For students at St. John School in Redwood Falls, the 2013-14 academic year is going to be one of firsts, among them there are going to be more than 140 students enrolled.

For students at St. John School in Redwood Falls, the 2013-14 academic year is going to be one of firsts.
For the first time, there is going to be one teacher who is going to teach first graders, with a second teacher teaching solely second graders. That, said Dave Gartner, St. John’s principal, is due to an ever-increasing student population. When school starts, there are going to be more than 140 students enrolled.
Growth is happening due to the increased interest in the school’s early childhood education program, as Gartner said the school graduated three eighth graders and there are 20 kindergartners replacing them.

“It’s very exciting to see that kind of growth,” said Gartner. “Our enrollment has never been this high. It is the largest it has ever been.”
In addition to increased enrollment, there are several changes awaiting students who come to school the first day of the 2013-14 year.
One of the changes is the addition of a foreign language program.
“We are starting Spanish and are offering it to students from three years old through the eighth grade,” said Gartner.
The school has been talking about the addition of a Spanish education program for a while, said Gartner.
When the idea came up the plan was to get it started as soon as it could be afforded, and this year through an anonymous donation the program has been funded.
Having a Spanish program offers something valuable to the school in many different ways.
Gartner said having a Spanish speaking educator on staff means having the option of offering the school program to students who do not speak English as their first language.
“This really is going to help us reach out to a different part of the community,” said Gartner.
Helping students learn a second language at an early age gives them a good start, added Gartner, as they study foreign languages in high school. Statistics show students who have been introduced to a second language have more success in education as they grow.
With the addition of a new educator for its younger grades, Gartner said the current computer lab has been turned into a classroom.
The computers, he added, are going to be set up in a different location. After all, technology continues to play an important role in education today’s students.
The school is offering a new online program that allows parents the opportunity to keep track of what their child(ren) is doing in school. Gartner said information about how to access that program is going to be presented to parents during registration night, which is being held tonight at the school from 6-8 p.m. All who are planning to enroll at St. John’s are encouraged to attend. A pool party follows the registration activities.
School starts at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 19 with an opening service, and the public is invited to come and take part in that opening event.
It has been a busy summer, said Gartner, but it is a good kind of busy, as it means a lot of good things are going to be offered.
For more about the school visit its Web site at