Oak Ridge Family News

November 2020


Dear Oak Ridge Families,

Thank you to all families for your willingness to meet virtually with your child’s teacher next week. Connecting helps build strong parent – teacher partnerships to reach our common goal of helping your child get the best education possible! We appreciate you making time to celebrate your children’s growth and set goals for continued progress. Each of our teachers are deeply committed to the work of teaching and learning, and we are grateful for the work we get to do each day with your children.

During these challenging times, we are finding many reasons why we should make gratitude a daily practice — research has shown that being thankful supports health benefits, from improved immune systems to feelings of connectedness. We are thankful for our students, staff, and families at Oak Ridge and here are some other reasons to be thankful according to research:

1. Good for the heart

2. Good for the immune system

3. Reduces stress

4. Strengthens relationships

5. Improves sleep

6. Higher academic performances

Thank you for all the contributions you are making for the well-being of our school community, the grace you extend to us when we fail to do things perfectly, and for sharing your amazing children with us! You will find more exciting and useful information about our school and district throughout the remainder of this month’s newsletter.

As always please feel free to contact me via email (cathy.kindem@district196.org) or call our office line at 651-683-6970. Mr. Backner, our assistant administrator, is also available to answer questions at donald.backner@district196.org. We continue to wish you well!

With gratitude,

Dr. Kindem

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent/teacher Zoom conferences will be on Wednesday, November 4, from 12:00-8:00pm and on Thursday, November 5, after school from 4:00-8:00pm at scheduled times. If you signed up for a 20 minute conference online and entered your email address, you will receive email reminders. Teachers also sent home reminders in Friday Folders with Cohort A and B students. The classroom teacher will be emailing you the Zoom link. You will be put in a waiting room until the teacher is ready for your conference.

If you have any questions you may email your child's teacher or call the school office at 651-683-6970.

November 2020 Nurse Notes

Please be sure that your child is dressed for the temperature each day. Students go outside daily for outdoor learning and recess. Proper outdoor attire includes a jacket, hat, gloves, boots and snow pants! It is also a great idea to label the clothing items so they can be returned to the student if lost.

Illness and COVID-19

Students must stay home if they/household members have tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for a test result, or are showing COVID-19 symptoms, until they meet criteria (see MDH Decision Tree, below) for return. Siblings will also remain at home until they meet the criteria for return. Please contact the school nurse, Angie Ridgley if you have any questions 651-683-8593.

Student Illness Decision Tree


MDH Decision Tree


Seasonal Flu-Find a Flu Clinic

Prevention is the best defense against seasonal influenza: immunize, stay home when you are sick, cover your cough, and wash hands frequently. For more information about influenza visit:



Find a flu clinic near you - https://vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine

Health Updates/Emergency Contacts

Please log into Campus Portal and update your students' emergency contacts and health information.

What is Title 1/Title 1 Parent Compact

This past Thursday and Friday, each learner should have brought home a double sided green sheet that says “What is Title 1/Title 1 Parent Compact” in their Friday Folder. Your learner’s classroom teacher will go over this with you during conferences. Digital academy students should have received this document on either SeeSaw or Schoology. These documents, written in English, Spanish and Somali will also be posted on Oak Ridge’s website under “Title 1.”

What is Title 1?

Oak Ridge is an All School Title 1 School – There are many benefits to being a Title 1 School. Here are just a few:

  • It provides resources for OR to assist in meeting students’ needs
  • It provides additional teachers to support school-wide goals
  • It provides additional technology and student materials that support learning
  • It provides professional development and coaching for teachers

Oak Ridge Brochure

See the new brochure created to share with others the awesome things happening at Oak Ridge:


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STEM Accomplishments

Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Graders:

Students have focused on using their iPads as a tool, and how they can take good care of it this year. We also practiced being safe online, looking closely at our feelings when we use technology, and the importance to balance our online and offline time. Lastly, we used Scratch Jr. (app) to practice creating interactive stories around Digital Citizenship with basic code!

3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders:

Students reviewed the basic steps of caring for their technology this year. They also used Google's Interland to practice key Digital Citizenship Skills. They practiced securing their information online, and reviewed how to spot a scam. They also learned how to create a secure password and avoid hackers. Lastly, they learned about the importance of being kind to others online and report bullying behaviors.

STEM Forward


Students will learn the 4 aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through different hands-on projects and activities. They'll practice safety while using different engineering tools to construct and build. They'll practice inquiry through self-guided STEM activity stations. They'll also be going outside to so some messy science experiments!

1st Grade:

Students will investigate worms, compost, and soil through hands-on activities. They'll be using science tools and learning what it means to be a scientist through data collection and observational sketches. They'll practice inquiry through self-guided STEM activity stations.

2nd Grade:

Students will investigate plants in new ways by completing multiple hands-on experiments and activities. They will grow edible plants for our school by growing them in a hydroponic! They'll also practice inquiry through self-guided STEM activity stations.

3rd Grade:

Students will develop a new type of animal based off of their adaptations research they're completing in their classrooms. They'll then design their animals in 3D using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and have them 3D printed in our lab. They'll experience and observe animals in their native lands through Virtual Reality. They'll also practice inquiry through self-guided STEM activity stations.

4th Grade:

Students will learn more about geography, run-off, and water quality through hands-on experiments and design. Students will collect pond water from a nearby pond and analyze its water quality through microscope analysis and water filtration. Students will design their own water filtration system and analyze its effectiveness. They'll also have time to explore our Augmented Reality Sandbox that creates a virtual topographical map with manipulatable sand and virtual water.

5th Grade:

Students will analyze the effect of Buckthorn (an invasive species on our school campus) and how it affects the native plants. They then will identify and tag Buckthorn trees to be removed. They will learn proper safety techniques before helping with the removal of buckthorn. Students will also use robots through an ecosystem simulation to see the effects invasive species have on an ecosystem and the symbiotic relationships within.

After Hours COVID Reporting Form

If it is outside of the school day and you suspect that your child has COVID-19 or your child has been confirmed to have COVID-19, please complete this form.


If it is during the school day and you suspect that your child has COVID-19 or your child has been confirmed to have COVID-19, please call our school at (651) 683-6970 and ask to speak to our school nurse.

All information provided in the form is confidential and will be reviewed within 24 hours. You may be contacted by the school nurse or an Oak Ridge administrator if more information is needed.

Dressing for Cold Weather

Winter Ready

At Oak Ridge we go outside in all seasons. It is very important that your child wear their winter gear to school each day so they are safe and comfortable when outside. Check to make sure your child’s gloves/mittens and boots are insulated and waterproof.

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Dakota County Naturalists

Dakota County Naturalists had a lesson with each class during October. Asynchronous video lessons were provided for our learners in Digital Academy. The lessons focused on the science standards for each grade level. The topics ranged from phenology, soil, trees, animal adaptations, healthy water systems, and biomes. They focused on the science practices through observation, posing questions, and collection of data.

We value our partnership with the Dakota County Naturalists at Lebanon Hills.

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Every Meal Weekend Food Program

“Every meal” (formerly the Sheridan Story) is a weekend food program that offers 5 different types of bags of food that students bring home (or parents may pick up on Wednesdays.)

Please complete this form to register for this program.

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School Social Worker News

MN Cold Weather Rule & Energy Assistance: The cost of heating our homes during a Minnesota winter can add strain to any family’s budget. Families do have a few options when that strain becomes too much. Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule offers families some flexibility when utility bills become difficult to pay during the coldest months of the year. Contact your natural gas or electric utility provider now and set up a Cold Weather Rule payment plan. For information about Energy Assistance call the CAP Agency in Rosemount at 651-322-3500.

United Way 211: Do you have questions about where to find services or resources that are available in your community or surrounding communities? All you have to do is dial 211 from a landline or 1-800-543- 7709 from a cell phone. A United Way operator will answer and be able to assist you in finding the information that you are looking for. This service is free, confidential, multilingual, and available 24/7.

For other resources including parenting webinars, mental health support, Conscious Discipline information, etc. please visit the Parent Resource Board in my Virtual Office.

Alisha Kaul, School Social Worker 651-683-6969 voicemail box 84822 (Tues. Thurs. Fri.) alisha.kaul@district196.org

Free/Reduced Lunch Application

District 196 provides healthy meals each day for all students and your family may qualify for free or reduced priced school meals. If you participated in this program last school year and wish to participate again this year, you must submit a new application each year.

Federal funds and school-related fees are determined with this information. The failure to complete the application could result in the loss of millions of dollars to our school system, which would negatively affect teaching and learning in a significant way.

All students in our district are currently eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch through the extension of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's free meals program, however this funding is not guaranteed long-term. It is important the families who qualify for free or reduced-price meals still apply this year. All digital academy and hybrid students should apply whether you are currently using the school meals or not. Our application numbers support our school funding for staff and student sources.

To apply, visit https://paypams.com/Applynowisd196 or call 651-683-6958 if you need assistance in filling out the application.

PTO Family Night at Noodles

The Oak Ridge PTO is sponsoring a family restaurant night on Thursday, November 19, from 4-8pm at the 2000 Rahncliff Court location. Oak Ridge PTO will receive 25% of the qualifying sales. Guests must mention you are a part of the Oak Ridge PTO when ordering at the store or you may show the flyer that will be sent out in Friday Folders or Seesaw/Schoology next week. If you order online, enter the code GIVING25 at checkout.

Teacher and Clerical Substitutes Needed

District 196 is in need of both Teacher and Clerical Substitutes. You can substitute teach with a 4 year degree in District 196 by obtaining a Short Call Substitute License at https://mn.gov/pelsb/ . Along with that license, you will need to attend an orientation for Short Call Substitutes with District 196. Please consider signing up at https://www.district196.org/services/human-resources/substitute-teaching .

Clerical Subbing covers a wide variety of duties with very flexible hours. Please consider your availability and if you are able to help out. To attend an orientation, visit https://www.district196.org/services/human-resources/clerical-substitutes . All questions can be directed to Barb Hall barb.hall@district196.org .


November 4 - Magnet School Online Applications Opens for 2021-2022 School Year

November 4 & 5 - Parent/Teacher Zoom Conferences

November 4, 5 & 6 - NO PRESCHOOL CLASSES


November 19 - PTO Family Night at Noodles Restaurant

November 26 & 27 - NO SCHOOL - Thanksgiving Break