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Spartan School News, Sept. 21, 2020

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From the Principal

Greetings Spartan Families, 

I want to begin this week’s newsletter by extending my continued hope for the health and safety of you and your family. Without question, that remains the primary concern and focus during these days and weeks. We know education is important and our journey together as students, staff, and families in the new distance and hybrid learning model is why we are here but, ultimately our health and safety have to take priority. In the same ways we always partner, I am excited about the opportunities that we have had and will continue to have as we learn together in this new model.

It certainly puts into perspective, how important our school community is, the relationships we have as staff and students, as colleagues, and as families. It matters, and I cannot wait for the opportunity to meet face to face on a daily basis! Our first week together in our new hybrid model was a learning experience, there were celebrations, there were lessons learned, there were necessary adjustments, and the constant reflection of the possibilities. It was so fun and I was filled with such pride with updates from teachers about how they were feeling, the successes they were having, how happy they were to be reconnecting with our students. There were many celebrations. With that, we also had some unexpected things that most certainly taught us some lessons and we are fortunate to have the support of our district team and the amazing members of the RPS community that swung into action to create solutions. 

We continue to add opportunities for students during both in-person and distance advisory. This newsletter highlights some of the upcoming additions. They include Beacons classes (registration information is in the newsletter), fall theater (tryouts are next week-see registration information and schedule later in the newsletter), as well as music. We are developing protocols for additional activities (arts, CTE, and intramurals). These activities will be implemented in phases in order to make sure we are fully planning for student and staff safety. 

  • During this period of distance learning, please contact your child’s AIR Pod (advisory) teacher directly with any questions you might have. Due to the fact that teachers will be working remotely with the exception of our hybrid days, email will be the most efficient way to contact them.

  • Check out our website for additional resources. There is a distance learning section that connects you with district information, our newsletters, and news updates that may occur between our weekly newsletter publication. As we continue our social distancing, please know we are all adjusting to this new reality and want to work in partnership with you as we journey onward. We are all awaiting our return to RHS until then, be safe, be healthy, and stay connected.

In partnership, 

Stacy Theien-Collins, Principal

Upcoming Events

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

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)
  • Textbook distribution on the 70th Street side of RHS from 4-7 p.m.

Friday, September 25

  • Textbook distribution on the 70th Street side of RHS from noon-5 p.m.

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)
  • Parent Advisory Council (via Google Meet) at 7 p.m.

Homecoming Events: More information will be announced

  • September 26 - Homecoming Driving Parade at 10 a.m.
  • October 1 - Homecoming Coronation at 10 a.m. (virtual event)

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 tech.support@rpsmn.org.
  • 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. 

Meal Distribution

RPS Students in Distance Learning and Non-RPS Students

  • Students can pick up a five-day bundle of grab & go meals each Wednesday between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 4-6 p.m. at Richfield High School. 

RPS Students in Hybrid Learning 

  • Free breakfast will be served for all students when they are in school. 
  • Students will eat all meals in their classrooms, not the cafeteria.
  • Students requesting grab & go meals for the days they are not in school will either have them delivered to the classroom at the end of the school day or students will pick them up from a kiosk as they leave for the day. 
    • Grades pre K-2 - One grab & go meal will be provided on Tuesdays.
    • Grades 3-5 - A three-meal bundle will be offered on Tuesday or Friday (depending on the student’s schedule).
    • Grades 6-12 - A four-meal bundle will be offered on the day students attend in-person. Please encourage your hybrid student to take advantage of the free meals that are offered when they leave school on Tuesday or Thursday.

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 https://www.nlappscloud.com/ or download a paper application on the Nutrition Services web page.

Distance & Hybrid Learning

MDH COVID Resources for Families

High School Happenings

Homecoming 2020 is happening! The official Homecoming dates are September 21-October 2. Included in this year’s celebration will be a Royal Court, a city-wide driving parade, Homecoming t-shirts, and a 2-week window for our Homecoming games so that all sports teams can be represented. We have three underlying themes for our Homecoming celebration this year: (1) welcome back! (2) excitement and camaraderie during this very different school year, and (3) equity and inclusion across the board. We will keep our Homecoming web page updated with the latest Homecoming details!

  • Our 2020 Royal Court has been nominated by our senior class. Seniors will be voting for the winner on Thursday, September 24. Coronation will then be held on Thursday, October 1 at 10 a.m. We will have it live-streamed!
  • Our Homecoming Parade will be right in the middle of our Homecoming festivities, on Saturday, September 26, at 10 a.m. We are reaching out to all the RPS schools, our fall athletes, the boys’ basketball team (for some extra recognition of their amazing season last spring), and our Royal Court, and asking for participation in the parade. The parade was canceled last year due to weather, so here’s hoping we come back in a big way! Instead of being a walking parade, it will be a driving parade and will encompass a huge part of Richfield. Everyone is encouraged to decorate their vehicle - streamers, balloons, signs - we want the parade to be filled with lots of energy!
  • Homecoming t-shirts have already been ordered and all RHS students will be receiving them soon! These are free for all students and are meant to contribute to the spirit of Homecoming!
  • The two-week window for Homecoming this year is allowing us to include representation from all of our fall sports, and to really foster an exciting and happy experience for our students, families, and community. Students will have an opportunity this week to participate in a sign-making contest for Homecoming sporting events! Information will be coming from their AIR Pod teacher.

Beacons

Coming to an AIR Pod Near You! Beacons hybrid (in-person) opportunities are coming on September 29! Here is a direct link to the registration form. Hybrid AIR Pod leaders will also have physical copies of the registration form. Beacons is also happy to offer space with wifi at the Southdale YMCA. Please take a moment to look at the flyer. If it is helpful, Beacons is able to support bus fare.

Fall Theatre Auditions

  • Register here to audition.
    • Tuesday Pod, September 22 from 2-3 p.m. in the auditorium
    • Thursday Pod, September 24 from 2-3 p.m. in the auditorium
    • Auditioning from home is also possible! Video submissions are easy and due by midnight on Friday, September 25.
  • There is a $65 fee for participants. For families qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, the fee is reduced.
  • Review the  Fall Theatre Safety Plan and Schedule.
  • Email Stephanie.Burt@rpsmn.org for more information.

Counselor's Corner

Counselor Contact Info 

Information for Freshmen

Welcome, Class of 2024! I am so excited to be on this academic journey with you and I can’t wait to meet you all! Be sure to keep checking Schoology and your AIR Pods for information coming soon about your support team and how to set yourself up for success as a Spartan. In the meantime, take a deep breath, get a good night’s sleep, and take your classes one day at a time. Oh, and let me know if you need anything! You can reach me at morgan.kelley@rpsmn.org, (612) 798-6113, or morgankelley.youcanbook.me. I’m looking forward to helping you make it a GREAT year! 

Information for Juniors

THE PSAT/NMSQT IS Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020! This is the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Who should take the PSAT?

  • Any 11th-grade student wishing to be a candidate in the highly competitive National Merit Scholarship competition must take the PSAT. Students in the top 10-15% of their class are strongly encouraged to participate. Please note that this is not a college entrance exam and is not required for graduation.

When is the PSAT?

  • The PSAT takes place at RHS on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 9 a.m. and ends around 12:30 p.m. It takes place in assigned classrooms and social distancing will be taken into consideration for this in-person paper/pencil assessment.

How do I sign up?

  • We are fortunate to be able to offer the PSAT for no cost to RHS students. Registration is limited to the first 45 students. Students should complete THIS FORM to request a seat for the PSAT exam.

Questions? Please contact Sara Linde at sara.linde@rpsmn.org or 612-798-6121.

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 LWeiers@collegepossible.org 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 CollegePossible.org/join or click here.

 **Applications close October 30, 2020** 

Information for Seniors

Post-Secondary Planning

  • It is the expectation of the Richfield School Board that ALL seniors graduate with a plan for life after RHS. We are here to support you in making that happen, whether it’s military, 2-year college, 4-year college, trades, or full-time employment. Information will be shared through Schoology advisories and it’s important to stay on top of your school email! Information will be shared early next week about the college application process at Richfield. Things like “how do I get my transcript?” and “do I need a letter of recommendation?” will be addressed.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Monday, September 28: Financial Aid Information Night ONLINE! Join us at 6 p.m. (English) or 7:30 p.m. (Español) for Financial Aid Information Night. During this presentation, we will discuss the different types of financial aid and how/where to apply. Register Here.

Scholarships

Tips & Suggestions

  • Your time and money is 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.
  • Take advantage of the FAFSA4caster, a U.S. Department of Education tool for estimating your FAFSA. 
  • 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!

What You Should be Doing Now

  • Now is the time for creating and refining the list of colleges you plan to apply to. You can use this application tracker to get organized.
  • College representatives are making virtual visits to RHS. You can find the list and sign up to attend by logging into your Naviance account (via the portal) and clicking “Colleges” → “Colleges Home” → scroll to the bottom and see the list on the left. And check out these tips for virtual college visits.
  • Complete your community service hours for graduation. Each student is required to complete 15 service hours between the summer before their senior year and mid-May. 
    • Complete this form if you are interested in being a virtual Teacher Assistant. 
    • When you have finished hours, you may submit them via this link. Be sure to complete the form fully.

Social-Emotional Learning: At Home Connection

Each week, we are going to provide you with a bit of information your students will be learning in the AIR POD groups, as we focus on their wellbeing this school year. We want to keep you in the loop on what they will be learning and encourage you to chat about it at home if you have a moment.

Students will be encouraged this week to learn ways to take "brain breaks.". On distance learning days it can be difficult for students to find ways to take a quick brain break and quickly recharge. Here is a video all students will watch on Mindful Meditation.

We encourage you as caregivers to also watch this and remember - YOU all need and deserve breaks as well. It is so hard with all you are juggling to remember this. Most of you put the needs of others in your home before yours. Sometimes it is hard to find time for self-care. This video helps you decompress anywhere in your home and only requires a few minutes! We encourage you all to find time to recharge - and ask for help when you need it!

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.

Photo of Adam in his band uniform

About Adam (from his nominee):

Adam has been really helpful in working through tech questions and helping me find the best options for doing some activities in class. He's helpful, reaches out to his peers and has a positive attitude. 

In addition to being helpful, Adam's communication with teachers since the start of COVID-19 has been full of kindness and support. I can always count on him for honest feedback and a laugh when things get stressful. 

 

Staff Spotlight

Lori Schmidt, Student Information and Scheduling Clerk

Hello Spartans! My name is Lori Schmidt, and I am heading into my third year at RHS. My role is to assist our counselors and admin team with student information, scheduling, and data. Prior to RHS, I spent four years working in Student Support Services at Richfield Middle School. 

One of my favorite parts about working in Richfield are the deep relationships that are built across the District. While our students are entering another school year of uncertainty, it has been amazing to see their resilience and positive energy as they find creative ways to celebrate and support each other. 

My husband is a special education teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools. We have two daughters (ages 7 and 3) and spend much of our free time exploring the creek, lakes & parks near our home. This summer it was especially nice to be outdoors together. Like many of you, my happy place is on a lake and I was very lucky to have lots of memorable adventures kayaking this summer - including getting chased across a lake by a muskrat in rural Wisconsin! As for time indoors, we spend a lot of time reading and writing together in my family. I have a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and I am beyond thrilled that my daughters are as addicted to reading as I was at their age. 

Thank you for sharing your students with us and for all the many ways you support our community. Go Spartans!

Liz Morales, Administrative Secretary

Hello RHS Families,

My name is Liz Morales and I am one of the administrative assistants here, working with Principal Collins in the main office. I’ve been working at RHS for the past five years. I love working with students and being able to make a small positive difference in their lives. I also enjoy working with families and the community. I am happy to be part of Richfield High School. 

I have a son named Bryant. He is a sophomore at Jefferson High School in Bloomington. In my free time, we enjoy going for hikes, traveling, reading, and watching movies. Both my son and I are huge Harry Potter fans. We also love spending time with our two dogs, Coby and Gordis. 

I look forward to continuing to work with all students, families, and the community. 

Doris Pomerleau, Counseling Office Secretary and Purchasing Clerk

Hello! I am Doris Pomerleau and I may have been the one who answered the phone when you called. I have worked at Richfield High School for a total of 21 years - years that have gone by faster than I could have ever imagined! In my current role as the Counseling Office administrative assistant, I work with a very caring team of school counselors and social workers.

I have lived in Richfield for over 30 years and love this community! I find myself taking walks through Veterans Park and Wood Lake Nature Center during all of Minnesota’s four seasons. Both of my adult children attended Richfield schools from kindergarten to graduation and benefitted from the education they received. Now that my children have families of their own, I am proud to have the title of “grandma” to three wonderful grandsons.

It is the family feel of the Richfield community and schools that makes me delighted to say, “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.