Pierz Schools News
Pioneer Elementary 5th grade will start distance learning Tuesday, September 22. No school Monday, September 21 for 5th grade.
Due to COVID-related circumstances, we will have to temporarily close fifth grade to in person learning immediately. We plan to have 5th graders back in school starting Tuesday September 29. This means some inconveniences for all of us. We will have parent pick of materials, Chromebooks and other homework tomorrow, 9/21, from 3-4:30 PM behind Pioneer Elementary near the preschool playground. Teachers will be contacting families directly on Monday and Tuesday this week, ensuring their child is ready for distance learning. Again, based on the information we have now, it is our plan to have 5th graders back for in-person learning on Tuesday, September 29.
Pioneer Elementary COVID case notification - 9.19.2020
We were notified by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) of a lab confirmed case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in a member of the Pioneer Elementary community with last attendance date of 9/15.
We have worked with MDH to identify those who had close contact with the case, and have communicated with them individually. The risk of exposure for other individuals present in the building on that date is no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community.
For privacy reasons, we can’t share many details about the status of the person. At this time they are either staying home and/or working at home for at least 10 days, and any staff or students who have been in close contact with them have been notified that they must also stay home and/or work from home for 14 days. If you have not been contacted, you are not considered to be at higher risk, and there is nothing additional you need to do.
We have taken action to clean and sanitize the facility and are working closely with MDH to monitor the situation. To minimize further exposure, we continue to recommend implementation of the following strategies:
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after you are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about symptoms.
The Is it COVID-19? Website is Minnesota’s tool for identifying symptoms and when to seek medical help.
If you are positive for COVID-19, contact your human resource manager. They will help determine what next steps you need to take. Any personal health information employees provide to human resources will be maintained confidentially.
Resources that you may find valuable are:
Robyn Skwira RN, BSN, PHN, Licensed School Nurse
Morrison County Public Health Update - 9.10.2020
On September 8, Morrison County Public Health reported an increase in cases that pushed the Covid-19 14- day case rate over the ratio of 10. As you may recall, the new formula used by the entire state to assist schools in determining Learning Models is based upon the number of new Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days, per 10,000 residents, per county.
The fact that our county number crossed this new threshold does NOT mean all schools in the county are required to change to the next level. Public Health officials notified all Morrison County districts today they are not recommending any immediate change. Our county has formed a task force who continues to monitor the data which includes staff from all schools in the county. We constantly evaluate the data by zip code so all schools can make a more locally informed decision.
You can be assured that we will not make any change from one Learning Model to the next without providing you adequate notice. For example, if a rapid increase in case numbers involves many students, we would likely make decisions as quickly as possible to protect your children and household. On the other hand, if there are increases in Covid case counts that might not impact significant numbers of students and families (like long term care facilities, or some other specific industry), we could take more time to evaluate the trend over time and continue our most effective educational models as long as we can.
We know this will be a year like none other as we all work together to do everything we can on behalf of children. We are so happy to have this partnership with you as parents, as community members, and more than ever need to count on each other to communicate and share information knowing we all have what is best for our children as our number one priority.
Free Food! 9.10.2020
As of today, September 10th, USDA allowed Pierz Schools the opportunity to receive a waiver which extends free meals to all enrolled students through December 31 or until the federal funding for this program has been exhausted. We are hoping this lasts through the end of this calendar year, but do not know for certain. As this is a temporary program waiver, we are not refunding pre-paid lunch accounts. Those will be utilized once again when the program ends.
We will notify you again once we pivot back to our regular lunch program. We ask parents/guardians to still complete the Lunch Application, as it is a very important factor for other school funding sources. Please fill out the application if you have not already done so. If you have any questions, please email: email@example.com or call the school directly at 320-468-6458.
Pierz Music Department Expounds on Talent, Exceeds Expectations
If you have attended a band, choir, or school musical in the last few years, you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the advanced talents of the staff and students that comprise the Pierz Music Department.
This week, Pioneer Elementary showcased their annual Christmas Program to the delight of their friends and family. Last week, middle school choir and band students impressed audiences with their technical skills and abilities--even more impactful is knowing that these students have only been in band and choir for a couple years or less. Next week, senior high students will expertly perform their Holiday Concert, inspiring all ages from our community. Click here to learn what makes the Pierz Music Program so inspired.
Pierz Football program builds success on and off the field
As you may know, Pierz Football is once again headed to the Prep Bowl after finishing an undefeated season. But perhaps what isn’t revealed in the spotlight is all the hard work, effort, countless hours of teaching strong ethics and high standards of a student program that has not only turned out winning teams, but more importantly, great humans: built on trust, accountability, and respect. Read entire article here
Healy students graduate with life skills--a true story
Students at Healy enjoy a wide variety of classes. Sometimes we forget that perhaps our community and parents would also like to know some of the life skills learned by our graduates (spoiler alert: they can do laundry, dishes, and understand banking, loans, and insurance)! So, enjoy a tale of a Healy graduate to illustrate just a glimpse of the many ways our students are graduating future-ready. Click here to read this true tale :) Enjoy!
Serving up smiles...and salads
When Michele Kampa was hired as the new head cook for Healy High School, she stepped into a brand new kitchen and brought with her a new way of looking at the school lunch program. “I’d like to introduce them to some new foods. And listen to what they want. They are our customers, after all.” And so far, she has set out to accomplish those goals. Full article here
2019 Healy High School Hall of Fame Inductees Honored
The newest members of the Healy High School Hall of Fame were honored at the October 4 Homecoming Football game. The 1995 and 1996 Girls State True Team Champions and Coach Rey Zimney were inducted. Read the full article and accolades here.
New Construction Ends--new spaces, happy faces:)
It's been a flurry of activity and effort on the part of staff, administration and construction workers--but the new construction is (pretty much) finished at Pierz Schools! What an amazing transformation in just the last few months. Pictured: the new commons/lunch area at Healy High School. Click here to see the new classrooms, science lab, gymnasium, band room, commons and kitchen.
New Staff for 2019-20 School Year
Construction update - April 2019
If you’ve stepped foot in, or even driven past Pierz Schools anytime in the last 6 months, you’ve witnessed a significant transformation to our buildings.
From the outside, you’ll see the elementary and high school buildings have been joined by the middle section, complete with classroom spaces and a gymnasium. The walls of the classrooms are studded in, the classrooms, hallway, and gym floors are poured, and the brick on the outside is in place as are the window and door openings.
While the outside has taken shape, the inside also continues to advance. The construction project is running ahead of schedule for the band room and kitchen addition, with plans to pour the floor for the band addition in mid-May. Because the interior kitchen work requires a great deal of demolishing and saw cutting, some cannot be done during the school hours. As such, we have had workers on site late into the evenings many, many nights. We also took advantage of students being gone during the Easter break to perform electrical work from Thursday night through Friday, shutting the power down for Healy High School during that process.
Last, but certainly not the least..PARKING. We will continue to be creative to figure out how to park for graduation and other spring events. Once the school year ends, the workers will quickly start addressing the elementary parking lot in order to have it completed in the very short time slot that summer allows.
It's okay to be cranky!
At Pioneer Elementary, preschoolers are learning about ways to improve their emotions when feeling cranky, angry, sad or disappointed. An Emotional Quotient is related to how well you can manage emotions and regulate yourself. The importance of this to a child can make or break their school experience. With an enhancement grant from Pathway 1 scholarship money, we were able to provide a half day of training for all preschool staff along with the addition of an Early Childhood Specialist in preschool to assist in teaching social-emotional skills.
Alyssa Kroll, a licensed parent educator, teaches small groups of preschoolers the skills they need to manage their big emotions. One day she might be teaching them how to take deep breathes; this will send oxygen to their brain and help move an emotional person from their brain stem to their executive functioning frontal lobe. On another day, Alyssa might be playing a matching game looking at facial cues to define and name emotions. The idea is that young children need to know big emotions happen, and are normal and manageable.
Spring is here - Healy sports teams and activities are in full swing
Despite Mother Nature's best efforts to keep our student athletes out of the fields, courses, and tracks--spring is finally here, and spring sports and activities at Healy are in full swing. Even with the late (and large amounts of) snow, most sports are finding they are only a bit behind schedule. Everyone seems to agree on two things: that spring is a welcome sight and that this year promises to be a strong year for all of our student athletes. Read the spring sports overview here for track and field, softball, baseball, golf and trapshooting.
Speech Team finds success and FUN in public speaking
Does the idea of giving a speech in front of a live audience leave you with sweaty palms and high anxiety? Not surprising, as public speaking is the #1 fear among Americans, topping even the fear of dying! Who are these brave souls that face this fear and *gasp* ENJOY IT?!
The Pioneer Speech team is a co-curricular fine arts performance activity that consists of thirteen separate speaking categories. Each category requires unique skill sets, allowing a wide range of students with different skill sets to thrive. Under the direction of their coaches, students enter into the category of their choice, ranging from discussion and informative speaking to humorous interpretation, extemporaneous speaking and storytelling among other categories. Through practice and judge critiques from competitions, students learn how to structure a speech, analyze material useful to their topic, and improve their performance techniques.
Students are judged on their ability to perform their pieces based on the individual rules for each category; however, general public speaking abilities are central to scoring. Judges look for indicators like voice tone, speech clarity, speed and volume, eye contact, and gestures. Read on to learn of the team's success
Critical Incident Response Training, 'chilling' but successful
Last Friday, the Pierz Public Schools along with Holy Trinity School conducted a Critical Incident Response drill. The drill included a scenario where an active shooter entered the high school building. This active drill was jarring: blank rounds were shot, screams were heard, and staff and students had to make their way past 'deceased' student and staff volunteers to safety. Law enforcement and rescue crews responded as if it were a real-life active shooter, making the training that much more harrowing...and helpful. Read all about the training and reactions
Pierz Robotics Team, 'Mechaneers', builds upon their success
An extra-curricular that many may not be aware of, Robotics at Pierz high school continues to ‘build success’ in their competitions this year.
Coached for the past three years by Mrs. Pat Tax and assisted for the past 2 years by Mrs. Mary Jo Schaefer, the high school offers this exciting, innovative and sometimes frustrating competition to both junior high and senior high students.
Students involved in Robotics at Pierz have many different aspirations: some of the students aspire to become mechanical engineers, some are looking at the medical field, some are thinking business and some are thinking public relations--whichever career path any of these students take, the skills they are learning in this after-school activity will indeed help them be that much more successful in their future endeavors. Read on to learn about competitions and future goals.
Vaping, Juuling and e-cigarettes: an epidemic amongst our youth
According to the Center for Disease Control, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students. The FDA reports that currently 3.5 million middle and high school students regularly vape, and since last year, this dangerous trend is up 80% in high school students and 50% in middle school students. These statistics are both staggering and scary.
Flavored e-cigarette products and trendy new vaping devices like Juul are luring teenagers away from smoking cigarettes but keeping them hooked on nicotine. Vaping is also often sold as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes, and some teens are under the false assumption that because e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco they’re safe.
'Juuling' ("jeweling") refers to the Juul-brand device used to vape these nicotine juices. Juul looks like a USB flash drive and is easy to hide, comes in sweet flavors like mango and fruit medley, and delivers a powerful dose of nicotine, putting kids at greater risk of addiction. How powerful? One Juul of juice has more nicotine than an entire pack of Marlboro Red cigarettes. Important to note: the covers of e-cigarettes/Juuls are not child-proof. Inhalation of the e-cigarette aerosol by small children can result in serious injury or death. Read more about this growing epidemic
Golden shovels and hard hats at Pierz Schools this week
Last spring, the voters in Pierz School District approved a $10 million referendum to support additional classroom space, physical education space, a new band room and expanded kitchen and cafeteria for Pierz Schools. The official groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday, October 9th with school board members, school staff and the design team present to “pitch in” by throwing a few shovels of dirt to support the large equipment doing the heavy lifting. Despite the rainy weather, they still had smiles on their faces! See the entire Groundbreaking Press Release here
Pierz School District recieves $10k grant for our welding shop
Mrs. Pat Tax, agriculture teacher extraordinaire at Healy, is good at many things. And to our good fortune, one of those many talents is grant writing. Tax found Monsanto's "America's Farmers Grow Rural Education" grant and figured Pierz is the perfect place where this money would be used wisely to do just that. Partnering with Farmers, America’s "Farmers Grow Rural Education Program" provides rural schools with about $2.3 Million in grants to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education. Read all about the grant and award here.
Pioneer Pride Keeps Rolling - a letter from Supt. George Weber
"Many of you have talked to fans from other schools and communities who ask how Pierz can keep putting out high level teams year after year. Good Question!
There really is no secret trick, but instead a combination of factors that have to be repeated over and over again."
Read George's letter to the Fall Sports Program here.
Construction Update - Summer 2018
In May, voters passed the bond referendum to add classrooms and gym space to Pioneer elementary as well as update and expand the high school kitchen and band room. Again, thank you!
Since then, the school board and administrators have been meeting and drawing up plans with the staff, architects and contractors to determine the best approach and technical aspects of each of these projects - a colossal task!
Here's an overview of the timeline:
Field Trips for Life Experiences
Learning within the four walls of the classroom is one thing; experiencing all the world has to offer in living color opens up all new opportunities, inquiries, and possibilities. Read full article.
Each Spring, Healy High School gathers students, parents and staff for one of the most memorable, meaningful nights of our Seniors’ careers. Awards Night celebrates student’s high school careers and successes in Band, Art, Choir, Drama, and Athletics. Read full article
Math Masters began as a fifth grade math competition program in 1989 with teams from 44 schools taking part. In 1995, the competition was expanded to include sixth graders and this year approximately 5,500 fifth and sixth graders competed in regional competitions across Minnesota. Pioneer Elementary has competed since the mid 1990s. Denny Rothstein has coached fifth grade since 1997 and sixth grade since 2004. Denny was originally recruited to volunteer by Connie Banach, sister-in-law and then teacher at Pioneer. After much arm twisting, Denny agreed to give it a try. After all, how hard could fifth grade math be? Read full article.
Pierz Voters Pass Bond Referendum - April 10, 2018
The results are in. We are excited and humbled that the Pierz Schools community voted in favor of the bond referendum that was on Tuesday's ballot. We are eternally grateful to you for this affirmation of our needs. Students in our district will benefit from these facility investments for generations. Thank you for your support.
The unofficial results are below:
993 – Yes
We understand that not everyone voted Yes on the referendum. While there is disagreement on how to manage our facilities, we believe there is common ground in supporting the needs of our children. We will build on that common ground to ensure that we all move forward together.
Continue to follow us on our Facebook page and the district website at www.pierz.k12.mn.us for updates on next steps in facilities planning. We will be engaging staff, parents and other stakeholders in the design process for the new classrooms, kitchen and band room. We value your input and welcome any comments you might have. Feel free to contact Superintendent George Weber at 320-468- 6458 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any member of the school board.
Colleen Seelen, Chair of the Pierz School Board
School Board Members: Steve Boser, Joanne Broschofsky, Rick Sczublewski, Patricia Stangl, Dean Virnig
Superintendent, George Weber
Pierz School Board Approves Resolution to Limit Open Enrollment - March 1, 2018
At the regular board meeting of Feb. 28, the Pierz School Board adopted a Resolution to manage open enrollment numbers per grade. The Board also will approve a separate Open Enrollment Policy at its regular March meeting. A draft of that policy was reviewed at the February meeting. The goal is to continue to provide financial efficiency, teaching and learning effectiveness, yet also create long term stability.
“Open enrollment has helped all of us, by keeping the district financially strong, bringing terrific families into our communities, helping reverse declining numbers and the potential loss of programs and jobs,” said Superintendent George Weber, “but now is the time to put a limit on it.” Read full article and Open Enrollment FAQs
Academics for All - part 2: College and Career and Training and Healy
At Pierz Healy High School, academic opportunities abound. Students have a plethora of choices, no matter their interest or career path. Welding, Agriculture, College Algebra, Water, Woods, & Wildlife, College Human Biology, Landscaping, Cabinet Making, Electrical Wiring, American Literature, Computer Repair Class, Child Development, Advanced Cooking/Foods, Garageband (digital music productions), Quilting and many more classes provide students with both college and career courses to help them determine their future plans
“We really aim to provide students with courses and opportunities that align with their career and college goals. Our hope is that we offer something that inspires every student that comes to Healy. We know that not all students plan to attend a 2- or 4-year college after high school. We provide classes and opportunities that will help them train in their career field and provide them with skills for the workforce with courses in agriculture, welding, automotive, wood shop, cooking, sewing, and more. Read full article
Academics for All - part 1: ASPIRE to SUCCESS at Pioneer Elementary
In last week’s newsletter, you saw that students at Pioneer Elementary and Healy High School have the opportunity to enroll in so many activities - knowledge bowl, speech, various sports teams, robotics, trap shooting, after school programs, and more.
But what about during the school day? What are these kids up to?
Academic programs at Pioneer and Healy run the full gamut - from helping struggling students to advanced programs to enrich learning, to providing college courses at no cost to students. This week we will introduce you to the new academic programs that are empowering students at Pioneer Elementary; next week, we will showcase the ways Healy students are learning, including Ramping Up, College in the Schools, and the hands-on agriculture and industrial tech programs!
Our newest program at Pioneer Elementary, SUCCESS, aims to help students that may need just a little extra help with reading skills by combining the efforts of both our Special Education and our Title 1 departments. Read full article
Why Activities Matter - It's Not Just Sports
Robotics, Competitive Speech, Drama Club, Choir, Band, Business Professionals of America, Future Farmers of America, Art Club, Athletics, Peer Helpers, oh my! All these activities and more are providing our students with incredible experiences and skills that will serve them well into their futures.
Activities provide personal growth that cannot be replicated in the classroom. Many, many adults point out their personal experiences in high school activities as not only the most memorable part of their teenage years, but also the most critical part of their growing up that gave the drive and self-discipline to succeed. It is not just about competition, in fact that is one of the least important parts of it. The greater benefit is the focus on teaching your body and your brain to get better at something and the discipline and confidence built up while living through that process. It builds character. It builds belief in yourself.
Read full article
Pierz Ag Students Are Ready for the Future
The future of agriculture is looking bright for Healy students--imagine a future with low water, poor soil conditions, and use of alternative energy sources. Our students can not only imagine this--they have solutions for these situations.
Hydroponics...solar energy systems...designing and building greenhouses...engineering and studying irrigation systems...gardening and crop-sharing--these are just a few or the areas Mrs. Pat Tax's agriculture students are exploring. Read full article
Pierz Robotics Build, Compete
The Robotics Team, the Pierz Mechaneers, have two teams that compete in VEX Robotic’s “In The Zone” 2017-18 challenge.
State competition is by ‘invite-only’ and is held February 2-3, 2018 at the River’s Edge Convention Centre in St Cloud, MN. Pierz’ High School team qualified by being one of the finalists following league play at the St Cloud Technical College. Pierz ‘Junior High team only competed in the Sartell MS competition and ended that competition placing 14th of 42 teams.
Read more about the competition
Pierz Facilities Committee - Meeting #2
Once again more than two dozen community members, staff and school board members gathered on Wednesday, January 3. They reviewed information that was discussed at their first meeting on December 5 regarding the Public Schools facility needs, they reviewed facility investment options and tax impacts presented by the district’s facility consultants, and they made a number of recommendations to the school board, including a selection of one of the options.
Based on the survey results and directive from the community, along with the progress the school board has made, the board will consider these recommendations:
The Facilities Committee is determined to move forward by showing the community both the value and the need for this investment.The school board will consider the Facility Committee recommendations and may approve a resolution to hold a referendum on April 10. Full article
Tech Mobile Career Training Tools Provide Hands-On Learning
This year Pierz students and staff are taking part in an innovative program that
allows children to work with very expensive equipment that is used in a variety of
trades industries and advanced training schools. Read full article
Mock Interviews Give Students Real-life Scenarios and Job Skills
Students in Mr. Paulson's Practical Writing class had the opportunity to practice their interview skills with real-life local business owners and managers. Read full article
Healy Seniors Get First-hand Information from Industry Leaders
Jason Morris, Field Construction Manager at DeChantal Excavating; Kim Rocheleau, Administrator at Pierz Villa; and Scoop Reif, Human Resources Director at Midwest Machine - talked to seniors about their companies. Read full article
Pierz Schools Property Taxes to Stay Low
At Pierz Schools, the School Board and all of our employees take our responsibility for providing the best education at the best price very seriously. We constantly make judgments about what expenses are necessary. It’s been working. The end result of this frugal and united work culture, is that we are able to keep our local property taxes very low, yet still deliver heartfelt caring for children and top notch instruction. Read full article
Pierz Facilities Committee Planning for the Future
First Meeting to Discuss Options for Possible April Bond Referendum
More than two dozen community members, staff, and school board members met Dec. 5 to discuss Pierz Public Schools facility needs. As members of the district’s Facilities Committee, they are tasked with defining facility needs, reviewing options to solve the needs, and making a recommendation to the school board to consider for a possible April bond referendum. Read More
Pioneer Elementary Christmas Program--standing room only!
The afternoon performances of the holiday show made our spirits bright! Students in grades 1-4 performed a variety of Christmas songs and skits on December 14. Merry Christmas, all!
Toy Drive at the High School and Elementary--generosity overflows!
The Toy Drive at the high school and elementary were tremendous successes, bringing toys and supplies to family in need in our community.
The Toy Drive at Healy raised $1,173.22. Congrats to Mr. Boman's Class for raising over $350 and earning first place with Mrs. Gruber's class coming in second earning over $220 dollars.Thank you to ALL who gave--we have the most caring community!
The Toy Drive at the Elementary is STILL collecting!
December Blood Drive at Healy Collects 59 Units of Blood
Minnesota Honor Society students from Healy (along with Miss Jindra and Mrs. LeBlanc) organized the Blood Drive that took place at the MAC last week. Thank you to all who gave, tried to give, or worked the event. We collected 59 units of blood, saving and improving the lives of so many!
Science Museum Spends the Week at Pioneer Elementary
During a one week residency here, the Science Museum of Minnesota met with first and second graders, teaching them about dinosaurs, fossils, and TEETH! They also met with fifth and sixth grade students, teaching them about the importance of groundwater and learning how the earth filters our water through hands-on experiments. Click for photos!