Garretson Blue Dragon Tales

December 2022

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Superintendent's News by Mr. Guy Johnson

Garretson School District Awarded $1.185 Million Dollars!

The Garretson School District has been notified that we are one of only a few school districts in the State of South Dakota to be selected as the recipient of a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for the purchase of up to three electric school busses and the associated charging infrastructure. Business Manager Jacob Schweitzer had the idea for writing the grant and its potential positive impact on the district.

We have much to learn in a short time about electric school busses before we make a recommendation for the purchase of one of these busses. At this point, we believe we will likely take advantage of the program to purchase two electric school busses, which would allow us to keep two spare diesel powered busses in the fleet for use as needed.

Electric school busses typically have a maximum range of between 120 and 130 miles. One of our concerns is that with the harsh South Dakota winters, we know that the range of the electric busses will be reduced. We will need to determine how much the range decreases to see if they are appropriate for use on those very cold South Dakota days in January and February. If we determine that those busses are not appropriate in extreme cold, we plan to use those spare busses on those days to ensure that all of our students get to school safely.

We are excited to be on the front end of this potential change. The district should see substantial savings in the operational costs using these busses. A typical diesel school bus gets between 6 and 7 miles per gallon. The equivalent use of electric vehicles (based on cost of fuel) is approximately 24 mpg. The costs of maintenance *(think oil changes) is also significantly reduced. Stay tuned for more news as we move forward with the project!

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from Mr. Chris McGregor, Principal

Hello Blue Dragons! Winter is coming! Actually, it seems that it is already here. Temperatures are dipping, the wind is picking up, and furnaces all over town are kicking in more often. It now being the second quarter of the school year, our dress policy changes a bit by not allowing shorts to be worn to school. This is not meant to be a punishment, it is meant to keep students warm and promote good health. Students should get in the habit of wearing coats, hats, and gloves to school from now on because it’s just going to get colder. With colder temperatures, we also seem to see more sickness, which can lead to absences. We understand that absences happen, and we want students to stay home if they are sick. But, if everyone does their best to take care of themselves and get plenty of rest, we can hopefully keep absences to a minimum. Let’s stay healthy this winter season and make the most of our time in school.

Pretty soon we will hear the sounds of basketballs bouncing, wrestlers pounding the mats, and Christmas concerts. We’ll also have a Winter Formal, FFA events, and Semester Tests in the coming weeks. There is no shortage of events happening at GMS/GHS this winter. We hope to see you here.

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Little Dragon Corner by Mrs. Katie Hoekman, Elementary Principal


I’d like to introduce another new staff member this month that joined our Dragon Team this year. Mrs. Amber Schroeder is in her tenth year of teaching. Prior to teaching first grade here, she taught middle school special education. Mrs. Schroeder chose to come back to Garretson because it is a great place and the school/community mean so much to her. She was born and raised right here in Garretson and it has been special being back as a teacher! She has loved being back in a district that is small - it feels like family! Everyone has been kind and welcoming. It’s been an added bonus being able to work alongside her dad, Mr. Steckler, and in the same building with her own kiddos, Sutton and Weston. When Mrs. Schroeder thinks back on her education here in Garretson, she thinks about how many of her teachers made a positive impact on her. She hopes to continue to make Garretson a great place to be by building positive relationships with her students and their families that will go beyond the short amount of time she has with them.

Holiday Stress and Students

As we enter the holiday season, many are looking forward to a break from our normal routines and daily stressors. However, for some students this also brings new stress of the unknown. As parents, it is important to recognize and be supportive when our students struggle with an unusual schedule and lose emotional control. We are all creatures of habit and enjoy our routines as adults; the same is true about our students. Students may be excited about a break from school, but with the holidays there may come lack of sleep, unusual eating habits, extra screen time, and an unusual amount of travel for students. This is all a part of the holidays and yes we should indulge in some of these extras, but it is important to monitor your student to know and understand when too much is too much. Below are a few tips for parents in how to monitor your child and to help them still have a fun, stress-free holiday season.

  1. Spend time in conversation with your child ~ They will be excited about gifts, but they will remember the time you spent with them more!

  2. Set boundaries and expectations ~ Extended family may have expectations for you to join them, but know how much your family and child can handle and be open and honest with extended family about this.

  3. Reduce your own stress ~ Children feed off adult stress and their stress level will elevate if yours is too.

  4. Spend time outside and limit screen time ~ Fresh air is always refreshing and a stress level reducer. Research shows that the more children spend on screens raises their anxiety levels. Spending time outside releases hormones in their body that makes one feel happier!

  5. Make a plan ~ Create a schedule for your child so they know what to expect and what is coming. Discuss the plan with your child and include them in decisions so they want to participate and are more understanding.

  6. Safe place ~ Give your child a place or cue for you to let you know they are overwhelmed and need a break from the current situation. Give them an out and let them know its okay if they need to step away to reregulate their emotions.

We hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas with your student!

Tech Tips with Mr. Matt Schrank, PK-12 Tech Coordinator

Tech updates!

Those of you with an iPhone or an iPad at home may have updated to the new iPadOS or iOS 16. The new update has many new features, but one of the best new features lets you remove the background of a photo and place just the subject of the photo in a project or message. When creating projects and adding pictures or photos, this can really help to remove anything in the background that maybe, shouldn’t be in there, or is distracting to the subject matter, or even to make the subject more aesthetically pleasing.

Here is an example:

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Another tip, that wasn’t a part of the recent update, and not many users utilize the tool. In Safari you can change most pages to get rid of the “excess stuff”, and just read the content. In the address bar, there is an icon you can click to change to “reader view”. Take a look at “How to Cook a Turkey” before and after.

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December Calendar Link

From the Desk of the Activities Director, Kevin Steckler

My name is Kevin Steckler and I am a 1980 graduate of Leola High School and 1985 graduate of Dakota State University. I have been a staff member at Garretson High School since the fall of 1985. My classes include American Government, World Geography, and World History. I'm the Activities Director, and Senior Class Advisor. My family includes wife Shelley, our daughter Amber, son in law Jered, and there three son’s Sutton, Weston, and Layton. Son Dustin, and daughter in law Kelly. I look forward to helping your child grow as a student in the classroom and in society.

I am available most every morning from 6:30 - 8:15 and during ICU Time. If you have any questions for me… my door is always open, or please contact me at

United States Government

The objective of United States Government is to make students aware of the political process, encourage obedience and respect of law, and promote loyalty and patriotism. The course will emphasize the principles of the Constitution. These principles will lay the foundation for students to explore all facets of United States Government. The class will include the study of national, state and local levels of government. The students will concentrate on how all levels of government are interrelated as he/she looks at our political system and discuss the meaning of our basic constitutional rights guaranteed to citizens. This class is supplemented with current events and research.

Geography (Western Hemisphere)

The objective of World Geography is to present students with information about the world in which we live. The course will emphasize the five themes of geography: place location, movement, regions, and human interaction. We focus on the earth in space, world resources, people, and geographical concepts of the western hemisphere. The class will give students a better understanding and appreciation of people in the western hemisphere. The class is supplemented with a Current Events, map skills, and a PBL research project.

World History

The objective of World History is to cover the cause-effect relationships that distinguish significant historical periods from the Renaissance (1300’s) to the present. The students will learn the key features of cultural, economic, and political philosophies in relation to the other during these time periods which include the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Revolution, Industrialism and a New Global Age, World Wars, and the World Today. This class is supplemented with current events, map skills, and research.

Breakfast/Lunch Menus Link

Children with Disabilities by Mrs. Kayli Coburn, MS SPED teacher/SPED Director

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Garretson Administration and School Board


Mr. Guy Johnson, Superintendent

Mr. Chris McGregor, MS/HS Principal

Mrs. Katie Hoekman, Elem. Principal

Mr. Jacob Schweitzer, Business Manager

Mr. Matt Schrank, Technology Administrator

Mrs. Kayli Coburn, SPED Director

School Board Members

Mr. Shannon Nordstrom, President

Mrs. Kari Flanagan, Vice President

Mrs. Tana Clark

Mrs. Jodi Gloe

Mr. Andy Hulscher

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