Principal Welcome

kids in class
Photo Principal Cindy Andress

Welcome! Our vision is to be a school where:

  • Everyone respects themselves and others
  • Everyone is safe and having fun
  • Everyone does their very best

We welcome new members to our community and continually seek feedback as to how we can be a better place for children.

We are a community of learners consisting of about 890 students in grades K-5. We are one of six elementary schools in the Minnetonka School District. Minnewashta is the western most school in the district and is located on the scenic south shore of Lake Minnetonka. We are a neighborhood school in which 100+ exceptional staff members collaborate with a dedicated and involved parent community to provide the best possible learning environment for children.

On our most recent parent survey, 94% of our families report the principal as accessible. In addition, 92% of our families report knowing what their children are learning. 65% of our families report checking Facebook daily. Therefore, Minnewashta uses a Facebook page and has over 1,000 followers. We have a goal of posting each school day. 90% of our families report there is adequate time for their children to make friends during the school day at their grade level. 95% report the curriculum as challenging.

Our students like coming to school and consistently perform at high levels by both state and national norms.

Measure of Academic Progress

We use the NWEA Measurers of Academic Progress to measure student growth from fall to spring each year in reading and math. It shows our students consistently gain more than a year's growth in a year's time. The average kindergarten spring math performance places students at the middle of 1st grade and kindergarten reading is at the beginning of 1st grade with the majority of students reaching their growth targets during the year.

Our 1st graders performed at the beginning to middle of 3rd grade in math, with 95.2% making targeted growth. This is incredible! In addition, reading was at the middle to end of 2nd grade.

For 2nd grade, students performed at middle of 3rd grade for math. In reading they reached the middle to end of 3rd grade with more than 75% of students making targeted growth in both areas.

3rd grade students reached the beginning to middle of 5th grade for math and reading.

4th grade is when students really begin to accelerate their learning! Our 4th grade students gained two grade levels– performing at the beginning of 6th grade in math and the middle of 6th grade in reading.

With a strong foundation behind them, students in 5th grade have fully transitioned from learning to read to reading to learn. 5th grade students posted reading scores equal to the end of 9th grade! Math performance was even stronger as students soared to the beginning of 11th grade performance with 81.1% of students making their targeted growth. Wow! That's incredible achievement that ensures they are well prepared for middle school and beyond.

Immersion Option

In addition to providing an outstanding elementary education taught in English, families at Minnewashta have an option of enrolling in a Spanish Language Immersion program beginning in kindergarten. Students may only enter the immersion program in kindergarten, unless they demonstrate an appropriate level of Spanish fluency to enter at a later grade. Families who choose the immersion option are asked to make a six-year commitment to the program. Our Spanish immersion students 3rd through 5th grade participate in the NWEA data above and K-5 Spanish students are included in the math data. On Spanish measurements our 5th grade students exited this year with a comprehension grade level equivalent of middle of 7th grade. So, they are making great progress in the targeted language as well. We have a well-established Immersion program and among our first class of 9th graders who completed our program and enrolled in AP Spanish, 100% scored a three or higher on the 2016 Advanced Placement exam as freshmen!

Daily Specials Offered

In addition to core academics, we are fortunate to employ specialists in physical education, music, band, orchestra, choir, art and media/information literacy. All students work with the specialists on a five-day rotation.

Physical Education

Through our Physical Education Department, students learn the principles of individual physical fitness. develop large and small motor skills, as well as strategies and concepts to achieve success in a team or dual-participant setting. Students participate in physical education classes with a licensed specialist 100 minutes every five days.

K-2 we specifically help students develop concepts and skills of:

    • Orientation and personal space
    • General space and creative moves
    • Locomotor skills, levels, and directions
    • Pathways and tempos in creative moves
    • Movement concepts using hoops
    • Body management and balance
    • Pairing and moving together and combining movement concepts
    • Chasing and fleeing
    • Fitness introduction
    • Flexibility
    • Circuit introduction

Grades 3-5:

    • Engaging students early in physical activity
    • Aerobic games
    • Chasing and fleeing
    • Fitness challenges and circuits
    • Group fitness
    • Jumping rope
    • Map challenges and movement bands
    • Walking, jogging and running
    • Basketball, football, hockey, soccer, softball, volleyball
    • Cooperative activities
    • Dance
    • Throwing and catching
    • Recess games
    • Tumbling
    • Racquets and Paddles

In music, our students:

    • Identify the elements of music including melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, tone color, texture, form and their related concepts
    • Read and notate music using a system of notation, such as solfege, numbers or symbols
    • Sing and play with accurate pitch, rhythm, and expressive intent
    • Identify the characteristics of music from a variety of cultures.

In 4th grade, students may elect to join orchestra (playing violin, viola, cello or bass) in addition to participating in classroom music. In 5th grade, students may choose to specialize in choir, band, or orchestra or continue in classroom music.


Each student attends a 50-minute art class every five days with our art specialists. Our approach at the elementary level is a disciplined-based art education (DBAE) format with art history, art criticism, art production, and aesthetics. Each unit of art has either an artist or cultural focus.

Welcome to Minnewashta! I look forward to partnering with your family to inspire curiosity and a love of learning in your child.


Cindy Andress, Principal

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Cindy Andress

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