A story about an event or issue related to pre-school, K-12, homeschool, or post-secondary education.

A Festival of Student Art

Edible Dinosaur Art - click for larger imageLast week my family, along with many others in Northfield, happily participated in an array of student art events. On Thursday evening, Sibley Elementary School, where my son is in kindergarten, presented an celebration of arts and literacy. Student art filled the hallways, and participants could make bookmarks or books, listen to stories in a tent at "Camp Caldecott" (staged in the darkened gym, where shadows of tree branches were silhouetted against the wall), or attend a poetry reading. Pizza in the cafeteria was also popular; a second order from Domino's was required to meet the demand of hungry kids and parents.

On Friday night, the popular annual Arts a la Carte event took place at the high school. Honors Art students displayed and discussed their work, a viewer-judged student art show was on display in the media center, and entries in the Edible Art contest were on view in the upper cafeteria (see photo for one fine example). Magicians, musicians and dancers performed in the lower cafeteria. Visitors could also get their faces painted by a number of student artists, including my 11th grade daughter, and many flocked to the fish printing studio. "Fish printing," you ask? Yes, indeed, fish printing. For a $5 donation, one could paint a genuine dead fish to one's heart's content; a student assistant then carefully pressed the decorated fish against a new white t-shirt, leaving, well, a fish print! My son wore his proudly on Sunday, after we set the colors by briefly baking the shirt in the oven in accordance with the directions supplied with the shirt. The odor lingers a bit, since we have not yet washed the shirt, but that of course is part of the charm.

On Saturday, the Northfield Arts Guild presented Imagination Celebration, its official day-long reception for the all-school art exhibit now on view. Parents flocked to the gallery to see their children's artwork, and students added to the festive feel with performances, musical and otherwise, throughout the day. My 7th-grade daughter played a Bach concerto on violin!

This week in the Northfield Blogosphere...

Springing anew through the defrosted grounds of the "Northfield Blogosphere": this week are entries on soccer, science, singing, and sustainability. Sweet!

More inside...

Arts A La Carte at Northfield High School This Friday

Click to view larger sizeThe music and visual art departments at Northfield High School are gearing up for Arts a la Carte, a student celebration of all the arts on Friday April 7th from 6:00 until 9:00 at the High School. And the one dollar admission will buy you a chance to win an Ipod! 

This event will showcase the talents of hundreds of talented students and will feature vocal and instrumental ensembles, a student art exhibit and booths of the Honors Art students who will be demonstrating in various media, including painting, ceramics and filmmaking. 

There are also student run activities for the whole family such as face painting, art button making, marbleized paper making, DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), wandering magician, portrait artists and book making, just to name a few! And back by popular demand is the make your own fish print T-shirt event. 


Our Library

Northfield Public Library

No longer is Northfield Public Library a stuffy brick building with pull out catalog drawers as it was in 1985 when the library was last renovated.  Our library now has personal computers, the Internet, wireless access, a book section entirely in Spanish, books on tape and CD, pictures of you and me when we were in high school (provided you graduated from NHS), and old Northfield phone books.  The old Northfield phone books aren't interesting until you realize some of them listed the man's name, "wife", the man's job, and finally the kids' names and birth dates.

Celestine Prophecy Sneak Preview

The Village School of Northfield will be showing a sneak preview of the upcoming movie, The Celestine Prophecy. The event will also be a fundraiser for students and staff at the Village School to attend the International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC), to be held in Sydney, Austrailia in July.

Showings: April 2nd and 9th at 2pm - April 8th at 7pm
Location: The Village School of Northfield, 1100 Bollenbacher Court, Northfield, MN

For more information, call 507-412-1877 or 507-650-8990.

Presentations of Learning at ARTech

Click for Larger SizeStudents at Northfield School of Arts & Technology (ARTech) will be presenting their learning to the public on Thursday, March 23rd at 7:00 pm.  Students at ARTech complete their education through an individualized program of project-based learning and seminars. Presentation nights are the students' opportunity to share what they have learned with the community. This presentation night is the fourth of five public presentations of learning for the school year.

Projects to be presented by students in grades 6-12 will include "The Life of Nikola Tesla," "Buddhism: History, Philosophy & Rituals," and "Anthropomorphic Ethnology: Comparative Psychology & the Human-Animal Connection," among many others. For more information, visit the ARTech webpage at or call 663-8806.

Northfield 360: St. Olaf

"!{float:left; margin: 0 5px 5px 0;} View From Larson)!": Sometimes these things take a lot of work, sometimes they're just handed to you.

St. Olaf has done a full set of very well done VR panoramas for the more interesting spots on campus. You "can take the entire tour here":, but if you'd like the highlights, may I suggest...

* "Boe Chapel":, currently under construction.
* The "Rolvaag Library":
* And what everyone imagines when they look at it from a distance, "the view from on top of Larson Dormitory":

The VR movies requires Apple Quicktime.

Northfield Montessori Grows Into Its New Building

Northfield MontessoriIt’s been an exciting and busy year for Northfield Montessori.  The “parent/teacher cooperative,” as it calls itself, moved into a new building last September and will soon begin enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year.

The response to the new building has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Joy Mathews, the school’s assistant director. She and other school staff have been surprised at just how strong the public reaction has been.

The new building has made a “huge difference,” according to Mathews. “I still am amazed.” Staff reaction has been just as positive, boosting morale to still higher levels.

The building is a striking, multi-colored structure designed by Portfolio Design and built by Met-Con Companies of Faribault. The 15,000 square-foot structure is located on Highway 3 north of town and holds 186 students. It nearly doubles the capacity of the school’s old location, a 6,000-square-foot building on Highway 19 near Malt-O-Meal.

Northfield kids matter and so do their early childhood professionals!

Click for larger viewThe Northfield Early Childhood Initiative Coalition recently sponsored a luncheon for area Northfield Early Childhood Professionals.  The coalition wanted to say "Thank you!" for what they do in our community for children every day.  There was a great turn out at the Northfield Golf Club to hear speakers Judy Janish and Vicki Thrasher-Cronin.  Attendees also enjoyed networking time and a nice pasta buffet lunch.

Judy Janish (aka "Shirley from Dez Moines") humorously spoke about her experience working as a home daycare mom and in other kid crazy places.  She encouraged childcare workers to play more, play with the kids. They learn by playing but also need to be shown how to play. We don't need to spend so much time in "fast forward," we should all spend more time in rewind (reflect & be thankful), pause (rest, listen & look) and play (make good memories & laugh more)!

ARTech Open House, Monday March 13

Northfield School of Arts & Technology (ARTech) will host an open house on Monday March 13 at 7:00 pm. ARTech is a public, tuition-free charter school for students in grades 6-12. 

ARTech Grads - click for larger sizeSuccess as a student at ARTech often comes down to one thing as a student: the will to learn. Students who are passionate about learning have the opportunity to be taught how to direct their own learning at ARTech. The public is invited to come learn more about our program with an open house at 7:00 pm and program at 7:30 pm.

ARTech is now accepting applications for the 2006-2007 school year.  Find more information at

Olivia Frey of the Village School joins the Blogosphere

Olivia Frey, Director of the Village School of Northfield, has created a new weblog entitled Free Democratic Education.

Within her blog, she and other teachers at the Village School hope to post "radical discussions about education, learning, and reform in education."

The description of her blog further explains that posts will "..challenge readers to go to the root of our problems in our educational system, and offer a vision for transforming our schools and our thinking, in the process transforming society."

You can view her blog at . Welcome to the Blogosphere Olivia!

Is Minnesota "dropping the ball" in Education?

The StarTribune recently published an editorial that showcases the findings from our statewide poll of voters’ support for early education. Those polled stretched across geographic areas, party lines and socioeconomic strata. Overwhelmingly, they agreed that making sure all children in Minnesota enter kindergarten fully prepared is a top priority for the state to address now.

Northfield has an Early Childhood Initiative: a group of people who are committed to strengthening early childhood experiences in Northfield.  One third (1/3) of incoming Kindergarteners in Northfield are not prepared for kindergarten!  They have not learned basic concepts such as: under, over and through, colors, letter recongition or book skills (holding a book, opening it etc.) 

Concerned Citizens Oppose Cutting Elementary School Orchestra Program

At 7 p.m. last night at the Northfield High School media center, several dozen concerned students, parents, music educators and other community members appeared at an open work session of the Northfield School Board, and about a dozen spoke in passionate opposition to a budget proposal which would eliminate the elementary school orchestra program. The proposal is to shift the program to the Community Services Division, making it an after-school, fee-for-service program. Many of the speakers expressed their belief that this course of action would cut the string program at its roots, heralding the eventual demise of the entire program.

Kari Nelson, board chair, apologized for a scheduling conflict between the upcoming community hearing session on the budget proposals, to be held at the high school auditorium on March 9, and the middle school orchestra concert. She stated that when the meeting was set, it was not known that an issue of orchestra funding would be on the agenda. Zack Pelletier, elementary and middle school orchestra teacher, said that efforts were being made to reschedule the concert. Ms. Nelson urged all concerned citizens to feel free to contact board members by telephone, mail, or by e-mail via Superintendent Chris Richardson, and said that not being at this next meeting in person would not diminish their voices.

School District Announces Updated Website

Looking for up to date news about the Northfield Public Schools? The district released its updated website on February 13 providing more information and access points for parents, community residents and other visitors to the website.

Updated features include family access for food services accounts, a student health services page, websites for every school building and Community Services (Community Education and Recreation), and more current information on the “What’s New” page.

Also new are the parent resource page, student services page, and an “About Us” section that provides district boundary and registration information.  The website address is .

Syndicate content