2022-2023 Family Updates

  • Farnsworth Aerospace 

    PreK-4 Family Update

                    January-February 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,


    Happy New Year! 


    I hope you and your families had a wonderful winter break. The school family newsletter will be published bi-monthly for the remainder of the school year, so please continue to keep an eye out for that moving forward.


    Our open house for prospective families is on Wednesday, January 25th from 10 am – 12:00 pm. An open house is a great opportunity to learn more about our school, visit classrooms, meet staff, and discover programs, activities and services offered to students.  Please share this information with prospective families who are interested in learning more about Farnsworth. Families who are unable to attend on January 25th can call the office to schedule a personal tour at a date and time that works for them.


    I want to thank all the families for taking an active role in your child’s education. Through a strong home-school partnership, we can help each Farnsworth Lower student reach their full potential. That partnership continues to show each day as I see parents volunteering in the building. Whether they are assisting with a classroom project, coordinating and facilitating the Book-o-Rama book sale, attending a field trip, or performing any other duties around the school – your presence is felt. Thank you.


    Just like the commitment you and your children continue to put into their education, our staff continues to demonstrate their commitment to being life-long learners. Each week our grade level teams meet to analyze student learning data and engage in job embedded professional development. The teachers use that information and learning to assist them in providing personalized instruction in the classroom to meet your child’s individual needs and I hope that we can continue to all work together to create the most successful learning environment possible.


    We are happy to have the MN Sinfonia Orchestra perform for our students on Monday, February 27th in the gym. Families are invited to attend the Sinfonia Orchestra Performance along with students on Monday, February 27th. See the schedule below:

    • 10:15-10:55 am Performance 1 for 4th grade, 2nd grade, Kindergarten and PreK

    • 11:00-11:40 am Performance 2 for 1st grade and 3rd grade


    All schools are required to complete five fire drills, five lockdown/lockout drills, and a severe weather drill during the school year. We practice in a calm and organized manner so students and staff are familiar with important safety procedures.  We’ve been practicing and will continue to practice throughout the school year.


    We look forward to continuing building our relationships and traditions together.

    Principal Vang


    Counselor Update:

    The new year is a great time to renew focus and build habits that lead to success. One of those success habits for kids is regular school attendance! Even just 2 absences a month means students are missing out on 10% of the school year - and can lead to students falling behind their peers in school. So, we will be focusing some of our January counseling lessons on school attendance! Students will set goals related to their attendance and learn about how being at school every day will help them prepare for the future.


    Another school success habit we want to focus on in the new year is respectful language. Counselors will also teach a lesson about respectful words and facilitate a schoolwide "Dare to Not Swear" campaign. 


    Please reach out if you have any questions or 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 February 10, 2023.

    Kindergarten Engineers will learn about forces by designing marble runs.

    1st grade Aerospace Engineers will create and test parachutes.

    2nd grade Materials Scientists will study properties of materials to choose the best one for a job.

    3rd grade Meteorologists will study the weather.

    4th grade Civil Engineers will design a structure that can withstand an earthquake.


    Social Studies

    Dear students and families, I am Matthew Cooper. I am very excited to be the new Social Studies specialist teacher, joining the Farnsworth crew in January! I have lived in China for eight years, and taught English language at Baotou Teachers’ College and Luoyang No. 2 Foreign Language Middle School, as well as European history at the Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology–and I’ve lived in the Twin Cities area since 2016. I enjoy gardening and hiking, playing with my two kids Eleanore and Albert, and looking after my pet chinchilla Sal. 


    Phy Ed

    The Phy Ed classes will be working on Bowling and Pillo Polo Hockey units in January and first part of February.  The bowling unit consists of some games that work on math skills, fitness and teamwork.  The Pillo Polo unit always seems to be a big hit with the students as well.  They seem to love learning about hockey and having their own Pillo Polo stick to use.  We will have many opportunities to play a few lead-up games and improve on our skills during this time.  


    Have you noticed your student’s artwork looking childish or playful?  That is because it is!  This year the art room looks different as I am using the Teaching for Artistic Behavior model.  In a TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) classroom there are three guiding principles:  

    The child is the artist

    Just as any artist would, the child chooses what they will make.  After they have learned about a specific medium they have the autonomy to make their own creation.  Very often this will look like something that is important to their world.   

    What do artists do?

    Artists are influenced by the world around them.  They brainstorm, collect ideas, play with materials and take care of their tools.  All these things are happening in the TAB art room.  Even PreK and kindergarten students are learning how to get their watercolor paints, paintbrushes, water cups and paint shirts! 

    The classroom is the child’s studio

    Each new rotation I am opening new studios for the students to explore.  The newest studio is the cardboard sculpture studio.  It has been a big hit so far! 


    3rd grade students are learning about forces involved in playgrounds and amusement parks. We will also use toy cars to learn about friction. 

    4th grade students are studying energy and transferring energy by building cars and testing different variables.

    PBIS Update: 

    Reading Tip:


    Aerospace Update: 

    Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival (Free event)   

    Saturday, January 22nd   12:00pm-4:00pm  

    Kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors will fill the sky over Lake Harriet. Link


    Hudson, Wisconsin Hot Air Balloon Affair   

    February 3rd-5th 

    Come watch hot air balloons take off over the weekend (weather depending)

    Check out this link for more information and the schedule (viewing is free, food and additional activities cost money)


    Big Rivers Regional Trail - Great spot to view airplanes! 

    1498 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, MN

    Do you or your family like to watch airplanes land or take off? We recently found this spot and it was a hit with my family. We were able to see so many airplanes come right over our heads to land at the MSP airport. There is a paved trail to walk, picnic benches, bathrooms, etc. 

    Download the Night Sky app on your iPad or print out this Jan- Feb map to view the constellations. (Map is from the Bell Museum)


    STEAM Career Day

    During the week of January 23rd, all students will work in teams as Safety Engineers to create a moon lander to safely land their ‘astronauts’ on the moon.


    Questions? Contact Allison McQuade at  allison.mcquade@spps.org


    FSO Update: Farnsworth School Organization (PTO) 

    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 meetings are Monday, February 13 at 6pm on Zoom and Monday, April 17 at 6pm (hybrid in person and Zoom meeting). 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. In person meetings are held in the Lower Campus Library. 


    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! SO MANY books went home with Farnsworth students. Students were delighted to choose books and altogether $330 was raised! This money will go towards activities at our end of the year carnival, like a bounce house. Thank you to the Farnsworth community members who helped sort books, set up and cleaned up, ran the sale, and sent money for their students (and their classmates). This is an amazing community -- thank you for your support!


    Do you shop on Amazon? Did you know you could be donating to our school at no extra cost?!

    Check out Amazon Smile! What is Amazon Smile?

    AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. 

    To shop at AmazonSmile, simply go to smile.amazon.com on your web browser or activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone (found under settings on your app).

    Farnsworth Aerospace Important Dates:




    3- Back to school

    6- Mr. Thao’s class to the Como Planetarium

    9- FSO Farnsworth School Organization (Parent/Teacher Organization) 

        Meeting 6:00pm (virtually for winter months) UPPER CAMPUS ONLY Zoom Link

    13- The Works Museum visits 4th Grade at Farnsworth Session 1

    16- NO SCHOOL; Martin Luther King Day

    19- PreK Trip to the Children’s Museum

    20- 3rd Grade to the MN Science Museum

    20-21 Kindergarten/1st Grade Overnight @ SeaLife (Group 1)

    23-26 STEAM Career Week at Farnsworth 

    25- New Families Open House 10am-12pm

    27- NO SCHOOL; Professional Development Day



    2- The Works Museum visits 4th Grade at Farnsworth Session 2

    3- Kindergarten to The Works Museum

    3- Kindergarten/1st Grade Overnight @ SeaLife (Group 2)

    4- Family Tree visits 4th Grade

    13- National African American Parent Involvement Day 

    13- STEAM Pioneer Day at Farnsworth (Grades PreK-3) 4th Graders have been learning about STEAM Pioneers all month

    13- FSO Farnsworth School Organization (Parent/Teacher Organization) 

           Meeting 6:00pm (virtually for winter months) LOWER CAMPUS ONLY Zoom Link

    20- NO SCHOOL; President’s Day

    24- 1st Grade to the Children’s Museum

    27- Sinfonia Orchestra Performance at Farnsworth (families invited) 

          10:10-10:55am Performance 1 ( 4th, 2nd, Kindergarten and PreK)  11:00-11:40am Performance 2 (1st, 3rd Grade)



    1- 2nd Grade to The Works Museum

    2- Koosmann/Ryan to the Como Planetarium

    3- Xiong/Sanford 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

    23- Conferences 5-8pm

    24- No School; Conferences

    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