History & Timeline

"Education should no longer be mostly the imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities."—Maria Montessori

 

Lake Country School was established as an urban Montessori school in June 1976, founded by Pat and Larry Schaefer through a grant from the O’Shaughnessy Foundation. LCS was the first Montessori school in Minnesota to offer a program for 9 to 12 year olds and the first to offer a Montessori junior high program. The school began with seventy-two students in the school building at the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis. In 1980 the school moved to its present location, initially renting the school building from Incarnation Parish. The property was purchased in 1986, and the following year Children’s House classrooms and other major renovations were made on the lower level. In 1989 a new wing, including the gymnasium, junior high space, research center, and office, was completed. Renovation of the elementary levels took place over the summer of 1999. 

In 1996 Pat and Larry Schaefer, co-principals of Lake Country School, retired after two decades of leadership, and Kathy Coskran became principal. That same year a 160-acre farm in Dunn County, Wisconsin, was purchased. It allows a rural experience for the entire community, students and parents, and the junior high students partake in a 2-week farm stay annually. In 2003, thanks to the generous support of the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation, Lake Country School broke ground on the O’Shaughnessy Homestead at the Land School.

In the spring of 2004, Paulette Zoë was selected as principal to replace Kathy Coskran. Amidst drumming and song, the Lake Country School community gathered again to fill the air with words of love, respect and gratitude that celebrate life’s transitions and to strengthen our commitment to the work we do together on behalf of all children.

In the fall of 2004, Lake Country received the largest single gift made to its endowment fund from the Drake-McLaughlin alumni family, enabling us to add more support to families through our tuition assistance program. 

In recent years, LCS has become more involved with sustainability by installing a rain garden at the school entrance and initiating a stronger organics recycling program that generates little waste. One of our main focuses continues to be on our environment, both indoors and out.

Timeline

Remember making timelines as a student at Lake Country? Here is one just for you to help rekindle those memories...

1975-76

  • Larry and Pat Schaefer move to Minneapolis to work at the St. Paul Montessori school sponsored by the Montessori foundation at the invitation of Larry O’Shaughnessy

1976-77

  • Lake Country School is established, incorporated and opens at the Basilica of St. Mary’s with 72 children in one Children's House and two elementary classrooms
  • The first Board of Directors is appointed with Brad St. Mane as president
  • The first elementary performance is Panic in a Desk Drawer

1977-78

  • Janet Williams’ E1 classroom is established
  • Larry Dittberner starts in January
  • The performance is The Prince and the Pauper
  • 110 children enrolled

1978-79

  • First class graduates from 6th grade
  • Lois St. Mane's E1 classroom is established
  • Patricia Bachmeier join the staff
  • First auction chaired by John and Betty Heefner
  • The performance is Persephone

1979-80

  • Kathy Coskran and Sarah Endsley open second Children's House classroom
  • Millie Dosh establishes the Research Center
  • Madame Fisk starts teaching French
  • A building search committee is formed
  • LCS moves to Cleary Hall on 38th St. and Pleasant Ave. on July 12, 1980
  • E2 students go to Duluth

1980-81

  • LCS opens in Cleary Hall with 210 enrolled; cafeteria is shared with Incarnation School
  • Beloved teacher Janet Williams dies
  • First E2 trip to “Widji”
  • First Science Fair is held

1981-82

  • Lois St. Mane changes her name to Zoe
  • Jean Melom joins Children's House
  • Children hold performance at Macalester

1982-83

  • Junior High opens in the Incarnation Building
  • First Junior High trip to Kampsville, Illinois with 14 students
  • First Junior High bike trip - three day tour of Hennepin County
  • Junior High performs You Can’t Take it with You
  • Doug Alecci joins to Junior High
  • First ISACS accreditation self-study
  • Research center is remodeled
  • 225 students enrolled

1983-84

  • Junior High 8th grade Odyssey East to Montreal, Canada, and New York City; 7th grade trip to Kampsville, Illinois
  • Third Children's House classroom added
  • First year of Extended Day
  • Junior High performs Feast of Ortolons
  • LCS is accredited by ISACS

1984-85

  • First Junior High Odyssey-West to Crow Canyon
  • Junior High performs A Midsummer’s Night Dream

1985-86

  • First Junior High Odyssey-East to historic Williamsburg
  • First capital campaign planned to buy Cleary Hall, renovate Children's House and build the gym and Junior High
  • Jill Olsen and Mindy Holte join the staff
  • Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story are the performances

1986-87

  • Ann Luce joins staff
  • LCS purchases Cleary Hall
  • Children “hug the building” during the spiral dance

1987-88

  • Children's House moves into newly remodeled classrooms
  • Twins win the pennant and Children's House writes stories about the Twins and everyone sings Let’s Go Out to the Ballgame

1988-89

  • First observance of Wisdom Day
  • Building of gym and Junior High completed
  • Back lot purchased from U.S. West

1989-90

  • First Future’s Day Celebration—trees planted
  • First exchange with Moscow School #31
  • LCS cosponsors National Montessori conference on the Humanities

1990-91

  • Second ISACS evaluation
  • Rainiest bike trip ever

1991-92

  • First all-school recitation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech

1992-93

  • Jane Goodall visits LCS
  • Roots and Shoots environmental club is established

1993-94

  • Larry Schaefer hosts Adolescent Conference in St. Paul

1994-95

  • First Amity scholar, Paul Alain, arrives from Cameroon
  • Field of Dreams is auction theme to raise money for playground equipment
  • Pat and Larry Schaefer announce their retirement as co-principals

1995-96

  • Kathy Coskran begins as Associate Principal
  • Board approves purchase of the Land School
  • Playground is renovated
  • First Winter Count alumni gathering
  • LCS staff create quilt portraying the first twenty years of the school in a spiral of block prints
  • 301 students enrolled

1996-97

  • Kathy Coskran becomes new Head of School
  • “Great Gatherings” auction tradition established
  • First Land School harvest
  • E2 performs The Odyssey
  • First exchange with Swedish students
  • Steve and Mimi Fisher present the sculpture “Montessori’s Vision” to LCS in honor of their daughter and alumna Carly

1997-98

  • First child of LCS alumnus enrolled
  • Junior High performs The Life of Insects
  • Pat Schaefer’s class writes award-winning symphony
  • Astronaut Sally Ride visits LCS

1998-99

  • LCS launches its second capital campaign, For the Children, to renovate the elementary levels, build a lodge at the Land School and establish an endowment
  • LCS wins Baker for a Day contest at Great Harvest Bread Co.
  • Infant program is established
  • First Living Your Values round table discussion
  • First Board Pancake Breakfast

1999-2000

  • Elementary students return to newly renovated classrooms
  • Planning begins for construction at the Land School
  • LCS buys the property next door on Pleasant Ave.
  • Junior High plants 6,000 trees at the Land School

2000-01

  • 25th Anniversary Year
  • Endowment established with $226,000 in gifts and $408,000 in pledges

2001-02

  • Land School committee hosts a charette to involve community in designing lodge

2002-03

  • Council of Children established and writes school pledge
  • LCS breaks ground on the O’Shaughnessy Homestead at the Land School

2003-04

  • Lake Country School urban campus dedicated as a peace site
  • O’Shaughnessy Homestead at the Land School dedicated
  • Kathy Coskran retires as Principal

2004-05

  • Paulette Zoë begins as new Principal
  • First Junior High residency at the Land School
  • First year of the 9th grade with one 9th grade student
  • First Odyssey South to Mississippi with focus on Civil Rights and marine biology
  • Class H works with Mike Hazard, a.k.a. Media Mike, to produce The Magic Green School Bus, a documentary about the life of Paul Wellstone
  • LCS receives $500,000 endowment gift from the Drake-McLaughlin alumni family

2005-06

  • 30th year of Lake Country School
  • Junior High play is Much Ado About Nothing and is performed with two casts

2006-07

  • Montessori Centenary: Maria Montessori opened the first Casa di Bambini in January of 1907
  • Junior High performs Oklahoma!
  • Junior High has four 9th graders

2007-08

  • In an LCS first, Aaron Lockridge ‘90 begins his teaching career in Children's House 2 alongside his former Children's House teacher, Sarah Endsley
  • LCS participates in 100 Steps for Montessori, a global event to celebrate the Montessori Centenary
  • Auction theme is The Prom-Moonlight in Paradise and is chaired for the first time by an LCS alumnus, Dan Johnson ‘84, with wife Tanya and Nancy Warner

2008-09

  • Katie Mullin becomes the first child of an LCS alumnus to graduate from the Junior High
  • Zoe St. Mane announces her retirement, to be phased in over a period of two years
  • Junior High performs Wizard of Oz; Children's House 2 is so captivated by this performance that they produce their own version of it

2009-10

  • A 15-day Farm Stay is initiated allowing Junior High students to live at the Land School while focusing on the work of the farm, micro-economy, and occupations
  • E2 collaborates to write, produce, and perform A Sea of Stories as their level play
  • A special classroom observation and luncheon is held at the urban campus for Friends of the Future Circle members
  • Through a camera placed in its den, Children's House 2 follows the birth and first months of life of Hope the bear; their interest in bears culminates in a classroom performance of Little Black Bear Goes For A Walk
  • Remodeling at the Land School homestead greatly increases the number of sleeping areas, allowing for full elementary class overnight stays. On one such visit, Class C plants over 1000 corn and pumpkin plants
  • Eleven Junior High students participate in a thirteen-day educational and cultural exchange with El Colegio Montessori de Tepoztlán, our sister school in Cuernavaca, Mexico

2010-11

  • 35th anniversary year of Lake Country School!
  • Larry and Pat Schaefer begin work on a memoir of the founding years of the school
  • The 9th grade has 5 students, and 15 LCS alumni have their children at the school
  • Year one of Lake Country School's fifth ISACS 7-year accreditation cycle
  • Sarah Endsley and Zoe St. Mane retire after teaching for over three decades
  • Planning for the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) renovation begins and house on the lot next door is removed

2011-12

  • New Mission Statement ratified
  • Pat deLeon retires

2012-13

  • Phase one of the OLE, consisting of the Green Space and Pergola, completed
  • Donations to the Zoë Bee Makovetsky Memorial Music Fund made possible the commissioning of several new "school songs" from LCS alumni parent and songwriter, Bret Hesla
  • Jean Melom retires after 32 years as an LCS guide

2013-14

  • Phase two of the OLE, including the Pleasant Ave. lot and Children's House garden, completed
  • Steve Anthony, Patricia Bachmeier, Kathy Gustafson and Joyce Mitchell retire.

2014-15

  • Phase three of the OLE, the installation of a recycled recyclable synthetic turf in the back lot, is completed

2015-16

  • 40th Anniversary year of Lake Country School!
  • 20th Anniversary of our rural campus, the Land School!
  • A new LCS Logo is revealed adding "Montessori" to the image
  • Anniversary celebrations include a 40/20 Music Festival at the rural campus, Homecoming & Tailgate Auction, and Spring Open House at the urban campus
  • The Council of Children choose LCS's first mascot, Wander, The Walleye
  • 32 children of LCS alumni are enrolled
  • Founders Larry and Pat Schaefer write their memoir, "Creating a Real School 1976-1996"

Mission Statement

Lake Country School is a Montessori learning environment that fosters independence, critical thinking, and creativity within each child. We are a community that promotes diversity and inclusion, as well as respect and responsibility to self, to others, and to the earth.

Contact Us

3755 Pleasant Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
Phone 612.827.3707
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