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Spartan School News, Jan. 11, 2021

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Spartan School News, Jan. 11, 2021

From the Principal

Greetings Spartan Families,

All the recent events rooted in race and racism: the murder of George Floyd, community response, yesterday’s riots and destruction in our nation’s capitol and many more have catalyzed the need for all educators to be paying greater attention to and discovering ways to have courageous conversations about race and racism and to take action addressing inequities in our institutions and communities. 
For way too long, many have had the privilege of being silent and unengaged in this important conversation. Again, the recent events are sparking more and more to get involved, to challenge the status quo and to interrupt racist practices. 

As a team of educators, we started the year by creating a shared vision of equity. Our RHS team collectively engaged in a process of examining our values and acknowledging the historical inequities for many in our school and larger communities. This work resulted in our shared vision of equity. This vision is a guide for our decisions, our work in interrupting practices that are meant to serve few and to hold us accountable in addressing real change. 

RHS Vision of Equity

At RHS we believe in providing a rigorous and equitable education reflecting the strengths and experiences of our community. We believe students learn best when they feel safe and affirmed in who they are. Therefore, we commit to dismantling policies and processes that benefit whiteness and other systems of privilege.

In partnership,

Stacy Theien-Collins, Principal

Special Announcements

Special End of Semester Synchronous Schedule Announced to Support Student Success

  • The class schedule has been altered to support maximum synchronous time for ALL classes as we end the semester.
  • NOTE: We will maintain the time schedule for each class but the day has been altered.
  • All end of unit summative exams/projects need to be completed by Jan. 22 (end of Week 19).
  • Week 20 (Jan. 25-27) is designated as make up, catch up, rest up week. Like our 30-minute synchronous sessions, all students need to check in for attendance purposes. Students that need to redo, make up, catch up will stay the necessary amount of class time. Other students will be released after attendance and check-in as directed by their instructor.

In-Building WiFi Access

We are excited to announce the return of RHS-hosted wifi on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning on Monday, Jan. 11.

Sign up here:  

From the Activities Office

Winter Athletic Updates - All athletes MUST be registered

Reminder, all students MUST be registered through SchoolPay by Monday, Jan. 11 to continue practicing with their team. The Activities Office allowed families a five day grace period to register, make payment plan arrangements or request a scholarship form.

If you have not completed registrations, you can access the payment platform through ParentVUE app or For detailed instructions, check out these SchoolPay Instructions. Each activity has a registration fee. If you are unable to pay the full amount based on your Educational Benefits (Free/Reduced Lunch Status), please contact the Activities Office for payment plan options at We never want finances to be a reason for a student not to participate. 

Upcoming Events

Please check for the most up-to-date schedule and for any changes:

Monday, Jan. 18


Thursday, Jan. 28

  • NO SCHOOL: Professional Development Day

Friday, Jan. 29

  • NO SCHOOL: End of semester 1

Monday, Jan. 31

  • Start of semester 2

Parent Resources

Technology Resources

MDH COVID Resources for Families

Virtual RHS Media Center

Spartans, did you know you can request books from the media center? 

  • In the portal, look for the Destiny image 
  • Click on the Destiny link > Select Richfield High School > Click "Log in" (upper right corner) 
  • Enter your Chromebook username and password (the Google login option is not working yet)
  • Use the search bar at the top of the screen to look for books, including e and audio formats. Selections can be placed on hold, marked as favorites, etc.
  • Click on the triple line (hamburger) menu in the upper left corner to view your checkouts, books on hold, favorites, and more 
  • Mrs. Anderson and Ms. Glavas will work with you to arrange a pick up for any holds you request. Email us or call 612-798-6319.

CCR @ Air Pod

It’s 2021, at long last! And for our seniors, this is the year their post-secondary lives will begin. From their first day of kindergarten, 13 years ago, our seniors have been learning, growing and steadily heading toward this year’s upcoming milestone. Is your senior feeling prepared for post-secondary success? Our CCR program defines post-secondary success as being ready, upon graduation, for more education and/or training that will lead to successful careers (not just jobs). CCR @ AIR Pod delivers weekly lessons for all RHS students, differentiated by grade level, to help them to achieve this goal. For seniors, lessons are aimed directly at helping them transition securely into the future they’ve been advancing toward since 2008. That future is finally here for our seniors, and it is our privilege to help launch their post-secondary lives as they venture forth, this year, into building successful careers. 

Counselor's Corner

Counselor Contact Info 

Information for all Grades

  • Earn Scholarship Money Right Now! Did you know that you can start earning scholarships right now? RaiseMe is an organization that partners with colleges to assist students with earning micro-scholarships. A micro-scholarship is an amount of money that students are eligible to earn based on individual achievements throughout grades 9-12. For example, one institution might award $100 for earning an A in algebra; another might award $300 for the same achievement. These scholarships are awarded by the colleges and universities that partner with RaiseMe. Each college determines what achievements they want to award and how much students can earn per achievement. The amount earned via RaiseMe represents the minimum amount of institutional aid that the college will award you if you are accepted and enroll in their school. (source: 
  • Need to Access Naviance? Naviance is a web-based, post-secondary planning tool that is used in AIR Pods to assist students with self-exploration and college and career research. Counselors and teachers use this tool to facilitate the college application process. You can access your Naviance account through your student portal—there’s no need for a separate sign in or a special code. Just click here to get started!!

Information for 9th-11th Grade Girls

  • Summer Scholars Program for Girls—Application deadline is March 1, 2021
    • The Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholars Program provides scholarships for talented, high-achieving young women from the Midwest to participate in academic summer programs at some of the country's top colleges: 
      Barnard | Brown | Cornell | Emory | Harvard | Johns Hopkins | MIT | Smith | UChicago | Wash U | Yale
    • Scholarships may be awarded based on merit and financial need. Several virtual information sessions are being offered that include presentations from Joyce Ivy alumnae.
    • The online application is now open. For questions, students may ask their counselor for application assistance.

Information for Sophomores

  • This week’s tenth grade CCR lesson begins the exploration of success skills. The lesson will prompt students to think about what it means to work hard. In preparation for this lesson, please share with your child a time when you had to work hard for something and how your hard work paid off. Sometimes the things that we work the hardest for are the most rewarding!

Information for Juniors

  • Genesys Works - Learn more about how junior students can apply for a paid internship in 2021-22! 

    New for this year: Students will earn college credit for participating in summer training!

    • RHS is fortunate to be in its 11th year partnering with Genesys Works, a PAID internship and college preparation program, where junior students can apply starting Jan. 1. Through the free summer training program, students gain real-world skills like public speaking, Microsoft Office, networking and business technology. After summer training, students will have the opportunity to obtain a paid corporate internship during their senior year at a top Twin Cities company like Toro, Target Corporation, Optum, Best Buy, or Ameriprise Financial, all while earning $14,000 their senior year. GW interns also receive college and career support—in fact, 100% of GW students are accepted to college! 
    • The GW MISSION is to provide pathways to career and college success for high school students in these categories:
      • on track to graduate
      • eligible for free/reduced lunch status
      • first-generation college applicants
    • For more information, check out this short video by clicking on this link. Although the application opens on Jan. 1, 2021, interested students should complete this link now.
  • ACT at Richfield High School—Tuesday, April 20, 2021
    • Originally scheduled for early March, the district-sponsored ACT for all juniors has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 20. This ACT is intended to take place in-person during the school day—specific details are yet to be determined, depending on the status of how school attendance may resume according to state and district guidelines. Please stay tuned for more information. Any ACT questions may be directed to Sara Linde, counselor for students in the class of 2022. 

Information for Juniors & Seniors

Information for Seniors

  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar Program - The HSF Scholar Program is designed to empower courageous young leaders of Hispanic heritage. The program helps ensure students achieve their higher education and career goals. To be eligible, applicants:
    • Must be of Hispanic heritage
    • Minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for high school students
    • Plan to enroll full-time in an accredited, public or not-for-profit, four-year university, or graduate school, in the U.S., for the 2020-2021 academic year
    • U.S. Citizen, Permanent Legal Resident, DACA or Eligible Non-Citizen (as defined by FAFSA)
    • Submit the FAFSA or state-based financial aid forms (if applicable)
  • Native American Scholarship Database - These scholarships are available specifically for Native American high school students. Students should be encouraged to apply to ALL other sources of financial aid for which they are eligible. Special thanks to Tami Johnson, School Counselor in St. Paul Public Schools, for her creation and continued updating of this resource!
  • MnACC Student of Color Scholarship - MnACC is excited to provide scholarships for students of color who are in pursuit of higher education. Students who are awarded this scholarship will receive a one-time award ranging between $500 to $2,500 to be used towards their education during the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • Schedule Changes & College Applications - Nearly all college applications will ask you to list your senior year courses. Colleges will then factor that information when evaluating your admission application. If you want to change a CORE COURSE (math, social studies, English, science) at semester, you need to reach out to your colleges to ask if/how that change may impact your admission decision.
  • Community Service HoursYou’re already doing them!! - The drastic changes to “normal” life and school have many seniors concerned about how to complete the 15 community service hours required for graduation. Fear not! As with everything else this year, we need to think about this in a new way. Service is NOT limited to volunteering at the local community center; instead, the opportunities are all around us. Many students have taken on more responsibilities in their homes and for their families. That COUNTS! If you are helping siblings with school, providing childcare, caring for a family member, count it! Complete the Community Service Hours Submission Form detailing the service you have completed. We will be sharing additional service opportunities as they become available.



College Application

Financial Aid

Social-Emotional Learning: At Home Connection

Hello Richfield Families! 

It is our goal for the month of January to help students finish the semester strong with the support that they need. 

We will continue to offer a Mindful Moment every Monday morning before classes begin each week at 8:50 am. Why a mindful moment? We find that when we teach students about simple mindfulness practices, we can help them manage stress and calm their bodies when they need it the most, now and in the future. Practicing mindfulness also reminds students that they have control over their thoughts and feelings. It helps with a gentle reentry into a week, something we all need these days! If your student asks you about it, encourage them to try it and discuss the benefits.

Many of your students are working hard to catch up on academic work. Practice patience with them, as we know January can be a hard month, now more than ever. Remember, mindfulness works for adults and caregivers too! Take moments in your own life to take a breath, close your eyes, and visualize a calm place. Model for them taking your own moments so they can see it in action.

Mindful Moment: Mondays at 8:50 a.m.

We will continue to offer a guided breathing exercise each Monday morning to help students enter their week feeling calm and focused.

Managing Stress During Distance Learning: Thursdays at 1 p.m.

Students will learn new strategies to manage stress as well as have the opportunity to talk about their stress in a safe and supportive group setting. 

We are here for you and your students!

Your RHS School Social Workers,

Marisa Zimmerman:
Jill Carlton: Jill.Carlton@rpsmn.or

Staff Spotlight

Kate Olejnicak, Social Studies Teacher

My name is Kate Olejnicak (Oh-na-check) and this is my first year working within Richfield. I have been teaching history for 10 years. I am originally from southern Illinois and grew up in a rural community with my parents and 2 sisters. I have always loved school and wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten. I dual majored in education and history, with an emphasis on Russian studies, at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. I was also a member and captain of the Knox College women’s soccer team.

After college, I moved to St. Louis, Missouri where I worked as a history teacher for 2 years. Sadly, my school closed, and I took the opportunity to move locations. On a whim, I moved to Minneapolis to be closer to a college friend. I got a job teaching history in St. Paul and immediately fell in love with Minnesota.

Today I live in South Minneapolis with my husband, who is also an elementary Special Education teacher, and my 1-year-old daughter Ella. I am retired from soccer now, but I love cooking, sewing, and being outside. I still love Minnesota however I miss being close to my family. My entire family works in healthcare, so the pandemic has been a worrisome time, but I remain so proud of their commitments. I am extremely happy to be part of the Richfield family!

Megan Stecher, RHS Instructional Coach

My name is Megan Stecher,  I am the RHS instructional coach. My role is to support teachers in their curriculum design and instruction. I partner with teachers on lesson plans, observe and give feedback on different instructional techniques, and help design professional development. This is my 12th year in education and my 6th year at Richfield High school. I absolutely love my job and feel so lucky to work with such wonderful teachers and students. I think it is an incredibly unique and tight-knit community, and I learn daily from my colleagues. Before, I worked as an ELL teacher, reading intervention teacher and literacy coach at Willbrook High School in Villa Park, IL. 

I was raised in Apple Valley and attended AV High school. I then went to Drake U to study education with a social studies major. After graduating, I moved to Illinois and earned my Masters Degrees in Reading and Language and Educational Leadership and an additional endorsement in Teaching English Language Learners. 

I met my husband in 2014 and moved back to Minnesota to be closer to him and my family. We were married in 2016 and have a 2.5 year old son and 6 month old daughter. I love spending time outdoors with my family enjoying the four seasons of Minnesota weather, traveling up north to spend time with extended family, cooking, and reading when I have the chance.  

I was able to take an extended maternity leave and spent the first half of the school year at home with my kids. While I really enjoyed my time at home, slowing down with my family, I am very excited to be back to work at RHS and am looking forward to supporting teachers as we all navigate this new format of teaching and learning.

Read More

teacher conferences graphic

Join us for a virtual presentation on Monday, October 11, at 6 p.m. where we will discuss this year's FAFSA updates and answer questions about the application process.

Sports update logo

For most high school students, the first time back in the buildings was this past Wednesday. But for tenth grade student Iyanna Taylor, the Richfield Public Schools buildings are familiar after spending the summer working as a temporary technician for the Richfield IT department.

Sports update logo

Find important information about fall 2021 athletics registration, competitive schedules and athletic season passes.

Chromebook Pickup

Here you can find the schedule for student Chromebook pickup by grade. Make sure to charge and update your Chromebook on the day you pick it up so it is ready for day one of learning.