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MAES welcomes new students, teachers from Cyrus

Kim and Maddie Ehrdahl are among the teachers and students from Cyrus who started school at Morris Area Elementary School on Tuesday. Four Cyrus teachers joined the MAES staff and about 20 students chosen to stay in the district.

MORRIS, Minn. -- On Tuesday, both Kim and Maddie Erdahl of Cyrus arrived at Morris Area Elementary School for their first day of school in a new school district.

Kim, a teacher at the Cyrus Math Science and Technology school, is one of four CMST teachers who joined the Morris Area School District after the two districts consolidated this summer. Her daughter Maddie, now a sixth grader, is among about 20 CMST students who chose to stay in the newly-consolidated district.

First day of school enrollment district-wide was up nearly 50 students compared to 2013. There were 548 students at MAES and 499 students at MAHS for a total of 1047 students.

Although the first hour of the day was a little scary, Maddie said the other students and teachers helped make her feel welcome. Although she was sad to be leaving CMST, Maddie said she was also excited to be in a bigger school to meet more people.

Her older sister Haley, a sophomore at MAHS, helped her find her sixth grade classroom at the beginning of the day.

This spring, MAES' three sixth grade classrooms were moved from the elementary school to a group of rooms on the northeast corner of Morris Area High School.

"I think it was probably harder on me, having her go to the high school when I have to be here," said Kim.

On the plus side, Maddie did get a cell phone earlier than promised so she and Kim could keep in touch at the end of the school day.

"It's way different than our 'down the hall' intercom system," she joked.

Kim taught at CMST for about 16 years, taking one year off and working as a substitute in both Morris and Hancock -- "It was a nice little sneak peek," she said.

During one long-term sub position, Kim said she taught kindergarten at MAES in the same classroom she's teaching in now.

"Parent night in Cyrus, we know everybody's family tree -- there are no strangers that walk in the building," said Kim. "Here, I only knew 10 of my 22 kids, but that's because I substitute taught for that year in kindergarten."

Kim said one of the things she is most excited about is the "pod" teaching design at MAES and the benefit of working with other teachers who are teaching the same curriculum.

"I'm really looking forward to tapping into that resource -- the camaraderie among the teachers is wonderful." said Kim.

"I think we're going to love it."