The AP Press

December 2020 / Vol. 4 - Issue 4

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2020 - A Year to Celebrate.

What an unprecedented year this has been, not only in the academic world but in the world at large. All of us have struggled one time or another but yet we pull together and show our strength in numbers. This holiday season take time for yourself and your family to relax and renew. Whether that's watching all the holiday movies you can, going sledding, having a snowball fight, or baking cookies until the counters are full...take time to enjoy.

Though 2021 will bring in a new year, many things will remain. We will still be wearing masks, social distancing, and together keeping ourselves safe and healthy. We are truly in this together, through the fun and the struggles. 2021 will be a time to continue our renewal to committing to wear those masks, wash our hands, use sanitizer, and social distance when possible. Together we can have an amazing second half of the school year.

Enjoy your holiday break! Rest, relax, have fun, enjoy time with family, and be thankful.




Superintendent Message

Click here to view the latest Superintendent's Column.


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Deadline: Nominations and letters of support are due by 5:00pm on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

The Sioux Falls School District is proud of our staff and teachers for your commitment to our children and encompassing the same values and passions as Dr. Harris! Each year the Sioux Falls Public Schools and Vern Eide Motorcars jointly sponsor this prestigious award, so please lift up and nominate a deserving teacher!

Please see the links below for more information!

Electronic Form- 2021 Teacher of the Year Nomination Form

Electronic Form- 2021 Teacher of the Year Support Letter

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Siouxland Libraries Winter Reading Program

Siouxland Libraries will be offering a Winter Reading Program again during the winter break. It runs from December 14th through February 28th.

Winter Reading Program Bingo
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ASVAB - Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery

As an aptitude test, the ASVAB measures your strengths, weaknesses, and potential for future success. The ASVAB also provides you with career information for various civilian and military occupations and is an indicator for success in future endeavors whether you choose to go to college, vocational school, or a military career (

The ASVAB will be available to students at Axtell on December 16th, 2020. If you are interested in taking this exam, please talk with your school counselor by December 11th.

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AP StuCo Presents: December Fun!

Axtell's Student Council will be holding their annual door decorating contest the week of December 14th with judging and winners announced on Friday, December 18th. This year's theme is Holiday Music.

Dress up days will be on December 21st - Holiday Pajama Day and December 22nd - Ugly Sweater Day.

Enjoy the holiday fun and spirit this year with the Axtell Park Student Council.

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School Related Cancellations and Postponements

It is important to be prepared for the winter storms and extreme cold that every South Dakota winter brings. Please read the following information so you are aware of the procedures for school related cancellations and postponements.

District leaders rely on experts from the National Weather Service and city/county officials when we make decisions on school cancellations, late starts or early dismissals.

Cancelling School/Late Start

When a severe storm hits the area, or is forecast, we start contacting local officials as early as 3:00 a.m. We communicate with our Operational Services Department, the Weather Bureau, the City Street Department, Sioux Falls Transit, and our transportation contractors. It is our goal to decide whether or not to cancel school by 5 a.m. to allow time for parking lots and sidewalks to be cleared, food services to prepare meals and the bus company to begin operations. In the event that school needs to be cancelled or delayed, families will be alerted via a ParentLink phone call. These calls will generally be sent between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. to accommodate families whose children are picked up by buses at 6:45 a.m. Announcements are also made on the District’s website, Sioux Falls School District social media sites (Facebook: and Twitter: ) the SFSD app, and over the local radio and television stations.

Because the public schools have a limited rural area, it is often possible for Sioux Falls to have school when nearby towns may not.

Early Dismissal

Storms occasionally move in during the day, making it necessary to assess whether or not to dismiss school early. We choose early dismissal only under the most extreme circumstances. In most cases, it is safer for students to remain at school due to the need for transportation and proper supervision. In the rare instances when schools are dismissed early, families will receive a ParentLink phone call and the information will appear on the District’s website at, and our Sioux Falls School District social media sites (Facebook: and Twitter: ). Announcements are also made over the local radio and television stations.

Notifications refer to dismissal “one hour early” or “two hours early” because of the number of different building schedules. In addition to noting the early dismissal, announcements about evening activities are normally included.

It is very important that every family has a plan for early dismissal. Be sure your student knows where to go in case no one is at home. Parents/Guardians are urged to talk with their student about his/her safety during winter weather emergencies.

Be Safe This Winter

The school system offers these suggestions concerning cold weather and

emergency situations:

1. Listen for a ParentLink phone call regarding school closings, late starts, or early dismissals. Check the District’s website at for updated information. Follow us on our Sioux Falls School District social media sites (Facebook: and Twitter: ) for updated information. Announcements will also be made on local radio and television stations. (Please avoid calling schools or the Instructional Planning Center. Phone lines are needed for emergency communications.)

2. Make sure students are properly dressed for predicted weather conditions so they are prepared for walking or waiting for a bus in the cold or for being delayed on a bus in a weather-related situation.

3. Students should not arrive at school until the scheduled time for outdoor staff supervision or the breakfast program begins.

4. Develop a plan and inform your student about where your student will go if school is dismissed early.

5. School officials will use their best judgment about school closings, late starts, or early dismissals, but please remember that a parent has the right to keep children home or to pick them up from school early if they feel weather conditions require this action.

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2020-2021 / DATES TO REMEMBER:

MAP TESTING (6TH - 8TH GRADES) - Dec. 1 - 22, 2020

ASVAB TEST (11:30 AM) - Dec. 16th

NO CLASSES - HOLIDAY / Dec. 23 - Jan 1

HIGH SCHOOL SEMESTER TEST DAYS / Jan. 13 & 14 (normal start/end time)





NO CLASSES - HOLIDAY / Feb. 15 & 16

SD ASSESSMENTS - March 8th - May 7th

NCRC TEST / National Career Readiness Certification Assessment for Seniors - March 10th


END OF QUARTER 3 / Mar. 24


JOE FOSS SD ASSESSMENTS (ALL 11th / 12th who haven't taken) - April 20 - 22

MAP TESTING (6TH - 8TH GRADES) - April 22nd - May 14th

HIGH SCHOOL SEMESTER TEST DAYS / May 24 & 25 (normal start/end time)





Test Date: December 12, 2020

Registration Deadline: November 6, 2020 / TO LATE TO REGISTER.

Late Registration window: November 7-20, 2020 / TO LATE TO REGISTER.

Estimated Scores released: December 22, 2020 - February 5, 2021


Test Date: February 6, 2021

Registration Deadline: January 8, 2021

Late Registration window: January 9-15, 2021

Estimated Scores released: February 16 - April 1, 2021

COST of ACT tests:

The full ACT (no writing): $55.00

The full ACT with writing: $70.00


Late registration fee: $35.00

Standby testing fee: $56.00

Change (test date/center) fee: $35.00

Score reports to 5th & 6th colleges of choice: $13.00


If you are testing on a national test date and can't afford the registration fee for the ACT or ACT with writing, you may be eligible for an ACT Fee Waiver. Information about the eligibility requirements and how to request a fee waiver is sent each summer to high schools. You should work with your local high school to determine your eligibility.

You must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Currently enrolled in high school in the 11th or 12th grade.
  2. Be testing in the US, US territories, or Puerto Rico.
  3. Meet one or more indicators of economic need listed on the ACT Fee Waiver form.

If you are eligible, you may use a maximum of four separate fee waivers total. The waiver is used once you register, even if you do not test on the requested test date.

IMPORTANT: To take full advantage of the waiver, you must follow through and test on your registered test date.

Fee waivers cover only the basic registration fee and late fee for your test option on a national test date, including up to four college choices (if you provide valid codes when you register). After registration, the student can request any number of additional score reports for free. Provides free access to The Official ACT® Self-Paced Course, Powered by Kaplan®. Waivers do NOT cover test date or test center changes, standby fee, or any other services.

You cannot request a fee waiver directly from ACT; you must contact your high school counselor. If you receive an ACT Fee Waiver Form, follow the “How to Apply this Fee Waiver” on it for your registration method (or if requesting Special Testing).

When you register online and request any additional services, you must enter a credit card to pay those fees before submitting your registration.

Information retrieved from:

Winter MAP Testing for 6th - 8th Graders

Students in 6th - 8th grade will be participating in the winter sessions of MAP testing. The testing window opened on December 1st and ends on December 22nd. All middle school students in building and virtual learning will be taking the tests. Work hard and good luck!


Semester end is right around the corner, in fact, there are approximately 20 school days left!

High School students, keep working hard to complete classes. Reach out to your teachers or counselors if you are struggling and need some extra help. You got this!

Reminder: January 13th and 14th are normal days, they are NO LONGER early start/release days.

Your Axtell Park Building School Counselors

Jenn Atkinson - FLEX, Success, Structured Teach, & Odyssey


Mrs. Jenn's google site

Janell Mills - Joe Foss


Axtell Park PH: (605) 367-7647


Jefferson HS Cav Chats

Click here to listen to the most recent information about JHS Cavaliers.


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COVID School Status Check

Check here to see what district school status' are at.


The SFSD has released the R2L Plan for the district and has included a COVID-19 Parent and Guardian Handbook. You can find the handbook using this link: We encourage all families to read through the handbook to become familiar with the district’s safeguards and protocols to address COVID-19. Please know that these protocols are a work in progress and could be modified if necessary.

Face Masks and Coverings

  • Students will be expected to wear a mask inside the building.
  • Students may wear masks, gaiters/scarfs, shields, or a combination of these.
  • Bandanas and other images/symbols that do not meet dress code will not be permitted.

Classroom/Instruction and Supplies

  • Students are encouraged to bring a water bottle with them due to the water fountains being turned off.
  • Teachers will encourage social distancing with the spacing of their student desks when appropriate and feasible.
  • Teachers will educate students on appropriate hygiene practices and social distancing.
  • Teachers will wipe down the student desks twice per day.
  • Teachers will encourage students to use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the room as well as when they use classroom materials/supplies.
  • Each classroom will have a supply of hand sanitizer and it will be readily available to students.
  • Donations of hand sanitizer are always welcome.
  • Students can carry their own bottle of hand sanitizer.

If your student is ill

  • The SFSD has provided a screening document from the SD Department of Health. Please make sure to review it each morning prior to sending your student to school.
  • If your student does become ill, a staff member will evaluate your student. If the staff member believes your child is symptomatic, you will be required to pick your student up promptly. Your student will not be allowed to go home on the bus if she or he is symptomatic.
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Click here to follow Axtell Park on Facebook.

SFSD School Nurse Health Information

The health and safety of students, staff, and families remains our top priority. Our school nurses have stepped up to develop a great resource for all things “health-related.” Use your time off from school to learn about how meditation, goal-setting, and healthy eating can improve your brain and body function!

Click HERE for the SFSD School Nurse google site.

211 Helpline

211 Helpline's mission is "Making lives better by giving support, offering hope and creating connections all day, every day". 211 has a database of many business, organizations, and supports that can search for whatever your need is. Please reach out to them for any need you have by dialing 211.

Click HERE for the 211 Helpline website.

Department of Social Services

If you are in need of any kind of assistance please reach out to them. Department of Economic Assistance can help in a variety of ways: child care, medical eligibility, employment, food and energy resources as well as mental health.

Click HERE for the DSS website.

Southeastern Behavioral Health

Southeastern is a wonderful resource and also has partnered with SFSD. We have two counselors that come into building to see students in need of individual sessions. For those families already enrolled in counseling, we urge you to contact your counselor by calling Southeastern directly. For those families and students now faced with some difficult times and situations where you believe a counselor could help, please reach out.

Click HERE for the Southeastern website.

PH: (605) 336-0510

Avera Behavioral Health

Avera Behavioral specializes in behavioral health assessments, outpatient needs and inpatient. It's a multi-speciality facility located off 69th & Louise Ave in Sioux Falls. If you are in need of their services, please call ahead at this time. They will assess you via phone and make an appointment. This is done to limit the number of people in the waiting area. Please know their services are still available and they are here to help.

Click HERE for the Avera Behavioral Health website.

PH: (605) 322-4005


Axtell Park PH: (605) 367-7647

Joe Foss PH: (605) 367-4766

Axtell Park provides opportunities which encourage all students to grow and develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically as they work to complete their high school educations in a nontraditional setting.

The high school program at Axtell Park seeks to reduce the number of dropouts, to recover students who have dropped out and wish to return, and to offer students classes required to earn a diploma. The middle school level offers a short term behavioral modification program that addresses academics, behavior, chemical dependency education and prevention, and counseling.

Focus. Fortitude. Finish with Pride!