HLWW School District

Photo by HLWW Schools

The HLWW administrative and director team:
Back row Jim Schimelpfenig-middle school principal, Rachel Bender – community education director, Megan Tormanen – business manager, Stephanie Kuehn – high school principal,
Michelle Johnson – food service director, Morgan Johnson – school district nurse, Travis Eldred – IT director.
Front row Kelly Klima – special education supervisor, Kelli Westling – Elementary dean of students/district assessment coordinator, Jennifer Olson – elementary principal,
Nate Walbruch – superintendent, Nicole McKee – transportation director, Joe McKee – buildings and grounds director, Joe Puncochar – activities director not pictured.

Information updated January, 2024

By Nate Walbruch

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Public Schools – ISD #2687
Independent School District 2687, serving the communities of Winsted, Waverly, and Howard Lake, provides a high-quality education for its youth. With that commitment, we strive for excellence and opportunity for each student in every offering and activity.
The District comprises an area of about 115 square miles, primarily in Wright County, with a portion located in McLeod County, and a small portion in Carver County. District 2687’s 9-12 high school and 5-8 middle school are located between Howard Lake and Winsted on Wright County Road 6. The K-4 elementary and preschool facilities are located in Waverly and Winsted.
Elementary Schools
Both Humphrey Elementary (2012) and Winsted Elementary (2013), grades Pre-K-4, have received the National Blue-Ribbon Award from the US Department of Education. Humphrey Elementary was recognized in 2018 for progress in mathematics by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Winsted Elementary was recognized as a Minnesota School of Excellence in 2014, and as a Reward School by MDE in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and most recently in 2023!
Our schools create an environment that fosters positive teacher-student-parent relationships, allowing for individualized attention. Small class sizes help create an opportunity for all students to participate in activities and to work with other community members, connecting and making long-lasting friendships.
Middle School
The Middle School, grades 5-8, provides a supportive transitional program in which students can achieve their full potential through a variety of exploratory opportunities. Also, an enriching advisory program is offered to meet students’ needs. The middle school facility provides a quality educational setting where Smartboard and Chromebook technology is used in all classrooms.
High School
The High School was honored by being named one of “America’s Best High Schools” by US News and World Report in 2016. Out of over 21,000 high schools, HLWW High School was ranked in the top 11 percent in the nation. HLWW High School earned a Silver Medal.
A strong focus on academics at all grade levels is proven by ACT scores which are at, or above, national and state averages. Many of our graduates qualify for colleges of their choice.
The High School offers courses in math, science, social studies, language arts, physical education, technology, and healthy living, complemented by a wide array of electives, such as EMT-first responder, where students can earn first responder certification; CSI: classroom (forensic science); animal science; floriculture; desktop publishing; pottery and art studio; Spanish; music-choir and band; certified nursing assistant; and many more.

A variety of Advanced Placement (AP) courses and College In the School (CIS) courses in agriculture, Spanish, and mathematics are available, as well as technical college credit courses that are available through our partnership with Wright Technical Center in Buffalo.
Also offered is a nationally recognized FFA program that includes consistent state and national award-winners. The HLWW FFA was named the premier chapter of Minnesota in 2007 and 2017. In 2010, HLWW FFA worked on the addition of a greenhouse to the school and was a farm-to-school grant recipient, which helped with the establishment of a 5+ acre garden on the school site. Also, students in the program are able to study crop production in our two crop plots.
An advisory program guides students on post-high school planning, career choices, college applications, workforce and military options, and other “real-life” skills needed to succeed in today’s world. An alternative learning program (ALP) formed for students in grades 9-12, helps students reach graduation standards and achieve credits using an online curriculum. The ALP is housed at the Meeker and Wright Special Education Cooperative (MAWSECO) in Howard Lake. A generous, supportive community awarded $58,550 in local scholarships to graduating HLWW seniors in 2022.
Community Education
A strong Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program offers schoolyear and summer activities that are fun and educational, and services such as early childhood screening, parent and child activities, parenting information, and new baby welcome packets.
Educational, nurturing, and fun preschool for 3 to 5 year-olds is located at Humphrey Elementary in Waverly and at Winsted Elementary. Curriculum has a focused approach on learning, and a strong emphasis on literacy skills. Transportation is provided and scholarships are available. In 2022, the District is looking to offer a wrap-around care program, opposite of preschool, for families looking for daycare options.
Laker Care is available for students in grades K-6 before and after school and for ages 3-5 (preschool) throughout the day, located at the Middle School through HLWW Community Education, providing homework assistance, fun activities, and convenience for busy families. Transportation to Laker Care is available to and from all schools in our district.
HLWW Community Education activities, education, recreation, and special events for birth to age 5, youth K-12, and adults, are ongoing. Indoor track, gym, and fitness center memberships are offered to students, adults, families, and seniors through Community Education.
Adult volunteer program makes it easy for parents and community members to volunteer in the classroom, help with school activities, and work on projects in their homes.
Athletics and Activities
An excellent music program, including annual elementary musical performances, is offered. Middle and high school students (Grades 5-12) can continue in music, through band, choir, jazz and pep band, and individual band lessons. Top honors are won by large groups, ensembles, and soloists each year.
Boys’ and girls’ sports teams encourage participation and success. Middle school sports focus on fundamentals and skill-building; high school athletics include baseball, basketball, wrestling, golf, track and field, volleyball, gymnastics, football, cross country, and softball. There is an opportunity for all students to participate.
High School extracurricular activities meet a wide range of interests, including Knowledge Bowl, student council, Minnesota Honor Society, speech, clay target (fall and spring), drama, yearbook, Letter Club, broadcasting club (KLKR), dance, robotics team (new in 2022) and more. The outstanding drama department hosts an annual fall musical production, spring play, and is a frequent state honor-winner in one-act competition, including highest honors.
District Highlights
A district-wide enrollment of 1311 students in K-12, shows our District is continuing to grow. With teachers and staff that are kind and caring, kids feel protected and safe as they learn. Safe and convenient bus transportation is provided to all resident students and some non-resident students.
Many technology upgrades and advancements are in place. Interactive display systems are used in classrooms around the District. Wireless capabilities are available throughout all district schools. Google Chromebooks are provided to all students in grades K-12 and the ALP.
HLWW Schools have involved, caring parents, and supportive community members. Our school events are well-attended by parents, grandparents, and friends. There are parent advisory committees, traveling sports teams, field trips, Laker Pride initiatives, district curriculum advisory committee, as well as many other opportunities for parents and community members to be involved and to support students.
Special activities to expand student interests and experiences, such as student council, after-school activities, English learners, special programs to assist and encourage healthy student choices, sixth-grade Deep Portage outdoor experience, fourth-grade fishing expo, and many others are available.
Excellent facilities exist throughout the school district; elementary schools (remodeling and new additions 2007), high school (new in 2008), middle school (new in 2015), and MAWSECO (new in 2015).
We have the programs, staff, and opportunities that children need for educational, development and growth. The wisdom and enthusiasm of our staff create a learning environment for student success. Many of our staff members earned their master’s degree and beyond.
We’re proud of our school district and how we make the grade for the students and families of our communities. Contact us at (320) 543-4646 with any questions, or for more information, check out our website and Facebook at www.hlww.k12.mn.us.