Rutherford Elementary School Located In Stillwater, MN
All of us living in Stillwater (and most of the Twin Cities) know that Stillwater has great schools. They set kids up for success at a higher level and help us with the job of making them into intelligent adults.
At the elementary level there are some differences in each school and my goal is to highlight some of those nuances that make each school not only special but possibly a better fit for you and your children. The feel of a school has influenced more than one home buying decision and my hope is that these articles will give you some direction to focus on when you meet with potential schools while weighing your decision.
I recently sat down with Stephen Gorde, the Principal of Rutherford Elementary, and had a conversation about his background, the staff, and what makes Rutherford Elementary a great place to learn.
It turns out that Mr. Gorde was not always an administrator. As a matter of fact, long before he came to Rutherford Elementary, he started out as a Secondary Ed Social Studies teacher in Minneapolis. He went back to school for his Elementary Education Certificate and then taught in Barcelona, Spain and also at the UN school in Vienna. “Experience in urban and international settings helps give perspective on what works. We set a rigorous standard that is competitive internationally.” said Gorde.
When asked about some key strengths Rutherford Elementary shows, a strong and highly qualified staff was the emphatic answer. Gorde elaborated, “They’ve been chosen to fit the mission and trained to work in the setting.” The setting he’s referring to is Rutherford’s open environment and the use of teacher teams across a multiple grade format. So while kindergarten is a standalone grade, first & second study together, third & fourth, and so on. Also teacher teams take on different subjects and they work so closely together that the result is increased accountability to teaching the students in a more customized way.
The PTA is heavily involved in the success of Rutherford Elementary both from a fund raising standpoint and in volunteering to help improve student learning and performance. The Amity program, which hosts a Spanish speaking teacher from another country to teach the kids and the Art on the Cart program both benefit from the work of the PTA. In addition, the PTA has created a unique reading program where volunteers help students performing below grade level. These specially trained volunteers are instrumental in helping keep students from falling behind and the research has proven the value of their contribution.
Like all schools Rutherford Elementary has its share of challenges. Extending and accelerating the curriculum beyond the state standards to consistently meet the needs of high performing students is a goal Mr. Gorde counts as highly important. Also, ensuring teachers have the ongoing opportunity to learn new ways to help kids better internalize the knowledge is a constant pursuit.
A supportive community, combined with committed educators, equals a great learning experience at Rutherford Elementary.
For more information on Rutherford Elementary please click here: http://rutherford.stillwater.k12.mn.us/