Owatonna Public Schools

District Newsletter - April 2021

Spring Excitement

Welcome warm weather, sunshine, and students in grades 6-12! Last week, our students in grades 6-12 returned to school in-person four days a week. The energy in our buildings is truly exciting! We look forward to finishing the school year strong.


To keep the momentum going, we are asking that you remain vigilant in masking up and socially distancing. If all of us can hang on just a while longer, we will be able to end our school year with the many activities that are so important to our students and families. And stay tuned for additional summer opportunities as we continue to plan and provide ways to re-engage our students in school and learning. More information about these opportunities will be coming soon.


Thank you again for your continued support of our students and staff. Together, we are #OwatonnaProud!

Mission Moment Spotlight

At the March 29 school board meeting, Superintendent Elstad recognized Fardouza Farah who was selected as a United States Senate Youth Program Representative and exemplifies all of our commitment areas: 21st Century Learners, Safe and Caring Community, Equity, and High Quality Teaching and Learning. #OwatonnaProud!


Each month at the regular meeting, the School Board of Owatonna Public Schools recognizes individual students and/or staff members who exemplify the district’s mission of inspiring excellence - every learner, every day.


Watch the video from the March 29 school board meeting. Photo above right courtesy of OHS Magnet

Owatonna Teachers Move Through the Pandemic in Stride

This article by Danielle Theis, Director of Special Services, was published in the Owatonna People's Press last month.


Approximately nine hundred students receive special education services through Owatonna Public Schools each year. These services vary across thirteen disability areas and settings. Our most vulnerable learners are served in our Discovery and Stride programs. Our Stride program serves children that have developmental cognitive or autism spectrum disabilities which impact how they participate and experience school. While all people have been impacted by the pandemic, I wanted to share the views of a few teachers who serve in our Stride program as a bright reminder of how grit, optimism, and kindness bring us all forward.


Read the full article here.

Owatonna Online For Fall!

Did your student thrive in an online learning environment this school year? Would a more flexible school schedule benefit your family? Would your middle school or high school student benefit from some online options in addition to their in-person school day?


If you said yes to any of these questions, Owatonna Online might be right for you. To learn more about this accredited online school that is supported by our licensed Owatonna Public Schools teachers, please let us know if you are interested in joining us for an upcoming informational webinar by completing this form.


Owatonna Online is a K-12 online public school open to all Minnesota students free of charge. Some of the benefits:

  • A computer/device provided to all students - and internet access for those who need it

  • Combination of live and independent learning opportunities

  • Online courses that meet all the Minnesota educational and high school graduation requirements

  • Support from licensed Owatonna Public Schools staff

  • Whole class and small group live sessions

  • Playlist of activities to complete independently

  • Learning Coach support to ensure success at home

  • Regular one-on-one check-ins with the classroom teacher


If you’re ready to enroll right now, complete this form if your child will be in grades K-5 in fall 2021 and this form if your child will be in grades 6-12 in fall 2021. Please refer to our website for further information.


Questions? Contact Michelle Krell, Director Teaching and Learning, at mkrell@isd761.org or (507) 444-8613.


SPANISH: Si necesita ayuda para comprender este documento o si quiere obtener esta información en español, por favor comuníquese con:

Antonieta Sanchez-Mendez asanchez-mendez@isd761.org 507.444.8925


SOMALI: Hadii aad u baahan tahay in lagaa cawiyo fahmitaanka dukumiintigaan ama aad ku hesho macluumaadkaan Af somali, fadlan lasoo xiriir: Muna Hersi mhersi@isd761.org 507.444.8412


OTHER LANGUAGES: If you need help understanding this document or to have it translated into another language, please contact the district office at: 507.444.8634

Coffee and Conversation with the Superintendent

The community is invited to join Superintendent Elstad for “coffee and conversation” in person at the District Office on Friday, April 16 at 9:00 a.m. Hear an update on what’s been happening within the school district and bring any questions you have.


Limited space is available, so please RSVP by emailing shoffman@isd761.org or calling 507-444-8610 by 4:00 Wednesday, April 14.

COVID-19 Testing for Kids and Families

MDH announced a recommendation for all school-age youth returning to school, youth sports, or extracurricular activities, and their families, to get tested every two weeks through the end of the school year. While it is not a requirement, regular testing complements other safety measures already in place, such as masking and social distancing. You can visit a community testing site, order an at-home test kit, or get tested through your health care provider. All options are quick, easy, and free to you. Visit Getting Tested for COVID-19 or contact your health care provider to schedule an appointment.


Getting tested every two weeks from now until the end of the school year can help keep schools open and sports operating, and ensure we are limiting the spread of COVID-19.


INSPIRING EXCELLENCE - EVERY LEARNER, EVERY DAY


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earn more about our commitments:

Stay Connected!

Celebrate our students, our staff and our schools by following us on social media. If you like what you see, be sure to share it with others. Together, we are #OwatonnaProud!


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