New faces grace Milaca Elementary

Welcome back! We look forward to another year of working and learning together.

I would like to begin with a “thank you” to the custodial staff. The building looks fantastic! We are treated well by our custodians and summer helpers.

We have several new faces at Milaca Elementary School. Our new staff include: Jill Vivant (first grade), Jenny Wihlm (second grade), Jackie Barland (kindergarten), Rachel Forker (kindergarten), Aaron Samuel (special education), Karrie Anderson (art), Ben Huhta (music), Lauren Johnson (special education) and Megan Prince (paraprofessional). We are in the process of hiring a music teacher, a Title I teacher, a physical education teacher, a media paraprofessional and a special education paraprofessional.

We would also like to welcome our new Minnesota Reading Corps members, Gretchen Ploeger, Nicole James and Jane Ferber. Reading Corps is a statewide initiative to help every child become a successful reader by the end of third grade. Nicole and Jane will work with students in grades K-3 and Gretchen will work with students in preschool during the 2014-2015 school year.

Each year brings not only new faces, but new programs as well. Milaca Elementary School will be introducing a program to support parents and their preschool children spending time reading together, called STAR (Sit Together And Read) Reading Club. This program will focus on: exposing children to vocabulary using developmentally appropriate books, supporting reading at home with high-interest incentives, and working with parents on how to help improve early literacy skills through reading and meaningful interactions with text.

Steve Voshell
Steve Voshell

Preschool families will receive a monthly reading activity calendar. Students will be given a book each school day to take home and read with a family member. Students will return completed reading calendars to receive a charm for their STAR necklace. STAR necklaces will be displayed in classrooms and can be worn during reading activities.

Our plan is to expand STAR Reading Club into kindergarten next school year. Over the next four years, STAR Reading Club will be available to all students in preschool through second grade.

Reading Recovery is another new program at Milaca Elementary School. Reading Recovery is a literacy intervention program for first-grade students struggling to read. Ms. Welch, our Reading Recovery teacher, will work one-on-one with students qualifying for the program.

Remember: Reading with a child 20 minutes each day (outside of school) can mean the difference between reading at grade level and struggling with reading for years.

We are excited to be back and can’t wait to get the school year started!