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Spartan School News, Oct. 12, 2020

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From the Principal

Greetings Spartan Families, 

We know that our learners live in an on-demand, technology-dependent world. They show repeatedly that they learn differently than even just a few years ago and that is playing out across our city, state and nation as we operate in distance learning. I have been excited about the celebrations I have heard, the way the RHS staff, students and parents have come together to implement the plan, as well as each member of the RHS team working to engage learners in this new learning platform. We are fortunate, as a 1:1 Chromebook district, to see learning in an environment where technology will bring all subjects to life with greater access and more meaningful engagement in the current circumstances. Our goals over the past month have been: 

  • Ensure equity of access to technology 
  • Plan to welcome students back to learning through introducing routines and distance learning expectations 
  • Institute and support best practices in technology integration 
  • Implement distance learning of content through a personalized approach 
  • Institute greater efforts for differentiated instruction 
  • Model and plan for a synchronous and an asynchronous approach to support all family and student schedules
  • Improve the home-school connection and communication 

For our learners, technology is a part of life unlike any previous generation. As much as we wish we were face-to-face with our students, we are happy to be able to connect through the virtual world. We know our students have not known a world without it. Richfield Public Schools is capitalizing on that by articulating a full plan for distance learning using the technology tools available to each student. As we continue to implement our plan, please let us know how your child is doing. It is important to us that we continue to adjust to meet our student needs. 

I also want to wish your family continued health and safety. After talking about technology and the fortunate position it has put us in to deliver instruction through this platform, I hope that you encourage screen breaks for your child over this upcoming break. I also hope it provides opportunities for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. 


Stacy Theien-Collins, Principal

Schedule Reminder

This is MEA week. There is no school Thursday or Friday. Classes will meet as scheduled with synchronous and asynchronous postings Monday and Wednesday and in-person hybrid on Tuesday. Classes scheduled for Thursday and Friday will not meet and will have no asynchronous independent work expectations. This will serve as an opportunity for students to catch up on work, as needed.

Has Your Family Completed the Application for Educational Benefits Yet?

Parents and guardians in primary households are expected to complete the Application for Educational Benefits Form. This form will assess family eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, as well as bring additional academic and education funding to Richfield Public Schools. Even if you believe you won’t qualify, this is an important form for ALL families to complete each year. You can apply online at or download a paper application on the Nutrition Services web page. 

Every Wednesday

Meal bundle pick-up for distance and non-RPS students 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. 

Reminder: Hybrid Learning Now Closed Until Spring Semester (February 2021)

With student and staff health and safety foremost in our minds, the hybrid model learning option will be closed to new enrollment until the spring semester (beginning February 1, 2021). As outlined in the District’s hybrid learning model plan, finalizing hybrid enrollment early allows students to continue in-person learning with the same group of people to minimize contact and exposure.

As we approach the next grading period this winter, please keep checking this newsletter for further updates on openings and availability in our hybrid learning program. You can also refer to the district’s Hybrid & Distance Learning page for more information on learning plans and options. That information can be found here: RPS Hybrid & Distance Learning.

NOTE: While in-person school options are now closed for fall 2020, families can choose at any time to move their students from hybrid to distance learning. Please contact your student’s AIR Pod advisor or school counselor for more information if you are interested in switching to distance-only learning. Here is our RHS school counselor contact information:

  • Morgan Kelley (Gr. 9)
  • Jessica Okey (Gr. 10)
  • Sara Linde (Gr. 11)
  • Danielle Jastrow (Gr. 12) 

From the Activities Office

Attendance at Games

Students are encouraged to attend all home games to support their peers and show their school pride. In order to follow the guidelines from the Tri-Metro Conference, all students must present last year’s Student ID or their current schedule with their photo on an electronic device at the gate. Fans from other schools are not allowed to attend per Tri-Metro Conference rules. 

Please follow social distancing guidelines by wearing a mask and staying 6-feet apart. 

Spring Training Session, October 5-24 

Softball will have a spring training season on October 5-24. Boys tennis will have an abbreviated training session on October 12-24. The other spring sports have decided to postpone their training until spring. All students interested in participating must be registered before practice through SchoolPay. You can access this platform through the ParentVUE app or For detailed instructions, check out these SchoolPay Instructions. Coaches will be sharing information through their team Schoology pages. 

  • Softball: XQMZ-32NC-2XKRM
  • Tennis-Boys: RZW4-HBB9-W9582

Winter Athletic Season

The Minnesota State High School League has approved the return of all winter sports. The season start dates have been adjusted to accommodate football and volleyball competitive seasons. Winter athletic registrations will open on November 2 through ParentVue and SchoolPay

Upcoming Events

Please check these two websites for the most up to date schedules and for any changes: RHS Athletics and TriMetro 

Thursday, October 15

  • No school, MEA break

Friday, October 16

  • No school, MEA break
  • 7 p.m. varsity football: Richfield vs. Bloomington Kennedy at the RHS stadium

Monday, November 2

  • No school, teacher inservice

Tuesday, November 3

  • No school, teacher inservice

Parent Resources

Technology Resources

  • Please visit our Technology web page to get connected! If you have technology-related questions or concerns, please call 612-798-6050 or email
  • If you need access to wifi, please contact your counselor or grade level administrator.
  • Starting September 21, we will host synchronous learning spaces for students who need access to wifi. 
    • To sign up, use the registration links below or call your counselor at 612-798-6000.
    • Space is limited to 50 students.
    • Breakfast and lunch are provided.
    • You are expected to check-in by 8:45 a.m. and remain through the day's synchronous instructional schedule (unless other arrangements have been made in advance): 
    • Our hybrid model provides transportation on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. We are unable to provide transportation on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays. If your child is signed up, you are responsible for transportation. 

MDH COVID Resources for Families

High School Happenings

Beacons Has Started!

Beacons hybrid (in-person) opportunities started on September 29. Here is a direct link to the registration form. Hybrid AIR Pod leaders have physical copies of the registration form as well. 

Here’s a list of the classes that Beacons is currently offering on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students have also expressed interest in an ASL class through Beacons. If this is something that your child might enjoy, please contact to express interest. 

Beacons is also happy to offer space with wifi at the Southdale YMCA. Please take a moment to look at the flyer, linked here. If it is helpful, Beacons is able to support bus fare.

City of Richfield Youth Commission Opportunities 

  • Do you want to create positive change? 
  • Are you frustrated when people make decisions about issues that affect you without asking what you think? 
  • Do you want to influence policies, programs, and public decisions that impact youth?

Richfield youth can make a huge impact by getting involved in government as a city youth commissioner. The purpose of the city’s commissions is to plan for the future. Richfield’s youth are the future, so their opinions on what Richfield should look like in 10, 15, and even 20 years is important because that is the Richfield they are going to inherit.

The city is currently looking for students interested in joining one of these six commissions. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age and currently enrolled in a high school or equivalent (e.g. home-schooled) in Richfield. 

  • Advisory Board of Health 
  • Arts Commission
  • Community Service Commission
  • Friendship City Commission
  • Human Rights Commission 
  • Sustainability Commission 
  • Transportation Commission

Youth commissioners have the same rights and responsibilities as their adult counterparts and play an important role in shaping the future of our community. Participating in city commissions also helps students develop important skills for the future.

To learn more about the responsibilities of a youth commissioner or to apply, visit: City of Richfield

Youth interested in an appointment to a city commission should submit a completed application by October 30, 2020.

Counselor's Corner

Counselor Contact Info 

College & Career Readiness for All Students

College & Career Readiness (CCR) lessons will be incorporated into AIR Pods this year, both for in-person and distance learners. The purpose of CCR is to equip students with the knowledge, insight and skills for postsecondary success. Postsecondary success is defined as students being ready, upon graduation from high school, for more education and/or training that will lead to successful careers in adulthood. CCR recognizes that there are multiple pathways for post-secondary success, and will help guide students toward discovering their best fit. Many CCR lessons will be delivered through Naviance, which is an online platform that our District has invested in for grades 6-12, with the aim of guiding students through college and career exploration, as well as creating personal portfolios to assist in the college admission process. Other college and career resources and activities will also be incorporated into AIR Pod lessons throughout the year. 

CCR is directly tied to our District’s strategic plan, aligned with our commitment to provide multiple, supported college and career pathways for high school students. Many incoming freshmen are already familiar with CCR, as this year we are taking our first steps in aligning RMS CCR with RHS, ensuring our students will be well prepared for future success.  

If you would like a sneak peek at a CCR lesson, click here—and please feel free to reach out to CCR Coordinator Julie Magnuson at any time. Looking forward to a great launch together at RHS!

Information for Freshmen

Time to get connected! The Virtual Activity Fair is coming straight to your AIR Pod on Tuesday, October 13! You will have the opportunity to meet with coaches, sponsors and members of all the teams and clubs you’ve been wanting to join! Parents, see the Activity Fair website: Don’t forget, you can reach me at, (612) 798-6113, or Let’s make the most of your first fall as a high school student!

Information for Sophomores

Qualifying sophomores should consider applying for Upward Bound. 

Who qualifies? Students who come from families that meet federal low-income guidelines and/or families in which neither parent has a 4-year degree and who are motivated to do well in high school and go on to college are eligible.

What services does Upward Bound provide?

  • ACT Preparation
  • Financial Aid Events
  • Career Visits
  • Homework Help/Tutoring
  • College Visits
  • Summer Programs
  • Saturday Academies

More information and application can be found at

Information for Juniors

Apply to College Possible

  • College Possible is currently recruiting juniors for their program, which provides personalized support and mentorship through every step of the college process and into college. College Possible is a national college access and success organization with over 20 years of experience supporting students as they earn their college degrees. If you would like to hear more about our program, please watch this video or contact Liz Weiers by email at or by calling 612-888-1641.

  • The program requirements are as follows:

    • Academics: Unweighted GPA of at least 2.0
    • Income: Free and reduced lunch (FRL)
    • Aspiration: Desire to attend a 4-year college or university
    • Commitment: Willing to attend virtual sessions and have consistent communication with the coach
    • There is NO citizenship requirement

Have your student apply today! Go to or click here.

 **Applications close October 30, 2020** 

Information for Juniors & Seniors

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC): Virtual College Fairs

Log in on any of these dates to meet with 600+ colleges and universities nationwide. Representatives will be available online to talk live with high school juniors and seniors. You can find out when they're having Zoom sessions and then drop in to attend!

  • Monday, October 12, noon-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 8, 1-9 p.m. 

Each virtual fair is free! Visit to register and attend as often as you like! On the event date, you may use your phone or computer to log in. Learn, connect and discover your best college fit!  

Virtual Campus Visits Available During MEA Break!

Here are a few examples:

  • Minnesota’s 37 public colleges and universities
    • During the week of October 12-16, each of the 30 colleges and seven universities of Minnesota State will be offering special visits—including virtual visits—for high school students. 
  • Minnesota’s 17 private colleges and universities
    • Although some campuses are beginning to offer in-person visits again, you are encouraged to consider scheduling virtual visits at any of the 17 unique options.
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth campus
    • UMD has a virtual campus preview scheduled for October 15 and 16! This program will include a 25-minute Zoom presentation with an admissions counselor outlining general information. After the general presentation, 30-minute college-specific presentations will be offered. Finally, you’ll be invited to follow along on a live virtual tour presented by a Bulldog Tour Guide. Registration is required.
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus
    • There are a number of virtual visits scheduled for this week, as well as dates in the future, for each of the seven freshman-admitting colleges at the U of M-Twin Cities. Registration is required.
  • University of Wisconsin system
    • Guided tours (both virtual and some in-person) are filled with facts and information about what to expect from your academic and student life. You’ll be able to preview programs and meet with admissions representatives to get your questions answered. 

Information for Seniors

MN State Free College Application Week October 25-31

During the week of October 25-31, the 37 institutions of the Minnesota State System will waive the application fee for ALL applicants. Note, this does NOT include the five University of Minnesota campuses. Students who participate in the Explore Minnesota State Week visits from October 12-16 will receive a promo code to use the week of October 25-31. 


College Representative Visits—The Time is NOW!

Every year, college representatives from institutions around the country make appointments to meet with students at RHS. This year, even more colleges from all over are visiting because all visits are virtual! Students should log into their Naviance accounts, click “Colleges” → “Colleges Home”→ scroll down, and visits are listed on the left. Click to register.

Scholarships: Tips & Suggestions

  • Your time and money are best spent doing research on colleges that are a great fit! It will be VERY DIFFICULT to make up thousands of dollars of financial aid “gap” through scholarships.
  • Some colleges will distribute more merit aid than others. 
  • Though more expensive, private colleges also have more money to give! AND, they aren’t restricted in distributing it to only students with social security numbers. 
  • Determine if your college/university has a scholarship application that is separate from the admission application.
  • Check out our online scholarship database. This database will replace the scholarship bulletins sent out and will be updated as scholarships come in. Be sure to bookmark the link!

Social-Emotional Learning: At Home Connection

Hello Richfield Families!

We hope all of you are doing well and glad your students get a bit of a break this week with MEA. We are so proud of how hard they have been working in distance learning. We know this is an ongoing journey for all of you.

The other day, a parent asked a question that always seems to be such a mystery to parents: how do I get my child to tell me about their school day (whether in person or virtual)? The parent said "when I say how is school, my child answers good or fine. Every time! What can I do?"

Well, that is the question of all time, right? We too are parents and in our homes we have heard that a thousand times. It made us reflect on some of the questions that we ask students at school. This year, after having such a difficult spring, we are really focusing on getting to know students. We are asking lots of "check-in" questions to get to know them in different ways. Sometimes they are light, sometimes they dig deeper. They always give us a sense of who they are and where they are in the moment. When we answer as adults, they also learn about us as people, instead of just school staff. 

This week, we encourage you to ask some of these questions at a meal, or on a walk, or when you are just hanging out as a family unit. Here are a few we like:

  • If you could be anywhere today in the world, with no pandemic restrictions and no financial restrictions, where would you be?
  • What is a TV or movie character you identify with or want to be like?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?
  • Name a time recently that something went really well.
  • Name a time recently that did not go well.
  • Tell me about someone who has helped you lately. Who was it and how did they help?
  • If you could actually be an animal, what would you choose and why?
  • If there's a zombie apocalypse and you need to form a 4 person squad to combat them, who would it be?

These are just some questions that are fun and also help give you insight into who your student is connecting with, what they may be struggling with, and a fun way to look at how things are going for them. Remember - as a caregiver, you get to answer too! Sometimes our own kids or kids in our lives, forget we have answers to these too!

We hope all of you can rest with the upcoming break and find ways to get respite as a family.

We appreciate you all!

Your School Social Workers:

Marisa Zimmerman:

Jill Carlton:

Student Spotlight

Each week, our staff will nominate students who go above and beyond in our community through contributions to academics, supporting peers, community service, participation in school leadership, kindness, etc.

Student Spotlight: Tyler Jake

About Tyler (from his nominees):

"Tyler is a curious student who always asks why. He is always looking to connect what he's learning in class to the real world, and use what he's learning to change the world. Furthermore, he's an advocate for himself and his peers. Tyler demands the education that he and his classmates deserve."

"Tyler Jake is a leader. He approached the administration about starting a racial equity group to learn more about the races, cultures and ethnicities in our school community. He has worked to promote this among peers and was integral in meeting with teachers and administrators to plan for the next steps."

Spartan of the Week

Spartan of the Week: Miguel Leon Alvardo

Staff Spotlight

Jared Ellerson, Activities Director

Hey Spartan Nation! Jared Ellerson here. New Activities Director at RHS. This is my second year being an activities director and 12th year working in education. The first couple of months have flown by with getting things prepared for the return to participation for this fall, but you know what they say, “time flies when you’re having fun!”

I love my job because it does not feel like a job. I get to create opportunities and host events for our students, parents, community and staff to come together and enjoy and support one another. I truly believe that students learn very valuable life lessons and skills through being involved in activities and sports. My main goal is to ensure that our RPS students have an enjoyable and memorable experience while involved in activities and sports.

On a personal note, I am married with children. Wife – Megan, daughter – Jaryn (10), sons – Julian (6) and Jayden (4). I enjoy playing golf, riding bikes with my family and playing video games. Looking forward to getting the new PS5... for my kids.

Shannon Lindberg, Assistant to the Activities Director and RPS Facilities Coordinator

Hi, Spartan Nation! This is my 13th year at Richfield High School and my fifth year in the Activities Office. 
I enjoy creating processes that make things easier for our coaches and parents. Systems are my favorite! I also work with the community and youth organizations on renting the facilities in our buildings. Every season it’s like putting together a puzzle with no picture to maximize the space for all of our community partners. I love a good puzzle! 
My favorite part of Richfield is the heart of this community. If there is a need there is always a rally of support. It’s beautiful to see how much the Richfield community cares for our students. I am grateful to be a part of it! 
I have been married for 14 years and we have two girls (10 and 7). We also have a Morkie, Maui. Family game night and homemade pizza is a weekly highlight. Some of our favorite games are Ticket to Ride (New York Edition), Uno, Sequence and Chess.

Colleen Nollenberger, Athletic/Activities Office Assistant

Working at RHS seems like a natural fit. I have lived in Richfield my entire life and bleed Spartan pride! Both my husband and I are RHS graduates along with our four children: Bria, Hayden, Emma and Caleb.

This will be my third year in the Activities Office. It brings me joy to be a part of helping our students be successful in their activities and sports.

In my spare time, I can be found at an ice arena playing hockey, walking around Richfield Lake, reading a book, getting on an airplane for hiking or mountain climbing in some far-flung location, or having Grandma time with my two grandchildren at our cabin.

I feel very strongly that Richfield offers our students a competitive, comprehensive education with the added benefit of cultural diversity. So much can be learned here that I will advocate all day long for our school. I also love the small-town atmosphere and community spirit of Richfield! Go Spartans!!

Read More

Student Spotlight: Ribka

Each week, our staff will nominate students who go above and beyond in our community through contributions to academics, supporting peers, community service, participation in school leadership, kindness, etc.

A photo of a backdrop and lights for taking a portrait

Check out the schedule for school pictures for our students in distance learning and the hybrid program.