By Sarah CR Clark

Murray Middle School

On-Site Support program

Murray Middle School’s On-Site Support program, which began Feb. 22, is designed to provide in-person connections to school while classes are being held remotely. Each student is assigned one day per week for a morning session of academic and/or social-­emotional on-site support from licensed teachers. The program is offered to all students and the vast majority of students are participating, according to Principal Jamin McKenzie.

“We were so very excited to be welcoming our Pilots as they entered our door for the first time this year, and many of them for the first time ever,” McKenzie said. “As class supports got underway, you could just feel the positive energy coming from our Murray teachers.”

Classroom partners

Murray Middle School and the University of Minnesota have joined forces to create a new program called Classroom Partners. Currently, more than 60 U of M students—and a few staff members—are joining classrooms (virtually, at the time of the Bugle’s press deadline) to academically support middle school students. Ideally, every classroom will be able to host a classroom partner, McKenzie said.

Cheryl Olman, an associate psychology professor at the University of Minnesota and a St. Anthony Park resident, tutored for Murray’s Pilot One-on-One program, which no longer exists due to a loss of funding. Olman suggested a U of M partnership, as a replacement, to McKenzie.

“I hope it grows into a sustainable relationship that benefits both institutions,” Olman said.

McKenzie added, “Our goal is to continue to strengthen this partnership and, in the end, help prepare our young Pilots for success in high school and beyond.”

St. Anthony Park Elementary School

A special thank you!

A personal note from Principal Karen Duke: “A huge thank you to all of the families and community members who volunteered to help out with our return to school. (In-person classes resumed on Feb. 1 for kindergarten to second graders and Feb. 15 for third to fifth graders.)

“We had a huge crew of people standing on corners outside in the dark to help direct traffic on foot and in vehicles, helping everyone get to school safely. It has been a joy to have students back in the building. We have about 365 students here in person and 160 still in online classes.”

St. Anthony Park School Association

During this unusual school year, the St. Anthony Park School Association has found new ways to support its school community, hosting community-building virtual events and service projects.

One recent service project benefited the local organization My Very Own Bed, which provides new beds and linens to children whose families have recently secured housing. SAPSA collected 37 homemade fleece-tie blankets.

“One of the unique challenges of the moment has been to keep the school community together now that there are some students (studying) in person while others are schooling remotely,” association president Bryn Manion said. “SAPSA has hosted virtual bingo games, geocaching scavenger hunts and crafting times for students and their families.

“Looking forward, we will be helping our students connect as pen pals with each other (matching remote learners with in-person learners) this spring,” Manion added.

SAPSA plant sale

The annual SAPSA plant sale is scheduled for May 4 to 6 at Langford Park, 30 Langford Park. Pre-ordered plants can be picked up on May 4. The walk-up plant sale will be May 5 and 6.

Patrons can preorder their plants from March 24 to April 7 (Visit for links and directions).

Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance contributor to the Bugle.

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