Sep. 1—For teachers like Dakota Meadows Middle School sixth and seventh grade teacher Julie Larkin-Spies, hearing from student speakers at Mankato Area Public Schools' staff kickoff was the perfect way to get motivated for the school year.
"It was so good to be back. It's perfect that it was a sunny day, because it felt like a return to something that we really love to do and it felt super positive. I also really loved hearing from the students, because that is exactly why we show up every single day, so it was really cool to hear from them," Larkin-Spies said.
The week before school starts for students, Mankato Area Public Schools welcomed back hundreds of staff and teachers Thursday morning at Vetter Stone Amphitheater.
The Mankato Area 77 Lancers performed for the district's schools, all represented at the event, before attendees heard from teacher and student speakers, who Larkin-Spies said stood out.
"One of the speakers pointed it out perfectly, that for a system the size of ours to run, everyone has to do the lifting together, and so it's bigger than just our teachers," she said. "It's teachers, custodial staff, it's our secretaries, it's our administration, it's really everyone that keeps everything running."
Mankato West science teacher Alex Liebl said he's looking forward to getting back to working with the kids, returning to learning and having a little bit of fun along the way.
"I'm just super pumped to get back. It's great to have everybody back together. It's just motivational, starting off our classroom expectations with enthusiasm and putting in effort for our kids, because that's why we're here," he said.
Roosevelt Elementary School first grade teacher Joelene Udermann also said she's looking forward to a fresh start.
"The biggest takeaway that I received today was we make an impact no matter how small. It's as simple as starting with one person and impacting everyone that you encounter throughout the day and throughout the school year," she said.
More than 8,000 students will return to class next week.
Ninth through 12th graders will start classes Sept. 6. Kindergartners through eighth graders will start Sept. 8.