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District News Blog
Industrial technology/East Wing renovation nearing completionPosted by George Weber on 1/12/2023
After nearly a year of planning, remodeling, and construction, Healy High School is very close to having a dramatically improved East Wing which houses our industrial technology classes. These hands-on courses appeal to so many of our students, and many students continue their post-high school education and careers in these areas. Courses like construction, cabinet making, small gas engines, welding, greenhouse management, landscaping, veterinary science, and wiring/plumbing/concrete will all see vast improvements to equipment, storage, ventilation, and workspaces.
All teaching spaces in this area have been updated with new HVAC, lighting, paint, flooring, and technology, resulting in brighter, cleaner spaces large enough to house three full-time teachers. The addition of a technology workroom to this area will allow industrial technology teachers and students to navigate between the woods, welding shops, and high-tech spaces that house equipment like plasma cutters, 3D printers, and laser engravers.
The expansion of the welding and metals area allows for material storage, the breakdown and cutting of the metals, and the capacity for plasma cutting and shaping— all in one new well-vented area. We are truly excited to provide this opportunity for our students and the capacity for our staff to implement a variety of classroom experiences using metals as the teaching tool. The metals area expansion creates more than 5,000-square-feet of teaching space.
The wood shop has also been expanded with added storage areas to the shop, as well as a completely new dust vacuum system to provide the cleanliness and air quality of a professional shop. With the addition, the wood shop now offers approximately 3,500 square feet of space.
As you walk down this new East Wing, the two south side classrooms are now merged into the Agricultural Center. This large space, approximately 1,800 square feet, allows for expanded laboratory options for plants, genetics, landscaping, and the capacity for instruction in the multitude of areas that make up agronomy today. The large merged rooms will have large south-facing windows to allow for growing and testing opportunities as well as easy access to the multiple greenhouses used in the fall and spring.
All shop and lab spaces can also access the newly created 1,400-square-foot Tech Classroom centrally located, adjacent to all the workspaces. The Tech Classroom contains more high-tech learning opportunities like 3D Printers, Laser Engravers, Robotics and Computer stations, and other key components to the design, trades, and ag industries.
We have also added a new special education classroom to this project. This new classroom provides some sensory room options and also independent living skills learning opportunities as students will be able to use the classroom’s dedicated kitchen, laundry, and other facilities.
We are very close to the completion of this exciting project. The wood shop and welding shop should be operating at full capacity by the end of January. The ag room should be ready by the end of February.
Snow emergency remindersPosted by Superintendent George Weber on 1/6/2023
Thank you to so many parents, bus drivers, and snow plow drivers who have gone above and beyond the last 48-hours as we continue to work through one of our snowiest winters.
We have a couple of reminders during these challenging times of navigating:
- Our drivers must make the judgment regarding navigating through certain township roads that we hope are plowed, but we do not always know if they are plowed. If you are aware they are not plowed, please consider giving your bus driver a heads-up.
- If the driver determines that they cannot safely make it through a driveway that is not plowed, we ask them not to try. In those situations, you may need to get your child to the end of the driveway.
- Finally, if you live in a location where it is not driveable, it is okay that your child misses school. We will excuse the absence. In the end, we have to make a decision based on allowing the vast majority of students to safely make it to school. If it is not safe in your particular circumstance, that is okay. Do not feel any undue pressure to send your child through a driveway or township road that is not cleared, nor put yourself in that situation with your own vehicle.
Reminder: we will provide school cancellation and late-start information to families in several ways:
- We will make the phone call launches to all families who provide the phone numbers in our Synergy Student Information System. To this end, please use your ParentVUE/Synergy access to ensure your contact information is up-to-date.
- We will post an announcement on the district website as well as the Pierz Schools Facebook page.
- We will notify LF Radio of our decisions.
- We use the WCCO School Closings website.
Thank you, as always, for your understanding and continued support!
Minnesota tops the nation in MCA scores; Pierz tops MinnesotaPosted by Superintendent George Weber on 11/22/2022
Congratulations to the Pierz students, teachers, parents, and all the staff who persevered through many obstacles (thank you, Covid!) to outperform schools throughout our region on the 2022 State MCA tests.
In general, Minnesota public school students perform among the highest in the nation when it comes to national assessments. At Pierz Schools, our students in grades 3-6 outperformed our fellow Minnesota students. So when we do well on our own MCA tests compared to how Minnesota students are doing, we know we are competing at a high level compared to our nation and even the world.
Pioneer Pride stands for perseverance, respect, and self-discipline: these tenets are our road map to being successful over the long term. It does not matter whether it is math or music, athletics or agriculture: our expectation is that respectful students and supportive parents— merged with great teaching and coaching— equals success. It is the best formula to bring every day.
This fall as we reviewed our MCA data, we were proud to see the results of hard work and dedication. Looking at the results of students at every grade at Pioneer Elementary School and comparing our math results to all the schools in our region, we are challenged to find any school that performed better in any of the grades. A huge congratulations and thank you to all the teachers, paras, and supportive parents and guardians who joined together to support our students to achieve this outcome.
The MCA math test measures if children are considered proficient in all of the grade-level standards in math. The percentages in the graph show the percent of the students in each grade who are proficient in all of the standards-based upon that test.
It should be noted that as grade levels progress, more standards are added, so it is common for the percentages to drop as students increase in grade. It is challenging for educators and students to keep up with the level of new learning required every year. That said, Healy High School 7th and 8th graders consistently perform above the state in math; 11th graders outperformed the state in math this past year; and 8th graders outperformed the state in science as well.
In order to sustain learning growth into the teenage years, it is critical to have consistency for children in all parts of their lives and critical for the student to always be present and ready to learn every day. We know that both parenting and teaching is never ending and ever-changing. We embrace working together to support the development and growth of students.
Thanks to all in our community who support our children in all areas of their lives.
Responsibility Centered DisciplinePosted by Pierz Schools on 9/29/2022
Pierz Healy High School has started down a path to totally transform how we handle student discipline issues and, more importantly, how we help each student graduate as a responsible, self-disciplined adult. We are adopting the Responsibility-Centered Discipline (RCD) program, which was created by author Larry Thompson and is now being implemented in hundreds of schools in all 50 states and several other countries. This program teaches practical techniques to help teachers de-escalate confrontations with students, while also enabling teachers to successfully redirect students who need correction.
We began implementing this program several months ago, and we have already begun seeing significant improvements in school climate in teacher-student relationships. Mr. Thompson will join us for the upcoming Parents Night on Monday, October 10, 2022 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in the Pierz Healy High School band room to answer your questions and to explain how RCD is working at our school.
He will also offer tips that you will find helpful when working with your child or teen, including:
» Obedience-Based vs. Responsibility-Based
» Why Time-Based Consequences Don’t Work
» Developing Self-Regulation Skills
» Exits Off the Road to Responsibility
» The Response-Ability Process
» Give ‘em Five Conversations
Mr. Thompson is the author of several books, including Roadmap to Responsibility and Give ‘em Five. He has just finished his latest book, Roadmap to Responsibility: The Power of Give ‘em Five to Transform Families. He is a thoughtful, engaging presenter with a terrific sense of humor, and we are excited that he has agreed to present to the entire Pierz Healy High School community.
The Responsibility-Centered Discipline program has been implemented in a number of different settings including public schools, private schools, charter schools, alternative schools, parochial schools, and even juvenile schools. It has been proven to work in elementary, middle and high school settings and is effective with students with disabilities including oppositional defiant disorder, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD etc.
Parenting is filled with decisions. Which concerns are most important? How do parents handle all these endless scenarios? Every child is different. Every age and stage brings up a new set of complexities. As parents seek to direct children toward responsibility, success and fulfillment, life presents many potential detours. The Responsibility-Centered Discipline program that is being implemented at Pierz Healy High School can also help parents identify their destination and recognize when they are getting off course. The RCD concepts provide tools to help parents put a balanced parenting style – not too permissive and not too authoritarian – into action. Mr. Thompson will define the common exits parents allow their children and teens to take off the road to responsibility. This session will help parents recognize how they may be making it easy for children and teens to escape solving their own problems and, therefore, losing the opportunity to grow in independence. When parents and children stay together on the road to responsibility, the children and teens are required to think critically. With emotional support from their parents, they will—maybe for the first time—tap into their own creativity to solve their problems. By the time they launch into full independence, they will have an internal resource that has been practiced many times. Responsibility-Centered Discipline uses a “Give ‘em Five” guided conversation to train educators and parents to incorporate five important themes into their corrective conversations.
The five themes are:
» Support – Use supportive statements that connect to your relationship with the child or teen to identify a strength that she possesses.
» Expectation – Let the child or teen know the expectation you have for him.
» Breakdown – Communicate where you see the expectation breaking down or failing to be met.
» Benefit – Tell the child or teen how meeting the expectation benefits her.
» Closure – Determine whether the situation has been resolved or whether the conversation is at a place where you can feel comfortable moving on.
On this adventurous road of parenting there are three different styles that parents tend to use:
» PERMISSIVE PARENTS are strong in warmth and acceptance, but make few demands. They just want their children to be happy. They are strong in emotional support, but may be uncomfortable holding the line when children and teens push back against the limits. For these parents, leadership may be weak, and expectations may be low.
» Rules and control are high priorities for AUTHORITARIAN PARENTS. Warmth and acceptance are contingent on performance. These parents are strong on issues of consistency and clear expectations, but often try to exercise control by utilizing strong, negative emotions. Their children may not feel supported in coming up with their own solutions. The result can be high levels of tension in the family and low levels of connection and shared joy.
» AUTHORITATIVE PARENTS can blend together warmth and acceptance, while still challenging their children and teens to grow in maturity. These parents do not veer off the road to either side—permissive or authoritarian. They’re balanced, as they provide genuine warmth and clear, consistent expectations.
For questions please contact Tony Andres (320) 468-6458 Ext. 1205 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dropping off high school students in the morningPosted by Pierz Schools on 9/28/2022Attention parents dropping students off at the high school in the mornings:Did you know? Students are to be dropped off near Door 2—not Door 3 where the buses are dropping off. Dropping off at Door 2 (main high school entrance) allows you to be out of the line of buses (safer) and allows buses the ability to go around the cars dropping students off (more efficient).Students still need to go in Door 3 (yes, they have to walk a little!) not entering Door 2 as those doors are secured during the day and require guests to “buzz in”. Door 3 opens at 7:45.Students can still also get dropped off behind school at Door 7– no problem! Door 7 opens at 7:30.And while we have your attention, please pick up students in the MAC parking lot only (Door 22) after school. This keeps all the buses and vehicles separate, resulting in greater safety and efficiency.Whew!Tell a friend!
Industrial Technology gets a makeoverPosted by Heidi Thielen on 9/15/2022 7:00:00 AM
The industrial technology improvement project at the high school is fully underway. The remodel of existing structures and addition of space will bring industry-standard equipment, facilities, and storage areas to our welding, woodshop, and agricultural programs. It will also add space for a new special education classroom and a technology classroom. Read on for the latest update on this exciting project:
- Removal of internal storage will create a larger classroom. An addition on the north side will allow for material storage and the compressor.
- New dust vacuum and duct work reconfiguration as well as new HVAC.
- Allows for capacity to add new equipment over time.
- Addition on north side and to the east will create additional material storage and space for plasma cutter and new venting system.
- Larger classroom with larger windows, new sinks and counters for the variety of cement, plumbing, greenhouse, electrical, and ag classes taught.
- New welding stations.
- Overhead door into shop.
Larger classroom with larger windows, new sinks and counters for the variety of cement, plumbing, greenhouse, electrical, and ag classes taught.
- Rooftop HVAC for heating, A/C, and fresh air in all spaces.
- A hallway for access to door 8 will run along the FACS room and will house three new offices for staff.
- The loading dock will move and a new dust vacuum serving the wood shop will be on the north side of the wood shop.
- New girl's bathroom and lockers will be added.
- A transformer and switchboard will provide an additional 2000 AMPs.
A room between the welding and wood shop will serve as space for instruction and house technical equipment such as 3D printers, laser engraver and computer design stations.
Special Education Classroom:
A new DCD/ASD classroom will be a building/structural addition and will have its own restroom and sensory room.
Pierz Schools Updated WebsitePosted by Heidi Thielen on 5/18/2022
Pierz Schools has recently updated it's website to not only improve the experience for site users, but to stay ADA compliant on its platform. Working with the web content management company Blackboard, the new site will also allow all web pages to be easily translated. The enhanced site provides easy access to district communications, staff and student resources, as well as easy access to activities, online payments, and timely information.
Like anything new, it may take time to navigate the new format. We appreciate your patience as we continue to update the new site and close out the old one. Please note: the old site will no longer be updated as of June 1 and will officially sunset on June 30. At that time, the new site will roll over to www.pierzschools.org, so all bookmarks should automatically forward to the new site.