_This week’s column is a conglomeration of statistics and information about Maple Lake School District 881. The full page spread “Preparing for Success at School” published in the Messenger on August 22nd provided background information and my conversations with a variety of folks at both schools added more data. I also v i s i t e d www.maplelake.k12.mn.us to do a bit of research. It is not intended to be comprehensive and has information I found interesting. There will be about 390 grade school students and 450 high school students attending classes this year with about 45 students having transferred to Maple Lake Schools. The exact numbers fluctuate a bit at the start of the year for a variety of reasons. According to the school’s staff directory there are four people in administration, nine office staff, 22 folks working in special services, 10 special education employees, 21 elementary school teachers, 22 secondary instructional staff, 28 para-professional staff, six plant operation and maintenance workers, 10 people who work in the cafeterias and seven members of the Board of Education. I did the math and found staff and students number nearly a thousand people. Fun Fact: there are over 500 cities in Minnesota with populations less than one thousand, according to www.minnesotademographics. com. Six new elementary staff members and six new high school staff have come to work at our schools this year. There is at least one student teacher from St Cloud State assigned to the elementary school. I had a chance to talk with him at the Irish Kickoff and he is eager to learn as many of the ropes as he can. I will be interviewing him for a column when he nears the end of his basic training. High School Principal David Hanson told me about a very generous gift to the school made over the summer. An anonymous donor provided the funds for repainting the high school gym and installing new scoreboards. The painting is done and the new scoreboards have been ordered. How cool is that? Another way of supporting our student athletes is to attend games and cheer them on. Regular season ticket prices, hockey excluded, are a bargain at $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for students and $4.00 for senior citizens for each event. The deal gets even better if you buy a multiple use ticket which gets you into 15 events; adults $60, students $30 and $30 for seniors. On the other side of the coin are the student activities fees. Seventh and 8th grade students pay $90 for each sport and extracurricular activity with an individual max of $200. Ninth through 12th sports and activities cost $115 per activity with a third activity at $58. The family maximum fee for students in both levels is $500 and there are provisions for help if needed. Cafeteria Manager Chef Ryan Highberg reminded me that the cafeteria is open to the public for both breakfast and lunch every school day. Good food at great prices and not just for Grandparents Day in October. Breakfast for an adult costs $2.15 and lunch is $3.75 with the option to order an extra entree for $2 more if you are really hungry. Breakfast is served in both the elementary and high school cafeterias from 7:45 am to 8:10 and lunch is available from 11a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Different entrees are served each day of the week and all the fruits and vegetables you want are included. The high school cafeteria has more selections than the elementary but everyone is welcome at either site. Be sure to bring one dollar bills and quarters for the cashier. Chef Ryan assured me seating is always available and even offered his office if every seat in the cafeteria is taken. Welcome to the 2018-19 school year.
Pictured: Both gymnasiums at the school were just recently repainted from a generous donor who wants to remain anonymous.