Desktop Schools Popup

Elementary School

Elementary girl smiling.

Building a foundation for lifelong success

District 196 has 14 elementary schools and five elementary magnet schools that serve children in kindergarten through fifth grade. We also have a K-12 special education school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (Dakota Ridge).

Elementary school is an exciting time for young learners who are exploring new curriculum and building their knowledge of core subjects areas. At the same time, teachers are working alongside students to grow their social-emotional intelligence. These caring educators are dedicated to providing students with supportive learning environments and engaging, innovative educational experiences that allow them to explore the outer limits of their vast potential. 

The core curriculum for elementary-aged students is grounded in Minnesota state standards with a focus on math, science, social studies and English-language arts/literacy. The language arts curriculum encompasses the areas of literature, informative texts, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, media literacy and language skills. Integrated units of study contain both literature units and informational text units.

Literature units include a community unit (character development); author unit, and illustrator unit. The informational text units integrate nonfiction reading with science and social studies content, allowing students to conduct thoughtful research that includes reading, writing and publishing their findings. The math curriculum emphasizes key state benchmarks for each trimester as students work toward mastery.

Curriculum for specialist areas beyond the core classroom is also aligned to state and national standards.

Core curriculum


English language arts curriculum encompasses all communication and language skills and processes we use every day to send and receive information. Skills such as listening, viewing and reading are critical to receiving information. And speaking, nonverbal expression, and auditory, visual and written representations are vital to sending information. Effectively using and understanding language is the foundation for future college and career readiness. 

View our Local Literacy Plan >


Children are challenged to become increasingly sophisticated in dealing with mathematical concepts when they connect mathematical experiences to the world around them. The mathematics curriculum builds on students’ math understanding, skills, and proficiency at each grade level, as appropriate, by integrating concepts such as number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement and data analysis and probability. Students also engage in problem solving, reasoning and communicating ideas while making connections to the world around them.


Science is the active study of the natural and man-made world, including processes, structures, designs and systems. Science students use their senses and tools to observe, record and analyze data about the world and make conclusions based on evidence. Scientifically literate young people can understand basic science concepts, use skills for doing scientific investigations, solve technical problems and design technologies for today’s world.

Social Studies

In District 196, we are committed to developing citizens who are informed and able to contribute to our democratic system. The social studies curriculum provides the opportunity for each student to acquire knowledge; gain a deeper appreciation of the commonalities and the diversity that makes our national and world societies culturally unique, and develop skills necessary for responsible social, political, and economic participation in a diverse, interdependent and changing world. We ensure students function effectively and contribute to constructively to society by introducing a variety of integrated experiences that draw on such disciplines as history, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology and anthropology.

Specialist curriculum


Our visual arts curriculum makes valuable connections to the individual, to society and to culture. The growing complexity of our contemporary culture requires of every individual a capacity for visual analysis and critique. In the production and contemplation of artworks, we can understand ourselves and the world around us. Learning through the visual arts develops creative problem-solving skills as students face issues that often have multiple solutions. Art brings individuals together to share feelings, beliefs and values and develop a sense of community.

Library Media Center

In District 196, we believe library and media education is essential for teaching the whole child. Our elementary media curriculum prepares students to be lifelong learners through development of skills that require critical and creative thinking, collaborating while taking into account a variety of perspectives, collecting, organizing, evaluating and communicating information, and becoming responsible digital citizens. We believe that reading is the foundation for all learning. Media specialists play a vital role in helping develop literacy competencies in all students and foster the development of lifelong readers.


Our music curriculum is a critical component of our performing arts program. These offerings contribute to the lifelong development of the whole child- intellectual, physical, social and emotional. Music provides sequential experiences in creating, analyzing and performing that are an integral component of a quality, comprehensive education. Music gives students the opportunity to develop their own creative potential while exploring world cultures and one another’s diverse backgrounds. It also serves as an important form of communication that reflects and affects society, culture and history.

Physical Education

Our physical education curriculum is designed to contribute to the lifelong development of the student by providing opportunities that positively impact and increase the intellectual, social, emotional and physical fitness of the student. Physical activity enhances social development by emphasizing personal achievement, character, and integrity through individual and team activities and sports. Physical education promotes respect for the uniqueness and dignity of self and others through physical activities.

World Language

The study of world languages is an important part of a comprehensive education and provides students with the worldwide perspective necessary to become global citizens. High-quality language learning uses of a variety of technologies that expose students to resources aimed at developing their listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness skills. Language learning is interdisciplinary by nature and supports success in other academic areas. Learning another language increases awareness of other cultures, promotes creativity and critical thinking skills, and fosters the learner’s overall development and growth. The study of world languages also enhances personal enrichment and increases opportunities in education and employment.


Sally Soliday,
Director of Elementary Education