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Sharing the great work of Faribault students and staff

Superintendent Update

Hello everyone! I'm extremely excited that over the last month we've slowly been able to move back toward some normalcy as we've welcomed students back into our schools under the hybrid learning model. We know that in-person interactions with each other and with our staff are critical to the success of our students.

Of course, in order to get case numbers down to the point where we can consider a pivot to full in-person learning, we need to continue to adhere to all the health and safety measures we have in place. The good news is we are making great progress on the vaccination front as over 200 of our staff members have been vaccinated or will be vaccinated by the end of the week. We will continue to work with Rice County Public Health to ensure staff get all the information you need to secure your vaccination. Also, to help staff know when we get another notification of vaccines from the Rice County Public Health, I will do a staff robo call and text asking you to check your email and to sign up for the vaccine.

I want to again give a heartfelt thank you to all our staff who have gone above and beyond to advance the mission of Faribault Public Schools throughout this challenging last 12 months.

Faribault Public Schools provides a high-quality and equitable education that nurtures, inspires, challenges, and empowers all students to engage and grow as learners and citizens.

Jarvis nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Jackie Jarvis feels she’s right where she belongs.

A Faribault native and graduate of the Faribault Area Learning Center, Jarvis has spent the last 20 years teaching art at the ALC. During that time, she’s helped hundreds of non-traditional students develop their creativity and build other important life skills along the way.

“I’m so incredibly honored to work in the same program from which I graduated so many years ago. It is my experience as an ALC student that has largely formed my philosophy and approach as a teacher,” Jarvis said. “The ALC was a perfect fit for me; it was the first time that I really liked school and felt like I belonged. Teachers created a respectful, family-like atmosphere, which I and my colleagues at the ALC have made every effort to continue.”

It’s that dedication to her profession and to her students that has earned Jarvis a nomination for 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

“I felt very honored by the nomination. I certainly did not feel worthy,” Jarvis said. “I’m sure most nominees feel the same way, and that’s because we know that pretty much every teacher deserves a nomination - that every teacher is Minnesota Teacher of the Year to somebody.”

The Art of Teaching

As a non-traditional student, Jarvis began college at the age of 30. It was at Minnesota State University, Mankato that she was inspired by professor Rea Mingeva, whose love and passion for art was contagious. After college, Jarvis started teaching full-time at Faribault Middle School where she was mentored by Ed Kane and Al Gora. She then moved into her role at the ALC.

As an art teacher, Jarvis enjoys being able to create an inclusive classroom setting where every student has the opportunity to express themselves regardless of their skill level. She says it’s in this setting that students are comfortable to try something new or push their ideas further, which helps them gain confidence.

“I appreciate the trust my students place in me, knowing that I am a partner in their learning - a part of their team,” Jarvis said. “Being creative is part of our human existence. We are born to be creative and need the opportunity to explore this part of us. Art is unique in that it allows students the opportunity to develop many important skills essential in self-development, such as higher-order thinking skills of creative problem-solving along with social-emotional awareness. Working towards mastery of art techniques builds confidence and life-long skills, while opening the door to a wide range of career paths for our students.”

Outside the classroom, Jarvis applies her artistic creativity to a variety of projects. She’s currently designing blueprints for a garage and kitchen remodel.

“I most enjoy whatever medium I am using at the moment as each has its own unique properties,” she said. “I love the creative problem-solving process that goes into bringing a piece to life, whatever materials are being used.”

It’s those lessons in creative problem-solving that Jarvis passes on to her students at the ALC. She’s grateful that the program that helped her thrive as a teenager is still making a difference for students, and she’s proud to play a role in its success.

“Our program has not only changed my life and the lives of thousands of others, but continues to do so in the youth of the Faribault community,” she said. “It is wonderful that our school district provides educational options to ensure success for all students.”

VIDEO: Solar partnership benefits FPS

Wetzel & Gehrke Qualify for Future Farmers of America State Convention

Congratulations to Hannah Wetzel and JoHannah Gehrke for being the first FFA students to qualify for the state convention! Hannah placed first on her Beef Entrepreneurship enterprise and Johannah placed second for her Small Animal Care and Production Entrepreneurship enterprise with her show rabbits. Applications are scored based on how members have grown through their operations, goals they have accomplished, challenges they have overcome, and skills they have attained.

Happy Valentine's Week!

Did you know that more than 20 married couples work together in Faribault Public Schools? We highlighted them throughout last week on Facebook. You can read their stories by going to the FPS Facebook page or searching the hashtag #FalconLoveStories.

VIDEO: Distance Learning: Real stories from teachers who care about you!

FPS Distance Learning Stories

DECA Stock Market Team Qualifies for International Competition

Congratulations to Jackson Warmington and Myles Munoz for qualifying to compete in the Stock Market Game during the 2021 DECA International Career Development Conference. In order to qualify teams had to finish in the top 25 in one of the 4 regions of DECA. Jackson and Myles finished in 16th place out of 1,201 teams throughout the midwest and Manitoba, Canada! They started in mid-September with $100,000 in virtual cash and used a combination of stocks, bonds, money market accounts and mutual funds to earn a profit of $35,784.56 by mid-December. They will next compete in the ICDC Conference at the end of April.

Be Well 656 provides boxes of healthy snacks

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Wrestling team starts season 15-0


FARIBAULT, MN (2/11/2021) - There was plenty of uncertainty facing the Faribault wrestling team as the 2020-21 season approached.

Would the season be canceled altogether? What would a season held during a pandemic look like? And on the mat, who would replace the seven seniors the team lost to graduation?

The season did finally get underway on Jan. 16 when the team made quick work of Mankato West, 64-12, and the Falcons haven’t let up since. With a 33-30 victory over Albert Lea Tuesday, the Falcons improved their record to 15-0 overall and 7-0 in the Big Nine Conference with three league matches to go. In addition to the Albert Lea match, the undefeated run includes quality wins over Eastview, No. 6-ranked Northfield, and 11-1 Goodhue.

The Falcons need to win 2 out of 3 against John Marshall, Rochester Mayo, and Owatonna to capture the Big Nine title.

“Our boys are very much about improving every day. One percent better today than yesterday is our motto. They work diligently on technique, they lift with purpose and intensity, and when it comes to wrestling, they love to be taken to deep waters - we believe in making practice uncomfortable - and learning how to thrive in that very situation,” coach Jesse Armbruster said. “As we entered the season, we had many questions… they have been up to the challenge and have been impressive from word go.”

The Falcons have started fast in every match thanks to the work of a trio of undefeated young wrestlers. Eighth-grader Bo Bokman is 15-0 at 106 pounds. Freshman JT Hausen owns a 13-0 record at 113 pounds. Freshman Elliott Viland is 15-0 at 120 pounds after defeating a ranked wrestler from Albert Lea Tuesday.

Senior Tyler Boyd follows with a 14-1 mark at 126 pounds and freshman Isaac Yetzer stands at 11-4 at 132. Senior Gael Ramirez has a 13-2 record and is just two wins away from joining his brother in the 100-win club. Junior Aiden Tobin stands at 13-2 at 152 pounds.

The team’s depth continues into the upper weights where senior Cael Casteel (8-7) and a trio of sophomores - George Soto (10-5), Gabe Shatskikh (9-6), and Marcos Ramirez (9-6) all have winning records. Freshman Cooper Leichtnam is 7-7 at 160.

“This has been a fun group, and they are very young and barring injury or other setbacks have a very bright future,” Armbruster said. “We still have a couple of big conference matches left on the schedule and will face four more ranked teams in the next few weeks before we set our sights on the postseason. Who knows what will happen, all we know is that we will attack each day one step at a time and give our best effort in all that we do.”

Students build snowmen at Jefferson

FMS launches its own version of The Nest

The Nest is up and running at Faribault Middle School. Any student in need of supplies, food, clothing, or other essentials can access these things for free by reaching out to a school counselor or social worker. Those interested in donating to The Nest can contact counselor Brent Hawkins.

Valentine's Day party at McKinley

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National School Counseling Week, 2021

National School Counseling Week 2021 (Feb. 1–5), sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, highlights the essential contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and the tremendous impact they have in helping students achieve

school success and plan for a career.

"The ALC is blessed to have Shane as our counselor. She builds relationships with our students that last far beyond the time they spend with us at the ALC. Shane is in constant communication with our students about schedules, grades, their goals for graduation, their current state of mind and beyond! The work she does with our students is invaluable for their future and overall success!" -ALC Coordinator Vonna Dinse

"The value of our school counselors cannot be measured. Our school counselors impact student's lives in more ways than we can understand. We are extremely proud of the dedication and commitment Brent and April provide for our students. We are grateful for all that they do." -Principal Mike Meihak

"Our counselors at FHS are amazing at building relationships with students and helping them with their needs. They consistently go above and beyond when working with students and preparing them for life after high school. Faribault High School is so lucky to have our counselors, Mrs. Breun, Mrs. Peanasky, Mrs. Ahmed, and Mrs. Balow!" -Principal Jamie Bente

VIDEO: FPS Community Education provides opportunities for learners of all ages

Faribault Public Schools Community Education

Para Recognition Week, Jan. 25-31

Governor Walz has proclaimed Jan. 25-31 Paraprofessional Recognition Week. Paras have always played a huge rule in the success of our students, but they've been counted on even more over the last year. In addition to their regular duties, they've played crucial roles in distance learning, food service, and child care, among many other things, during the pandemic.

All week we highlighted paras from around the district. Go to the FPS Facebook page or to our school websites to read profiles of some of the awesome paras we have in our district!

Emeralds first in High Kick and Jazz at Owatonna

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Alumni Update: Cassie Kersten (Bongers), Class of 2013

Student activities: During my time at FHS, I was involved in cross country (co-captain in 2012), track, and choir. I also did post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO) during my senior year at the University of Minnesota- Rochester.

Additional education: Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, University of Minnesota- Rochester (UMR), 2016; Master of Public Health in Global Epidemiology, Emory University, 2020

Career: During college at UMR, I began doing biomedical research at Mayo Clinic and working as a teaching assistant for different science courses. After graduating from UMR, I spent two years working at Mayo Clinic in cancer research and volunteering in the cancer ward before deciding to go back to school for my Master of Public Health (MPH) in 2018. When I began my degree at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, my husband and I moved from Rochester, MN to Atlanta, GA. During my MPH degree, I was Co-President of the Emory Student Outbreak and Response Team (SORT), a teaching assistant for multiple courses, and had an internship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. From February to April of 2020, I participated in the CDC COVID-19 response on the team that focused on tracking and making recommendations for school closures and other community interventions. I also began a position in March 2020 as a contractor for the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) on the medical epidemiology team, where we approved test requests and performed data cleaning for COVID-19 test results. After graduating from Emory with my MPH in May 2020, I continued working with GDPH part-time and on some projects at an emergency management consulting firm before starting at Booz Allen Hamilton in August. At Booz Allen Hamilton, I am a Senior Consultant supporting the US Air Force (USAF) Project READY EAGLE comprehensive medical readiness program under the Air Force Medical Readiness Agency (AFMRA). I also volunteer at testing sites and vaccination centers with the Atlanta-area Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

Family: I am married to Phillip Kersten from St. Louis Park, MN and we have two bengal cats, Elphaba and Pearl.

Current residence: Atlanta, GA

Who were some of your favorite teachers?

Jason Boggs, who taught Chemistry courses, always put a smile on my face and made me excited to learn! Janet Smith, who was my cross country coach, also helped push and inspire me. My dad, Mark Bongers, still works with the FHS track and cross country teams!

What experiences inspired you or helped point you toward your chosen career path?

One of the biggest ones was my choice to do PSEO at UMR during my senior year! I really enjoyed being pushed out of my comfort zone and expanding my knowledge of different careers in science and health during that time.

What are your favorite memories from attending Faribault schools?

This is a hard one! For cross country, I loved the Roy Griak Invitational and the 24-hour relay—these were both great for bonding with other team members while also enjoying being a teenager! I also loved school dances (getting ready with friends was always the most fun part!) and going dancing on weekends at 16+ events in the Twin Cities.

What lessons did you learn in school that have stuck with you and helped you be successful?

I think the most important lesson I learned in high school was that, if you stick with something and work hard at it, you can be successful. I started learning this lesson through high school cross country, and applying that same mindset to my career has helped me continue to thrive professionally.

Kindness Hearts at Roosevelt

For regular activities updates on your phone, download the Falcon App

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About Us

Faribault Public Schools provides a high-quality and equitable education that nurtures, inspires, challenges, and empowers all students to engage and grow as learners and citizens.