2020-21

The news stories located in this archive represent accurate information at the time they were published. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing planning, some items may no longer be relevant or accurate.

Review School Bus Information
03/04/2021
It’s important to double-check your child’s school bus information starting on March 11 as it may have changed for the third trimester. If you have any questions about bus routes, please contact the transportation department.
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SoWashCo Parent ADHD Education Event on March 17
03/04/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) will be hosting ADHD Clearing the Fog. Treatment Options for Your Child, a free virtual parent education event from 6:30-7:45 p.m. on March 17 as a part of the parent education series on ADHD provided by a PrarieCare Child and Family Fund grant.
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Grades 6-12 Scheduled to Return to the In-person Learning Model on March 18
02/25/2021
Based on new guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), we are happy to share that students in grades 6-12 currently in the hybrid learning model, will return to in-person learning beginning Thursday, March 18. Students who are in the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) for trimester three will remain in VLA.
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Practicing Patience During COVID-19
02/25/2021
As we approach a full year of the pandemic, there is a range of emotions that students, staff and families are feeling. I want to acknowledge that families have made many sacrifices to balance work and finances along with supporting their child’s education at home. Finding a balance in life also applies to our teachers, nutrition services workers, bus drivers, custodians and the entire staff who have been keeping our school district running.
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East Ridge High School Student Selected as 2021 ExCEL Award Winner
02/25/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is pleased to announce that Riya Bharti from East Ridge High School, has been selected as a 2021 Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) ExCEL Award winner. ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, show leadership qualities, volunteer in their communities and are model citizens.
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Three SoWashCo Educators Nominated for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year
02/19/2021
Three South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) teachers are nominated for the 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. The winner will be selected from a field of 75 candidates.
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Share Your Stories: How My Cultural Identity Is Seen, Heard and Honored
02/16/2021
The virtual listening session, scheduled for 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, will be facilitated by Superintendent Julie Nielsen, Assistant Principal Ashley Ruka and Literacy Coordinator Leah Bulous, and will focus on cultural identity. The listening session is open for students in grades 6-12.
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Bus Reminders and a Return to School for Grades 6-8 and 11-1
02/15/2021
Due to the continued cold weather this week, please ensure that your child is dressed warmly when waiting outside for the school bus. Tomorrow, Feb. 16, we will welcome back grades 6-8 and 11-12 to the hybrid learning model.
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New Meal Pick-up Schedule For February and March
02/11/2021
To accommodate students shifting learning models, there is a new meal pick-up calendar for February and March. The new calendar will start the week of Feb. 15.
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Virtual Learning Interest Survey
02/11/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is conducting an informational survey about the interest in a full-time distance learning program next school year.
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2021 Dell Scholarship Semifinalists
02/11/2021
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Park High School is pleased to announce that Lan Mai and Mia Judkins have been selected as semifinalists for the Dell Scholars program. The Dell Scholars program focuses on providing support for students as they pursue a higher education degree.
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Review Secondary (Grades 6-12) School Bus Information
02/11/2021
Secondary school bus transportation will resume with its original routes and bus stops that were in place before distance learning. It’s important to double check your child’s school bus information as it may have changed.
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No Meal Pick-up at Woodbury High School on Thursday, Feb. 4 and Thursday, Feb. 11
02/01/2021
Due to a staffing shortage, there will be no meal pick-up on Thursday, Feb. 4 and Thursday, Feb. 11 at Woodbury High School. Meal pick-up will still be available on Friday, Feb. 5 and Friday, Feb. 12 at Park High School and East Ridge High School.
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REVISED PLAN: All Middle School Students to Return in Hybrid Learning Model on Feb. 16
01/28/2021
All middle school students (6-8) currently in distance learning for trimester two will return to school in a hybrid learning model starting Tuesday, Feb. 16.
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Grades 9-12 Scheduled to Return to the Hybrid Learning Model
01/28/2021
Students in grades 11-12 currently in distance learning for trimester two, will return to school in the hybrid learning model beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16. Grades 9-10 will return to the hybrid learning model on Monday, March 1.
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High School Standouts Nominated for 2021 Triple "A" Award
01/27/2021
East Ridge, Park and Woodbury High Schools announced the selection of the female and male nominees for the Minnesota State High School League’s (MSHSL) Triple “A” Award. The award recognizes high school seniors for academics, arts and athletics. Recipients must have a B or higher grade point average and participate in MSHSL sponsored athletics and fine arts activities.
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Registration Opens for Families Changing Learning Models for Trimester Three
01/25/2021
South Washington County Schools has opened its online registration for families who wish to change learning models for trimester three. The trimester runs from March 16 to the end of the school year. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7.
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School Board Action Update
01/22/2021
During its regularly scheduled business meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21, the School Board approved several items from a three-year budget adjustment plan that included a combination of cuts and enhancements (increases in revenue).
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Daily Schedule Adjustments to Several Middle School Learning Models
01/20/2021
As we prepare for the return of sixth grade students on Tuesday, Feb. 16, we want to share how a typical school day will look for students. In addition, we have made some changes to other middle school daily schedules to accommodate the work of teachers who divide their time between in-person instruction and the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA).
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New Meal Pick-up Calendar For January-March
01/15/2021
To accommodate elementary students transitioning to in-person learning, there is a new schedule for meal pick-up for January, February and March.
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Winter Sport Spectator Guidelines
01/14/2021
As winter athletic competitions begin, families should review the spectator guidelines for their child’s sport. The guidelines are in accordance with COVID-19 policies established by the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota State High School League and the Suburban East Conference (SEC). If spectators do not follow guidelines for their sporting event, they will be asked to leave.
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Share Your Stories Student Voice Listening Session on Jan. 21
01/14/2021
Student voice is a valuable part of our classrooms, schools and community. SoWashCo is seeking input from all secondary students (6-12) in our second Share Your Stories listening session.
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Apply to be a Licensed Substitute Teacher
01/13/2021
Substitute teachers are critical for an in-person learning model. The Professional Educator License and Standards Board (PELSB) offers a short call substitute teaching license that allows a candidate to substitute teach for up to 15 consecutive days per-assignment.
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Community Information Sessions Scheduled for the Budget Adjustment Process
01/08/2021
For school districts, the new year is often met with a new challenge – determining the budget for the next school year. South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is in the middle of a budget adjustment process to create a sustainable budget while prioritizing student learning. Thursday evening, the school board reviewed a list of proposed budget adjustments that will impact elementary, middle and high schools, in addition to district wide programs and staff.
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East Ridge High School Student Selected As Coca-Cola Scholarship Semifinalist
01/08/2021
Congratulations to Allison Benjamin who was selected as a semifinalist in the 2020-2021 Coca-Cola Scholars Program. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards students who display leadership skills, excel academically and show a passion for bettering their community.
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SoWashCo Parent ADHD Education Event on Jan. 27
01/08/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) will be hosting One of Those Kids, a virtual parent education event from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 as a part of the parent education series on ADHD provided by a PrarieCare Child and Family fund grant.
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Review Elementary School Bus Information Beginning Jan. 14
01/08/2021
Elementary school bus transportation will resume with its original routes and bus stops that were in place before distance learning. It is important to double check your child’s school bus information, as it may have changed.
Read More about Review Elementary School Bus Information Beginning Jan. 14
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Six SoWashCo Juniors Nominated for 2021 ExCEL Awards
01/07/2021
Six South Washington County Schools students have been nominated for the Minnesota State High School League’s (MSHSL) ExCEL Awards. ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, show leadership qualities, volunteer in their communities and are model citizens.
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Zoom now Available to SoWashCo Staff and Teachers
01/03/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) teachers and staff will now be able to use Zoom for video conferencing with students.
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In-person Learning for K-2 Begins Jan. 19, Grades 3-5 Two Weeks Later
12/22/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is planning to bring our youngest students back to school for regular in-person learning in January. Elementary students in kindergarten through grade two will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
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School Board Meetings Transition to Traditional Format
12/17/2020
Beginning, Feb. 4, 2021, the South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) School Board will move to a more traditional meeting format with a monthly school board workshop and a monthly school board business meeting.
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Family Technology Phone Line will be Closed for Winter Break
12/17/2020
The family technology support phone line will be closed for live calls beginning at 4 p.m. on Dec. 22 until 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 4 Families will be able to leave a voicemail message. Messages will be addressed in the order they are received when support returns on Jan. 4.
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Park High School Closed for Meal Pick-up on Friday, Dec. 18
12/16/2020
Due to a staffing shortage, the Park High School meal pick-up site will be closed on Friday, Dec. 18. Please see our meal pick-up calendar for alternative locations and times.
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Expanded Meal Pick-up Hours
12/16/2020
https://www.sowashco.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=1217437&pageId=28128585
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SoWashCo Response to the Governor’s Announcement
12/16/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is reviewing the announcement from Gov. Tim Walz today, that prioritizes the return to school for elementary students in January. School districts do not receive advance notice of these announcements and will spend the next few days reviewing the guidance. Our goal is to provide an update for all grades before, or perhaps during, winter break.
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Student Voice Listening Session: Hybrid and Distance Learning
12/03/2020
The first virtual listening session, scheduled for 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, will be facilitated by Superintendent Julie Nielsen and will focus on hybrid and distance learning. We hope to hear what is working well for students and what could be changed and improved.
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New Meal Pick-up Calendar For December and January
12/03/2020
To accommodate families in the distance learning model, there is a new schedule for meal pick-up in December and January. All SoWashCo families can pick-up ten meals (five meals each for breakfast and lunch) for their child at any of the sites listed on the calendar. Please only visit one site each week.
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Let’s Talk About Mental Health Student Video
12/03/2020
Students in South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) want to normalize talking about mental health and getting support. These young advocates are working to start conversations and end the stigma of asking for help. To get this message to peers, students created a video called "Let's Talk" that will be shared and discussed in classrooms.
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Celebrate Hmong New Year on Friday, Dec. 11
12/02/2020
Celebrate the Hmong New Year virtually beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11. All are welcome to attend through WebEx which will be lead by the Hmong High School Student Leaders.
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A Time for Reflection as We Shift to Distance Learning
11/23/2020
Superintendent Julie Nielsen shares a message about prioritizing social-emotional health as we transition into distance learning.
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Elementary (K-5) Distance Learning Schedule Begins Nov. 30
11/23/2020
Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, all elementary students in grades K-5 in the hybrid learning model will shift to distance learning. Elementary students in the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) will remain in their class with their current teacher.
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SoWashCo Pauses All In-person Sports and Activities
11/19/2020
SoWashCo is pausing all in-person sports and activities in accordance with Gov. Tim Walz new executive order beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 through Friday, Dec. 18.
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UPDATE: Elementary Grades (PreK-5) Must Now Shift to Distance Learning Nov. 30
11/17/2020
Due to a surge in staff absences in key areas like transportation, nutrition services and teaching, all elementary schools must shift to distance learning beginning Nov. 30.
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Distance Learning for Grades 6-12 Set for Nov. 16, Elementary Families Urged to Prepare
11/06/2020
After receiving input and reviewing the data, Superintendent Julie Nielsen will continue with the plan to shift grades 6-12 to distance learning on Nov. 16. Due to the increased community spread of COVID-19 and staffing shortages, the team is urging elementary families and staff to prepare for the potential of moving to distance learning.
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Distance Learning Schedules for all 6-12 Grade Students Begin Nov. 16
11/03/2020
Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, all secondary students in grades 6-12 in the current hybrid learning model and in the Virtual Learning Academy will shift to distance learning under one schedule.
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Grades 6-12 to Shift to Distance Learning Nov. 16, Elementary Schools Remain in Hybrid
10/30/2020
Washington County, like many areas of the state, is seeing a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases. The SoWashCo Incident Command Team met on Friday, Oct. 30 to review the latest data related to COVID-19 in our community.
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Cottage Grove Elementary Opens Inclusive Playground
10/22/2020
This fall, students at Cottage Grove Elementary School (CGES) returned to a new inclusive and accessible playground. It was made possible after Ainsley K., a student at CGES, wrote a letter to Principal Theresa Blume, asking to make the playground accessible for her friend who uses a wheelchair.
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SoWashCo Receives Grant for a Parent Education Series on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
10/22/2020
PrairieCare Child and Family Fund recently awarded $18,990 to South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) to expand mental health support in our schools. The project called Understanding ADHD: Stop the Stigma – Start the Support will provide K-5 parent education and support, and teacher training this school year. The first parent virtual session is coming up in November.
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A Message About Safely Keeping our Schools Open
10/22/2020
Washington County is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. Even so, the number of positive cases in our schools and programs continue to be low. Staff, students and families play an important role in helping our schools stay open as long and as safely as possible.
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SoWashCo CARES Winter Clothing Drive
10/09/2020
To help keep children warm this winter, South Washington County Schools Community Education is partnering with SoWashCo CARES (Community Action Reaching Every Student) to help match students in need with new winter coats, snow pants, boots, hats and gloves.
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2020-21 Calendar Updates
10/09/2020
During the Oct. 8 school board meeting, members approved adjustments to the 2020-21 school and district calendar. The changes will provide more consistency for instructional days for all grade levels.
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New Meal Pick-up Locations and Times Added
10/08/2020
South Washington County Schools has added new meal pick-up locations and times for each learning model.
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Registration to Change Learning Models Begins Next Week
10/08/2020
South Washington County Schools will open registration from Oct. 12-25 for families who wish to change learning models for trimester two.
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Grey Cloud Elementary Receives National Recognition
10/08/2020
Grey Cloud Elementary School is being recognized nationally as a 2020 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S Department of Education.
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Minnesota State High School League Approves Winter Sports, Finalizes Fall Postseason
10/02/2020
On Thursday, Oct. 1, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Board of Directors made several decisions regarding fall sports postseason and the regular season for winter sports.
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SoWashCo Hybrid Learning Model Extended Through Trimester One
10/02/2020
The South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) Incident Command Team met on Friday, Oct. 2 to review the latest data related to COVID-19 in our community. After receiving input and reviewing the data, the superintendent determined that SoWashCo will continue in the hybrid learning model through trimester one.
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SoWashCo to Continue in Hybrid Learning Model
09/25/2020
The South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) Incident Command Team met on Friday, Sept. 25 to review the latest data related to COVID-19 in our community. The purpose of the team is to advise the superintendent and provide input related to the considerations in making adjustments to the learning model. After receiving input and reviewing the data, the superintendent determined that the school district will continue in the hybrid learning model.
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2020-21 Calendar Updates
09/24/2020
There have been some recent changes and clarifications to the SoWashCo calendars. Updated calendars are always available at sowashco.org/calendar.
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Excused Absences Related to COVID-19
09/24/2020
School attendance, whether in person or virtually, has a high impact on a student’s academic success. If a student is not sick, they are generally expected to continue their schoolwork remotely. We also recognize that some absences are unavoidable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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MSHSL Moves Football and Volleyball Back to Fall
09/22/2020
On Monday, Sept. 21, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Board of Directors voted to reconsider its previous decision regarding postponing some fall activities. Volleyball and football will now return to play this fall.
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SoWashCo Students Advance as Semifinalists for 2021 National Merit Scholarship
09/18/2020
Fourteen students from South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) are advancing as semifinalists for the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
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South Washington County Schools to Continue in Hybrid Learning Model
09/12/2020
The South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) Incident Command Team met for the first time on Friday, Sept. 11 to review the latest data for keeping schools open to students. The team determined that all schools will continue in the hybrid learning model for at least the next two weeks.
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Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) at Woodbury and Park High Schools Join Together
09/10/2020
The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) programs at Woodbury and Park High Schools are joining to form one blended program.
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Important College Entrance Testing Dates for High School Students
09/10/2020
New dates have been established for the fall PreACT test and the ACT test that was originally postponed in the spring. Only students taking the tests will attend school in person on those days.
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All Students to Receive Breakfast and Lunch at No Cost
09/10/2020
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) to provide free breakfast and lunch for enrolled students starting on Monday, Sept. 14.
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Virtual Family Technology Support Sessions
09/03/2020
Join SoWashCo from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9 or from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10 for a live technology support session. Director of Technology Bob Berkowitz will give a brief introduction before families select a breakout session to learn more about Schoology, Seesaw or video conferencing and general technology support.
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Welcome Back to School Video Message from Superintendent Julie Nielsen
09/03/2020
Superintendent Julie Nielsen welcomes you back to the new school year with a message about change, teamwork and success.
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South Washington County Schools Family Technology Support Phone Line 651-425-HELP (4357) is Now Available
09/03/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) has started a new family technology support phone line at 651-425-HELP (4357). Standard phone line hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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School Meal Pick-up Information is Now Available
09/01/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) families will have the option to pick-up school meals for their enrolled child in the hybrid learning model or Virtual Learning Academy (VLA).
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Kelly Jansen Named New Assistant Superintendent
08/27/2020
Kelly Jansen has been selected as the next Assistant Superintendent of Academic Excellence and Accountability.
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Wayne Felton II Hired as New Achievement and Integration Director
08/23/2020
Wayne Felton II has been selected as the new Director of Achievement and Integration for South Washington County Schools.
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Updated information for Virtual Learning Academy Families
08/19/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) Students will start the school year on Tuesday, Sept. 8 for all grade levels. Students will learn through online learning tools during Trimester 1.
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Complete Transportation Form to Identify Bus Services You No Longer Need
08/17/2020
The South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) transportation office is working to create more efficient bus routes as we begin the 2020-2021 school year in the hybrid learning model.
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South Washington County Schools Shares New Fall Hybrid Model Schedule Information
08/14/2020
Learn more information about the fall hybrid model, the first day of school, transition days and a general hybrid schedule.
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Apply for Child Care for the 2020-21 School Year
08/14/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) will offer child care during the 2020-21 school year to families who qualify as a Tier 1 essential worker. Community Education will also offer fee-based Kids Club child care before school, after school and on designated non-school days.
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School Board Chooses Hybrid Learning Model to Start 2020-21 School Year
08/13/2020
During a school board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 13, members voted 6-1 to approve a resolution that starts the school year in a hybrid model for all grade levels. The resolution also gave the superintendent the authority to begin following the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Safe Learning Plan beginning on Sept. 11.
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Julie Nielsen Appointed as the Next Superintendent for South Washington County Schools
08/13/2020
Assistant Superintendent Julie Nielsen has been named as the next superintendent for South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) beginning Sept. 2. She will succeed Dr. Keith Jacobus following his July announcement to retire. Seven members of the board unanimously appointed Mrs. Nielsen to the top leadership position. She is the first female superintendent for South Washington County Schools.
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Pay Fees
South Washington County Schools Launches a New Payment Processing System
08/11/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) has launched a new payment processing system for fees called SmartSchoolK12. This system will be used for processing payments for our school fees (parking, transcripts, clubs, etc.) and competitive activities (soccer, hockey, speech team, etc.).
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Free and Reduced-Priced Meals Application Information
08/10/2020
Families must submit a new application for free and reduced-priced meals each year. The application can be completed online or by submitting a printed form.
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Virtual Learning Academy and School Meal Registration
Registration for Virtual Learning Academy and School Meals
08/05/2020
You will be asked about school meals on distance learning days, and if you want your child to be registered and enrolled in our K-12 Virtual Learning Academy.
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SoWashCo Shares Initial Safe Learning Plan for Fall 2020
08/03/2020
During a special school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 3, South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) presented its safe learning plan for the new school year. Following a review of distance learning and in-person learning, the school board voted to approve the most complicated plan – hybrid learning.
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Fall Planning
State Announces Safe Learning Plan for Schools
07/30/2020
Today, Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) set thresholds for schools to reopen safely. The state’s fall school plan is based on a formula that uses COVID-19 infection rates over 14 days in our county (Washington County) as a deciding factor.
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Hybrid Learning
South Washington County Schools Hybrid Learning Option
07/29/2020
SoWashCo planning teams have spent the summer working on the most complicated scenario – hybrid learning. In hybrid learning, students learn through a combination of distance learning at home and in-person learning at school five days a week with strict social distancing measures in place.
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Fall Focus Groups
SoWashCo Community Invited to give Fall 2020 Planning Feedback through Virtual Focus Groups
07/24/2020
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is conducting virtual focus groups to inform the work of our planning teams for a successful start to the school year.
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Mask
Governor Orders Masks to be Worn in all Schools and District Buildings
07/22/2020
Face coverings will be required for all students (in grades K-12), all staff and anyone present in a SoWashCo building beginning July 25.
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Keith Jacobus
Superintendent Keith Jacobus Announces Retirement
07/16/2020
Dr. Keith Jacobus, Superintendent of South Washington County Schools, submitted his notice of retirement during the July 16 school board meeting. The school board accepted his notice, effective Sept. 2, 2020.
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Anna Braun
Anna Braun Hired as New Director of Special Services
07/15/2020
Please join me in welcoming Anna Braun to the role of Director of Special Services.
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MDE Releases Results of Fall 2020 Family Survey
07/13/2020
The Minnesota Department of Education releases survey results for upcoming school year. Majority of families would like to see students back in school but, public health remains a top concern.
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Three Scenarios Considered for Minnesota Schools This Fall
06/19/2020
The Minnesota Department of Education released guidance for school districts to create plans based on three scenarios for fall 2020. Because we don’t know which scenario the state will choose, it’s important for parents to prepare for all three possibilities.
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A Message from Superintendent Keith Jacobus About the Death of George Floyd
05/29/2020
I am writing to you with overwhelming feelings of sorrow, outrage and dismay following the actions that led to the death of George Floyd. As a school community, we are here for each other and more than ever we need to reach out to our friends and neighbors and show the compassion, empathy and humanity everyone deserves.
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