Much has changed in Maple Grove since 1943, when, Emily Koehler-Amann attended the old Weaver Lake Elementary school. With only one classroom for all first through eighth graders and a single teacher, Koehler-Amann believes that “it was the best education that anyone could have.” She says that she could do complicated long division in second grade because she paid attention to the fourth graders’ math lessons.
With anywhere from 11 to 24 students in the school at a time, the teacher moved between instructing each grade level. If the children wanted to make a phone call to their parents, they had to walk with a buddy to the Bradenburg house, across the road from the school. There, Zarena Bradenburg kindly let the students use their family’s personal phone.
Koehler-Amann loved how the grades were taught together because it fostered community. “Teachers kept trying to divide us up into big kids and little kids, but we never listened,” she says.
Principal Dennis Palm of the current Weaver Lake Elementary school believes that the schools goal is to “maintain a diverse system of learning and instill a love of learning for kids.” The school encourages this learning by being a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) magnet school.
Weaver Lake Elementary is also unique in that it is a part of the Northwest Suburban Integration School District, which allows them to accept students from eight different school districts and provide transportation. By bringing children together from multiple communities, the school is able to foster collaboration and celebrate diversity. “My favorite part is just seeing the passion and excitement of our students—to see the questions they ask and their curiosity,” Palm says.
1900’s Weaver Lake School
1—8 Grade levels
2 Miles traveled walking to school
Today’s Weaver Lake School
24 Teachers (Plus additional staff)
5 Grade Levels (Preschool program, too)
Up to 30 miles traveled commuting to school