2022-2023 Family Updates

  • Farnsworth Aerospace

    PreK-4 Family Update

    March-April 2023

    Contact Information:

    1290 Arcade Street

    Saint Paul, MN 55106

    Office: 651-293-8675

    Attendance Line:  651-744-4313



    Monthly Principal Message from Principal Vang:


    Dear Farnsworth Lower Families,


    Spring parent-teacher conference time is fast approaching.  We will be having a combination of in-person and virtual conferences like last Fall.  Conferences are a time to meet with your child’s teacher to hear how your child is progressing in their learning and to express any concerns. 


    Your child’s teacher will be sending home conference slips with dates and times for your child’s conference.  Please look for the conference slip from your child’s teacher. Reach out to your child’s teacher or the office for any further questions.   


    The following are the conference dates and time. 


    • March 21: 5-8 pm – In-Person Conferences

    • March 23: 5 – 8 pm – Virtual Conferences

    • March 24: 9-3 pm In- person (morning) and Virtual (afternoon)


    Specialists (Phy Ed, Art, STEAM, Science and Social Studies) will be located in the gym to visit with families during in person conferences. They will also be available online during virtual conferences.


    We will have a table in the hallway, during conferences, that will have our SCIP updates.  Please stop by before or after the conference to see what your child has been learning.

    We hope to see many families attending!


    We have several vacancies at Farnsworth Lower that we are looking to fill.   The vacancies are:  a Lead Clerk and a Clerk Typist II, a TA1 and TA2, Grade 3 teacher, and a Special Education Teacher. If you know anyone who is interested in one of these positions, they can reach out to me at christine.vang@spps.org . These positions are also posted on Saint Paul Public Schools' Human Resource website.  


    The safety of our students is a critical aspect of everything that we do in school.  We are always evaluating our procedures and practices.  I would like to remind our families to please check your child’s backpack, talk with students and remind them that there are certain things that need to remain at home.


    Summer School Enrollment starts March 15 and priority registration deadline is April 15, 2023. Summer Learning Programs help students strengthen academic and social emotional learning skills.  Programs are free and include: Academic Support and Enrichment, Breakfast and Lunch and transportation is available for most students who reside in Saint Paul.


    Due to the weather, the Sinfonia Orchestra has been rescheduled to Tuesday, May 16. We are excited that our students will have this wonderful opportunity to participate in music and hear from the Sinfonia Orchestra.  Families are welcome to join.  The schedule is as follows. 


    • 10:15-10:55am (4th, 2nd, K, PreK)

    • 11-11:40am (1st, 3rd)


    Our 3rd and 4th graders will be taking the MCA test in April.  The dates for the 2022-23 MCA are as follows:

    • Tuesday & Wednesday, April 18 & 19, 2023 for Math

    • Tuesday & Wednesday, April 25 & 26 for Reading

    • Make up dates will be the following days after the MCAs.


    As we get closer to the assessment window, more information will be shared with students and families. 











    Counselor Update:

    Starting in March, our weekly classroom lessons will be focusing on careers and postsecondary opportunities. Yes, elementary school is not too early to start exploring these topics! We love seeing our students express their interests, skills, and connect what they are learning to what they want to be when they grow up. Looking to continue these conversations with your child? As you are out and about in the community, notice what jobs people are doing. Talk about what kind of training or education a person might need in order to do that job. 


    Friendly reminder to make sure your kiddos are coming to school EVERY DAY unless they are sick. Please contact the attendance line at 651-744-4313 and leave a message to ensure their absence gets excused.


    As always, please reach out if you have any questions/concerns. 



    ~Ms. Emily Spofford, Licensed School Counselor         ~Ms. Sheryl Kuznia, Licensed School Counselor

    Grades K (Mellstrom and Brown), 1, and 4               Grade 2

    P: 651-603-4669 E: emily.spofford@spps.org            P: 651-293-8675 E: sheryl.kuznia@spps.org


    ~Ms. Abby Whalen, Licensed School Counselor

    Grades K (Venegas and Yakovlev) & 3

    P: 612-564-9265 E: abigail.whalen@spps.org 

    Specialists Update:


    In STEAM, we are continuing our current units through April 14, 2023.

    Kindergarten Programmers are practicing their coding skills as they learn about computers and code real robots.

    1st grade Civil Engineers and Solar Scientists are learning about the sun’s heat and creating a shelter to protect from the sun’s rays.

    2nd grade Scientists are discovering how landscapes change and how people can protect themselves.

    3rd grade Aerospace Engineers are exploring rockets and rovers and designing a rocket.

    4th grade Aeronautical Engineers are testing how different objects move through the air and designing models of flying technologies.


    Social Studies

    Our first, second and third grade friends in Social Studies are learning about timelines during this rotation, with our Kindergarten and fourth grade friends learning about maps! We’re taking dives into the history of China’s second dynasty, the Shang, the history of the Hisatsinom (Ancestral Puebloan) people, the continuing story of the Dakota and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people, and the contemporary history of the Hmong people in Minnesota. We’re also exploring how we are personally tied to the history of our state through our families and through the artifacts we use in our daily lives.


    The leadership wall now features some new faces for Women’s History Month, like the famous Hmong woman General Qin Liangyu (shown at left), Yup’ik midwife and healer of victims of abuse Olga Arrsamquq, pioneering African-American female lawyer and Civil Rights activist Lutie A Lytle, Eritrean freedom fighter and labor activist Askalu Menkerios, and teenage novelist Faina Savenkova from war-torn Donbass. I look forward to sharing their stories and inviting friends in our social studies class to share stories of capable and courageous women that they know!


    Phy Ed

    Students have had some time in the gym this winter to enjoy the climbing wall, scooters and cooperative game activities.  Both basketball and volleyball are the mini units we are working on in March and April.  The students seem to really enjoy participating in both of these units.  We will look forward to starting our fitness unit and activities we do outside at the end of April.  


    The art room is bustling with a lot of creativity!  The 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders are exploring the sewing studio this rotation!  They are learning how to thread a needle and do some basic stitches.  They have been really proud of themselves!  The PreK, Kindergarten and 1st graders are getting a chance to test out the printmaking studio.  As the year progresses students can choose to work from any of the previous studios- architecture (blocks, legos, magna-tiles…), painting, drawing, collage, media arts (apple pencils, Sketches School, Stop Motion apps), play-doh and modeling clay.  

    Tips for talking to your students about their art

     -Ask them questions! “What materials did you use?”, “How did you come up with that idea?”, “What studios did you work at in the art room?”.  

    -What to do with artwork that comes home?  Save some special favorites, but for the ones you can’t keep, take a photo.  Older students are in the habit of taking pictures of their work on SeeSaw or Schoology, but they could snap a photo for a home device, or text a picture to a special adult.  Remember they are bringing home student-led work so it might not look mature yet, but the process is more important than the final product right now.  



    4th grade students are learning about magnets and electrical circuits. We will be making a circuit with a switch and an electromagnet.

    3rd grade students are learning about how environmental factors influence the traits of plants and animals.

    1st grade students are learning about living and nonliving things and what plants and animals need to survive.

    To prepare for an upcoming project this Fall. We are collecting EMPTY kleenex boxes from now until the Fall. If you have any to donate, please send them to school with your child or drop them off in our office. Thank you! 

     Reading Tip:

    Aerospace Update: 

    STEAM Career Day

    Last month, all students worked in teams as Safety Engineers to create a moon lander to safely land their ‘astronauts’ on the moon. Safety Engineers are:

    •  Responsible for keeping people free from danger. 

    •  Keep us safe on roller coasters, airplanes, and anything designed for use by humans. 

    •  Inspect machinery and provide rules to keep our technology safe. 

    STEAM Community Opportunities

    Bell Museum March Star Party- Friday, March 31   8:30pm-10:00pm

    This event is FREE, but families must register here.


    Como Planetarium Shows      $6 per person over age 2

    • March 21, 5:30 pm Spring Skies pre-K

    We begin SPRING! Celebrate our seasonal constellations and enjoy some hands-on activities about what we observe in our spring sky! This program is designed for pre-K children and their families. REGISTER


    • March 21, 7:00 pm Spring Skies 

    Look up! Let's explore our season and the return of more sunlight with planetarium views and a film. This program is designed for general audiences. REGISTER


    • April 18th, 5:30 Our Solar System and NASA Missions pre-K

    Take a tour of our nearest neighbors- the planets! Explore the solar system and everything in between through the lens of NASA’s historical missions. REGISTER


    • April 18th, 7:00 Our Solar System and NASA Missions 

    Take a tour of our nearest neighbors- the planets! Explore the solar system and everything in between through the lens of NASA’s historical missions. This program is designed for people of all ages. REGISTER


    • May 2nd, 7:00 pm Summer Skies

    What is in the sky for summer? Explore the events to watch this summer with our planetarium. We will guide you through what to look for, and where and when to watch astronomical events of the summer. Take a sneak peek at the sky with the planetarium.  REGISTER


    Metro State University First Saturday Science Events (Free)

    These free events take place on the first Saturday of every month. Events usually take place from 12:00-2:00pm. To join their email list for upcoming events contact them at first.saturday.science@metrostate.edu . More information here


    Space Exploration Educators Conference  (SEEC)/Teacher Air Camp

    Last month 5 teachers from both campuses attended a Space Educators Conference in Houston, Texas. Mrs. Brown and Mr. Ryan from Lower Campus, have brought back new ideas to incorporate STEAM into our classrooms! This Summer, Mr. Wangen, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. McQuade will be joining staff from Upper Campus in Dayton, OH for Teacher Air Camp in hopes to continue growing/updating our STEAM curriculum. 


    SeaLife Overnight

    We had 100 people attend our Kindergarten/1st grade SeaLife Overnight events this winter. Thank you Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Venegas and Mrs. Yakovlev for attending and representing Farnsworth Lower. 


    Oshkosh Overnight Camp

    40 Fourth Graders are heading to Oshkosh, WI for EAA Aviation Camp in May. Confirmation letters and information about parent meeting options will go home with students on Thursday, March 9th. 


    Calling All Volunteers

    We are looking for volunteers to help out in various ways. Some things we need help with are: grading papers, hanging up work in the hallways, cutting out stars with our cutting machine, preparing kites for kindergarten in June, lunchroom duty supervision, and helping us prepare for our school carnival. If you’re interested in any of the following, please reach out to your child’s teacher or Allison McQuade (contact information below)


    Questions? Contact Allison McQuade at  allison.mcquade@spps.org   651-744-2302


    Flight Simulators

    Fourth graders have been flying many places this school year with Ms. Saunders-Pearce. They’ve flown in Wyoming, Missouri, Saint Paul, and New York City. They’ve learned how to navigate their aircraft and how to take off. They will fly all over the world this year and learn how to land this spring. 


    Earth Day- Story Book Walk

    The week of April 17th, you may notice a Story Book Walk outside Farnsworth Lower. Students will be walking around our school, reading pages from the book, Earth! Families are welcome to take a book walk around our school any time throughout the week as well (weather permitting). There will be another story book walk this spring as well. Keep on the lookout! What a fun way to get outside and learn. 


    FSO Update: Farnsworth School Organization (PTA) 

    FSO (Farnsworth School Organization) serves as the PTO group of Farnsworth Aerospace PreK-8. 

    We are dedicated to enhancing the educational experience of our future leaders by providing academic, financial, and volunteer support. FSO meets monthly throughout the school year between both campuses. Our next Lower Campus specific meeting is Monday, April 17 at 6pm on Zoom. We will have a combined Upper and Lower Campus meeting on Monday, June 5. Anyone can attend FSO: parents, caregivers, grandparents, teachers, staff, students, and community members. Your voice at the table matters. Join us on Zoom at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2012901000 -- there is no password this year, we are using a waiting room to let meeting attendees in, there may be a brief wait.

     Get in touch! Do you want to participate in FSO but can't come to a meeting? Have a question or idea for an upcoming agenda? Do you have dreams and ideas about ways to continue to build our community at Farnsworth Lower? Let us know! Send an email to fsofarnsworthaerospace@gmail.com and one of us will be in touch: Kate Makosky (FSO chair), Maria Barrett (treasurer), and Keesha Pfeifer (secretary). 

     Thank you! Our Book-O-Rama fundraiser in December was a great success! We raised $330 from our Book Sale! Thank you everyone who supported our students and school. This money is going towards our bouncy houses for Farnsworth Fun Day and Carnival!

    Getting Ready For The Spring Carnival on Friday, June 2! 

    • Volunteer! We are looking for helpers with ideas and supplies for carnival-style games, connections to food trucks, and/or are willing to help run a game or booth. Email fsofarnsworthaerospace@gmail.com if you are interested - we will set up a time to meet in March. 

    • Donations! We are taking bottled soda donations for our upcoming carnival this spring. Any size bottles are welcome! We would like to have a variety of 2 Liter bottles, 16oz, and 20oz. Donations can be dropped off in our office. The soda will be used as a game/prize for families. Thank you!

    Farnsworth Aerospace Important Dates:



    1- 2nd Grade to The Works Museum

    2- Koosmann/Ryan to the Como Planetarium

    3- Xiong/Zachary to the Como Planetarium

    7- Erickson to the Como Planetarium

    8- Brown/Mellstrom to the Como Planetarium

    10- No School; Conference Prep Day

    13- Wangen/Tschida to the Como Planetarium

    13- FSO Upper Campus Only

    15- Yakovlev/Venegas to the Como Planetarium

    20- 2nd Grade to the Dodge Nature Center

    21- Conferences 5-8pm in person/Oshkosh Parent Meeting Option 1

    23- Conferences 5-8pm virtual

    24- No School; Conferences (morning in person, afternoon virtual)



    3-7 No School; Spring Break

    14- Raptor Center visits Kindergarten and PreK

    17- Lower Campus FSO Meeting (Virtual and In-Person options) 6pm

    17-Oshkosh Parent Meeting Option 3

    20- Earth Day Celebration at Farnsworth

    21- No School; Teacher Professional Development Day

    28- 2nd Grade Field Trip to the Bell Museum


    **3rd and 4th grade students will be taking the MCA Tests  in April

    Check out all of these dates and more on our new website calendar! www.spps.org/farnsworthlower

    *Note: Farnsworth Lower and Upper now have separate websites

    All school documents can be translated or interpreters made available upon request




    Todos los documentos pueden ser traducidos o interpretados oralmente si usted lo solicita 





     Tej ntaub ntawv tom tsev kawm ntawv uas xa los rau nej, peb yuav pab txhais thiab nrhiav neeg txhais lus rau nej yog nej hais qhia peb





    "Dhammaan dukumiintiyada iskuulka waa la turjumi karaa ama waxaa la heli karaa turjumaan haddii la codsado"


    Karen (Due to formatting this translation is pasted in as an image)