Garretson Blue Dragon Tales

November 2022

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Superintendent's News by Mr. Guy Johnson

Garretson School District Outperforms the State in School Attendance

You may have seen the public service announcements (PSA’s) from the State Department of Education regarding school attendance. Nation-wide, school attendance rates have dropped significantly since the first days of the pandemic. South Dakota has seen this trend as well.

In the 21-22 school year, our Garretson Schools had an attendance rate of 93%, which outperforms the State of SD average of 86%. The state also measures “chronically absent” students, or those who miss a large number of days each year. In our school, 11% of our students were designated as “chronically absent,” while the state average was 22%.

We will continue to work with our families and our students to get them to school. Educational research shows that school attendance is a good predictor of future success. As parents and guardians, one of the best things you can do to help your child understand that attendance matters is to talk to them about your expectations for being there and help your child to establish routines that are consistent to ensure that they get enough sleep and are ready to learn when they get here. Our goal is to help our students be as successful as they can be, and we need them here in order to help them learn. We enjoy seeing our students every day!

Fuel the Dragon

On the first Wednesday of the month, Palisade Oil donates 10¢ per gallon of fuel bought from all of their pumps.

September's donation of $476.91 was given to Garretson TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use) .

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from Mr. Chris McGregor, Principal

Hello Blue Dragons! It has been a whirlwind first couple of months, but I am extremely happy with how the school year has started and I’m so happy to be a part of this wonderful school! There are some great things going on here!

Homecoming week was a success and I have a lot of people to thank for their work and help. The biggest thanks goes out to Mrs. Costello for all her work organizing everything. Thanks also to the teachers and staff for their flexibility throughout the week. Thanks to Garretson Food Center and Coca Cola for the donations for the hot dog feed after coronation. Thanks to Joey and Jackie Rotert and Dennis and Norinda Northrup for cooking the hot dogs and working the food line. Thanks also to the school organizations and the community for a great parade! It was an exhausting week, but it was great to see so much pride in our school and community.

Congratulations to Raegen Altman, Jenna VanHolland, and Preston Bohl for being selected to represent GHS as our Champions of Character. These students were chosen for their leadership in the school and community and will represent our school well. Congratulations also to Grace Hove for being nominated for the Touchstone Energy Scholar of the Week. Grace has a chance to win a cash prize and a scholarship from the local energy co-op.

Good luck to all of the Blue Dragon sports teams as they enter their Region and State level competitions! Be safe, be positive, and be GREAT! It’s always a great day to be a Blue Dragon!

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Little Dragon Corner by Mrs. Katie Hoekman, Elementary Principal

We are off to a great start in the elementary school! We have new faces and faces in different places within our elementary this year. We are excited to have Ms. Emily Backer and Mrs. Alyxa HV move to 3rd grade this year. Mrs. Anna Nelson has moved from the Title room to 2nd grade this year. We also have new staff Miss Jill Whalen (1st grade), Mrs. Amber Schroeder (1st grade), and Mrs. Amanda Nelson (Kindergarten). We are excited about all these changes and building our elementary team!

This year we have a few new faces in the elementary and would like to introduce you to them. We asked our new staff some questions so you can get to know them! One of the new faces in our elementary is Miss Jill Whalen teaching first grade. Miss Whalen is in her 13th year of teaching and first year in Garretson. She has taught kindergarten and first grade in a few other schools in South Dakota and Minnesota. Miss Whalen was looking to leave Minnesota and get back to a smaller school and community in South Dakota. Garretson seemed to be a great fit and she has enjoyed her time so far. She said that it has been exciting to be more involved in school activities such as coaching, line judging, and supporting Homecoming activities. While in Minnesota, she missed having that opportunity to assist in a variety of school related activities. This year Miss Whalen is looking forward to meeting the first grade families, meeting community members, working with an incredible staff, and supporting her students in their development. Welcome Miss Whalen to the Garretson Community!

Conferences will be held on two days this year: November 2 from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM AND November 9 from 2:00 PM-4:00 PM. This year we will be trying something a little different for signing up for times. Each teacher will have their own online sign up where you will be able to select from available times for each of your students' teachers. I will be sharing these links with you through ThrillShare very soon so please be watching for it! You can also click here for the link. I hope that many of you will be able to visit with your child’s teacher to discuss their progress and goals for this year!

The community is invited to attend the school’s Veteran’s Day Program on November 11 at 2:15 in the new gym.

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

YouTube Misconceptions

Many of us in the community think the same thing: “I’m not going to subscribe to the Garretson YouTube Channel because I don’t want to pay for YouTube.” In fact, YouTube is free! Many of us use YouTube to learn how to install flooring in our bathroom, or how to cook an omelet for the first time. The word “subscribe” on YouTube is similar to the word “follow” on FaceBook or Twitter. Subscribing to the Garretson YouTube channel makes it easier to find old videos, live events, and you can even be notified when something new has come out. You can subscribe to the channel and it won’t cost you a thing.

We choose to use YouTube for streaming our Live Events because we have a bit more control when something doesn’t work. We also partner with Alliance in order to get our events on the local cable channel as a service to our community. This again, is a free option. We do not charge for this service, nor does the school receive money for views of these events.

So the next time you have a chance, take a look at the Garretson YouTube channel and check out videos of the Blue Dragon Buzz Podcast, old Live Events, or other videos created and put out by students in Garretson High School.

November Calendar Link

From the Desk of the Activities Director, Kevin Steckler

As we transition from the Fall Sports Season to our Winter Sports Season, I want to revisit the topic of Sportsmanship…

While some might think that the practice of good sportsmanship is limited to the athletes and coaches on the field, the fact is that fans play a critical role in sportsmanship. Stop and think about the following sportsmanship tips, because sportsmanship from the stands starts well before the game even begins and goes beyond the game itself.

Before the game, remind your child – and yourself that practicing good sportsmanship is something important, something in which you and your child can take pride, regardless of the outcome of the contest.

During the game, work hard not to be “that dad” or “that mom” who loses their cool. While you think the spotlight is on the field, it’s on you in the stands in the eyes of your children. They see and hear all, and during the game is your moment to demonstrate that you walk-the-walk and practice the very same sportsmanship that you ask your kids to show.

After the game, resist the urge to “break down” what you saw. Talk about what was fun about the game, and what did you learn from the game?

Purchasing a ticket to a high school athletic event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful, or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud of your child, and the Garretson Blue Dragons, but be responsible and respectful.

Nurse's Corner by Betsy Howe, RN BSN and Chantel Millwood, RN

Influenza Vaccinations- FREE for pk-12 grade students at Garretson School District!

Did you know? The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone older than six months old.

The Garretson School District has partnered with the South Dakota Department of Health this school year and was able to receive a grant opportunity where all Garretson School District students (PK-12 Grade) can receive a FREE influenza vaccination for this flu season. Our school nurses will be administering the vaccinations at the fall Parent-Teacher conferences in November in the nurse’s office at school: November 2nd, 2022 from 2:00pm-6:00pm OR November 9th, 2022 from 4:00pm-6:00pm. There will be a consent form to fill out for each child on those nights should you choose to take advantage of this opportunity! Please call the school office at (605) 594-3451 and talk with Betsy or Chantel to discuss any further questions!

Garretson School District - Return to School Protocol

When sick, students should NOT be sent back to school until they are vomit, diarrhea, and/or fever free (without the use of any medication) for 24 hours! This does include if they are sent home during the school day as well by school staff.

Thank you for your help stopping the spread of germs as we enter cold and flu season!!

Garretson School District – COVID procedures for 2022-2023 school year

Student Positive Test: Must be home for 5 days based on either test date or when symptoms started, whichever was first. Student may then return to school if they have been symptom free for 24 hours and those five days of quarantine are complete. No mask wearing is required when they return.

Close Contact/Exposure: Student can still attend school if they themselves are not exhibiting any symptoms. Parents are asked to monitor their student for symptoms and should they start to show symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) then keep them home, get tested and stay home until the results are known.

Miscellaneous Information:

1. The District will not be offering a long-term distance learning option to our students in the 2022-2023 school year.

2. The Garretson School District recommends that all students, staff, and parents get vaccinated for COVID-19, but does not intend to require vaccination as a condition of attendance in school.

3. The Garretson School District recommends that all unvaccinated students use appropriate face coverings while attending school.

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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