The Eagle Eye

Dec. 17, 2020 - Eagle Ridge Academy - Volume 17 | Issue 7

Eagle Ridge Academy is currently in FULL SCHOOL DISTANCE LEARNING.

All students in grades K-12 must stay at home in distance learning until notified of a change in the learning scenario. Essential childcare will remain open for Tier 1 Critical Care Workers.

The Minnesota Department of Health data updated today shows that Hennepin County is currently at 106.50 cases of COVID-19 per 10,000 people. Please see the data below for the reasoning for the switch to full school distance learning.

According to the Eagle Ridge Academy Learning Scenarios based on 14-day case rate range (see page 4), 40 or more cases puts the full school in distance learning.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health Recommended policy options based on 14-day case rate range, the recommended policy option for 50 or more cases is full distance learning.

Big picture

Upcoming Events

Friday, Dec. 18:

  • All students are at home in distance learning.
  • Materials Pick-Up at Door 2 (School of Grammar) and Door 3 (Schools of Logic & Rhetoric), 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
  • NO TAKE-HOME MEALS PICK-UP due to winter break.
  • We will be holding a Gryphon Conversation from 2:15 - 3:00 p.m. to discuss the possibility of the School of Grammar returning to in-person learning starting Jan. 19 in light of Governor Walz' Wednesday updates. Join the conversation here.

Monday, Dec. 21 - Friday, Jan. 1:

  • NO SCHOOL due to winter break. Office is closed.

Monday, Jan. 4:

  • All students (K-12) at home in distance learning.
  • Take Home Meals Pick-Up at Door 2, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 8:

  • All students (K-12) at home in distance learning.
  • Materials Pick-Up at Door 2 (School of Grammar) and Door 3 (Schools of Logic & Rhetoric), 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Take Home Meals Pick-Up at Door 2, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

List of Materials Pick-Up Days for Remainder of 2020-2021 School Year

January 8

January 15 (Upper School only)

January 22

February 5

February 19

March 5

March 19

April 9

April 23

May 7

May 21 (last pick-up, June 4 is graduation)

Coronavirus Information

Eagle Ridge Academy has created a web page with COVID-19 information and resources. Check out the page here:

Technology Information

*If you are using an Eagle Ridge Academy-issued tablet and are unable to download Zoom, you may have to update your tablet. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

*Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Infinite Campus will no longer support Internet Explorer. Please use an alternate web browser.

If you need help with Canvas or have another technology issue, you can visit to troubleshoot your issue and see who to contact for help.

You can also call the Academic & Technology Hotline Monday-Thursday at 952-746-7760, ext. 1704 or email

Community Updates

Safe Learning Plan Updates - Jason Ulbrich, Executive Director

Dear Families,

2020 has been a year like no other in my career and lifetime. There have been difficulties and yet so much for which to be grateful. On Dec. 16, Governor Walz announced that “elementary” schools (K-6) may return to school in-person as soon as Jan. 18 if they follow certain restrictions. I am grateful that schools have this option and hopeful that we are getting closer to serving all students face to face.

According to Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Ricker, “…Minnesota’s evolving knowledge and understanding of the virus, we know that children are less susceptible to serious complications from COVID-19. We have also learned more about how to reduce the potential for spread in schools from success in other settings.” Therefore, I will be recommending to the ERA Board of Directors that the Lower School begin a rolling start in-person opening on Jan. 19. The final authority for this decision is the School Board.

Some of the new and modified restrictions include (12-16-20 Safe Learning Plan):

  1. Staff must wear facemasks and shields when working with students.
  2. A maximum of three grade levels may return to in-person school over a two week period. This is called a rolling start.
  3. ERA will have a COVID testing center for staff.
  4. There can be no mixed classrooms in indoor spaces, i.e., the cafeteria, for in-person students.
  5. PE students and staff must wear masks indoors.
  6. We must maintain 3 feet of social distance rather than the 6 feet previously required.

The governor is also allowing activities to begin Jan. 4. Mr. Babler, ERA Activities Director, will open up the registration process for winter activities on December 21. Our three guidelines for activities to remain open are still in place:

  1. Coaches and students feel safe to sign up and commit to fully participating.
  2. No positive cases or point of contacts per activity.
  3. Allowable by Minnesota Department of Health and Education.

If the School Board approves, ERA will keep you well informed with communications regarding the learning model changes and the process of opening up the school. We will schedule Gryphon Conversations for early January so that you may ask questions and hear what school leaders are planning. We will also provide the opportunity for you to switch the learning model for your child, if you so desire. In the meantime, please join us tomorrow, Dec. 18 at 2:15 p.m. for a Gryphon Conversation to hear more about this possibility.

There is a lot of work to be done and we are excited to be doing it for our families.

Jason Ulbrich

Textbook Change Process - Susan Bloomgren, Director of Academics

Dear Families,

As the new calendar year approaches, so does planning for the next school year. Textbook review is a process that typically happens within departments during a five-year curriculum review cycle. However, there are several textbooks that are more than ten years old and we are no longer able to find these printed books in good condition. Additionally, digital options are not available for these books.

Below is the process that is followed when exploring a textbook change:

1. During the first phase, teachers examine their course textbooks to ensure they still align with MN standards and course content, as well as compare the text to new versions that might exist. The versions of science textbooks that are currently used are out of print, which required the team to look at new versions.

2. The Director of Academics works with publishers to receive the latest version of our current textbooks as well as other available options.

3. Teachers evaluate the textbooks using a rubric. The top-rated textbooks have the following characteristics: align to Eagle Ridge Academy, state, and Core Knowledge standards; meet an appropriate reading level for students; use quality visuals to support learning; and offer digital resources.

5. The Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Achievement group (CISA) reviews all textbooks. The 2020-21 CISA group recently reviewed all considered textbooks and found them to meet the above criteria.

Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, AP Physics will use College Physics: Explore and Apply by Etkina, et al. Eagle Ridge Academy will receive early access to the textbooks in January. Teachers may use segments of the newly adopted textbooks to supplement learning during the current school year.

As we continue to review textbooks that are out of print, we will keep the community updated through future Eagle Eye issues. If you have any questions about the process or would like to view the textbook, please contact me.


Susan Bloomgren

Schools of Logic & Rhetoric Notes - Erin Johnson, Principal

Dear Families,

We are heading into a two-week break. This break will be a chance to reconnect as a family, virtually visit extended family and friends, and (hopefully) rest. When we come back in January, there will be two weeks left until the end of the semester. We have worked to find a different way to work through the various issues of this particular school year. One of the changes we have made for first semester is changing the grading breakdown for the semester.

In a traditional year, the semester grade breakdown is 40% 1st quarter, 40% 2nd quarter, 20% final exam. This semester, the breakdown has changed to 40% 1st quarter, 55% 2nd quarter, 5% final exam. This change is due to the unique situation this year presents and the technology challenges from the start of the year. We believe this change will benefit our students.

If you or your child believe your child’s grade would be higher based on the original breakdown, then you may fill out a petition form to change the grade. The petition form will be available on the website after the end of first semester. Please do not contact individual teachers, as stated in a previous communication, as this grading breakdown is done at a district level and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, only through the petition form. This will be available after grades are posted for first semester through March 1, 2021.


ACT is offering an opportunity for juniors to participate in a remote proctoring ACT Practice Test. The information regarding this opportunity is below. You must register to be considered to participate in the remote proctoring ACT Practice Test. This is a practice test. It WILL NOT result in an ACT test score that can be reported to colleges and universities. If selected, ACT will contact you through the email you provide in the weeks leading up to test day with additional test day information. Just prior to test day, you will be sent the unique credentials you will need in order to participate.

Remote Proctoring ACT Practice Test Opportunity

  • Test Date: Jan. 16, 2021
  • Deadline to respond: Jan. 6, 2021

Registration Form

A form for students to provide information and register their interest. They must complete this form to be considered for the opportunity.

Remote Proctoring Webpage

This website provides details about remote proctoring and the test day experience.


Erin Johnson

School of Grammar Notes - Janelle Mellgren, Principal

School of Grammar Families,

Hello and congratulations! We have accomplished a HUGE amount together so far this school year. If someone told me in July that our school year together would be this successful in the face of SO many challenges, I may have doubted them. The support, hard work, dedication, and care for others has been nothing short of amazing. As we head into a well-earned time of rest, I think it’s important to pause and honor all of the effort, energy, and creativity which has gone into our collective school year.

I know our year continues to be quite a challenge and we have more to face and overcome. Please know that we in the School of Grammar want to be here to help you as we’re able. Our school counselor, Mr. MacLean, has the following student groups organized for our students. If you think your child might benefit from joining one of these, please contact Mr. MacLean at for more information.

Counselor-Led Student Groups

  • Family Change (available for K-5th grade students)
  • Emotional Coping (available for K-5th grade students)
  • Gryphon Groups (focused on teaching and developing executive functioning skills such as organizing materials, following schedules, planning/scheduling homework, etc. - available for K-5th grade students)
  • Lunch Bunches (less structured social time with peers - available for 1st-5th grade students)

Also, a quick note regarding Quarter 1 grades. Some of our School of Grammar students received a grade of Incomplete for Quarter 1. Our teachers have reached out to those families to let them know how that grade can be changed. To that end, you may see some changes in the next few weeks to Quarter 1 grades for students who received Incompletes.

I hope the upcoming break provides you and your family some well-earned moments of relaxation, rejuvenation, and joy. Wishing you much truth, beauty, and goodness in the weeks to come.

Janelle Mellgren

Virtual Winter Enrollment Extravaganza on Jan. 7 - Janice Gerheart, Admissions Specialist

Dear Eagle Ridge Academy Community,

Our 2021-2022 enrollment lottery will take place on Jan. 19, 2021. If you have children you wish to enroll, please complete an application by Jan. 15, 2021 in order to be considered in the lottery.

If you have friends, family members, or colleagues looking to enroll their children in an amazing school, please invite them to join us at our Virtual Winter Enrollment Extravaganza on Thursday, Jan. 7! School of Grammar (grades K-5) Principal Janelle Mellgren & Schools of Logic & Rhetoric (grades 6-12) Principal Erin Johnson will hold a breakout Zoom session, 5:30-6:15 p.m. Current students and families will hold a breakout Zoom session, 6:15-7:00 p.m. You may take a virtual tour of the school building, filmed by School of Rhetoric students Erik T. and Muthu M. and enjoy a virtual introduction presentation featuring Executive Director Jason Ulbrich, Instructional Coach Missy Madigan, and Activities Director Kris Ulbrich any time here.


Janice Gerheart

School of Grammar Lunch Bunches & K-12 Family Sessions - Zac MacLean, K-5 School Counselor & Jean Soule, 6-12 School Counselor

SoG Lunch Bunches – Social Lunch Groups

Does your child miss the social time around a lunch table? Beginning in January, there will be a purely social “Lunch Bunch” option for grades 3-5 each Monday at their scheduled lunch time. It will be an open Zoom call chaperoned by School Counselor Zac MacLean (Mr. M), with the goal of allowing students free conversation time with peers. No registration needed, just have your student show up at this Zoom link if they would like to participate.

Monday Lunch Bunch times:

3rd Grade: 11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

4th Grade: 12:20 - 12:45 p.m.

5th Grade: 11:20 a.m. - 11:45 p.m.

January Family Sessions (Grades K-12)

You are all invited to join the ERA School Counselors for another Family Session. This session will be a continuation of the Parent-Child Relationship Building session that was held in November. For this session, the focus will be on challenging behaviors and will be based upon Rudolf Dreikurs’ Foul Mistaken Beliefs of Misbehavior. Please feel free to come even if you missed the first one. The format will be 20 minutes of information followed by 10 minutes of open question and answer time.

Parent-Child Relationship Building Part II: Challenging Behavior

Tuesday, Jan. 12

12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Both sessions will be held at the following Zoom link:

Please reach out if you have any questions prior to the sessions.

Zac MacLean

Jean Soule

When We are Back - Kris Babler, Activities Director

Dear Families,

We don’t know when, but Eagle Ridge Academy Activities will be back. The governor will give updated guidance on youth sports and activities this week. The impacts of the pandemic have been felt through the loss of opportunities to students. I think I can speak for all of the coaches and co-curricular leaders when I say we miss working with students.

We look forward to the learning that comes through teamwork. We look forward to the joy that our music and theater departments bring students through creativity. We look forward to the opportunity to intellectually challenge students in ways that complement our Classical curriculum.

We will move closer to normal in 2021. Our expectation is that Basketball and the One-Act Play will launch in the coming weeks, with a full season of spring activities right behind them with warmer weather. From everyone in ERA Activities, have a happy and healthy New Year. We can’t wait until we are back!

Go Gryphons!

Kris Babler

Developing Connections

Thank you for supporting Eagle Ridge Academy this year! - Kelly Schiffman, Director of Development

Dear Families and Friends,

I’d like to extend an enormous thank you to our Eagle Ridge Academy families for what has been a year of unknowns, patience, and appreciation. In addition to the incredible response to our call for financial support, I’ve seen selfless acts of kindness from our families, community partners, and staff. The need for support starting last spring was received with donations of in-kind items and products for the school, support for our families in need, and the unselfish and generous contribution of time when we needed it most. To say that we are grateful is not enough. To say we are blessed is paramount. We truly have the most unbelievable ERA community, of which I am so proud to be a part.

I wish you happy holidays and warm wishes for a new and joyful year!

For more information on how you may participate in helping develop Eagle Ridge Academy, please contact Kelly Schiffman at 952-746-7760, ext. 1107 or by email at Visit our website for online giving and other important information at

Make a 100% Tax-Deductible Year End Gift to Support ERA Projects!

There is still time to make your 100% tax-deductible gift to help support an area of your interest at Eagle Ridge Academy. Make a gift online at before 12/31 or mail in your gift to:

Eagle Ridge Academy, ATTN: Year End Gift

11111 Bren Rd. W.

Minnetonka, MN, 55343

To receive your 2020 tax deduction, gifts should be postmarked by 12/31. Don’t forget to double the impact of your gift by asking your employer if they have a matching gift program.

Thank you for your amazing support!

Double the Impact of your Gift with Corporate Match Programs!

Do you work for an employer who has a matching gift program or supports community events as recommended by the employee?

Consider reaching out to your Community Relations or HR department to ask about their community support, social responsibility, and employee giving opportunities. Many organizations match employee gifts up to 100%, essentially doubling your donation to the Academy, donate to charities of choice based on volunteer hours, and sponsor events financially or with in-kind donations.

Be informed by asking today!

Virtual Advanced Chess for Grades 1-6 Starts Jan. 5!

Advanced Chess will be delivered virtually on Zoom this year. Classes will take place on Tuesdays through the end of May and will run from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. They will be taught by Tim Lee, Calvin Lee, and Igor Rybakov. The cost for 20 classes is $200.

Students in grades 1-6 are invited to register for classes. The class will be limited to 25 students.

The first class will be held on Jan. 5. Register today at

Register Today for Grades 6-12 Virtual Theatre Workshops!

Thank you to the Upper School students that joined us for our December Virtual Theatre Workshops! Director Ms. Michels had a blast teaching aging makeup techniques to her participants.

The next virtual workshop will be "Approaches to Shakespeare". Make sure to register at before Jan. 8! More information about the One-Act Play and Spring Play is coming next month.

ERA Mock Trial is Back!

After finishing in third place at the state tournament last year, our mock trial team is off to a strong start in the pre-season.

At last Saturday's Hamline University Invitational tournament, ERA Team 2 finished first out of twenty-two teams.

Before that, ERA Team 1 finished fourth out of sixteen teams at the University of Minnesota Invitational tournament.

Our pre-season ERA teams are a mix of students brand new to mock trial and experienced mockers—making the early victories even more notable.

Upper School Yearbook Portrait Submission Deadline is Dec. 18

Lower School portraits were due by Dec. 11. The Eagle Ridge Academy Lower School (K-5) 2020-2021 Yearbook is available to purchase here. Please email with questions.

Upper School portraits must be submitted by TOMORROW, Dec. 18. View Upper School (Grades 6-12) instructions below. The Eagle Ridge Academy Upper School 2020-2021 Yearbook is available to purchase for $50 now through Jan. 31, 2021 here. Please email with questions.

Big picture

Take-Home Meals Pick-Up on Monday, Jan. 4 and January Menus - Brittany Radtke, Chef

There is no take-home meals pick-up tomorrow due to winter break next week. The next Take-Home Meals Pick-Up Day will be MONDAY, Jan. 4. Families may pick up meals 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Door 2 on Jan. 4. Please fill out the Take-Home Meals order form as soon as possible if you intend to pick up meals.

Below are the Take-Home Meals Menu and Childcare Breakfast and Lunch Menus for January.

Have a great break,

Chef Brittany Radtke

Stay Connected!

Follow the ERA PTO on Facebook! Search "Eagle Ridge Academy PTO" on Facebook or follow this link:

Join the K-12 Parent Directory! This is a one-stop app that will help families search, sign up, and connect through our PTO web and mobile app. PTO encourages you to register.

See below for instructions on how to connect through 'My School Anywhere' App

Step 1:

  • Create an account at
  • If you already have an account from last year, using My School Anywhere, you can use the same email and password to login. You can then confirm or edit your information.

Step 2:

  • Click “verify my email” and check your email for a link to complete the process.

Questions? Please contact Anu at

Get Your 2020 PTO Spirit Wear for Spirit Wear Fridays!

PTO Spirit Wear is available for purchase online! During this school year, every Friday is a Spirit Wear Day and we've got you covered with this year's fun t-shirts and sweatpants. Items can be ordered here and picked up every other Friday during distance learning materials pick-up.

All Spirit Wear proceeds benefit PTO's events, services, and teacher support. Show your school spirit and order your fresh spirit wear today!


The quarter-zip pullover orders have arrived! If you placed an order for a Ladies or Men's Sport-Tek Tri-Blend Quarter-zip Pullover, these will be available with your child's school materials for pick-up tomorrow, Dec. 18.

We have not yet met the minimum requests (12) for the other categories of items ordered (soft shell jackets, hats, or scarves) so these items can not yet be fulfilled. The order form is still open for anyone to order at Once we meet the minimum 12-item order for any category, the vendor will be able to fulfill those orders.

Three Things You Can Do to Support ERA Athletics

1. Register on the ERA Booster Club website ( so the ERA Booster Club has a way to communicate with families based on the sports and activities they choose.

2. Become a Booster ( and choose from a variety of support levels, including the FREE Patron level.

3. Order your own ERA Booster Club winter gear, face masks, and mask-keepers ( to show your school spirit every day!

Learn more by visiting the ERA Booster Club website or by joining the Facebook group today!

Big picture

Thank You for Participating in ERA's Third Annual (First Virtual) Door Decorating Contest!

COVID-19 couldn't stop our favorite holiday tradition! Students were invited to participate in two ways this year: by decorating a virtual door with their class or by decorating a door at home. This year's theme was ERA's own version of "Where's Waldo?" called "Where is Gus the Gryphon?". Students worked to hide Gus in their door decorations, which were based on something that the students learned about in class this year.

Click here to view the virtual classroom door submissions.

Click here to view the door decorating contest submissions from home.

Follow Eagle Ridge Academy on Social Media for More Content!

Make sure to like the ERA Facebook page and follow the ERA Instagram and Twitter accounts to see festive content through winter break!

Have a restful break, Gryphons. We'll see you in 2021!

Eagle Ridge Academy

Thank you for reading the Eagle Eye Newsletter. The next issue will be published on Thursday, Jan. 14.