Welcome Back Message from Steve Sallee, Superintendent

appleI am very excited to begin another school year and I’m especially excited about the great initiatives that we have going in ISD #2142.  We will share many of those initiatives with you in future articles.  If you have not been in our buildings this summer I am confident you will notice the many changes and improvements.  Please stop in and look around!  We have been extremely busy this summer behind the scenes getting ready for another year.  August is always an exciting time as several teachers are back in their classrooms getting ready for that first day. I’ve also noticed several students back in the building participating in extra curricular activities.

Bullying      My administrative team and I have spent a lot of time this summer discussing the topic of bullying in our schools.  I want to reassure you that this is an issue that will not be ignored in any of our buildings.  If your child is having an issue, please report it to your building principal immediately.  Bullying normally doesn’t happen in the site of staff.  It most often takes place in the hallways, locker rooms or wherever there isn’t as much adult supervision.  Don’t assume we know about it, report it.  Once you report it, it will be investigated and followed through with appropriate action based on district policies.  Keep in mind, we can’t share with  you any consequences taken due to data privacy laws.

We are seeing more reports of bullying issues that are happening outside of school via cyberspace.  We take bullying very seriously at 2142 and never ignore an issue when it is reported to us.  Don’t ever assume that we know exactly what it taking place.  If your child is experiencing difficulties, don’t hesitate to let us know about it.  Unfortunately, when it takes place online and it’s not directly tied to the school, we may not be able to help as much as we otherwise would. However, the new statute states that if it happens off the school premises to the extent such use substantially and materially disrupts student learning or the school environment, we need to investigate it.  There is always a fine line between free speech and cyber bullying.

Bullying Versus Peer Conflict    The new state statute defines bullying as follows:  “Bullying” means intimidating, threatening, abusive or harming conduct that is objectively offensive and:

– there is an actual or perceived imbalance of power between the student engaging in the prohibited conduct and the target of the prohibited conduct, and the conduct is repeated or forms a pattern; OR…

– materially and substantially interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or performance or ability to participate in school functions or activities or receive school benefits, services or privileges.

I cannot promise you that the new laws will completely eliminate bullying in any school but I do promise that when it is reported to us, we will follow through and do whatever is in our power to make 2142 safe for every student.

Best wishes for a great 2014-15 school year!  If you ever have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at ssallee@isd2142.k12.mn.us or at the district office at 218-749-8130.


Mrs. Ojibway’s 1st Grade Class on Environmental Day at Spirit Lake

Learning how the tubes and gravity work together to transport the sap.

Learning how the tubes and gravity work together to transport the sap.

Spirit Lake Sugarbush

Spirit Lake Sugarbush


Derreck enjoying maple sap!

Derreck enjoying maple sap!

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Making Maple Sugar....yum!  We all ate some!

Making Maple Sugar….yum! We all ate some!

The big surprise!  Sugar Cakes!

The big surprise! Sugar Cakes!

On April 23rd our 1st and 2nd grade classes enjoyed a special field trip out to the Spirit Lake Sugarbush in Sawyer, MN. The Sugarbush is owned and operated by Bruce and Tawny Savage along with their children, two of our very own alumni Cedar Savage and Kayla Jackson. The welcoming commitee also included all members of the family chicken coop. The kids were excited and ready to get hands-on.

Their 80-acre farm produces throughout the year. In the spring, the sugarbush is tapped to produce pure maple syrup. In the summer the farm has diversified production including small garden plots with variety of vegetables, chickens that produce homegrown eggs, and orchards that yield berries and cherries. In the autumn, Bruce and family custom finish hand-harvested wild rice (manoomin in Ojibwe), completing a seasonal cycle of production familiar to the people of the region.
Spirit Lake’s mission is to promote sustainable living and support small business development. Maple syrup, wild rice, heirloom produce, meats, fruits, maple coated pecans, and Native American beadwork are sold through a number of retail channels including local businesses, Duluth farmers’ markets, and online.

Our students had a wonderful time while learning using place based education and outdoor classrooms. They were even treated to taste tests of maple sap, maple sugar, and maple syrup. The finale was a hit when our dear friend Cedar handed out Sugar Cakes to all that attended, yum!

State Science Fair 2014

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South Ridge’s Annual Science Fair was held near the end of 1st Semester. Nearly every 7th grader participated in a number of Science experiments.

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Roth Mobot Visits South Ridge

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South Ridge School art department brought Chicago based circuit-benders, Roth Mobot, to school for a 4-day artist residency. Students worked with artists Patrick McCarthy and Tommy Stephenson building an optical theremin.

A theremin is an electronic musical instrument in which the tone is generated by two high-frequency oscillators and the pitch controlled by the movement of the performer’s hand toward and away from the circuit. Students built their devise on a breadboard adding a resistor, capacitor, photo resistor, speaker, switch all on a 555 IC chip. The 555 timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of timer, pulse generation, and oscillator applications. The 555 can be used to provide time delays, as an oscillator, and as a flip-flop element. Derivatives provide up to four timing circuits in one package.

Introduced in 1971, the 555 is still in widespread use due to its ease of use, low price, and stability. It is estimated that 1 billion units are manufactured every year.

Most had never had opportunity to work with battery operated electronics and benefited from the opportunity to work with Roth Mobot artists. Participating in a new and evolving art form is exciting. Circuit-benders and experimental electronic art is still being defined by practitioners, artists and the audience.

All art classes created an optical theremin. Prove Gallery folks circuit bent toys. South Ridge students were invited  to Prove Gallery and make electronic circuit bent toys as well. Public performances were held Friday night at South Ridge  and Saturday night at Prove Gallery. All was free of charge. Video Documentary

This activity is funded in part by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008 and by Minnesota Power Foundation


MSHSL “Best of Show” Region 7A Art Contest


Tayleen Pohto “Best of Show” Region 7A Painting “Waterscape” Oils stick on paper


Lily Peterson “Best of Show Region 7A in Mixed Media “Self Portrait” tempera paint on cut paper


Scott Sowers “Best of Show” in Region 7A Printmaking “Dave King from Flogging Molly” collegraph, AKUA ink on paper

South Ridge School again was host for the 2014 Minnesota State High School Region 7A Art Contest. Hosting over 12 schools for the second year was an honor for the school and district. Over 125 art work hung in the exhibition hallway including sculpture, drawing, painting, mixed media, photography, craft, ceramics and graphic design. South Ridge won three of the nine top awards for “Best of Show” in Region 7. In painting the award went to Tayleen Pohto for her “Waterscape”, printmaking went to Scott Sowers for is colle’graph “Dave King from Flogging Molly” and Lily Peterson’s self portrait in mixed media.

Guest artist Chris Monroe talked with students about her work as an illustrator living and working in Duluth. Students created short comic strips of their own, developing a superhero character and short story line. Professional judges critiqued work for nearly 7 hours. They talked with young artists about the qualities in their work that made it strong as well as what they could work on.

A gift of poetry was given to the exhibiting artists from the South Ridge 4th grade. Ms. Dirksen’s students spent considerable time looking at the exhibition until each student chose 2-3 artworks to write a poem about. Each young poet met the high school artists and read their poems to them.

The Minnesota State High School Art Contest State Exhibition will be held at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley on May 10th-17th. Public reception is Sunday May 17th from 1:00 – 3:45 PM

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ECFE Shaving Cream Skating Fun!

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We do this every year in ECFE! It’s tons of fun:). Shaving cream skating party! I always say “anything can happen in an early childhood classroom” and it does!!
ECFE is a program available for all South Ridge families with children between the ages of birth to kindergarten entrance. This parent/child attended class meets once per week for two hours. Licensed Early Childhood Educators provide developmentally appropriate learning opportunities for children and parents to explore together during half of the class. A licensed Parent Educator provides parenting time during the second half of class facilitating discussions promoting parenting topics. Please contact Edwyna Scouton or Meghan Caine for more information.

Lettin’ Off STEAM with Frank Theatre Perfomance

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Video documenting the MSAB Art’s Learning grant

The third and culminating performance with Frank Theatre teaching artists Wendy Knox and Emily Zimmer was February 26th in the South Ridge School forum. Students had been working for six weeks on storytelling activities, theatre games, building on writing skills and dissecting a story to find meaning – all of which aided them in the re-telling of The Pied Piper retold by the 3rd-4th grades, Three Strong Women retold by the afterschoolSTEAM students, 3rd-4th Grades,  Anansi Searches for a Fool, Grade 7 Design and Anansi Plays Dead Grade 7 Design students.

Original music was performed by students as well which was composed by Twin Cities musician and educator Marya Hart. Lyrics were written by the students during a writing activity.

In the story of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” The town of Hamelin was full of rats and were unable to do anything. Even the cats were not able to kill the rats. One day, a fellow  came to town called the Pied Piper. He went to the Mayor and asked him, “What will you pay me if I free your town of every single rat?” The mayor offered 10,000 coins. Happy with the offer, the Pied Piper started playing his pipe. Hearing the shrill, keen note, every rat came out from its hole and started following him into the water and waited till every rat had drowned.

Now the town was free. After all the rats were dead, the Pied Piper returned and asked the Mayor for his money. The Mayor said that he could only give him twenty pounds for such an easy job. Pied Piper wanted to teach him a lesson. This time he played a different tune. Hearing his music, the children came out of their houses as the Pied Piper led the children far, far away. The Mayor sent his men to look for the piper and bring the children back but none could find the lost children.

In the story of the “Three Strong Women” tells of Forever-Mountain is a famous wrestler, smug and rather conceited–until he meets Maru-me. Along with her mother and grandmother, she shows him what real strength is. Under their tutelage, he gains not only physical prowess, but the humility of the truly strong. This version of the Japanese tall tale is filled with sly humor and witty exaggeration. The lesson of kindness being stronger than hate.

In the story “Anansi Searches for a Fool” the lazy Anansi, the famed West African trickster figure, decides to go fishing, he looks around for a fool he can convince to do all the work. Imagine his surprise when hawk, also known for his cleverness, offers to accompany him. Anansi continues to trick his other friends and family until they have had enough and run him out of town. This Ashanti folktale, which illustrates the point that “When you dig a hole for someone else, you will fall into it yourself,” is a humorous story of a trickster being caught in his own trap.

In the story, “Anansi Plays Dead”, There was a famine in the land and Anansi thinks about only himself. He began to plot out how he could have the best crops for himself. Usually West Africans always give the richest part of the animal to the “leader” or father of the house. Its kinda like the social class but modified/conformed to family ranked. So he tricks his family into thinking he is dead and they bury him in the richest part of the garde. Every night he sneaks out and eats until full. Eventually he is found out by his family and he feels so embarrassed. “From that day until now, Anansi has not wanted to face people because of their scoffing, jeering, and that is why he is often found hiding in dark corners.” When you have commited a crime in the town you are held to be very shameful. West African usually disowns people that they put to shame.

Considerable effort was made by South Ridge teachers, district office administration and Frank Theatre teaching artists to provide this opportunity. By the Minnesota State Arts Board approving this Art’s Learning grant South Ridge was provided the opportunity.

The Minnesota State Arts Board is a state agency that stimulates and encourages the creation, performance, and appreciation of the arts in the state. The Arts Learning grant program offers funding for projects that help lifelong learners acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage learners with skilled teaching artists and high quality artistic experiences. Arts and culture are central to Minnesota’s educational system and lifelong learning opportunities. The arts develop creative minds that maximize new opportunities and find solutions to life’s challenges. In Minnesota, the arts industry is an integral part of the economy. Because of the arts, Minnesota communities are successful, dynamic, attractive places to live and work.

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Read Across America – March 11th


“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

What better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday than reading to a child? On March 11th South Ridge kindergarten, first and second graders will celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America. Thank you to all our volunteer readers!

Why celebrate Dr. Seuss? Dr. Seuss epitomizes a love a children and learning. Also, his use of rhyme makes his books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills they need to be successful readers. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading we send a clear message to America’s children that reading is important.



Lettin’ Off STEAM with Frank Theatre

frank perfomance2 068IMG_0896frank performance 015The final performance of “Lettin’ Off STEAM with Frank”  will be February 26th at 4:30 PM in the South Ridge Forum. 3rd, 4th and 7th grade students who have worked with teaching artists Wendy Knox and Emily Zimmer will perform their interpretations of Anansi tales (7th Grades), Three Stong Women (afterschoolSTEAM) and the Pied Piper (3rd-4th Grades).

Over the last six weeks students have developed their story telling skills as well as  public presentation skills in using their voice and body. Theatre skills are life long tools. Getting over “stage fright” while young prepares students for opportunities to present themselves best in the future whether at home or work. Whether in personal or professional life we all need better “tools” to share what we know, demonstrate what we are thinking, and create trust between partners. Theatre builds communication skills needed in life. The arts make life more interesting to live! We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Frank Theatre! Come out and see what our students have learned!

This program was richly funded through the Minnesota State Arts Board Art’s Learning grant.

Sled Dog Visit South Ridge 2nd Grade

On Wednesday South Ridge elementary students were visited by Billie Diver and Dewey Dupuis. They brought their team of their dogsleds out to the school.  As part of Culture-based Arts Integration (CBAI) grant we had been researching (1st grade) the history and cultural ties of Dog sledding and the Beargrease dog sled race.
We followed the Beargrease this year as a class.  Diver came in 10th in the half marathon, 150 miles.  She was excited to come out to the school to present to 1st graders as she was a 1st grader when she first began racing.  This awesome connection along with all of our answered questions definitely inspired our youth to try new things, follow their heart, and reach for their dreams.


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