We are so glad you are considering Galtier Community School as an elementary school home for your child and family!
This page was created by parents of current Galtier students. We understand how overwhelming it can be to try to find the best fit for your child, and are offering our honest thoughts in the hope that it is helpful for you.
We found two things especially valuable during our own decision process (which involved consideration of A LOT of schools):
1. Tour the school. Principal Stibbins will show you around the school and speak firsthand about his vision for the students. You'll also see teachers and classes in action to really understand what a day in the life of a Galtier student looks like. You will visit our unique learning studios where students can be grouped by skill level rather than grade level. Call 651-293-8710 to set up a tour.
2. Talk to parents of current students. Send an email to our PTO at email@example.com to get connected with a parent who would be excited to speak with you or answer questions via email.
What makes Galtier different from other elementary schools?
Smaller school with strong community and a rich cultural fabric.
- With just over 230 students, the school feels like a family. This begins at the Pre-K level and extends through the 6th grade. When Principal Stibbins passes a student in the hallways, he greets them by name. Positive behavior intervention assures that children are supported in practicing constructive and helpful actions. Your child will be surrounded by caring adults in a warm and safe atmosphere.
- Current parent comment: "I attended my first Galtier monthly assembly when my Pre-K daughter won an award. She was very nervous! What I saw was a shy little girl receiving applause, shouts of encouragement, and smiles from students all the way through 5th grade. It was a really special moment for her."
- Current parent comment: "As an educator myself, I know how important "textbook" learning is. But as a proud resident of the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, I also know how vital it is for the future of our community that our children learn to respect, value and appreciate the things that make each person unique. My daughter has had the opportunity to develop important social skills that will be crucial to her ability to make a positive difference in our increasingly global world."
Unique classroom learning studios.
- In 2014 the interior of Galtier was completely transformed, thanks to a partnership with Target, The Heart of America Foundation and the American Architectural Foundation. Kate Wilcox-Harris, assistant superintendent, said about the 2014 transformation: "We want to shift the culture in the school district and think about how to accomplish three things: Tailor instruction and learning supports closer to students, then add students' voices to give them more choice in their learning, and engage students in a technology-rich environment." Galtier is on the leading edge of that change. "A key aspect of personalized learning is creating flexible learning environments that become the third teacher. So not only are materials and teachers a part of learning, but so is the space itself" says Wilcox-Harris.
- Current parent comment: "To be honest, a lot of schools talk about individualized learning - both for the students who need additional help and for those who are identified as gifted and talented. I understand it in theory, but Galtier is the only place I've really seen it in practice. Two kindergarten classes and two first grade classes share a flexible space, and that continues with grades 2 & 3 and 4 & 5. This means that my son gets to work ahead with teachers and peers in the next grade up when he needs to, and his peers in the next grade up can join small groups in his grade to get extra help when they need it."
Thoughtfully integrated technology.
- Galtier has: more than 100 computers with wireless Internet connections; smart boards in each classroom with advanced teacher stations equipped with built-in speakers, teacher and student microphones; and iPads available for every student.
- Teachers leverage apps to stay connected to families. Parents may receive messages from their teacher, pictures of the classroom taken by a teacher, and pictures or videos of their child's work taken by the children themselves. It's a great way to feel like we are part of the classroom, and it's so fun to see how excited our children are to document and talk about their work!
- Current parent comment: "I was concerned that technology would be used as a substitute for quality instruction, but that concern has proven inconsequential. When I visited the school I saw a kindergarten classroom speaking via video conference with a kindergarten class in Chicago. It was a weather unit, and the kids in each class were asking each other questions about the weather and showing each other what it looked like out their window, while the kids attempted to identify the location of the other class. It made the learning real and exciting!"
- Current parent comment: "My kindergartener has a classmate reading at a third grade level. With the interactive app that they use to support teacher instruction around reading, each child is challenged at the level that's just right for them. It also means that my son can extend his classroom learning by reading to me via the app we've loaded onto our iPad at home. My son needed more advanced options for math, and has been able to start multiplication on an app that his teacher is using just with him."
How do I enroll?
The Saint Paul School District is a large one, and it can be a bit confusing to know exactly how to enroll. We recommend calling the Student Placement Center directly at 651-632-3700 to get your questions answered. They are very helpful!
What specialists does Galtier offer?
Galtier currently has specialists in science, physical education and music. An embedded arts curriculum ensures that art is incorporated into several components of your child's day. Galtier also offers ELL and special education resources.
What about the test scores?
As parents willing to do some research to find the best school for our children, we found it challenging that the only quantitative data available is test scores. While test scores reflect students' learning in very specific areas and ability to succeed in taking standardized tests, there is a lot that they don't show. The things about Galtier that you won't see reflected in facts and figures are its exceptionally strong environment for vital lifelong skills such as empathy, tenacity, resilience and community. Our advice is to tour the school to see the unique environment firsthand, rather than trying to make a decision based only on facts on a page.
What are the students like?
Wonderful! (At least we think so). Students are reflective of the community where they live, and the community they will experience in middle and high school in St. Paul.