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Spartan School News, Sept. 14, 2020

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From the Principal

Greetings Spartan Families, 

“The only source of knowledge is experience”—Albert Einstein 

As a school community, neighborhood, district, city, state, country and world, we are living through unprecedented times. This experience is like none other and we are learning together. As the RHS team continues to plan, collaborate and learn together; new techniques, new strategies, and new platforms are being implemented in order to engage learners in this unique learning reality. 

In all communications, I will encourage you to continue to give us feedback as to how things are going as you, your child, and your family navigates this new learning platform. Managing Schoology, reading, listening to, and responding to the sheer amount of communication coming from the school and district can be overwhelming. 

When we receive information from our students and families, we are working toward solutions. We are all teachers and we are all learners. Our RHS team is learning a ton about use of technology and it will transform teaching for years to come. We are also learning from your feedback on needed adjustments to make instruction more accessible now. The important message here is that we need you, need your feedback both positive and constructive in order to continue to support learning now and into the future. We see families as our partners in their child’s education and that is more important now than ever before. 

Communication is key in a strong partnership. Please reach out to your child’s advisory teachers with any questions, use the office hours for direct content support and questions, reach out to the support team member for any emotional, social or mental health support, and please don’t forget you can email me with any questions, celebrations or feedback. My email is

In partnership, 

Stacy Theien-Collins 

Important Contact Information

  • Main Office: 612-798-6100
  • Attendance Line: 612-798-6115
  • Attendance Email:
  • Athletic Line: 612-798-6132


  • Stacy Theien-Collins, Principal
  • Carrie Vala, Assistant Principal Grades 10 & 12
  • María Graver, Assistant Principal Grades 9 & 11

Upcoming Events

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

Monday, September 14

  • Girls Tennis vs. Visitation at 4 p.m.
  • Girls Varsity Soccer at 5 p.m. vs. Columbia Heights
  • Boys Varsity Soccer at 7 p.m. vs. Columbia Heights

Tuesday, September 15

  • Boys B and 9th-grade soccer vs. Holy Angels at 4:30 p.m. (Lyndale Field)
  • Open House and Admin Meet & Greet at 7 p.m. (Virtual Event)

Thursday, September 17

  • Boys B and 9th-grade Soccer vs. De La Salle at 4:30 p.m. (Lyndale Field)
  • Boys JV Soccer vs. De La Salle 5 p.m.
  • Girls JV Soccer vs. De La Salle at 6 p.m. 
  • Schoology Webinar for Parents and Guardians at 6 p.m. (English) 7 p.m. (Spanish) 

Tuesday, September 22

  • Girls Tennis vs. DeLasalle at 4 p.m.                            
  • Girls Varsity Soccer vs. St. Croix Lutheran at 5 p.m. 
  • Boys Varsity Soccer vs. St. Croix Lutheran at 7 p.m.
  • Cross Country meet

Thursday, September 24

  • Girls Tennis vs. Fridley at 4 p.m.
  • Girls Swim & Dive vs. Minnehaha Academy (No Fans)

Tuesday, September 29

  • Girls Soccer vs. Academy of Holy Angels at 5 p.m.
  • Boys Soccer vs. Academy of Holy Angels at 7 p.m.
  • Cross Country Meet   

Tuesday, October 1

  • Boys Soccer vs. Fridley at 4:30 p.m.
  • Girls Soccer vs. Fridley at 6:30 p.m.
  • Girls Swim & Dive vs. Columbia Heights at 5:30 p.m. (No Fans)

Homecoming Events: More information will be announced

  • September 26 - Homecoming Driving Parade (time TBD)
  • October 1 - Homecoming Coronation (Virtual event, time TBD)

Parent Resources

Technology Resources

  • Please visit our Technology web page to get connected! 
  • Parent/guardian webinars providing basic training on accessing and navigating applications. Click here to register for one or both webinars. All webinars will be recorded and posted on the Technology web page after the event.
    • Seesaw (PK-5)
      • Tuesday, September 15, 6-6:45 p.m. in English
      • Tuesday, September 15, 7-7:45 p.m. in Spanish
    • Schoology (grades 6-12)
      • Thursday, September 17, 6-6:45 p.m. in English
      • Thursday, September 17, 7-7:45 p.m. in Spanish
  • 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.

Tips to Support Your Child in Distance and Hybrid Learning

  • Help your child establish and stick to a routine. 
  • Check-in with your child's advisor and utilize teacher support during office hours.
  • Make sure your child takes screen breaks
  • Encourage physical activity and exercise.
  • Resist the urge to sit in on classes with your child. 
  • Take care of you.

Action Needed

Parents and guardians in primary households are expected to complete the Application for Educational Benefits Form. This form will assess family qualification for free and reduced priced 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.

Distance & Hybrid Learning

Student Support Model

We want to remind our families about the student support available for social, emotional and mental health needs. In addition to all the academic planning, we have been planning for and supporting student needs in these areas. Students may have anxiety about all that they are facing. The loss of the traditional rite of passage ceremonies, the loss of daily social and human interaction, etc. The health and safety of our community is paramount but, the change to our typical way of functioning as a school community does create stress and anxiety.

In addition to our teachers, our student support team members are available through our virtual connect program as well as our hybrid model. This team is checking in with students (email, Schoology, phone, Google Meet), who may need extra support in any area—technology, social/emotional support, referrals or resources for the family. 

The chart below is an important reminder and resource for families as it is especially important that your child is in good physical and mental health. If you have concerns about your child's academic needs, social needs, mental health, technology access concerns, etc., please, reach out to any member of our team with questions. Additionally, our team has reorganized into grade-level teams to make navigating services easier for students and families. These professionals can assist in navigating school supports and services as well as any needed community resources during this difficult time.



Stacy Theien-Collins 

Assistant Principals

Carrie Vala, Grades 10 and 12

María Graver, Grades 9 and 11 

Social Workers

Marisa Zimmerman

Jill Carlton 


Morgan Kelley, Grade 9

Jessica Okey, Grade 10

Sara Linde, Grade 11

Danielle Jastrow, Grade 12 

Student Support Team

Warren Matthews, Grade 9 and 11

Brandon Torry, Grades 10 and 12 

Outreach Workers

Victoria Johnson

Falis Aided 

School Nurse

Darby Peterson 

Richfield Health Resource Center 


Grade-Level Student Support Model


Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12


María Graver

Carrie Vala

María Graver

Carrie Vala


Morgan Kelley

Jessica Okey

Sara Linde

Danielle Jastrow

Support Staff

Warren Matthews

Brandon Torry

Warren Matthews

Brandon Torry

Supporting across all grade levels: Social Workers Marisa Zimmerman and Jill Carlton, School Nurse Darby Peterson and CCR Coordinator Julie Magnuson

Counselor's Corner

We are excited to announce the addition of a fourth counselor, Morgan Kelley, who has joined our RHS team. We have taken this opportunity to explore how we serve students and families. After much exploration of models, we have decided that the most comprehensive service plan will be to support students in a grade-level model. If you have questions about classes, college and career readiness, social-emotional learning, please feel free to direct your emails to your respective counselor. We are excited to start meeting you and working to support your success in high school and beyond. 

Sara Linde, Class of 2022 (Grade 11)

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”  ~Maggie Kuhn

Working with high school students provides me with unique experiences every day, and I especially enjoy watching students change, grow and mature during their years at RHS. High school is a time of challenges and successes and I want to be a support for both the tough times and the celebrations.

I have been a school counselor at RHS since 2000. Prior to that, I taught math and German in southern Minnesota. In 1991, I earned my bachelor's degree in German, math and secondary education from the College of Saint Benedict. I earned my master's degree in secondary school counseling from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2000, and most recently, in 2013, my College Counseling Certificate through Hamline. I enjoy traveling, golfing and spending time with my family.

Jessica Okey, Class of 2023 (Grade 10)

“I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday”  ~unknown

I truly enjoy the work I do and the students I get to help. My favorite part of my job is when students recognize their personal growth and are proud of their accomplishments. My goal is to make sure students have the tools and resources they need to be successful at school. I welcome a chance to meet with students and families.

I began my career as a school counselor at RHS in the fall of 2002. I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2000 and my master's degree in School Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2002. I enjoy spending time with my family, running, reading books and quilting. I also coach both Cross Country and Track and Field at RHS.

Danielle Jastrow, Class of 2021 (Grade 12)

“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”  ~Brené Brown

I love the energy and creativity of working with high school students. Their ideas, ambitions and possibilities are our hope for the future. I enjoy walking with students through their high school experience and planning for and implementing a plan for their lives after high school.

I have worked as a licensed school counselor in both middle and high schools in urban and suburban Twin Cities school districts since 2003. In 2017, I was honored as the first-ever recipient of the Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling Student Service Award. I earned a bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology and a Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a master’s in Education Psychology from the University of Minnesota. In my free time, I love spending time with my family, cheering on my Badgers and my kids and being a serial crafter.

Morgan Kelley, Class of 2024 (Grade 9)

“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility.

Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.”  ~Michelle Obama
I became a high school counselor because I knew I would never be bored. I love working with students who are growing, learning and adapting to the world around them. I take great joy in participating in the high school experience with them. 

After earning my undergraduate degree in Spanish at UW-Madison, and then my master’s in School Counseling at the University of Minnesota, I began my high school counseling career in 2008 in Chicago Public Schools. I moved to Minneapolis and worked in St. Paul and Chanhassen. I am excited to be part of the Richfield community. In my free time I enjoy hiking, traveling and spending time with my family. 

Social-Emotional Learning: At Home Connection

Greetings Richfield families! We are grateful for all of the many ways that you have supported your RHS student over the last several months. It has been a challenging time, yet you have persevered so well. Please know that as your School Social Workers, we are here for you, as well as your student. Each week, we will use the Spartan School News to share resources and tools for your family related to social-emotional learning. To start off the school year, we have included a link that will take you through a presentation and video on healthy ways for students to adjust back to a school schedule. We encourage you to watch it with the high school students in your home when you have a moment.  Please reach out to us with any needs or concerns you have! 
Tips for Preparing for the New School Year: Focus on your Well-Being!  

Marisa Zimmerman, School Social Worker

I am starting my 14th year as a school social worker at RHS. Working with your students has been the joy and delight of my career. I am constantly amazed by their resilience, intelligence, humor and compassion. Similarly, I love working with Richfield families, parents and caregivers! Richfield is a special place and I’m grateful to be a part of this community. In my free time, I enjoy watching my kids perform musical theater and play basketball. I also love reading and relaxing with my husband and our basset hound, Bonnie. 

Jill Carlton, School Social Worker

I am starting my second year as a school social worker with Richfield, working half time with RHS and half time with RCEP (Richfield College Experience Program). After over 10 years as a social worker at Children’s Hospital, I made the switch to school social work, and I love it! Starting here last year I was so impressed by your hard-working, strong, and empathetic students. They are ready to make big changes in this world and give me so much hope! Outside of work, I enjoy living in South Minneapolis, hitting the trails, walking the lakes, and figuring out ways to help my own kids navigate life through this crazy time!

Student Pride Award

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. As a family, you can expect:

  • Communication from the school regarding your child’s award nomination, their action that contributed positively to our community, and the staff member who recognized them.
  • A weekly student spotlight section in the newsletter to celebrate the contribution of some of our many nominated students. 
  • All nominees will be put into a drawing at the end of the week to earn a prize. 


Picture of Fametta on the left and text on the right "Stedent Spotlight: Fametta Zubah"

About Fametta (from her nominees):

  • "So enthusiastic and kind and welcoming to everyone and always willing to be a helper.”
  • “Best fan ever!! She gets our student sections pumped up and excited.” 
  • “Volunteered to come hand out Chromebooks, organized senior sunrise breakfast for the first day of school, raised money for senior shirts and drove to each seniors' house to ensure each student received a free t-shirt.”
  • “This week organized a senior "watch the sunrise" just to get other students back into the swing of things.”

Staff Spotlight

Stacy Theien-Collins, Principal

Hello, my name Stacy Theien-Collins, the students call me Ms. Collins. I am in my first year as principal of this amazing school community. Where all members—students, parents, teachers and community volunteers work together to make everyday a great day at RHS. 

I am in my 31st year in education. I started as a special educator and have been in administration for 13 years. I have one son, Jamal, who came to our family through adoption 22 years ago. Other members of my family include my dog, Timber, six siblings and 48 nieces and nephews (regular, great and great-great). I enjoy quilting, reading and spending quality time with friends. When I say, I enjoy, I mean I can’t get enough reading. I grew up with access to books in my home and it had a huge impact on me. My advice—read daily! 

I want to thank you for sharing your children with us each day and we will work to build a trusting partnership as we prepare your child for success in high school and beyond through excellence and equity. To each of you: Welcome to RHS!

Our commitment to students is our collective energy; let's work together for success! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. 

Go Spartans!

María Graver, Assistant Principal, Grades 9 & 11

Greetings! I am María Graver, and I am very excited to join Richfield’s vibrant and dynamic community of learners. In the short month that I have been part of the team, I have already experienced the level of student-centered commitment and innovation that drew me to Richfield. 

Prior to joining the team, I worked as a Coordinator of Equity in Minneapolis and an administrator in St. Paul. Having also been a classroom teacher for over a decade, I am looking forward to supporting students and families - virtually and in-person. 

I am lucky to share my home with my two teenagers, Sequoia (16) and Kai (13) and our cats, Zero and Shadow. As a family, we are a fairly goofy bunch and enjoy reading, creating art, listening to music and laughing as much as possible. I unwind by hiking and love the natural beauty of Minnesota’s north shore. 

This year is unfolding in such an unprecedented way, and I am intensely grateful for your partnership as we welcome students - distance and hybrid - back into the rhythms of school. I have full confidence that, as Richfield Spartans, we can navigate our changing realities and grow stronger through the experience. Here’s to a phenomenal 2020-21 school year!

Carrie Vala, Assistant Principal, Grades 10 & 12

Hello, my name is Carrie Vala and I am beginning my 4th year serving students, families, teachers, and staff at RHS. I consider myself very lucky to be part of the Spartan family and look forward to partnering with you this year. 

This school year begins my 17th in education. I began my career as a high school and middle school math teacher and have been in leadership and administration roles for the past 8 years. Seeing our students in caps and gowns remains one of my most favorite days of the year, as it marks our collective efforts to ensure students can achieve their dreams. 

My husband Andrew and I share our home with two cats, Frank and Mochi, who have gained some notoriety in RPS for joining more than a few video chats this spring. We love traveling, (particularly to the North Shore) across the midwest to visit friends and family and anywhere we have never been before. We love new people, new places and new experiences! 

I thank you for your trust and grace as we, together, navigate the uncertainty of this school year, while also planning for the RHS of the future. Your feedback, your voice, your ideas and energy will ensure the Spartan legacy of excellence continues. 

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.