announcements

One way to make sure you stay on top of the school’s weather related announcements is to check the District’s website ( or call the HELP line at 386-4777. If you would like to subscribe to email or text message alerts, please visit the District website under “Family Resources.”

School closings and early dismissal notifications will be broadcast on local radio and televisions stations (KTOE, KDOG, KYSM, KATO, KXLP, KXAC, KEEZ, KMSU, KRBI, KMKO, KRRW, KEYX-TV12, KSTP-TV, KARE 11-TV, FOX 9/UPN 29 TV, WCCO Radio and TV) along with the Mankato Free Press Online.

Snow Storm Early Release Reminders

  • Call 386-4777 for weather updates, please do not call the school office.
  • Monroe dismisses 15 minutes earlier than the announced time. For example: Dist. 77 dismissal time is 1:00, Monroe's dismissal time will be 12:45.
  • You may pick up your child earlier than the dismissal time.
  • Parents must come into the building to pick up children.
  • DO NOT park in the bus-loading zone.
  • If family plans change, notify the office or the teacher immediately.

~Specialist's Corner~

From the Media Center-Mrs. Hagen

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From the Music Room-Mrs. Hopf

Hello from the Music Room! I would again like to thank all family and friends who attended the

Winter Holiday Concert, “Making Spirits Bright”. The students in Grades 1 3, and 5 presented an awesome concert! It was amazing to see the progression from grade to grade throughout the concert in both vocal and instrumental.

As we move into the new year, I want to continue to explain our spring “informances” and how they differ from the large performance experience. The informance is a “mini performance” in the music classroom. Each individual class will be showcasing concepts we have covered throughout the school year.

Kindergarten and 2nd Grade will be presenting their informances the week of April 3-7.

Each Fourth Grade class will be presenting their informance twice because of class size. They will be presenting informances the weeks of March 29-31 and April 3-7. Please check the times for all presentations below.


Mrs. Substad - Tuesday, April 4 - 11:55-12:45

Mrs. Hammes - Wednesday, April 5 - 11:55-12:45

Mrs. Schemmel - Thursday, April 6 - 11:55 - 12:45

Mrs. Shaw - Friday, April 7 - 11:55-12:45

Second Grade:

Mrs. Wennes - Wednesday, April 5 - 8:55-9:45

Mrs. Scruggs - Thursday, April 6 - 9:45-10:35

Ms. Hoekstra - Friday, April 7 - 8:55-9:45

Mrs. Peters - Friday, April 7 - 9:45-10:35

Fourth Grade:

Mrs. Dickinson - Wednesday, March 29 - 10:35-11:25 - Families with last names A-L

Mrs. Dickinson - Wednesday, April 5 - 10:35-11:25 - Families with last names M-Z

Mr. Bjork - Thursday, March 30 - 10:35-11:25 - Families with last names A-K

Mr. Bjork - Thursday, April 6 - 10:35-11:25 - Families with last names L-Z

Mrs. Kind - Friday, March 31 - 10:35-11:25 - Families with last names A-M

Mrs. Kind - Friday, April 7 - 10:35-11:25 - Families with last names N-Z

From the Art Room-Mrs. Wingen

The art room is getting ready to be making items with clay. All students will be responsible for creating a clay project that will be displayed during our Art Fair on May 4th. Students, please remember to keep practicing on your drawing skills.

From the Gym.-Mr. Carlson

February brings a lot of fun to Monroe P.E.! All students will be participating in a 3 week gymnastics unit. This unit is one of our favorites. It helps students improve their strength, flexibility, and confidence. Encourage your child to be active during the winter months. There are many activities they can be doing. Sliding, building snow forts, skiing, snow shoeing, and skating are just a few outdoor activities. Push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, and Wii fit are just a few indoor things they can do. Limit screen time and try to engage in family board games for brain development. As a former Monroe student, it is my pleasure to give back to my school and help mold our next generation. Enjoy your February!!

~News From the PTO~

Monroe PTO-Meeting Minutes

January 23, 2017

Welcome and Introduction:

President Jackie Murray called to order the meeting of the Monroe Parent Teacher Organization at 6:30 pm on January 23, 2017 in the Media Center of Monroe Elementary School. Ten people were in attendance.

Secretary’s Report:

No secretary’s report was available. An immediate need for a replacement secretary was noted. Members agreed to put parents on notice about the vacancy.

Treasure’s Report:

Trisha Anderson provided the treasurer's report. The Report was approved and seconded.

Principal’s Report:

  • Steve Johanson gave the principal’s report, including an update on the installation of a new water bottle filler. Two more water bottle fillers will be installed soon.

  • In January, Monroe fifth-graders started a weekly newscast. The inaugural episode, which demonstrated the many technical, critical thinking, and social skills students are practicing, was shown at the end of the meeting.

  • Mr. Johanson noted that the district is seeking insights from parents and students in preparation for the June 2018 operating levy. Insights can include thoughts and ideas ranging from building improvements to curriculum suggestions. Monroe will solicit ideas via a Tuesday Folder notice.

Teacher’s Request:

  • Teachers have requested the purchase of a new microwave, as one blew up recently, which leaves two microwaves for forty people. The members voted unanimously to purchase a new microwave.

  • Mrs. Hatlestad requested $144 for a 3rd grade trip to the planetarium at Mankato East School. The visit aligns nicely with science curriculum. Requests was voted on and passed unanimously.

  • Mr. Miller would like to take the Math Master Team for pizza and ice cream in May or June. No exact figures were available. Conversation and vote will be tabled.

Committee Reports:

  • Campus Upgrades: It was noted that the new electric pencil sharpeners are slick.

  • Fundraiser: Monroe will participate in the coupon book fundraiser again. While there were some hiccups this past fall and a problem getting all the books back is an ongoing issue, the money raised ($16,000) is worth the effort. Again, Monroe will be the first school in the area to sell the books, which gives our students an advantage locally. Another fundraiser opportunity was discussed: coupon books. More research will be made regarding cost and publisher.

  • The color-run was discussed. It was noted that more parental involvement is needed if we’re to continue doing it.

  • The open position of secretary was also noted.

  • Other miscellaneous items were discussed.

  • The laminator is working.

  • Book Fair volunteers are needed for the Children’s Museum in February.

  • Nicollet Public Schools invited our parents and students to attend Koo Koo Kangaroo on February 17.

  • The PTO discussed a possible fund-raising or item collection for the Humane Society.

The next PTO meeting is Monday, February 20.

~Coming Soon~


2/3-MAESL Field Trip-3rd Grade

2/7-PTO Night at the Museum & Book Fair 4:30-7:30

2/14-PLC 2-Hour Late Start

2/14-Knitting Club Sale 2:40-3:40, School Entryway

2/16-Children's Museum of Southern MN-Hatlestad & Eccles' Class

2/17-Children's Museum of Southern MN-VanOverbeke & Jaqua's Class

2/20-PTO Meeting 6:30, Media Center

2/21-Science Fair

2/27-McEducator Night-2nd Grade 4:30-7:00


3/8-Water Festival-4th Grade

3/10-No School-Grades K-8

3/13-PTO Meeting 6:30, Media Center

3/14-PLC 2-Hour Late Start

3/14-Conferences 3:30-8:00

3/16-Conferences 3:30-8:00

3/20-Conferences 3:30-8:00

3/24-No School-Grades K-5

3/27-No School-Grades K-12

3/28-McEducator Night-1st Grade 4:30-7:00

3/29-Music Informance, Dickinson- Families with last names A-L, 10:35-11:25

3/30-Music Informance, Bjork-Families with last names A-K, 10:35-11:25

3/31-Music Informance, Kind-Families with last names A-M, 10:35-11:25

Monroe Tuesday Folder

Tuesday Folder

Click on link above to view the Tuesday Folder.

~School Menus~

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