Owatonna Public Schools

District Newsletter

July 2020

#MissionMoment Spotlight

Valerie Seath and the 2nd Grade Team: Katie Demmer, Kate Seifert, and Lori Huisenga at McKinley Elementary

McKinley Elementary second grade teacher Valerie Seath's class was recognized by Highlight's magazine CEO & Chief Editor for their distance learning project creating a magazine about the native animals of Minnesota.

This project involved second grade students collaborating through distance learning on creating a magazine with non-fiction text, art and science information about native Minnesota animals. The students used technology and worked collaboratively through Google classroom.

We are #OwatonnaProud!

Mission Moments are a part of the regular board meeting each month. Board meeting videos can be viewed on our website.

Referendum Recommendation Presented to School Board

District leaders presented a recommendation to place two school funding requests on the November 2020 ballot to the School Board, after discussing a number of options for addressing the district’s financial challenges and maintaining quality academic programming.

The first question would ask for a simple renewal of the district’s existing operating levy which is about to expire. Operating levies provide critical funding for classrooms, instruction and other operating costs. The second question would phase-in increases to the district’s operating levy in 2022 and 2025. By phasing in the increase over time, it also phases in the tax impact with no tax increase until 2022. The additional revenue provided if question two is approved would enable the district to maintain quality programming and activities, appropriate class sizes and career-technical education programs, while providing financial stability for the next decade. Question two is contingent and can only pass if voters first approve question one.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the recommendation at its July 13 meeting.

Read the full press release here.

Fall Planning Underway

While much was learned from our experience with distance learning in the spring, much remains unknown about what school will look like this fall. The good news is that district staff are hard at work considering various options for fall: in-person learning incorporating social distancing; distance learning; and a hybrid of the two. Not only are staff incorporating improvements based on all that was learned last spring, they are also considering innovative ways to leverage this opportunity to give students and families a more flexible school experience that better fits their needs.

Governor Walz is announcing a decision the week of July 27 on what the reopening of schools should look like in Minnesota. This will enable the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education to use the latest available pandemic data to make an informed decision. Parents and staff will receive information about plans for Owatonna students during the first week of August.

No matter what, we are committed to helping EVERY ONE of our students be successful in ANY learning environment. Our plan will address not just their academic instruction, but also strive to meet their social and emotional needs. We will provide opportunities for them to connect with teachers and peers, build relationships, and have access to mental health and wellness services. Thank you for your continued partnership, patience and support as we all navigate these uncharted waters.

Coffee and Conversation with the Superintendent

The community is invited to join Superintendent Elstad for a virtual “coffee and conversation” on Friday, July 10 at 7:30 a.m. Hear an update on what’s been happening within the school district and bring any questions you have.

RSVP to shoffman@isd761.org by the end of the day on Wednesday, July 8 to receive the virtual meeting details. We hope you are able to participate!

Free Meals for Children Ages 1-18

Summer Food Program

Monday-Thursday, June 8-August 6

11:30 am - 12:30 pm


McKinley Elementary - 1050 22nd Street NE

Owatonna Middle School - 500 15th Street NE

Owatonna Public Library - 105 N Elm Ave

No sign-up required! Meal bundles include both breakfast and lunch. Thursday meal bundles include meals for both Thursday and Friday. Adults can purchase a single meal bundle for $7.00. Exact change required.


July McKinley & OMS Menus

July Owatonna Public Library Menu

New High School Updates

At the school board work session on Monday, June 8, 2020, Wold Architects and Engineers gave a design update on the new Owatonna High School. Check our website frequently to view progress and plans for the new high school.

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