District 508 News and Notes

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

The Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) will hold their next meeting at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, April 16 in the Community Room (next to commons area) at Saint Peter High School.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

   The first Addressing Challenges Together event 
   drew a good crowd to the St. Peter Senior Center 
   on March 21. 

The second of three Addressing Challenges Together community conversations about continuing to foster safe and welcoming environments for all in our schools and community is set for Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at Johnson Hall (Nicollet County Fairgrounds). The public is encouraged to attend.

This session will focus on "Who do we want to be?" and will be interactive and will work to cultivate understanding and positive school and community action for the future!

These sessions are facilitated by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council and Saint Peter Community Leaders, and with additional support provided by Saint Peter Public Schools, Raising Our Community's Children, #OurStPeter, and the Saint Peter Recreation and Leisure Department.

The first session, held on March 21, drew a good crowd and organizers are hoping for more of the same at the second session. Those who missed the first session are still encouraged to catch one or both of the final two sessions. The third session is set for May 8 at Saint Peter Middle School. 

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

The Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) will hold their next meeting at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, March 26 in the Community Room (next to commons area) at Saint Peter High School. The focus of the meeting will be to continue vision and mission planning.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

'Addressing Challenges Together' sessions begin March 21 at St. Peter Senior Center

As a way to continue to foster safe and welcoming environments in all of District 508’s schools as well as in the community of St. Peter, a three part series of conversations, entitled “Addressing Challenges Together,” will be held over the next few months on that topic.

The first of those conversations, with the theme of “How is our community? How are our children?” will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Senior Center in the Saint Peter Community Center. Facilitation for these conversations will be provided by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council and Saint Peter Community Leaders. These events are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

“Saint Peter is a wonderful community with great people”, says Supt Paul Peterson. “These nights will be designed to help us all reflect as parents, neighbors, school staff and community members on who we are and where we are going.”  

Each session will be interactive and will work to cultivate understanding and positive school and community action for the future.  Many community groups, including #OurStPeter and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council have helped District leaders develop each night’s activities.  

“This is a great opportunity for people to come together to share their thoughts and ideas and to learn from each other,” Saint Peter Community & Family Education Director Tami Skinner said.

Subsequent conversations will be held on the following dates, so be sure to mark your calendars:

Tuesday, April 2 -- Session #2: “Who do we want to be?”, 6 p.m. at the Nicollet County Fairgrounds’ Johnson Hall

Wednesday, May 8 -- Session #3: “Moving forward together”, 6 p.m. at Saint Peter Middle School

These conversations are supported by following groups: Saint Peter Public Schools, Raising Our Community’s Children, #OurStPeter, St. Peter Recreation and Leisure Department, and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

The arrival of March indicates that we are in the home stretch of our difficult Minnesota winter.  Snow, cold, ice and wind have all taken turns challenging our best attempts to hold school on a regular basis in January and February.  It’s been a rough two months to say the least and our school faculty and administration appreciates everyone’s patience and understanding with all of our schedule adjustments, cancellations and delays.    

Flexible learning days, multiple school closure days, loss of traditional instructional time, statutory requirements and possible legislative action have generated several questions about our plans moving forward.  Below is a compilation of some frequently asked questions with corresponding answers. Feel free to contact me (Supt. Paul Peterson) at 934-5703 if you have other questions or if you’d like any additional information.

  1. Is the school district planning to schedule any make-up days?  No.  At this time, the School Board is not considering altering the 2018-19 school calendar.  The main reason for this is the district’s use of flexible learning days.
  2. The state allows schools to use up to five flexible learning days per year.  We’ve had more than that. Is that a problem? No.  State statute allows for five flex days to be used toward the statutory minimum requirements for a school year.  Additional flex days can be implemented provided the school district does not use the hours in its state reporting.  The Saint Peter School District calendar has more days than the state minimum.
  3. So if the state only allows five flexible learning days to be counted, why aren’t days 6, 7, 8, etc. traditional “snow days”?  There are two main reasons.  First, the school district wants to make sure it maximizes student instructional time as much as possible.  While different than a traditional school day, flex days provide the opportunity for students to continue learning.  Second, even though the state only counts five, the School Board considers all flex days student instructional and faculty work days.  
  4. Is Governor Walz going to waive state requirements related to the minimum school hours?  He can’t do it alone, but if the Minnesota Legislature passes a bill he can sign it.  There are proposals in both the Minnesota House and Senate that address this topic and all signs point to this being a bipartisan issue that will find its way to the governor’s desk for approval.  
  5. Are flexible learning days here to stay?  Prior to the 2015-’16 school year, all school days missed due to inclement weather were made up typically in the spring.  Flex days were introduced four years ago and, up until this year, have been implemented rarely (1-2 per year). Last year, the School Board adjusted the 2018-’19 calendar to remove all potential snow make-up days.  The 2019-’20 calendar also does not denote any snow make up days. These moves indicate the Board’s commitment to the use of flexible learning days.