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St. Paul begins the school year | News, Sports, Jobs

– Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

First graders from Heather Roethler’s St. Paul class visit the school library Friday afternoon.

St. Paul’s Lutheran School eased its students and staff into the new school year on the first day of school Tuesday.

“The first two days were short days for the kids to get back into the swing of things and the teachers to get back into the swing of things,” said manager Bruce Hartley. ” It went very well. Teachers and children dig in and immediately pick up the pace of things.

Enrollment at St. Paul has remained steady, Hartley said. This year, the school has 113 students, 32 of whom are preschoolers. The school has a preschool program for three-year-olds and four-year-olds, and also serves students from kindergarten through 8th grade.

Over the summer, classrooms at St. Paul underwent a technology upgrade with the installation of smart boards and wireless projectors to allow teachers to present lessons without being tied to a cord.

“They can do all kinds of more innovative and engaging lessons with what they have,” said Hartley.

This is Hartley’s second year as principal at St. Paul – before joining the staff, he worked in the Fort Dodge Community School District for several decades as a teacher and administrator. During his first year at the helm of St. Paul, Hartley had the enormous undertaking of the school’s re-accreditation process.

“We have obtained our accreditation in good standing with the National Accrediting Commission for Lutheran Schools”, he said.

A big part of student life at St. Paul is activity and athletics, Hartley said.

Last year, St. Paul started a soccer team, he said, but few students were interested. He said more were interested this year, so they brought him back and start their season.

The school also offers basketball, volleyball, track and field, and cheerleading. Students can also get involved in the FIRST LEGO League Jr. STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) club and learn about robotics and other STEM concepts.

St. Paul will celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week in January, which culminates Jan. 27 with the 44th Annual Western Iowa District Basketball Tournament.

Hartley is excited for what this school year has in store for us, he said.

“I hope to see St. Paul grow and that all of our students mature in their education and in their faith and that we can add more activities and more events to bring our families and the community into the school,” he said.

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