Garretson Blue Dragon Tales
Superintendent News by Mr. Guy Johnson
Fall is part of what I love about living in South Dakota. October is often times particularly beautiful. This year, the first couple of weeks of October did not disappoint. However, we also know that things can turn on a dime in short order, and this last weekend in October marks the first predicted snowfall for the area! Wow, I was hopeful that we would wait until November or possibly even December to see those below-freezing temps.
That being said, we should talk about plans for inclement weather… we know it’s coming, just a matter of when. Be sure that your children know what needs to happen in the case of an early dismissal due to weather. Talk to them ahead of time to ensure that they know where to be. Plans also need to be made in the event of a late start or cancellation due to weather.
If there is a need for a late start, cancellation or early dismissal, our goal is to ensure that our students make it home or to school safely. We will notify parents, students and staff as soon as the decision is made through our school app, voice messaging system and text messaging system. We will also post to the school’s website and social media accounts. Schedule changes will be posted to both Keloland TV and Dakota News Now. Cancellations will also be posted to KELO AM radio, Big Country 92.5 radio, KRRO 103.7 radio and Kelo FM 101.9 radio. The most up to date information will always be the school’s website.
The best case scenario would be that we don’t need this information for quite some time, but as they say about SD weather… “if you don’t like it, just wait a few minutes. You’ll get something different shortly.”
News from the MS/HS Principal, Mr. Chris McGregor
Happy November! I don’t know how many people actually read my September newsletter but for those of you that did, would it surprise you to know that 70% of it was written by Artificial Intelligence? While I think of myself as a pretty decent writer, there were some phrases in that newsletter that might have given it away that I didn’t write all of it. “As we usher in the crisp, autumnal days of September” was the first one. The word “autumnal” is not one that I use very often in my day to day speech or writing. With all the buzz these days about A.I. and the national attention it is getting, I thought it would be fun to see what kind of a newsletter article it could make for me. The online A.I. tool I used to write it was called ChatGPT. Four MS/HS teachers and I recently went to a workshop and spent a lot of time exploring the world of A.I. and ChatGPT specifically. It was very informative and somewhat mind blowing. There really are so many possibilities for the use of A.I. both in school and in the world as a whole. The big question for schools is, how do we want staff and students to use it and what do we consider to be ethical ways in which to use it? The two major takeaways from the A.I. workshop were 1) we are just at the tip of the iceberg with A.I. so hold on for a wild ride, and 2) in any use of A.I. there should be a human element at both the beginning and end of it. I think it can be a powerful and useful tool for use in the school, but we will definitely need to do things like verifying the information that is generated, properly cite the source, and take care in editing the information to our needs. We certainly live in an exciting time of innovation and discovery. I just hope we can learn to use A.I. in positive and helpful ways to enhance the education of our students. So, for now that’s all I have to say about A.I. and I can assure you that I wrote every word of the article this time. Or did I?
Upcoming Articles – Keep an eye out in future newsletters for some classroom spotlights from GHS and GMS!
Little Dragon Corner by Mrs. Katie Hoekman, Elem. Principal
Hello Garretson Elementary Families! There are a few topics I would like to touch on in November’s newsletter! First, I want to thank you for coming to visit with your student’s teachers at conferences in October. It is so important for parents and guardians to keep an open line of communication with your child’s teacher and this is just one way to ensure we are partnering in your child’s education! Thank you!
Second, Mrs. Lundberg does a fabulous job of creating and teaching guidance lessons to your students in the classroom. She steps into each classroom once a week to talk about a variety of topics including kindness, choices, patience, compassions, etc. This Fall I will also be stepping into each elementary classroom to share a story and talk about kindness with our students. The Social Emotional Learning of students is very important to me and I want to do my part in being proactive in helping our students develop skills to be great leaders in and out of the classroom.
Next, as our weather continues to change in South Dakota, I would like to remind families we have passed the first 9 weeks so shorts are no longer accepted. Please be watchful of the weather and keep in mind your students K-3 start their day on the playground unless it is raining or below 0. As much as we want to avoid snow still, it seems we are always caught off guard when the first flurries fly! Please make sure your child has the appropriate gear when time does come. It is important your child dresses appropriate for the day so they can focus on their learning within the classroom. I have included the recommended temperature guide from the handbook for your reference:
Recommended Temperature Chart for Outdoor Recess:
● Under 50 degrees: Warm coat with hat and gloves.
● 51-55 degrees: Warm sweatshirt or coat
● 55-60 degrees: Light sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt
● Shorts are only permitted to be worn first and fourth nine-week periods.
Finally, I want to remind parents that K-2 students will be performing at the Fall/Winter Concert this year and 3-5 students will be performing at the Spring Concert this year. In the past this has been opposite, so as families begin planning for those holiday concerts please be aware the grade levels have switched the time of year they will be performing. The Fall/Winter Concert will be held on November 30 at 7! Mrs. Schweitzer has told me it is a pirate-themed concert.
Children with Disabilities by Kayli Coburn, SPED Director
Tech Tips w/ Mr. Matt Schrank, PK-12 Tech Coordinator
“What is Snap Map?”
In our tech-rich environment, staying informed about apps is crucial, and Snap Maps on SnapChat is no exception. Snap Maps, offers a unique way to share your location with friends while also exploring what’s happening around the globe.
What can you do on Snap Maps? It allows users to see their friends’ Bitmojis on a map, providing a real-time glimpse into their exact location. While this feature adds a social dimension to the Snapchat experience, it is highly important to discuss how to use it responsibly and consider privacy implications.
Encourage your child/children to review and adjust their location settings. They can choose who to share their location with and it is also optional to turn it off completely and go with my personal favorite, Ghost Mode. It’s also an excellent reminder to discuss the importance of digital boundaries and online safety, and that you don’t know who amongst your friends group is sharing their location with others as well.
Snapchat is an extremely popular application, and Snap Maps is a powerful tool for seeing where your closest friends and family are in real time. By using it responsibly and understanding these features, we can make the most of this dynamic feature while maintaining privacy and safety for everyone.
From the Desk of the Activities Director, Kevin Steckler
Keep Sportsmanship in Sports
• Part 1
Good sportsmanship builds teamwork, character, and teaches respect, honor, discipline, kindness, inclusion, resilience, perseverance, among many other positive traits.
It may seem hard to define, but the importance of sportsmanship includes being able to win without gloating, respecting one’s opponents, and being able to instill in your program:
· If you lose, don’t make excuses.
· If you win, don’t rub it in.
· Learn from mistakes.
· Always do your best.
· If someone else makes a mistake, remain encouraging and avoid criticizing.
· Show respect for yourself, your team, and the officials of the game.
Good sportsmanship includes the following certain guidelines for good behavior. Share these concepts with your children:
· Avoid Arguing – Stay focused on the game instead of giving into anger with teammates, coaches, or referees. Avoid using bad language and negative words.
· Respect the Other Team – Whether your team wins or loses, it’s important to show respect for the effort of the other team. If the other team wins, accept defeat, acknowledge their abilities, and move on. If your team wins, resist bragging – that’s what it means to be a gracious winner.
· Encourage Teammates – Team sports work best when each individual supports the team. Praise teammates for what they do well and encourage them when they make mistakes. Avoid criticism and negative actions.
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
Mr. Andy Hulscher, Vice President
Mrs. Tana Clark
Mr. Wyatt Compton
Mrs. Jodi Gloe