In the Know - January 6, 2023
January 6, 2023
Update: Text messaging alerts for staff
With the winter weather-related school closures Dec. 21, 2022, and Jan. 4, 2023 - text message notifications were sent to staff members who had subscribed to receive text message alerts for the first time in Anoka-Hennepin history.
District communications/application and connection services team members are aware that not all subscribers received the text message communication, and are working to resolve the error if and when another notification is necessary. At this time, only 700 of approximately 7,000 Anoka-Hennepin employees have updated communication preferences in Skyward to receive emergency notifications via text message. These messages will include weather closings and delays, school emergencies and other important notices.
Verify that you are subscribed: From the Skyward employee access screen, select “update phone number” icon and follow the on-screen instructions. Detailed instructions are provided for those who need them. Subscribers can opt out of the text messages by responding STOP to any message sent by the system.
For technical support: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 763-506-HELP (4357). For more details, visit the Anoka-Hennepin Schools communications webpage to view important reminders.
Above & Beyond Awards nominations accepted through Jan. 20
Two weeks remain to nominate outstanding staff members
Do you know an Anoka-Hennepin staff member who goes above and beyond normal job expectations to ensure that students receive a high quality education in a safe and nurturing environment? Maybe that person is a teacher or a custodian or a paraprofessional? Maybe a school counselor or principal? Perhaps someone working in the cafeteria, or a nurse or a secretary?
If you know someone who does amazing work for children, you’re strongly encouraged to nominate them for the Above & Beyond Awards. The Above & Beyond Awards involve students, staff, parents and community members in recognizing and rewarding Anoka-Hennepin employees and groups who consistently go that extra mile so students can be successful.
Nominations are being accepted for worthy candidates through Friday, Jan. 20.
Check out the Above & Beyond Awards website, ahschools.us/aboveandbeyond, for a nomination form or to read additional information about the awards.
The program is a joint effort of the district and the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation (AHEF). The 2023 Above & Beyond Awards ceremony will take place March 29 at the Educational Service Center (ESC).
Admin changes at district elementary schools
Matt Brain named interim director of employee services
Matt Brain, currently serving as principal at Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy (CBPA), has been named interim director of employee services for the remainder of the 2022-23 school year as Bobby Royal has left the organization. Brain has a strong familiarity with Anoka-Hennepin Schools having served as principal at CBPA, assistant principal at Wilson Elementary School and as admin intern and teacher at Evergreen Park Elementary School.
Heidi Kouba named interim principal at Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy
Heidi Kouba will serve as interim principal at Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy (CBPA) following the announcement of Matt Brain’s move to interim Director of Employee Services. Kouba is an experienced leader in Anoka-Hennepin who is currently serving as assistant principal at Rum River Elementary. Her service at CBPA will begin on Monday, Jan. 9.
Jess Thomason named assistant principal at Rum River Elementary
Jess Thomason, currently serving as assistant principal at Sand Creek Elementary will join Rum River as assistant principal. Thomason is serving her third year as assistant principal at Sand Creek and also served as administrative intern at Mississippi Elementary for two years. In the classroom, Thomason led classrooms in Grades 1, 4, and 5 over her six years in the district at both Evergreen Park Elementary and Franklin Elementary.
With Jess Thomason’s move to Rum River Elementary, Sand Creek Elementary will receive administrative support from retired Anoka-Hennepin administrators as plans are finalized for filling the assistant principal position.
Benefits spotlight: Join Rally, the new wellness program, and earn rewards
The new wellness program for employees utilizing UnitedHealthcare benefits is Rally.
Employees can take healthy steps to earn up to $460 in Rally gift cards between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, 2023. Choose and complete any combination of activities offered to earn rewards. View the informational flyer.
Get started today.
If you are registered on myuhc.com:
- Sign in to myuhc.com.
- Click on Health & Wellness.
- Click on Health Resources Home.
- Complete your registration.
If you are not registered on myuhc.com or don’t have access:
- Visit the Rally registration site.
- Click on Sign Up.
More information about the new wellness benefits coming soon.
Mississippi Elementary School second grade students pitch slime businesses
Students in Shawna Feist’s second grade classroom at Mississippi Elementary School recently completed a four-week-long project where students created a slime business. Feist, whose sister teaches at Rogers High School and is the DECA advisor, has partnered with high school students from Rogers for the last 16 years on special projects.
This year, students had to create, market, and advertise their own slime business. The fourth and final meeting with the high school students saw the elementary students making a sales pitch for their newly created product in front of their classmates.
The second graders then voted on various parts of the project for which students made the best sales pitch, the best packaging, the best logo, and the best-looking and smelling slime. Check out the video to learn more about the partnership and the fun that was had on pitch day.
AHEF grant applications now open for 2023-24 school year
The Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation (AHEF) has opened the first round of grants for the 2023-24 school year (grant application). Grant awards typically range between $200 and $7,000 depending on the scope and depth of the proposed project.
Grant awards further the mission of the AHEF, which is to cultivate equitable and innovative experiences for students in the Anoka-Hennepin Schools. AHEF does not typically fund capital expenses, alternative seating, furniture, or staff development, which are core responsibilities of the district.
All grant recipients commit to submitting a report on the impact of the grant-funded project along with photos, videos and/or testimonials of the grant’s impact on students. Applications close on March 31, 2023, with funds available after July 1, 2023, for implementation in the 2023-24 school year. Questions about the grant process should be directed to Tess DeGeest at 763-506-1107 or via email at Theresa.email@example.com. Read more about the benefits of AHEF grants.
Sand Creek fifth grade ambassadors gain leadership by supporting fellow students
On Dec. 21, Sand Creek Elementary School fifth grade ambassadors joined students in the developmental cognitive disability (DCD) centerbase program on a field trip to Blainbrook Bowl in a one-to-one peer mentoring and support role.
Fifth grade ambassadors at the school are gaining leadership and mentorship opportunities by helping the DCD students to their buses at the end of the day. The bowling trip was a celebration of a successful first trimester. View photos from the field trip.
“The energy and excitement from our fifth grade ambassadors was infectious, and the support and friendship they offered to our students in the DCD program was special,” said Sand Creek principal Paul Anderson. Read more about the bowling field trip.
Support your home team, earn extra cash!
Anoka-Hennepin Schools are committed to creating experiences that showcase the talents of student athletes in an environment that promotes healthy competition. Promoting sportsmanship and a positive environment is a priority and our school communities expect respectful behavior and cheers for all players, fans, opponents and game personnel. Join us in encouraging fans and school communities to stay above the line at games and events.
View this new video illustrating what it means to stay above the line, how our student athletes compete and how our communities support our schools.
Anoka-Hennepin staff who are interested in earning some extra money can get behind their home team! High schools are in need of extra help at extra-curricular activities and events. Positions range from site manager, ticket seller, bleacher supervision, buildings and grounds support and transportation drivers. Rates are between $55-110 depending on the duties. If interested, reach out to the activities secretary of the high school(s) that you are interested in supporting:
- Anoka High School - Donna Spiczka, 506-6380
Andover High School - Deanna Palmer, 506-8409
Blaine High School - Molly Gamble, 506-6706
Champlin Park High School - Marcy Burnevik, 506-6902
Coon Rapids High School - Jacque Lacy, 506-7307
Parent Engage 360 Podcast Episode 29: Stay Above the Line
Sportsmanship and positivity in school activities and events
Sportsmanship is everybody’s business, and Anoka-Hennepin Schools and the Northwest Suburban Conference (NWSC) are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all at athletics and activities events.
In the latest Parent Engage 360 Podcast episode, host Liz Burgard is joined by two high school seniors to learn more about the “Stay Above the Line” initiative. Coon Rapids High School senior Eleanor Defoe and Blaine High School senior Kendall Stadden both represent their schools as Bleacher Captains. Bleacher Captains will be visible at all NWSC-sponsored activities to help promote a positive environment and respectful behavior and cheers for all players, fans, opponents and game personnel.
In this episode, both Defoe and Stadden share insights into what it is like at a high school sporting event both from the spectator and student-athlete perspectives. Tune in to the Parent Engage 360 Podcast on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, or at ahschools.us/parentengage360.
Upcoming events and important links
- School Board meeting set for Monday, Jan. 9.
- School Board votes to amend 2022-23 school year calendar.
- Action of the School Board, December 12.
- Anoka-Hennepin and Allina Health present Supporting YoU, and employee wellness podcast.
- Appreciation of Diversity workshop series for staff to begin Feb. 11.
- Increased security in place to ensure safety at school events.
- Information sessions available for Grow You Own Program offered through the University of St. Thomas.
- Employee 2022 W-2s will be available electronically; opt-out option for printed copy.
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This e-newsletter is published by Anoka-Hennepin Schools. It's sent to all Anoka-Hennepin staff on a weekly basis during the school year, excluding breaks (and periodically during the summer). Questions, comments or concerns about In the Know e-newsletter? Contact us.