October 8, 2021 - Issue #78
Supporting the whole student at Pierz Schools
Today, students are under the pressures of school, work, home-life, social media, peers, and countless other facets of their daily lives. Mental health is essential to the overall well-being of our staff, students, and families. Pierz Schools is very fortunate to have dedicated mental health support staff throughout the district. Our support staff team includes Michelle Ferguson (Licensed School Social Worker, grades PK-4), Scott Herold (Licensed School Counselor, grades 5-8), Marilyn Keith (Licensed School Social Worker, grades 7-12), and Samantha Rushmeyer (Licensed School Counselor, grades 9-12). Much of the support they provide to students fall in the areas of social/emotional, academic, and career/college support. Our licensed school social workers and licensed school counselors are seen as strong and safe links between home, school, and the community. Together, they facilitate many early intervention activities with students, including individual & group support, family support, classroom social skills lessons, future planning, the fourth-grade Kindness Retreat, Peer Helping, suicide prevention, and crisis response. Their 90 years of collective experience working with children and adolescents has given them an understanding of the complex needs of students.

Pierz Schools is a strong proponent of the belief that the more support we can wrap around students, the more successful they will feel in their lives. Along with our social workers and school counselors, we are also partnered with two professional, school-based mental health providers, Greater Minnesota and Northern Pines Mental Health Services. As our district social workers and counselors provide early intervention support, we are able to identify students who would benefit from additional mental health support. We collaborate with our school-based services in making a referral and getting these students the support they need as soon as possible.  

On site, mental health therapist Kayla Carter provides services through Greater Minnesota. Northern Pines provides two mental health therapists and practitioners on-site as well: Monique Quistorff and Stephanie Silgjord. We are fortunate to have these support people in our buildings, as they are able to provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plans that will address significant mental health needs.  

We can’t help if we don’t know what’s happening. We can observe students in need and reach out, but we can't see it all. Staff, administration, or even peers can also refer those in need. We also strongly encourage parents and families to reach out to us when support is needed. Parent referrals are a great way to allow us to support students, and we welcome parents and families to reach out to us to let us know of a struggling child or situation. Follow the linked names in this article for contact information of our mental health staff.

We are so fortunate to be able to provide extensive mental health services at Pierz Schools: yet another reason to be Pioneer Proud! —Scott Herold, M.S., School Counselor (5-8)
Happenings at Healy
Transforming the courtyard
Taking full advantage of this beautiful weather week, Mrs. Tax's landscaping classes are getting the Healy courtyard spiffed up for a spooky makeover. They've updated the centerpiece with new mulch and fall foliage including mums and pampas grass. Next step: cleaning out the moss that's growing on pavers. Grand finale: the spooky additions they'll be adding in time for Halloween. Stay tuned...
Healy classes: creating and collaborating
Learning the skills to create a strong 90-degree weld in Mr. Gruber's Welding I class.
Mr. Enger's 3D Art classes are making masks. Eddie went above and beyond with his Darth Vader rendition.
It was breakfast all-day for Mrs. Strohmeier's students: chocolate chip pancakes and smiles from scratch.
Once again, through a partnership rental program through Sourcewell, Pierz students are fortunate to use a laser engraver to create troves of treasures. Here, after getting trained on the machine, students from both 2D Art and Woods classes will use the engraver to etch their designs on surfaces of various materials.
Happenings at Pioneer Elementary
Johnny Appleseed Day for K
For kindergarten students and teachers at Pioneer Elementary, Johnny Appleseed Day is an annual highlight. Students spend the day learning about the legend of Johnny Appleseed, making and eating applesauce, and integrating the fun into their curriculum: counting seeds, reading books about apples, reviewing colors, shapes, and even learning about steps in a recipe. And then, of course, 'digesting' all this knowledge with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar at snack time.
Coding with colors
Ms. Jenny Dalsted's computer classes are using Ozobots to demonstrate their coding knowledge. Leading up to this, they have been learning about computer coding and practicing their coding skills in the computer lab. Today they are coding with Ozobots which recognize color to determine direction, speed, and moves. Through trial and error, troubleshooting, and creating the right coding patterns, students are creating projects like maps, the Olympic rings, and even their plotting out their hunting grounds.
Looking Ahead
  • October 8: No School - Teacher Workshop
  • October 11-15: Pioneer Elementary Book Fair - IN PERSON!
  • October 13: High School Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • October 18 & 19: Elementary Parent-Teacher Conferences (Gr. K-6)
  • October 21 & 22: No School – Professional Days (MEA Break)
  • October 25: Band Concert
  • November 1: Choir Concert
  • November 11: Veterans Day Program--9:30am @ MAC
Community Education
Basics of Essential Oils
October 12, 2021, from 5-6pm in the Pierz High School FACS room.
Come dive into everything oils, as we go through some easy and affordable tips that anyone can experience. Learn natural solutions that you can safely use at home with your kids, pets, and family! Oils, prizes, plant-based cleaner, recipes, PLUS everyone will leave with their own personal roll on. Fee is $19
Pierz Public Schools #484
District Office: 320.468.6458
112 Kamnic Street, Pierz, MN 56364