November 11, 2020 | Volume 1 • Issue 12
School Board Approves Updates to Safe Learning Plan
The School Board for St. Louis Park Public Schools voted to make changes to the District’s Safe Learning Plan at its Monday, November 9 meeting. The changes include:

  • Postpone implementation of Distance Learning Academy and full-day hybrid learning model for students in grades K-5 that was scheduled to start on November 16.
  • November 16 Middle School and High School students move to distance learning.
  • November 23 Early Learning and Elementary School students move to distance learning.
  • School Board to re-evaluate Safe Learning Plan at the January 11, 2021 meeting.

The Board also voted to authorize Superintendent Osei to transition students to distance learning at an earlier date without school board action, if necessary.

All sites E-12 will remain in their current learning models and capacities until transitioning to distance learning. This means that the Middle School will continue with its 50% capacity hybrid model plan and the High School will continue with its 25% capacity hybrid model plan through November 13. Elementary schools will continue operating under the hybrid model that sees students attend school half days, two days a week through November 20. 

Childcare for Critical Workers will continue at school sites during distance learning.

“As we move to a more restrictive educational delivery model, I recognize the impact that this will have on our students, families and staff,” Superintendent Astein Osei said. “I know that many of our students, families and staff were looking forward to continuing in the hybrid learning model.”

“We’re living in an unprecedented global pandemic and we have to keep our students, staff and families safe,” Board Member Karen Waters said. “It’s frustrating for all of us...but we planned for this to happen and can dial-back to the distance learning model and do it well.”

Board Chair Mary Tomback shared that anyone who wishes to keep their students home from school between now and the transition to distance learning due to health concerns should feel comfortable doing so and the school district will accommodate those requests. Families wishing to keep their student(s) home during this time should call their school attendance line and state that their child will be home from school as a preventative quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“We are truly doing the best we can to balance everybody’s interest and keep everybody safe,” Chair Tomback said. “We continue to ask for your patience and understanding.”

Any stakeholders interested in watching the entire November 9 School Board meeting can do so by clicking here. The Board begins discussing the Safe Learning Plan at approximately the 1 hour and 11 minute mark of the video. You can also download a PDF of Superintendent Osei's Safe Learning Plan Update presentation. 
Distance Learning Begins Monday for High School
High School Principals, Teachers, and Staff are working hard to prepare for the transition to distance learning learning next week. Please review the following information to ensure a smooth transition. The 6425 News newsletter will include additional information for high school students and families this Friday, November 13.

Students must check into class every hour, every day. Even for asynchronous classes, students should be sure to check in for 5-10 minutes for attendance and class update purposes. A schedule will be included in this week's 6425 News. On Wednesdays, Park Connections attendance is especially important as this is the only hour attendance is taken on that day.

Lunch Schedule
Starting on Monday November 16, all students have lunch after Park Connections from 12:15-12:45 p.m. Fifth hour will begin at 12:50 p.m. There is no “first,” “second,” or “third,” lunch during distance learning. As you know, there was a third split-lunch schedule during the hybrid learning model.

The Oriole Study Nest: Students’ Home Away from Home
Students can sign up to come into school Monday through Friday. Whether it’s for a change of location, improved internet, or one-on-one help, students just need to confirm with a staff member about the time they’re coming in so that we can continue to keep track of who is in the building for safety purposes. Transportation is available and more detailed information will be shared soon. 

Students can also sign up for office hours, set up a meeting time, or check teachers’ availability by using the Student Support App. If you follow this link, students can sign up directly for a help session with teachers! There are also opportunities to work with teachers in-person through small groups. 

Other supports are available as well. Follow this link to see the many options High School Staff have made available for students to get the help, encouragement and support they wish to have in order to be successful!
Middle School Students Transition to Distance Learning Monday
Middle School Principals, Teachers and Staff are working hard to prepare for the transition to distance learning next week. Students will begin distance learning by attending every class, every hour as they have been during the hybrid learning model. All Middle School students, teachers, and staff will also have the same 4th hour, lunch, and advisory period (4th hour class from 11:34 a.m.-12:28 p.m., Lunch from 12:28-12:58 p.m., and Advisory from 12:58-1:28 p.m.).

The Middle School Guiding Coalition (composed of teacher leaders) is currently planning to gather feedback from students, parents/guardians, and teachers and staff in a short survey about the learning experience so far this school year, before making any long-term changes to the distance learning schedule.

The work continues to prepare for the distance learning transition on Monday at the Middle School. Additional information will be shared with students and families on Friday, November 13 via the Oriole Times.
Updated COVID-19 Dashboard
The COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated every Wednesday and can be found on the District's COVID-19 News & Updates page at Please note that on the website, the District will post the four most recent weeks of data so that stakeholders can see trends.
School Board Listening Session Scheduled for November 16
All stakeholders are invited to attend St. Louis Park School Board Listening Sessions to ask questions and have a conversation with school board members. Up to three school board members will attend to listen to stakeholders. It is not an official meeting and no official action will be taken. Please be aware that the school board members will end the listening session 30 minutes after the posted start time if there are no stakeholders in attendance.

The School Board recently scheduled the following Listening Sessions:

  • November 16, 2020 | 6:30 p.m. | Zoom Link | Meeting ID: 924 4653 8467 | Passcode: 802979
  • February 16, 2021 | 6:30 p.m. | Location TBD
  • April 20, 2021 | 6:30 p.m. | Location TBD
Listening Sessions with Superintendent Osei
As a part of the process to hear stakeholder perspectives, Superintendent Osei will be hosting Listening Sessions over the course of this school year for students, parents/guardians, and staff to better understand the impact of the implementation of the District's educational delivery models. 

Upcoming Listening Sessions:
November 17 | 5:00-6:00 p.m. | Parents/Guardians - English | Zoom Link | Meeting ID: 934 2061 5183 | Passcode: 520346
November 17 | 6:00-7:00 p.m. | Parents/Guardians - Spanish | Zoom Link | Meeting ID: 967 9287 9471 | Passcode: 029610
School Board Moves Future Meetings to Virtual Format
The School Board for St. Louis Park Public Schools is moving future meetings to a virtual format until further notice. Information on how stakeholders can watch future meetings will be posted on the District website (, the School Board page ( and on the District's social media channels prior to each meeting.
Free Meals Program Information
As the District begins to transition back to the distance learning model, free meals will continue to be available to students and families. The District will continue to utilize the six school sites as grab-and-go pickup locations on Mondays and Wednesdays between 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Please note that Wednesday, November 18 will be the last day that the Middle School will serve as a free meals distribution site due to the fact that the school kitchen is under construction. The High School and four elementary schools will continue to serve as distribution sites.

Elementary students who continue to attend school in the hybrid model the week of Nov. 16-20, will continue to have access to free breakfast and lunch meals on their in-person learning days. Anyone with questions about the District's free meals program can call the School Nutrition Department at 952-928-6146.
Central Clinic Open Virtually Due to Staffing Challenges
Due to staffing challenges caused by COVID-19, Central Clinic will only operate virtually today (November 11) and next Wednesday (November 18). Central Clinic Staff Members will post a sign on the clinic door and have the phone number to call to schedule a virtual appointment accessible to anyone who visits the clinic. Central Community Clinic is a free, walk-in clinic for children from birth through high school who live or go to school to public or private schools in St. Louis Park or Hopkins. It is located in Central Community Center.
Echo Receives Several State and National Honors
Echo, the student-led newspaper and website at St. Louis Park High School won the following awards at the Minnesota High School Press Association's (MHSPA) Virtual Fall Convention.

Convention Best of Show: First place, Online News Site 

MHSPA individual awards: 
Broadcast News Story: First Place, George Floyd memorial organized in St. Louis Park, Marta Hill, Maggie Klaers

Broadcast Feature Story: Second Place, Winter One Act, Maggie Klaers

Newspaper/Newsmagazine Page/Spread Design: Third place, Election design, Maggie Klaers
Editorial Cartoon: Second Place, Hennepin County should vote to welcome refugees, Maggie Klaers   
Editorial Cartoon: Fourth Place, Pass-no credit systems value unclear, Maggie Klaers

Newspaper/Newsmagazine Editorial/Opinion Story: First Place, Why the press does what it does, Marta Hill

Newspaper/Newsmagazine News Story: Second Place, I can’t breathe: protesters unite against police violence, Marta Hill, Talia Lissauer
Newsmagazine Sports Story: Second Place, Cutting through the complaints: is the sports budget fair?, Kaia Myers, Grace Schultz

Online Multimedia Story Package: First Place, George Floyd memorial organized, Marta Hill, Maggie Klaers, Talia Lissauer, Emily Ziessman


News Photo: First Place, George Floyd memorial, Emily Ziessman

Feature Photo: Second Place, Senior ladies homecoming photo, Anna Benishek

Photo Illustration: Fourth Place, Bike photo illustration, Jane Pupeza

Social Media Promotion: Fourth Place, Echo/Journalism promo video, Ryan Barnett, Maddie Schutte

Additionally, the Journalism Educators of Minnesota awarded Echo with "Gold" distinctions in both the News Websites and Newspapers and Newsmagazines categories.

New York Times photojournalism finalist

Out of more than 1,000 submissions from students across the world to the annual School of The New York Times photojournalism challenge, senior Talia Lissauer was chosen as one of 10 finalists. The contest aimed to document students' time in quarantine. James Estrin, a Pulitzer Prize winning, senior staff photographer, selected the 10 finalists and two winners. The two winners were featured in the nationwide print edition of The New York Times on November 5. 
Five Seniors Sign Division I or II Letters of Intent
Five St. Louis Park High School seniors signed Letters of Intent with Division I or II institutions on Wednesday, November 11:

  • Raegan Alexander | Women's Basketball | Minnesota State University-Moorhead
  • Erin Brousseau | Women's Hockey | Syracuse University
  • Kendall Coley | Women's Basketball | University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Hannah Howell | Women's Volleyball | North Carolina A&T State University
  • Hayden Zheng | Men's Swimming & Diving | Stanford University

Congratulations to these student-athletes as well as many of our other student-athletes who will choose to continue their athletic careers at Division III institutions next year.