Garretson Blue Dragon Tales

April 2023

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Superintendent's News by Mr. Guy Johnson

GSD Proceeding with Electric Busses

Earlier in the year, we were pleased to announce that the Garretson School District was selected for a $1.2 million grant to purchase up to three electric school busses and the purchase and install charging infrastructure for those vehicles. A number of people have asked why we would proceed with the electric busses, and expressed skepticism about whether this is a good thing for our district.

We have spent a significant amount of time over the course of the school year talking with experts, reading about different options and just generally learning about electric vehicles to determine if we should proceed with just part of the grant award or to move forward with the full grant.

Over the course of the past year, we have found that in districts that use the electric busses, there is significant savings in not only fuel costs, but also in maintenance costs associated with running diesel busses. Some studies indicate that the cost of fuel and maintenance on a diesel bus runs close to 49 cents per mile, while the electric busses have a fuel and maintenance cost of approximately 14 cents per mile. Comparisons of electric equivalent “miles per gallon” also tell a positive story, with our average diesel bus getting between 5 and 6 miles per gallon. The estimated electric equivalent “miles per gallon” costs point to approximately 28 MPG. While this is likely the MPG under “ideal” conditions, we are certain that the cost of operation and maintenance on our fleet with be dramatically reduced, thereby having a positive impact on our General Fund.

Right now, we are considering whether to move forward with two electric busses or three. The answer to that will depend, in part, on some of the ancillary costs associated with purchase and installation of charging infrastructure as well as changes to property and liability insurance costs. Our intent is to present this information to the board on April 10. The board will then make a decision as to how we proceed. We are excited to be on the front end of the electric vehicle revolution in SD. It’s even better when the Federal Government, rather than local taxpayers are footing the bill!

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from Mr. Chris McGregor, MS/HS Principal


If you attended our first assembly back in August, you may remember me talking about my motto for the year. The motto goes like this: Be Here, Be on Time, Be Respectful, Be Great!

I will be honest, I didn’t come up with this on my own. I flat out stole it from another principal in our state who shared it at a conference a number of years ago. The school year is three-quarters over already and I thought it was time to revisit this motto and explain why I think it is a good one. By the way, how did the first three quarters go by so fast???

We have just a little over eight weeks of school left and we have the opportunity to finish strong. We just have to decide to do it. We are probably all getting spring fever and dreaming of summer coming right after that, but we still have work to do. We have Smarter Balanced testing to complete, spring sports and activities to compete in, and concerts and awards programs to attend. Oh, and we also have a lot more classwork to get through. If we dedicate ourselves to finishing this year on a high note and doing it the right way, we can really make this a special time.

So, back to my motto. Let’s look at each piece. Be Here – I know things come up, appointments, sickness, and family events. Those things happen, but students really need to be here and in class as much as humanly possible. In the classroom is where the magic of school happens and you miss things when you are gone, even for a day. So be here, please. Be on Time – I truly and aggressively dislike calling kids in to tell them they have detention for being tardy too many times. I know tardiness happens too, I’m guilty of it at times myself, but being consistently late for classes creates bad habits which can plague you in other areas of your life. So be on time, please. Be Respectful – Be respectful to your teachers, classmates, coaches, advisors, and school staff members. Respect our school; pick up garbage when you see it, keep the locker rooms clean, wash the tables at lunch. Respect yourself; dress well, take care of your health, and get enough rest. These are just little things we all can do to be respectful to others, the facilities, and ourselves. So be respectful, please. And finally, Be Great! – WHY BE ANYTHING ELSE? We can’t all be the best at absolutely everything we do, but if we are determined and give it our best, then we are great. Attitude is everything. If we attack life with a positive attitude and work together to solve problems rather than criticize everything and give up so easily, we can and will do great things. So, think great, act great, and BE great, please!

In my short time here, I have learned that we have a lot of great students, teachers, and community members in Garretson. Let’s all work together and make the most of our last few weeks together in the 2022-2023 school year. Go Blue Dragons!



*Chronic Absenteeism is when a student misses 10% or more of the school year. That’s only 2 days a month!

*Since the 2018-2019 school year, the rate of chronic absenteeism in SD has nearly doubled!

*Chronic Absenteeism is proven to increase dropout rates, hurt student grades, and can lead to juvenile delinquency!

*Research also shows that students who don’t graduate from high school can make approximately $10,000 less in earnings per year than those who have a diploma!

*When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.

*Attendance matters! Attend today, Achieve tomorrow!

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Little Dragon Corner by Mrs. Katie Hoekman, Elementary Principal

As we head into April we will be starting to think about State Testing. All students are required by the state of South Dakota to take the state assessments. This tool can help our school district measure our students' growth and progress to make important decisions to help best meet the needs of our students. As parents you can play a key role in preparing your students' success for these assessments! Below are a few ways you can help your student succeed!

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

Parent Portal or Campus Parent App!

If you are someone that needs student information quickly on the go on your phone, make sure you download the Parent Campus App. If you already have a Parent Portal username and password, it’s as simple as searching for the Garretson School District and logging in. IF you don’t have a username and password you can go on our website and find the document for a parent portal username, or simply call Norinda at the school and she will help you get signed-up.

On the app, you can check out your child’s grades, attendance, schedule, but maybe most useful is the Food Service section. In Food Service, you can not only check the balance of your child’s account, but add funds directly in the app.

There are so many other features inside this app to make it easier to stay on top of information. You can even go into the “More” section and click on “Important Dates” and see how many Make-up Snow Days have been added, and when the new last day of school is scheduled to happen.

Check out the Parent Portal App on your mobile device or click on the Student/Parent Portal App button on the homepage of the Garretson School website.

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April Calendar Link

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From the Desk of the Activities Director, Kevin Steckler

“It has been said that 99% of us will go pro in something other than sports”

Each year the SDHSAA recognizes Activities that Qualify for the Academic Achievement Team Award for the Fall, Winter, and Spring Seasons. I’m proud to announce the following Fall and Winter Activities at Garretson High School have qualified for the Academic Achievement Team Award. To qualify for this award each sports team/activity whose students have a combined average GPA (grade point average) of 3.0 or higher qualify.


  • All State Chorus
  • Large Group Band
  • Large Group Chorus
  • Newspaper
  • One-Act Play
  • Oral Interpretation
  • Student Council
  • Yearbook
  • Girls Cross Country Team
  • Boys Cross Country Team
  • Football Team
  • Football Cheerleaders
  • Girls Soccer Team
  • Volleyball Team
  • Girls Wrestling Team
  • Girls Basketball Cheerleaders
  • Girls Basketball Team
  • Boys Wrestling Team
  • Boys Basketball Cheerleaders
  • Boys Basketball

Congratulations to these student/athletes…we are proud of you for this achievement!

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Breakfast/Lunch Menus Link

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Children with Disabilities by Mrs. Kayli Coburn, MS SPED teacher/PK-12 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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