School Spotlight: Kimberly Lane Elementary
Every day, roughly 760 students make their way to Kimberly Lane Elementary in Plymouth.
It’s a place where students learn the fundamentals of education that will benefit them for years to come.
“It’s all about meeting kids where they are and making sure it’s developmentally appropriate,” said Kari Wehrmann, who has been Kimberly Lane‘s principal for the last five years.
During that time span, Wehrmann has overseen an influx of new students as the Wayzata School District underwent a boundary change.
“Two years ago, we ended up having this really great, almost United Nations type of a feel,” Wehrmann said. “Where we had about 150 kids come from Greenwood, 90 from Plymouth Creek, 90 from Oakwood, and then we got another bunch of students, cause there’s so much building that’s taking place in our school boundary.”
Which means that over the past two years, Kimberly Lane has essentially transformed into a new school.
“And we’re just so lucky because we have great families, we’ve got great kids,” Wehrmann said.
But like many schools, some kids aren’t always able to showcase their strengths in a classroom setting.
Showcasing Students’ Strengths
“We were just trying to think of some different ways to highlight different students’ strengths, cause we have, the students do sports or they do music, and trying to figure out, what are these other pieces?” Wehrmann said.
The staff members then decided to introduce the students to the world of video production.
Fourth and fifth grade students had to create short films that highlighted attributes consistent with the school mantra of positive behaviors — known here as the “Coyote Code.”
“And so we decided to create a film festival where the kids came in once a week for about a month, and they were able to create films that related to the code,” said Quinn Hobbs, one of the teachers behind the video project.
Hobbs worked with art teacher, Kate Hammero, to get the students to make 60 to 90 second films.
“They really poured their hearts into their projects, and they just did an amazing job just working together as teams,” Hammero said.
Most of the films took the form of a commercial or documentary, and in the process, the students had to get a crash course in how to shoot and edit video, while also learning about how to showcase good behavior.
“It was just really an interesting experience to see what they came up with,” Hobbs said. “They were really creative.”
To celebrate their achievements in film-making, the school held a film festival and award ceremony known as the “Cody’s,” where everyone got dressed up, and the students received Oscar-like awards.
“It was really awesome, at the Cody’s night,” Hammero said. “They actually spoke about their films before the films were shown. And most of the responses were, ‘I didn’t believe how hard this was going to be.’”
Like many things in life, the students learned that it requires teamwork to succeed.