Minnehaha Academy students and staff adjust to challenges of COVID-19 during ‘successful start’ to the school year

This fall, classrooms and hallways rang out with the sound of students learning and growing friendships with other children and their teachers. The staff of Minnehaha Academy thanks God for His faithfulness as they navigate educating and caring for children preschool to grade 12 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, leaders at Minnehaha Academy worked with faculty, staff and experts in the field to determine possible options for students returning to school this fall. After much discussion, the Stay Safe Plan was developed.

The comprehensive plan includes requiring a daily health screening by all in-person community members, reduced class sizes, social distancing, face masks, as well as bi-polar ionization air filtration, among other measures, designed to keep the Minnehaha Academy community as safe as possible.

Families had the opportunity to choose either distance learning or in-person learning for their children—both options offering the caring community and exceptional education that families in the Twin Cities expect from Minnehaha.

While life in the classroom looked a bit different from previous years, faculty were still able to deliver engaging, hands-on lessons.

COVID under the microscope

All Upper School students (grades 9-12) are putting coronavirus under the microscope in science class. Student scientists are investigating COVID-19 in a two-week unit developed by our faculty. Students are learning about the virus and applying a variety of disciplines in their study.

They will learn about the history of pandemics, decode the science behind the structure of the virus, study the physics of how masks work, and will delve into the Bible, remembering that God is with us even though we walk through difficult situations.

Upper School students test the state of the Mississippi River

“What’s going well in the water?” “What’s not going well in the water?”

These are the questions Upper School biology student scientists were tasked with answering during their study of the Mississippi River. Recently, Upper School biology student scientists spent time at the Mississippi River testing its water quality.

Teacher Ms. Cripe started out the visit with a reading of the first verse of “Oh, God of Wonders.” Then she invited students to find a quiet place along the river alone to take in the beauty and think about our “God of wonders and his wonderful work.”

After a student waded out into the river to get a good water sample, student teams conducted water quality tests. The students looked for cyanide, mercury, lead, nitrates, phosphates and other contaminants.

What a blessing to be within walking distance of this national treasure.

A microscopic view for Middle School scientists

“This is so cool!” “Amazing!” Wow!” “Awesome!”

Middle School scientists had a blast making microscopes, connecting them to their iPads, and then using them to take a deep look at fern samples and pond water samples. Ordinary pond water came alive under the glass of the microscope and students saw the life that is invisible to the naked eye.

Lower School writers perform digitally

Each year, first grade students participate in a writing celebration following the self-publication of a book that they write and illustrate themselves. The writing celebration includes visiting the preschool students and reading their newly published books to our youngest students.

This year, first graders had the opportunity to integrate technology into their learning. They recorded each other reading their books and then sent their video stories to the preschoolers.

Embracing creativity and flexibility

Creativity and flexibility have been key skills in creating a welcoming and encouraging environment for each of our students to grow and learn. We are thankful for our teachers and families as we work together to help our students not just survive but thrive in this challenging time.

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