District 508 News and Notes

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Public Schools’ Resource Officers Jon Hughes and Tom Winsell work with school administrators each school year to develop a safe and efficient plan for family members dropping off and picking up their students each school day.

“As the school year comes to a close and we are now again at full capacity, I'd like to thank everyone for driving safely during pick-up and drop-offs of students throughout the district,” Hughes said. “I’d also like to take the opportunity to provide a quick reminder of what routes are preferred.”

The preferred drop-off and pick-up locations, per SRO Hughes, for each of the SPPS buildings are:

South Elementary:
Use the loop to drop-off and pick-up.  The parking lot in front of the main entrance will have restricted access during pick-up, so please only use the loop.  

North Elementary:
We’d prefer all drop-off and pick-ups occur from the school side (not street side) on the passenger side of your vehicle to eliminate any students having to cross the road.  This would include the north side of Flandrau Street between N. 7th Street and N. 8th Street and on N. 7th Street between Traverse Road and Flandrau Street.  

Middle School:
The preferred drop-off and pick-up location is the football field parking lot.  Capitol Drive is becoming overly congested, resulting in a blockage of the staff parking lot, which inhibits the ability of staff to travel between buildings at the end of the day.

High School:
Parent drop off and pick ups are only on the west side of the high school.  The east side is designated for the buses only.   

“Our community does such an amazing job with pick-ups and drop-offs,” Hughes said. “Please continue to yield with care and be prepared for students to be near or around your vehicles at any time.  You as caregivers to St. Peter School District students have adapted to change with compliance and patience to the benefit of our student population, so thank you.”  

If you ever have any questions or concerns in regards to student pick up or drop offs, please email SRO Hughes at jhughes3@stpeterschools.org.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

A mock crash event will take place on Thursday, April 22, starting around 11 a.m. in the Saint Peter High School's west parking lot, with several area law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel participating in the event. This event will be filmed and shown to SPHS students some time before graduation in late May.

Saint Peter School Resource Officer (SRO) Jon Hughes is helping to organize the event, which was last held in 2016. 

Participating agencies include: St. Peter Police, St. Peter Fire Department, Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, River’s Edge Ambulance staffed by Allina, Minnesota State Patrol, Mayo Health Systems Aircare, St. Peter Funeral Home, South Central EMS, Von Essen’s Towing and the Kelly Phillips Foundation.  

“We want to get the word out to residents here in St. Peter to let them know this is happening, so they don’t get too worried when they hear the sirens and sounds that will be associated with the mock crash event on Thursday,” Hughes said. “We try to hold the mock crash event once every four years or so, in order to give all of the students (here at SPHS) a chance to experience it because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to host it last year and this year’s event will not be a live event. Instead we will be video recording the entire event and eventually edit into a program to be shown to the kids.”

As part of the event, Dan Phillips will be providing an impact speech which will also be filmed. Phillips’ daughter Kelly died in September 2007 in a distracted driver accident which also claimed the life of one of his daughter’s best friends. The Phillips family created a foundation in their daughter’s memory to speak to parents and teens about the importance of safe driving habits and eliminating driver distractions. More information on that foundation can be found at http://kellyphillipsfoundation.org

Belted up students earn rewards!

SROs Jon Hughes and Tom Winsell recently rewarded SPHS student drivers who were properly wearing their seat belts as they were exiting the west parking lot after school. Hughes presented those drivers who were properly belted in with a card for a free donut at Dunkin Donuts of St. Peter.

“It’s a good way to remind students to belt up and reward them for being safe drivers,” Hughes said. “Thanks to Dunkin Donuts for their generosity in providing the cards. The kids who received them were very thankful and excited to get a free donut!”

Kurt Hildebrandt

The St. Peter-Kasota chapter of Dollars for Scholars is in the midst of its “Stay at Home Scholarship Fundraiser” through Thursday, Dec. 31st, at 11:30 p.m.

Because of the pandemic situation, the St. Peter-Kasota chapter of Dollars for Scholars was unable to host its annual Phone-A-Thon this year so this fundraiser is being put on to help raise much-needed funds which will benefit Saint Peter High School graduating seniors.

The local Dollar for Scholars chapter expands the opportunities of St. Peter-Kasota graduates by working in partnership with organizations, businesses, and individuals to raise funds for graduates seeking scholarships. Scholarships are awarded in a fair and objective manner to deserving students.

To donate go to https://bit.ly/3qaM9Zb or text the code "SCHOLARS2021" to 44-321. 

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Testing is free and open to all, with or without symptoms

ST. PETER -- Nicollet County Health and Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Health will offer free COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the St. Peter Community Center. Testing is free and available to anyone who wants to be tested, with or without symptoms.

The latest testing data has shown that St. Peter and the surrounding communities are a COVID-19 hotspot and the numbers are trending upward. That data, combined with upcoming holidays and colder weather, makes testing especially important. The goal is to identify cases early on so that those who are positive can isolate themselves and their contacts can quarantine. This strategy is proven to slow spread. The results of this event will also provide data to guide future efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect those who are most vulnerable to serious complications.

The Minnesota Department of Health continues to recommend asymptomatic individuals to be tested. Additionally, the CDC continues to advise that state and local health officials may continue seeking testing of asymptomatic individuals under certain circumstances to help control community spread. Testing both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals assists in helping to control community spread. While some who contract COVID-19 experience only mild or even no symptoms, all who contract the virus are contagious. Following the testing next week, local officials will consult with the Minnesota Department of Health so that mitigation strategies can be deliberately implemented.

Anyone who wants to be tested is encouraged to come, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. No insurance or identification is needed.

To avoid long lines, we encourage you to pre-register for a time slot. Visit https://www.primarybio.com/r/nicollet for more information and to sign up for an appointment.

Those who are in need of transportation to the event can call Dial-a-Ride at 888-880-4969; rides are free. We encourage individuals to call for service in advance to ensure availability.

DATE: Tuesday, November 17
TIME: Noon to 6 pm
LOCATION: St. Peter Community Center (600 S. 5th St.) - Use upper parking lot and enter in Door B

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

SPPS students in grades K-12 to start classes on Wednesday, Sept. 9

Classes for students in grades K-12 at Saint Peter Public Schools will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 9, after the Saint Peter School Board approved a revision to the official 2020-21 school calendar at Monday’s (Aug. 17) regular meeting. 

In addition to the September 9th starting date for classes, conferences for students in grades K-12 have been set for Friday, Sept. 4, and Tuesday, Sept. 8. Families will be notified soon regarding how to schedule those conferences with each student’s homeroom teacher.

Classes were originally scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 31, for Saint Peter High School students and on Wednesday, Sept. 2, for students in the other three buildings. However, the current pandemic situation and guidelines from the state of Minnesota prompted moving the starting date back until after the Labor Day weekend. (Note: Kindergarten Ready students will also start on September 9th, while ECSE and School Readiness students begin on September 14th.)

“These changes will help prepare for a solid start to the school year,” Saint Peter Superintendent Bill Gronseth said. “Our staff will be teaching students both in person and through distance learning. These schedule changes will allow for ongoing opportunities for staff to plan and prepare a meaningful, engaging  learning experience.”

“We are planning for a whole new learning experience for our students,” Gronseth said. “Delaying the start of school will allow staff the opportunity to receive training, plan with colleagues, prepare materials, and ensure that our year begins with a solid start.

Change to start and end times 

In other action at Monday’s meeting, the board also approved a temporary change for school start and end times for all four buildings. Because of social distancing requirements for transporting students to and from school, it was recommended to the board that busing be done in two tiers. The following are the approved start and end times for each of the four main buildings:

  • North Elementary and South Elementary - start at 8 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.
  • Saint Peter Middle School - start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m.
  • Saint Peter High School - start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:10 p.m.

The reason for the different end times for high school and middle school is for busing purposes. At the end of the day, buses will start at the high school before moving to the middle school to pick up those students to bring them home. 

More info on hybrid model 

To start the 2020-21 school year, Saint Peter Public Schools will operate under the hybrid model with students attending classes two days a week and having distance learning opportunities the other three. 

“The opportunity for staff to work in-person with students twice a week will greatly enhance instruction and student success,” Gronseth said.

Students in grades K-12 will be split into two groups -- A days and B days. Students in the A days group will attend classes in their respective buildings on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the B days group will have in-school classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Friday will be a distance learning day for all K-12 students along with the other two days they do not have in-school classes. 

“Our Reopening Plan leans into caution and consistency,” Gronseth said. “Being able to sustain an instructional model over time is important to students, staff, and families.  We are hopeful that we will be able to sustain a hybrid model, offering students both in-person instruction and distance learning.”

To view District 508’s 2020-21 Reopening Plan, please see the following link:  https://www.stpeterschools.org/about/2020-2021-covid-19-response