School Spotlight: Neill Elementary
Teachers and staff at Neill Elementary in Crystal place emphasis on hands-on learning as a way to learn how to function independently as well as in a group.
“You want them to be able to problem solve. You want them to work independently. That is life,” says teacher Kari Scholl, who teaches fourth grade. She’s teaching students a lesson on measuring perimeter. She’s using a formula that you’ll see mirrored throughout the school.
“We started doing something visual to review what we are doing,” says Scholl. “Then we moved to hands-on, paper-guided learning and then my next step will be to do partner or individual measuring on your own.”
The Pre-K through fifth grade school serves students in Golden Valley and Crystal as well as students who openly enroll in the neighborhood school. The student body is very diverse, with more than seventy percent of students being students of color.
“I don’t know what could be more enriching than a diverse student population,” says parent Lynn Melling. “Our kids are really taught to empathize with and appreciate students from different backgrounds who are not like them. As a parent, I don’t know what can be more enriching than that.”
Principal Amy O’Hern agrees the neighborhood school has an atmosphere that is special.
“There’s a real family connection here,” says O’Hern. “Were smaller than some of the other buildings I’ve worked in. I think that helps with collaboration and connection.”