Elementary Family Resources

Elementary students study a rigorous curriculum based in science, geography, arithmetic, geometry, language, grammar, and history that follow the outline of Maria Montessori's five Great Lessons. Children pursue their own interests and challenges within this curriculum, developing a love of learning through accomplishing meaningful work.

For general questions about the elementary program, contact Jean Peters, Elementary Program Director, at jpeters@greatriverschool.org. 

Elementary F.A.Q.

Q. What are the school day hours? How does attendance work?
School begins at 8:30am and is released at 3:10pm. If students arrive late at school before 8:40am, they will be marked tardy. Arrivals after 8:40am require a late pass from the office. If the office hasn't heard by 9am to expect your student's absence , all listed parents in Powerschool will receive an automated attendance call. To report an absent or late student, call 651-305-2780 or email attendance@greatriverschool.org. 


Q. Which guide is in which classroom? What are the names of the classrooms?
A. We've named our elementary classrooms after rivers and creeks in Minnesota. We currently have 6 lower elementary and 6 upper elementary learning environments.

Lower Elementary
St. Croix River - Nadine Wetzel Curtis / Julian Noble
Zumbro River - Emily Bower / Lindy Erdman
Minnehaha River - Rachel Cupps / Elizabeth Woods
Minnesota River - Jenna Lafin / Sonja Olson
Spring Brook - Jessy Fabel / Ellen Brand
Rice Creek - Nadine McNiff (level lead)/ Jennifer Nelson
Upper Elementary
Shingobee River - Amanda O’Dowd / Alaina Szostkowski (level lead)
Little Elk River - John Albright / Seth Wait
Otter Tail River - Bailey Taylor / Seth Wait
Crow Wing River - Matt Brossart / Meggie Exner
Blue Earth River - Andrea Galdames
Swan River - Eric McBride


Q. What are key experiences? What key experiences will my student go on?
A. Key experiences are a *key* part of the Great River experience! All students, fourth grade and up, go on overnight camping with their peers and teachers. These trips are level-specific and frequently, the students' highlight of the year. All upper elementary students will embark on a four-night trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN. You can check out the Wolf Ridge packing list in the "Quick Links" section at the top of this page. 

Q. How can I get more involved with the school and meet other GRS families?
A. Our Parent Engagement Group was made just for that! Your lower elementary classroom ambassadors are Jennifer Gessner (St. Croix), Tia Keobounpheng (Rice Creek), Andrea Ledger (Minnesota), Lesley Mairin (Spring Brook), Liz Lull (Zumbro), and Rachel Damiani (Minnehaha). Your upper elementary classroom ambassadors are Heather Thomas (Little Elk), Jessica Knight (Otter Tail), Cat Rysavy (Swan),  Jen Newburg (Shingobee & Crow Wing), Karen Solas (Blue Earth). Ambassadors can be reached at peg@greatriverschool.org.

Q. How do I stay up-to-date with Great River news?
A. We send out a monthly school-wide newsletter (usually on the first Monday of the month), occasional lower adolescent-specific communications via email, and urgent communications via text message and phone calls.  In order to effectively communication with you, we need your current contact information! Here's a video showing you how to update your contact information in Powerschool.

Q. I have a question and I don't know who to contact. Help!
A. Check out this "Who-To-Call" chart  or email office@greatriverschool.org. We'll try our best to help you!

Q. Do you offer school meals?
We sure do! In our recent construction, we built a brand-spanking-new commercial kitchen and are excited to offer nutritious, locally-sourced, hot meals, starting Fall 2018. We are also starting our brand new coffee shop —- feel free to come eat, drink, & enjoy! For more information on our lunch program and how to order food, click here!

Q. How do I check my student's grades, attendance, and progress?
A. Great River uses Powerschool software to track elementary students' attendance. You can click here for a video on gaining Powerschool access. Elementary families will receive mailed progress reports twice a year. 

Q. Do you provide transportation for students?
A. Yes! We partner with Twin Cities German Immersion School to provide elementary families with bussing. To read more about transportation, click here.

Q. How can I contact my student's guides?
A. Email is our preferred mode of communication (click here for the staff directory). Guides do not have classroom phones and typically cannot be reached during the day. If you have an immediate need, contact the Front Office at office@greatriverschool.org or 651-305-2780.