The first public school in Minong opened in 1889, which was located in a little house behind a Pentecostal Church. Nellie Saule was the teacher, who taught nine students. Eventually, the school was moved to a Presbyterian Church for 16 years. In 1891, there were 22 students. By 1897, teachers had to prove that they have taught for 12 months in order to be certified.
In 1908 a new school was built at the same place. Two teachers had taught grades first through eighth. In 1913 they added a second floor. That was when ninth and tenth grade was added to the school. The second floor had two classrooms, which was a big hallway that had doors so it could be split in half to be used for classrooms. At the same time a principal was hired to teach the ninth and tenth grade. Kindergarten through fourth grade and seventh through twelfth grade went to the Minong School. The fifth and sixth graders went to the Gordon School.
On May 20, 1915 men and women of the Town of Minong voted for the School District No. 1. There were only 45 voters. There were 44 voters for a district free high school and 1 vote against. The Village of Minong was incorporated the same year. By 1917, the school had five teachers and Principal Grover C. Fillbach.
Earlier in the 1920’s basketball was the only competitive sport. The players traveled by train. Players would stay at a hotel or at homes of the other team players when they played games out-of-town. Then the players went home the next day. The school had a fine girls’ basketball team at that time.
From overcrowding in the main school in the 1925-26 school years, grades six through eighth and one teacher were moved to one room in the Minong Town Hall. The next year the students and the teacher returned to the main school. Then on February 25, 1935 the school was destroyed by a fire. For the rest of the 1934-35 school years and until the start of the 1937-38 school years, school was held in a Presbyterian Church, Minong Town Hall, the Village Power House and the old Bank Building. In the fall of 1937, school was opened in a new building that is three stories tall.
In 1942, school districts in the Town of Minong came together with the Minong School District, No. 1. During the year of 1949, districts in the Town of Frog Creek came together with Minong. The Gordon School was built in 1960. It had 3 classrooms, a main room, kitchen, office and a boiler room. By 1966 the school had 332 students. The school needed more space so a metal building was built in 1968 for a wood shop, three classrooms, and a furnace room. A new lunchroom, kitchen, and three more classrooms were built in 1972.
On November 4, 1975 a referendum was posed to the community to borrow $1, 100,000.00 for building a new Kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school in Minong and an addition to the Gordon Elementary School. The vote lost by a big amount.
During the 1975 school year a two unit portable classroom was bought and put in at the Minong School. Early in 1976 a high school principal was hired. Two more portable classrooms were bought and were ready for the 1976-77 school years. A new hardwood floor that replaced a concrete floor was put in the gym in 1977.
The school name was changed from Minong School District, No. 1, to Northwood School District in 1977. In 1978-79 there were 596 students going to Northwood School. There were 37 teachers and 3 Administrative staff members working at the school. There were 41 students that graduated that school year. In 1995 Northwood School borrowed an amount of $3,200,000.00 for making a new Junior-Senior High School.
Information for this exhibit was taken from the Centennial Edition of the Historical Collections of Washburn County.
Creation of NorthStar Community Charter School
By: Zach Woody
According to James Lewicki, Dr. Jean Serum, district administrator, introduced the charter school concept to members of the district’s planning committee in September of 2008. That committee consisted of: Michela Brisky – Reading Specialist, Rosemary Doyle – At-Risk Coordinator and Counselor, Sarah Nelson – Reading Coach, Linda Farris – After School Program Coordinator, Paul Lake – Counselor, Audrey Visger – Finance Administrator, and Josh Tomesh – Principal. Dr. Serum initiated the conversation based upon her appraisal of the needs of the students in the Northwood School District and surrounding communities. This assessment included the awareness of declining enrollment, the importance of providing parental choice, and to meet the diverse learning needs of our student population. It was through these planning meetings that NorthStar, a 4-8th grade project based environmental charter school began. The school is now in its third year of operation.
NorthStar Community Charter was started so kids could learn different and have opinions. It involves place-based learning where both school and the community can collaborate to make it a good place to learn. Students are involved in the learning process and are allowed to work at their own pace with deadlines at the end of projects. Students who attend NorthStar are there by choice.
Serum, Dr. Jean. Personal Interview. 10 04 2014.
Lewicki, James. Past Interviews