Talk of the District

with Denise Pontrelli, Superintendent
Denise Pontrelli

Talk of the District is where you will find monthly updates from our superintendent Denise Pontrelli.  If you have comments, concerns, or questions, Ms. Pontrelli can be reached via email at pontrellid@stillwaterschools.org.

The start of a new school year is always an exciting time for students, teachers, staff, and parents anxious to get their children back into a routine.

The start of the 2017-2018 school year is even more exciting than usual for those of us in the Stillwater Area Public Schools. Not only will we be welcoming back more than 8,300 students for a great year of learning, but we’ll be doing so in a variety of beautiful new learning spaces - thanks to our residents who supported a bond in May 2015.

After two years of construction and remodeling across the district, the vast majority of the bond projects are coming to an end. Nearly 212,000 square feet of new learning spaces have been added, and another 28,500 square feet of spaces have been remodeled. Students will benefit from new and/or renovated learning spaces at Stillwater Area High School (SAHS) and Oak-Land Middle School; HVAC systems have been updated at Afton-Lakeland, Lake Elmo, Lily Lake, Oak Park, Oak-Land and Stillwater Middle; Special Education spaces have been enhanced at several building, and a new elementary school has been constructed.

Students and academics were truly at the heart of the bond projects, with new spaces designed to support grade reconfiguration and create equitable learning environments across the district. The bond also allowed us to address capacity issues - with growth in the south and under-utilization of schools in north and central part of the district - and expand access to athletic facilities to students and our community.

Brookview Elementary School
On August 28 we will be opening the doors to a brand new elementary school in Woodbury. This is the first time since 1998 that we’ve opened a new elementary school, and we can hardly wait to see the faces of kids and staff alike as they enter the building for the first time. Brookview is a beautiful, bright and welcoming building which has been designed with kids in mind. It will be home to a diverse and vibrant community of about 500 students in preschool through fifth grade.

The school is located right across from Eagle Brook Church, off of Brookview Road. This is the first Stillwater Area Public School to be built in Woodbury, and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and welcome from the community. Approximately 1,200 Woodbury students attend Stillwater area schools, and we’ve been told time and again how happy residents are to see Pony pride spreading to the south side of our district.

We invite you to celebrate the opening of this new school during a Community Open House on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.. The event will kick-off with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by tours of the school. Come meet the staff, students and families of Brookview and see all that the building has to offer students now and into the future.

Stillwater Area High School and Pony Activity Center
The first day of school will also be the very first time an entire class of ninth graders will enter our high school. Stillwater Area High School (SAHS) has been expanded and remodeled to make room for our ninth graders, enhance our science labs, expand common areas, improve circulation of students in the hallways, and update various other spaces. More than 20 new classrooms have been added to the school, along with bright and welcoming common areas and flexible spaces for students to meet to collaborate on projects or socialize between classes.

The new Pony Activity Center (PAC) attached to the high school will not only provide necessary spaces for physical education and student athletics, but will be open for community use as well. The PAC features a large cardio room and a weight room overlooking Pony Stadium, four new gym floors and a walking track. Learn more about membership opportunities at the PAC, which start at just $10 per month, at stillwaterschools.org/PAC.

The Community Open House for SAHS and the PAC will be part of the Homecoming 2017 celebration. A ribbon cutting will be held on Friday, Sept. 15 at 4 p.m., followed by  student-led tours of the new spaces. A community-wide Homecoming Carnival will take place that same evening from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Come tour the high school and stay for carnival games, concessions and fun. Stick around for the homecoming football game, which kicks off at 7 p.m.

We have a lot to celebrate and be proud of this year, and we are grateful to our community for their continued support of Stillwater Area Public Schools. Together we are Stillwater Strong and Pony Proud.

Enjoy the last weeks of summer and we’ll see you this fall!