Owatonna Public Schools

District Newsletter - September 2021

New School Year, Renewed Strategic Vision

Jeff Elstad, Superintendent

We have successfully started our 2021-22 school year as classrooms are bustling and the fall season is upon us. Words truly cannot describe how good it feels to see students and teachers learning, growing and interacting.

At a recent school board meeting, your school board took action to update and endorse the strategic direction of our school district for the next school year. As part of this process, the board approved four commitments to guide our work: 21st Century Learners, Equity, High Quality Teaching and Learning, and a Safe and Caring Community.

During the past six months, hundreds of school staff, parents and students provided input through surveys on the desired daily experiences they want to see within the Owatonna Public Schools. Based on this feedback, we identified some key desired outcomes, such as this one for parents: “My child is in a safe and caring environment where they will be cared for, accepted, supported and valued.” Students said they wanted an environment where, “I feel connected, accepted, valued and have a sense of belonging amongst my peers and adults who are kind and supported; My presence matters.” Staff want to “... have the time, tools and training to do my work effectively and empower students and staff in rigorous learning.” These are great examples that outline what we need to focus on to deliver these desired outcomes.

We are #OwatonnaProud of the work that has been accomplished and eager to move forward with what now needs to be done. Our staff is excited and ready to provide the best educational opportunities for all Owatonna students. Thank you for your continued support that helps make this possible!

To read the full article that was published in the Owatonna People's Press and Steele County TImes, click here.

A fun-filled first week back!

Safe Schools

Owatonna Public Schools is committed to providing a safe environment for our students. We want to assure you that should an emergency arise, we have emergency procedures in place to respond effectively and appropriately to such situations. Owatonna Public Schools has a detailed emergency plan that has been developed to provide direction to staff and students during emergency situations.

What should parents do in an emergency?

The most helpful thing that you can do as a parent is to remain calm and wait for accurate information to be sent to the number listed on your child’s contact form. At the beginning of every school year, it is important for parents to check the contact information in the Campus Parent Portal and update it as needed so that we have accurate contact information. In the portal, be sure to mark the check boxes for the types of calls, emails, or text messages you would like to receive. Our Campus Messenger system connects directly with the information you see in the Parent Portal and is the main messaging system that will be used to communicate with parents and guardians in the event of an emergency.

Emergency response teams have prepared to deal with a variety of situations. For the quick resolution of a situation, it is important that we have your cooperation. In the event of an emergency:

  1. Please do not call the school. It is essential to keep phone lines open so school officials can make outgoing emergency calls. If students are ill or injured, the parents of those students will be notified first.

  2. Please do not go to the school. When concerned citizens and parents rush to the school to “help,” they can inadvertently create traffic jams that may block emergency responders from getting to the scene.

  3. If you are requested to pick up a child at a reunification site in the event that required an evacuation, please bring a photo identification card. If someone else is sent to pick up your child, be sure it is someone who is listed as an emergency contact for your child and that they have a photo ID. Children will not be released to anyone who is not authorized and who cannot provide appropriate identification.

  4. Obtain current information about an incident, including weather-related incidents, from the school and district websites.

  5. Monitor local radio and TV stations for updates.

We sincerely appreciate your cooperation in helping us to provide a safe and secure learning environment for your child. If you have any questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact us.

Click here to review your contact information. Do you have questions about the parent portal, or need to create an account? Contact Meghan Jewison at mjewison@isd761.org or 507-444-8698.

McKinney-Vento Support for Families in Transition

The Mckinney-Vento act supports families and youth that lack a fixed, regular, and appropriate nighttime residence. Additional support is available from the Owatonna Public Schools for these families.

Qualifying families include those that are:

  • Experiencing a loss of housing

  • Couch hopping or temporarily staying with other people due to your financial circumstances

  • Staying in motels, campgrounds, or vehicles due to a loss of housing

  • Experiencing homelessness or living in a shelter

  • Migrant and staying here temporarily

  • As well as unaccompanied youth that are living without a parent or guardian

If any of these situations are true for your family, you may qualify as a Family in Transition (FIT) under the Mckinney-Vento act and Owatonna Public Schools is here to support you.

If your family qualifies for Mckinney-Vento support, you may be eligible for benefits such as, the right for your child to continue to attend their school of origin when you move boundaries, busing to and from your current residence, free breakfast and lunch, free preschool for age-eligible children. Your School Social Worker will also be able to provide additional information for community-based supports that may benefit your family.

Owatonna Public Schools is committed to providing high-quality education to all students, regardless of housing status. Please be assured that information on housing status is confidential. If you feel that you may qualify as a Family in Transition, you can receive support by contacting your child’s school social worker or the Family in Transition Liaison, or by completing this confidential google form.

Game Tickets

New in 2021-2022 - Online Ticketing

All game tickets and activity passes will be presold online through Hometown Ticketing this year. For more information or to purchase game tickets or activity passes, visit www.owatonnaactivities.com and click on the blue "Hometown Ticketing" box.

Hometown Ticketing App

Hometown Ticketing now has a FAN APP available. The Hometown Fan App is the most convenient way to buy tickets and access school events. The fan app allows people to search for events by school name or school zip code and purchase and access event tickets and activity passes from their mobile device. All game tickets and activity passes can be scanned directly from the app to enter events.

The FAN APP is available to download on both Android and iOS devices. Once downloaded, follow the instructions to set up an account.

For more information, please visit www.owatonnaactivities.com/ticketing.

Learn More

Click here for the activity pass rates.

To purchase activity passes or game tickets, click here.

Activities office phone number: 507-444-8988

Apply for Benefits

Breakfast and lunch meals are free to all students again this school year. However, we ask that all families continue to complete an Application for Educational Benefits to determine if your children are eligible for other benefits, such as reduced rates for activity fees and Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits. These applications also help provide critical funding for educational interventions, school social workers and counselors, and instructional materials. Visit isd761.org/district-services/nutrition-services and click the “Application for Educational Benefits” tab on the left. Paper copies are available at the District Office. Applications may be submitted any time throughout the school year.

School Board Meetings

The September 13 school board work session and September 28 school board meeting will be held at the Owatonna High School in the Small Group Forum (333 East School Street, enter through door #16). Note: the regular meeting was changed from Monday, September 27 to Tuesday, September 28. Please continue to check the school board meeting webpage for any updates.

The School Board is an elected body formed by Minnesota law to conduct the business of the school district at open meetings, which the public may observe, with specific exceptions such as negotiation strategy or litigation (see policy 205, Open Meetings and Closed Meetings, on the school district website). In the interest of open communications and hearing the concerns and views of the public, the School Board gives the public an opportunity to address the Board in the "Public Forum" portion of the regular business meetings. Guidelines for public forum can be found on the school district website: www.isd761.org/our-district/school-board/meeting-dates.

Owatonna Public Schools board meetings are held the second and fourth Monday of each month at 5:30 PM with some exceptions. Typically, the second Monday of the month is a work session and the fourth Monday of the month is the regular business meeting. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed and changes will be updated on the school district website: www.isd761.org/our-district/school-board/meeting-dates.

Stay Connected!

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