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Wow! It seems like just yesterday when I was composing my first message for the Morris Sun Tribune and here we are in the final stretch. This will be my last update for the 2012-2013 school year, and I want to sincerely thank all of you for the warm welcome and support. Believe it or not, we are deep into planning for 2013-2014 and I will share much of that information in August.

It is anticipated that on July 1, 2013, Minnesota will have a new school district. District 769 (Morris Area) and District 611 (Cyrus) will no longer exist in their current state. On July 1, the districts will officially combine to form Morris Area School District (new number yet to be assigned).

While many people may not notice, it will bring some changes. First of all we are happy to welcome five members of the former Cyrus district – Kim Erdahl, Peggy Greenwaldt, Carol Hanson, Sue Helberg and Michelle Just – into our school. We are excited to combine the strengths of all our teachers as we continue our mission to be the finest school district in west central Minnesota.

Another change you will see next year is a relocation of several PreK-6 classrooms. The community of Morris is fortunate to have a beautiful PreK-12 campus with sufficient space for our growing student population. To make the most efficient use of space we will be relocating several classrooms. A notable change will see the sixth grade housed in a pod area (rooms 36-39) located near the middle of our PreK-12 campus. You will also notice the vast majority of K-5 classrooms being reshuffled in order to return to the pod concept – all of one grade level in the same area. The end result will be a school district making effective use of space that allows all students to learn at a high level.  

Finally, we say goodbye to several staff members. Retiring or leaving our PreK-6 family includes Suzanne Smith, Joann Thompson, Mary Huebner, Jill Beuckens, Marilyn Beyer, Jim Kennedy, and Community Education Director Cindy Perkins.

As always, if you have any questions or would just like to visit, please stop in; this is your school!

1. Keep in mind the last day of school for students will be Wednesday, June 5.  The day will conclude with an awards program in our concert hall starting at 2 p.m. The year-end MOSAIC celebration will be Friday, May 24, starting at 2 p.m.

2. Congratulations to the Morris Area Elementary School fifth grade Math Masters team that placed 12th of 38 teams in a competition held April 26 in Alexandria. Team members include Maddie Carrington, Sara Hoffman, Bradley Rohloff, Noah Stewart and Jacob Ulrich. Bradley and Maddie also placed in the top fifteen (out of 179) as part of the individual competition.  Nancy Huot coaches the fifth and sixth grade teams.

3. We are taking registrations for fall 2013 kindergarten students. Please contact the office if you have a child eligible for kindergarten. Also – please note that school will start for grades 1-12 on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and for kindergarten students on Thursday, Sept. 5.

4. Morris Area has been awarded 3.5 Minnesota Reading Corps members (two K-3 and 1.5 PreK) for the 2013-2014 school year. We are fortunate that we have been able to fill these positions in the past and want to continue to be able to provide this unique opportunity for children in the upcoming year as well. If you are interested in applying please check my website for further information or simply go to www.MinnesotaReadingCorps.org.

5. A message from the Morris Area Elementary School Family School Partnership (FSP):

Our mission is to enhance our children’s learning and development by being a proactive resource in promoting and strengthening the connection between Morris Area Elementary School, families, and the community.

Our objectives include improving communication with parents, improving and building upon relationships with teachers, and maintaing our presence in the community.

Accomplishments this year include a Back-to-School picnic for families in the community; an information session for Olweus, the district’s anti-bullying campaign; a question and answer session with school board candidates; an open house with Jeanine Bowman on the school lunch program; and teacher appreciation treats throughout the year.

Family School Partnership is open to all families within the district and invites your comments and feedback. If you would like more information or wish to be added to our parent email list for updates, please contact Esther Jordan (esther.jordan63@gmail.com), Bridget Backman (ericb@fedtel.net), Danielle Heil (montanaheils@hotmail.com) or Naomi Fynboh (dahlenfynboh@gmail.com).

6. Continue to check the school web site for pertinent information. Among other things, you can view individual teacher web pages (all teachers have their own page) and see the latest Student Authors of the Month. [First go to the district web site and click on ELEMENTARY. From there you can choose FACULTY for teacher web pages or PRINCIPAL for all of the rest.]

7. Reminder from the bus garage: Please let Deann Recker know of any address changes over the summer: (320) 589-3932, drecker@morris.k12.mn.us

8. Supply lists for the 2013-14 school year will be posted on the elementary section of the school district’s website (www.morris.k12.mn.us). A copy of the supply list will also be sent home with your child’s report card on the last day of school.

7. If possible, we would appreciate your help with keeping your family information up to date in the Parent Portal and Instant Alert.  If your family’s address or phone numbers have changed and need to be updated, please go to the school's website (www.morris.k12.mn.us) to make corrections. Once you're on the school's website, click on the Parent Portal link on the right.  Enter your username, which is the parent's last name and your password.  On the left side click on Parent Information and make the necessary changes. At this point on the Parent Portal site you may also check your child's grades and attendance.

Also, we would like you to keep your information (phone numbers and e-mails) current on Instant Alert. Instant Alert is used to inform parents about school closings, early dismissals, and other pertinent information from school. To update your family information on Instant Alert, go to the school's website, click on the Instant Alert tab on the right side and login.

If you have any questions or don't have Internet access and need updates made, please contact Liz at 320-585-2001. Thank you. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping your family information current on both the Parent Portal and Instant Alert.

8. The Memory Books have arrived. We have ordered extras (if you didn’t pre-order) so if you would like to purchase a Memory Book they will be available in the elementary office. The cost will be $13.

9. The Morris Area Public School Foundation would like to express a sincere thank you to all of our donors this past year. We truly feel that Morris area is exceptional due to the staff, students, community and your continued support! Feel free to visit the school's website for more information, http://www.morris.k12.mn. us/. Click on the "foundation" link. Feel free to contact the Advisory Board with any questions or comments: Ali Anderson, Amy Ekren, Mary Erholtz, Brad Fehr, Dick Felstul, Danielle Heil, Renee Konz, Paul LeTendre or Lori Moser.

Dates To Remember

May 13-23: NWEA Spring testing, gr. 1-6

May 20: Fitness Fun Day

May 24: MOSAIC Celebration, 2 p.m., Concert Hall

June 5: Awards Day, 2 p.m., Concert Hall

June 5: Last Student Day

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