The electric scoreboard that was on the old softball field was moved to the new diamonds, and two new scoreboards were installed.
The only items so far that have incurred costs are the tar and the scoreboards. All other aspects of the field have been donated and completed by the volunteers.
Redemske said, “Without volunteers, we’d be lost.”
The effort to complete these ball fields was put on hold due to various issues since its beginning in 2009. The majority of the work was completed in the summer of 2010, and the fields were originally planned to be used by summer 2011. But a rainy spring and summer were just the beginning of some added bumps along the way.
There are still some things that need completion within the complex. The water filtration system needs to be tested to ensure good drinking water, a holding tank system needs to be put into place, and a decision will be made on whether to use portable or permanent bathroom facilities.
Among future plans to raise funds for final completion of the Irish Diamonds, a Minnesota Sports
Federation Tournament tied in with three straight days of baseball is being planned. Local businesses once again are asked to donate prizes, and lots more volunteers will need to put in some time for additional activities, construction, and other miscellaneous projects.
Reflecting back and looking ahead
High School Principal Andy Almos and
Elementary Principal Kris Harlan said there are many new things in place and lots to look forward to in the near future.
In the elementary, a program called Monday Munchers has been added and is getting positive feedback from the students. Once a month, the students and staff are invited to try a new food during their lunch hour. Those who do the taste test get a sticker on their hand and then classroom teachers report the percentage of participation afterwards. One class at each grade level is awarded monthly for the highest participation. The purpose of Monday Munchers is to introduce new, healthy food options for kids.
The S. M. A. R. T. room has also been created in the elementary that has been quite a success. S. M. A. R. T. stands for Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training. This program provides a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning that is designed to develop and enhance the critical readiness skills students need to succeed in school. It is a program based on brain research that shows kids enter school without psychological/neurological readiness skills. This program was brought to the attention of Maple Lake Elementary through kindergarten teacher Annie Jost.
Staff member Becky Nies has introduced and become the program coordinator of Connecting Links which has just begun its training for mentors within the community.
The Connecting Links program provides a mentoring opportunity between an adult volunteer and an identified student in need. The relationship is intended to nurture the academic, social, and/or emotional aspects of these students, resulting in a positive environment at home and in school.
“I am thrilled with these accelerating programs and the staff that is always looking for and willing to embrace new things to improve instruction,” Harlan said.
There has also been a lot accomplished in the past year. The MCA test results were well-received from the 2011 spring testing session. The district celebrated the fact that all grades, 3-6, scored above the state average in both math and reading. Also, 3rd and 4th grade math and 5th grade reading scores were the highest compared to the 15 other schools in the athletic conference and special education cooperative.
In addition, there has been Irish athletic success, with both the varsity football and girls’ varsity volleyball teams making it to state last fall. Almos said it is unique to see two teams from the same school get to the state tournaments in the same season.
And thus far, it’s been a good school year in Maple Lake.
“The year has gone very well,” said Almos. “With good students and good teachers put together, good things happen. The school district is fortunate to retain the families we have because they have given us great kids.”