Murphy Mustangs

News and events for the month of April

Spring is in the air, at least in my mind.....

This newsletter is online at:

I'm not sure who to blame for all this snow. I think a fair amount of the blame rests on myself for taking our boat out of storage already.... either way it looks like we have an extended winter this year.

This month's newsletter has a handful of items including testing schedules and dates for spring events. I won't include a lengthy article on snow gear for the spring, I'll summarize it with this one sentence: keep sending winter gear, including snow pants, until the school sends out a note that they are no longer needed.

Please take some time in looking through our newsletter, some items will be new and some will be familiar. Stay warm (and stay dry when all this snow melts)!


Sean Martinson

Dad to Three Amazing Kids
Principal - Murphy Elementary School ~

School: 218.327.5880 ~ Cell: 218.209.2573

Tardy Update

Being late for school interrupts the rest of the classroom and sets a pattern for the rest of the child's life. As we continue to work on chronic tardies, for those who are repeatedly late, we will be starting a recess tardy detention. Students who accumulate three tardies will spend one of their recess periods inside. When I speak with children about being responsible, we also speak about how they must make up the time they take from their class during "their" time. Their time is recess. This will start after Spring break.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Mr. Martinson directly: 218.209.2573

REMEMBER-SCHOOL START TIME IS 8:30AM. This means children must be in their seats ready to start by the 8:30 bell.

Tips to help families get students to school on-time:

  • Set an alarm 15-20 minutes earlier than you feel you need to.
  • Set multiple alarms if needed and place them in a location that forces you to get up and out of bed to turn it off.
  • Time your routines (eg: how long does it take your student to eat breakfast, shower, etc.) and plan accordingly.
  • Watch the weather and give yourself adequate time to get to school safely.
  • Prepare the students backpack the night before and make sure to include homework, permission slips and pack a lunch.
  • Help the student to pick out their outfit for the next day the night before-down to underpants and socks.
  • Have a consistent and predictable morning and bedtime routine.

After School Program Options

A family new to our building asked about the following. I thought it would be beneficial for everyone. Here are some additional options for after school hour activities for children.

After School Learning Academy:

  • For Grades 1-4 Days: Monday & Tuesday, November 26, 2012 – April 23, 2013 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. right at Murphy Elementary

Summer Learning Academy and Camp Discovery - Offered to students in Grades 1 – 8.

The following are not sponsored by ISD 318 or Murphy Elementary School. They are merely shared as additional points of information.


  • The YMCA Tutoring Center is a free service to the school kids of Itasca County. We operate after school beginning in October and run through the school year.
    • Kids ages 8-18 can get help with daily homework or large projects. This free program has helped 100′s of kids. Open 3:30-5:30pm Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday – most school days October through May. Kids can take the bus after school straight to the Y!
  • WeeFolks Childcare
    • for ages 6 weeks to 6 years
  • Educare
    • Before and after school care for kids up to 12 yrs. old
  • Fun Club
    • Held on most “School Days Off”, care for school-aged kids
  • Camp Wannago
    • Summer Day Camp held here at the YMCA
  • WeeCare
    • Free childcare service for YMCA member’s – while they work out at the Y.
    • 5-12 Club: Extension of our WeeCare service, for kids ages 5-12.

MCA Testing

Students in 3rd and 4th grade will take online Math and Reading MCA tests during the month of April. Schools are required by the State of Minnesota to administer these tests.

My oldest daughter is in 3rd grade and will be taking them for the first time this year. One thing I will do to help her prepare is show her the practice online tests. This will familiarize her with what the tests look like, how to take them, and also give me the chance to share with her some general test taking strategies. I'm sure she will do this in her classroom as well, however at home we can sit down and she can also ask mom and dad questions. It's also a great tool for you (as a parent) to see what these tests look like. The Item Sampler (Practice Online MCA Tests) requires the Mozilla FireFox Browser.

For the sample test site, click "Sign In", then select the grade, then the test.

What are MCA tests?

  • The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards and also meet the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Students take one test in each subject.
  • More info:

Spring Testing Schedule

For a class by class, day by day schedule of Spring testing, go to:

Please mark your calendar with the following dates for state and district testing.

April 8th - 12th: 3rd Grade Online MCA Reading Test Window
April 15th - 19th: 4th Grade Online MCA Reading Test Window
April 22nd - 25th: 3rd Grade Online MCA Math Test Window
April 29th - May 3rd: 4th Grade Online MCA Math Test Window
April 30th - May 17 Spring MAP Testing Window (2nd-4th Grade, Math and Reading)

What is MAP testing?
  • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) – These computerized tests are adaptive and offered in Reading and Mathematics. When taking a MAP test, the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all the previous questions. As the student answers correctly, questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. In an optimal test, a student answers approximately half the items correctly and half incorrectly. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level.
  • More info:

Spring Fundraiser(s)

Salt City Candles
  • (3/19-4/2, delivery 5/9) This is an optional item for families. ALL funds raised will be set aside specifically for next year’s 4th grade class for an end of the year field trip, a larger trip as a culminating activity for our kids prior to leaving for the Middle School. This year’s 4th grade went on an over-night trip to St. Paul. Their trip was fully funded through a grant from Flint Hills Resources. Our kids went to the Como Park Zoo, the Minnesota State Capitol, and then spent the night at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Top selling students will get to eat lunch with the Principal (in the Principal’s Office!), the top class will win an extra recess period, and above all we will work towards funding a yearly event for our outgoing 4th graders. Should you choose to participate, we say, thank you in advance!

"Simply Spring" Fundraiser for End of Year Fun Day Goes Home

  • (4/16 to 4/30 delivery 5/15) This spring related fundraiser will help to pay for the end of year Fun Day for all students.

End of Day Parent Pickup Routine Reminder

For those staying in their cars and driving up to pick up their children, the street route starts on 6th Ave, turns west onto 8th St, then north onto 5th Ave. We respectfully ask that all cars in the line follow this route and do not cut in from a side street. This is disrespectful to those waiting in the correct line and leaves our staff having to intervene.

For those parking and walking into the school, please do not park on the side of any street directly on school property. These are saved for the school buses and those who choose to stay in their car and drive up to pick up their child.

For those that are walking up to get their child, we'll have the kids gathered in the cafeteria, you can come in the main entry and wait in the gathering area. A handful of staff and myself will be out front calling in for kids and making sure they are safe as they exit the building.

We have limited space around our campus and inside our front entry and would prefer that as many families as possible have their children ride the bus or wait in their cars for us to call their children out.

From the Principal's Bookshelf

Thought I would share this quote from the following book that I'm reading:

“Most of us protect our children from the violence that exists on the street, mainly because we don’t want them to be physical victims of it but also because we are painfully aware of how exposure to it will skew their world perception. So what sense does it make for us to allow them to be saturated with images that frighten and terrorize?”

Excerpt From: Lt. Col. Dave Grossman & Gloria Degaetano. “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill.” Crown Publishers, 2009-11-04. iBooks.

I ordered my copy from:

The Village Bookstore ~ Central Square Mall ~ 218-326-9458

Science Museum of Minnesota

Our 4th grade overnight trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota was a great success!

Our school was the most respectful, responsible, and safe school of the entire camp in (5 schools). And if you're worried it's a biased principal judging it, no so. Doug who runs the program had nothing but praise. One of the guides, Tall Sam, all praise, and a bunch of support staff thanked us and had all praise as well. Great group of kids we have. We, and they, should be proud. We left the Zoo, Museum, and Capitol all better than we found them. And that my friends is Murphy Pride. :-)

Thank you to the following adults for taking time out of their busy schedules to join our group and spending night on the Museum Floor!

  • Charles Brewster, Amy Bestlan, Cindy Lawson, Corinn Griffiths, Amy Cutsforth, Miles Sticka, Carrie Sundberg, Bill Storlie, Lisa Sigrfinius, Dick Sackett, Julie Mille, Amanda Miller, Monica Holcomb, Lisa Klimek, Pamela Gillhousen, Shannon Benolken, Jenessa Barker, Amy Sue Adamson, Heather Wilson, Jessica Karnes, Missy Edwards, Karen Bissonette, Janet Pellersels, Sean Martinson, Rachel Bruemmer, Bryan Fideldy, Aaron Locken, and Derek Bauer.

Thank you again to Flint Hills Resources for funding this trip, and our PTC for helping provide snacks for the ride home.

Accelerated Reader

As of today our school has independently read and passed quizzes on 11,324 AR books. That equates to 47,525,128 AR words. Murphy ranks first in books and words read in District 318!

AR Book Finder
AR Home Connect:
  • AR Home Connect is a tool related to Accelerated Reader. You can use the same login your child uses to take an AR Quiz.


Murphy Sites

AR Home Connect
Murphy Elementary School
  • The front page of our school website also has links to sites that the children are familiar with and use in school.

Murphy's FaceBook Page:

Murphy's Sound Cloud (audio recordings)

Murphy's Twitter Feed

Principal's Pad


Upcoming Events

Spring Testing

General Items:

  • Tue Apr 2, 2013 ~ ORDERS DUE: Candle Fundraiser (future 4th grade field trips)
  • Fri Apr 12, 2013 ~ 12:30pm - 1:30pm 3rd Grade to Reif (3 Little Pigs)
  • Tue Apr 16, 2013 ~ "Simply Spring" Fundraiser for End of Year Fun Day Goes Home
  • Thu Apr 18, 2013 ~ 4:30pm - 6pm Kindergarten Round Up (for next year's Kindergarten students)
  • Tue Apr 30, 2013 ~ "Simply Spring" Fundraiser for End of Year Fun Day ORDERS DUE


  • Thu, March 28 – Mon, April 1 ~ Spring/Easter Break

Murphy Coffee and Conversations (Media Center)
  • Wednesday, Apr 24 8:30am – 9:15am Murphy Media Center
  • Wednesday, May 22 8:30am – 9:15am Murphy Media Center

Murphy Fathers' Forum (Media Center)

  • Thursday, Apr 25 8:30am – 9:15am Murphy Media Center
  • Thursday, May 23 8:30am – 9:15am Murphy Media Center

FRED (Fathers Reading Every Day)

  • Tue Apr 16 (night event)

Fundraiser Pickups

  • Thu May 9 ~ 2:30pm – 5:30pm ~ Salt City Candle Pick Up Week - Murphy Cafeteria
  • Wed, May 15 "Simply Spring" Fundraiser for End of Year Fun Day Orders Arrive (information to follow).

About Us

The Mission of Murphy Elementary is to ensure that all students acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to realize their potential and become productive and responsible citizens of a changing world.