Owatonna Public Schools

District Newsletter - January 2022

Big picture

Award-winning trainer, TEDx speaker and child cyber crimes expert Detective Richard Wistocki (retired) unmasks the hidden dangers children interact with everyday at “Cyber Parenting” - a presentation on Monday, January 10, from 6:30-8:30pm at Owatonna Middle School.

Focused on breaking down the technological walls that today’s children live behind, this session outlines best practices and proactive measures families can take to keep children on the right path and protect their digital footprint. Wistocki will provide education as well as tools and resources to reduce cyber-bullying and social network incidents.

This session is for parents and guardians raising children of all ages. It is brought to you by the Exchange Club Center for Family Unity and Owatonna Public Schools.

World's Best Workforce

by Michelle Krell, Director of Teaching and Learning

As I reflect on the last school years and the challenges we have faced, I couldn’t be more proud of our staff and their hard work, resiliency and “do whatever it takes attitude.” Our learning models, time in school, academic and social emotional needs have significantly varied due to the pandemic. Owatonna Public Schools is committed to fulfilling our vision to inspire a community of learners with equitable access to high quality, innovative learning opportunities ensuring all students are college, career and life ready.

Annually, we present a World’s Best Workforce Plan that aligns to current district initiatives and provides updates in curriculum, instruction, and goals around student achievement within the district. The World’s Best Workforce was presented to the public in an annual meeting on November 22. The meeting outlined the goals and progress from the 2020-21 school year and the goals for this school year (2021-22).

The World’s Best Workforce plan outlines the following five goals:

  • All children are ready for school.

  • All third-graders can read at grade level.

  • All racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed.

  • All students are ready for career and college.

  • All students graduate from high school.

Continue reading...

Reminder - No School January 17 and 21

  • Monday, January 17 - staff development day with no classes for students
  • Friday, January 21 - teacher work day as second quarter ends with no classes for students
Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration for 2022-23 is open now through February 5. Please visit isd761.org and click on “enrollment” to enroll your child.

How old does my child have to be before he/she can be registered for kindergarten? In Minnesota, children are eligible to attend kindergarten when they are at least five years of age by September 1 of the year of entrance into kindergarten

Does my child need to complete early childhood screening? Yes, all incoming kindergarten students are required to complete Early Childhood Screening. Please contact 507-444-7900 to schedule an appointment.

How do I submit my child’s birth certificate and immunization records? Child's birth certificate and immunization record must be uploaded in the online registration or dropped off at Roosevelt Community School during time of registration.

School Board Approves Decrease in the Tax Levy

On Monday, December 13, the School Board approved the tax levy for the 2022-2023 school year. The largest portion of the school district tax is a result of the community's support of the bond and operating levies. The total school district levy will decrease by 1.5%. In comparison, the state average for school district property tax levies is increasing by 4.5%.

January School Board Meeting

Date/Time: Monday, January 24 at 5:30 PM

Location: Owatonna High School, Small Group Forum, 333 East School Street (Door #16)

Welcome to our new Communications Specialist

Lori Buegler began work as our new Communications Specialist on Monday, January 3. Lori previously served as Communications Executive Director for 17 years at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN. Her family includes her husband Todd, sons Nathan (junior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA) and Samuel (freshman at Drake University in Des Moines, IA) plus their dog Kennedy and cat Comet. Reach Lori at lbuegler@isd761.org.

Big picture

Is your child on track? Red flags for immediate referral

If a child shows any of the following signs, take immediate action and refer the child through Help Me Grow. You should also talk with your child’s healthcare provider about your concerns.

  • No babbling, pointing or other gestures by 12 months (1 year)
  • No single words by 16 months
  • No two-word phrases by 24 months (2 years)
  • ANY loss of skills at any age
  • Diagnosed physical, cognitive or mental health condition or disorder that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay, regardless of whether the child has a demonstrated need or delay
  • Delays in meeting developmental milestones such as not walking by 18 months
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Poor balance, clumsiness or weakness
  • Atypical muscle tone, such as too tight or too floppy in arms, legs or trunk
  • Speech is hard to understand for the child’s age or compared to other children who are the same age
  • Poor attention span compared to other children who are the same age
  • Behavioral concerns compared to other children who are the same age
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • High lead levels


1-866-693-GROW (4769)

Energy Assistance Program

Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program helps pay for home heating and water costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. Find more information on the Energy Assistance Program's website. For more information or to apply, click here.

COVID-19 Information

While we had all hoped that the pandemic would be in a different phase this school year, the unseen benefit is that we know what steps to take to minimize the spread in our schools and protect in-person learning. Stay up-to-date on information and resources by frequently checking the District's COVID-19 information webpage (www.isd761.org and click on "COVID-19" at the top of the webpage).

Our number one goal is to help ensure a safe and healthy school year for all our students and educators. While we are employing several mitigation strategies such as masking recommendations, social distancing when feasible, and sanitizing, COVID-19 testing will play a critical role in our efforts to keep students in their classrooms and participating in extracurricular activities. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have improved their first-in-the-nation statewide COVID-19 testing program with new testing resources and we are committed to using every tool at our disposal.

Students who wish to use an at-home test from the District may pick it up from the school nurse's office, or a parent can contact their school's nurse to request a test to pick up. More information about the tests can be found here, on the school district website, or in this previous e-newsletter.

More resources:

Stay Connected!

Celebrate our students, our staff and our schools by following us on social media. If you like what you see, be sure to share it with others. Together, we are #OwatonnaProud!

Follow us:


Share OPS News

Feel free to share this newsletter with others interested in the Owatonna Public Schools.

Sign up for news here.