‘Parade of Schools’ highlights newly completed facilities

Open house event allows community to tour Park schools


Marta Hill

Park Spanish Immersion Principal Corey Maslowski discusses the newly renovated school with a retired Cedar Manor teacher Oct. 27. As a part of the Parade of Schools, community members were invited to tour Park Spanish Immersion, Aquila Elementary School and the Park offices.

Marta Hill, Isabel Kjaer, and Kaia Myers

According to Sara Thompson, Director of Communications and Community Relations for St. Louis Park Public Schools, the “Parade of Schools” open house event was hosted by the district to showcase the spaces recently finished as a part of the referendum.  

“The goal of the event is to open up these newly renovated spaces that were completed over the summer and opened to students and staff this fall, to allow community members to come in, take a look and see what their taxpayer dollars have funded for our community and for our students and staff,” Thompson said.  

The event was from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. Oct. 26 at Aquila Elementary School, Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School and the Park offices. 

Principal Scott Meyers said the district event highlighted new office spaces at Park. 

“We (did an open house of) basically the parents’ access spaces, so it’ll be the front offices, our main office and student services office,” Meyers said. “The locker rooms, that part of the project will not be shared because we are going to unveil that when the activity center is done.”

According to Thompson, the open house at each school featured various students and teachers who shared their perspectives regarding using the new facilities. 

“We (had) some teachers (and) students at hand to be able to talk to residents about what it is like to go to these schools, to learn in these new spaces,” Thompson said. “(The goal) is to be able to share these experiences.”

According to Judy Contreras, a second grade teacher at Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School, the new building has taken some getting used to, but has overall been a positive change.

“It’s been an adjustment to have the different furniture and to try to figure out the spaces, so that’s the one thing that has been a little bit of a challenge. Finding spots for all the materials and how I’m going to use the space (has been another challenge), but I’ve really liked (the new space) so far,” Contreras said. 

Contreras said she supports the event because it allows community members to see what they’re paying for and the impact the referendum is having on students. 

“I think it’s good for (taxpayers) to see what the kids are experiencing and how schools have been changing. (For example), how technology has impacted the way that we teach. I think it’s great for them to be involved and see what we’re seeing,” Contreras said.

According to Thompson, the district hopes to continue this event in the future, highlighting different completed referendum projects at St. Louis Park schools each time. 

“What we are hoping is that this becomes a model that we can offer every year. The district has construction planned (and) this is the first year of what will be three years of major construction in the school district,” Thompson said. “This parade of schools model is something that we plan to roll out every fall for the next three years as this major construction work is completed.”