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March 2017 Newsletter
3/1/2017 10:47 AM

March 2 & 3, 2017 – Spring Conferences

Parents - we are at the mid-term of the third quarter and anticipate a very busy spring at Hastings High School.  Listed below are important topics and dates to remember.

The Values of Hastings High School in Partnership with our Community

  • The finest school in our area.

  • Known regionally for three keys to our school:

  1. strong and varied academic offerings,

  2. strong involvement in fine arts & activities and

  3. strong involvement in athletics.

  • Positive staff-student relationships and school climate develops a safe, trusting and

  • supportive learning environment.

  • Promotion of the value of service to others.

Graduation Rate:  In a recent report by the Minnesota Department of Education, Hastings High School was noted for its very high graduation rate of 95.9%.  Graduation rate is the measure of a school system’s success – this is what we all work for and it reflects well on all of the Hastings schools, parents and community.  All of the Hastings schools continue to have high expectations for students, staff push themselves and are doggedly determined with students, we create an incredibly positive and personalized school environment and we believe that involving students in their school will lead to higher achievement.

It is not a coincidence that our graduation rate has increased since we have developed more honors, College Credit and Advanced Placement classes.  Students are ready for the challenge and build upon their successes.  Likewise, we have reduced the number of lower-level classes and have far less students in essentials or remedial classes.  Teachers have taken advantage of the tools technology provides for student learning alternatives, quicker access to information and more time for interacting with students and how they learn best.  We also believe that our strong tradition of HHS graduates attending college and technical schools after high school – 90% each year – has created the culture and expectation that students explore careers and make a plan beyond high school.

Looking at our conference of schools and neighboring school districts, we are very proud of our graduation rate.  Here are the graduation rates of the schools in our conference and area.

Metro East Conference                             Area Schools

Mahtomedi       96.9%                                 Cannon Falls   98.7%

Hastings      95.9%                                  Randolph        97.8%

Simley              94.3%                                  Woodbury       95.9%

South St. Paul   90.6%                                 Eagan              95.9%

Henry Sibley     87.6%                                 East Ridge   95.5%

Tartan                86.8%                                Park                 95.0%

North St. Paul   79.7%                                 Rosemount      92.2%

State of Minnesota – 82.2%                         Red Wing     91.9%

                                                              Stillwater         90.0%


Students and Staff Members Serving Together:  During the annual Snow Week activities, students and staff members serve the community and raise money to give back to others in Hastings.  The HHS student tug of war raised $600 this year and a donation was made to Hastings Family Service.  In addition, the third annual Kirk Johnson Memorial staff basketball game between the high school and middle school staff was a great event and raised over $2000 for student college scholarships. New this year, the senior class officers ran a “Chuck-A-Puck” event at the girls hockey game raising $220 for senior college scholarships.  Thank you parents for modeling service to your children!

MCA and ACT Testing 2017:  At Hastings High School we take MCA and ACT testing very seriously.  Please read below for more information and make every effort to have your student at school on the days of their tests.  Additionally, please make sure they are well-rested and have a healthy breakfast on the morning of the tests.  As parents you will be sent letters with specific information for the test or tests your child needs to take.

MCA Reading Test:  The MCA Reading test is required for graduation for all sophomores by Minnesota State Law.  Sophomores will take the MCA Reading test the morning or afternoon of Wednesday, April 19 or Thursday, April 20 according to a schedule with their English class in a computer lab.

MCA Science Test:  The MCA Science test is required for graduation for all sophomores by Minnesota State Law.  Sophomores will take the MCA Science test on a morning or afternoon on Tuesday, May 9 or Wednesday, May 10 according to a schedule with their biology class in a computer lab.

MCA Math Test:  The MCA Mathematics test is required for graduation for all juniors by Minnesota State Law.  Juniors will take the MCA Math test on a morning or afternoon on Wednesday, April 26, Thursday, April 27 or Friday, April 28 according to a schedule with their math class in a computer lab.

ACT with Writing Test:  The ACT with Writing test is for all juniors according to Minnesota State Law.  Juniors will take the ACT with Writing test the morning on Wednesday, April 19 in an assigned classroom.  The ACT with Writing for all juniors must be taken on Wednesday, April 19 even if the student has taken an ACT test on their own time.  We really need all juniors to take this ACT test seriously as it gives individual results and is a measure that is used to compare schools.

tip411 – a collaborative Hastings Schools and Hastings Police Project:  The Hastings Police Department sponsors tip411, an internet based tool that enables the public to text message anonymous tips to police, and lets the police respond back creating a two-way anonymous “chat.”  Anyone with a cell phone can send an anonymous tip to the Hastings Police Department by texting the word Hastings and the tip information to 847411 (tip411).  In cooperation with the Hastings Public Schools the tip system is deployed in the schools. Students with any school safety concerns can send an anonymous tip by texting the word Raiders and the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Text message tips will be received by the school resource officer who will work with school administrators to investigate the tip information.

Is it 100% anonymous? Yes, none of the information exchanged over the system is logged so there is no way to track the originator of a text or web tip.  We have put up posters and aired promotional videos to get the word out to the HHS student body.

It is important to note that many HHS students come to staff members and parents with concerns for their friends.  We know that some students want a caring adult to know about their friend, but do not come forward because they want to remain completely anonymous.  This is a way students can share concerns about their friends.

9th Grade Respect Retreat:  On Wednesday, April 5 all ninth grade students will participate in the Respect Retreat held during the day at two locations in our community.  The ninth grade students will work with their Link Crew leaders in small groups to develop leadership and communication skills around the theme of “respect”.  Look for a specific mailing to all ninth grade families in mid-March.  This is a required school-sponsored event for all ninth grade students.

Educational Research:  As staff members look to increase the expectations of students and instill the value of putting forth the best possible effort, we also look at what the research in the field of education states.  We provide opportunities for students to experience what the actual tests and assessments will be like in advance, help them learn how their performance will be “graded” or analyzed, and give them specific information on how they as students can improve.  Teachers and support staff have been working extremely hard to get that valuable feedback in the hands of the students and create new learning opportunities in and out of the classroom to prepare students for success in school.  The following two pieces of research have been critical in our values and efforts to provide students effective formative (foundational) feedback.

  • When students understand the criteria used to score or judge their performance, they have moderate increases in their academic performance – more than just getting the correct answer from their teacher.  (Marzano, 2006)

  • An overwhelming majority of students are convinced that their best learning takes place when they have a chance to submit an early version of their work, get detailed feedback and criticism, and then hand in a final version.  (Wiggins, 2006)

Credits for Grade-Level Distinction:  Please be aware of the following credit requirements that students must earn to be classified by each grade.  Students are not passed along to the next grade level by their age.  HHS awards credit each semester.  With a 7 period day there are 14 credits available each year (no credit is awarded for study hall/aide). If your child does not complete the required credits each year they will be retained in their current grade until those credits are earned.  HHS offers many opportunities for credit recovery.  Please contact your student’s counselor for more information.   Students need 10 credits to be a sophomore, 20 to be considered a junior and 30 to achieve senior status.  Counselors notify families of retentions (in writing) in the fall of each year.

Health Concerns with your Child:  The Health Office is available for immediate medical care of students who become ill or injured during the school day, need medications or treatments, or have other medical needs.  We encourage students to visit the Health Office between classes, only leaving class for emergencies.  If your child has or encounters special restrictions, is in need of support or will be missing a great deal of school due to illness or injury, please communicate first with the HHS Health Office.  The phone number of the Health Office is 651-480-7486.  Staff members and teachers are very willing to help, however take the direction and approval from the Health Office.    

National Honor Society Service Update:  National Honor Society Advisors, Mrs. Zabel and Mrs. Oppold, would like to congratulate the NHS members and student donors who made the 2017 blood drive a great success!  As a school we were able to donate 91 units of blood!   This school year NHS collected over 6,500 pounds of food for Hastings Family Service.  The annual Gillette Children’s walk-a-thon will be held on Saturday May 13.  Last year the HHS chapter of NHS collected $21,000 in donations, making this the biggest event of the year! The annual field trip to Gillette Children’s Hospital (senior members only) is scheduled for April 19.  Induction of new NHS members (juniors) will be April 3rd  at 6:00 pm.  Congratulations and thank you to all the NHS members that have contributed to this success.  Way to go HHS NHS students!!

“Gone Too Soon” – MINNESOTA STATE PATROL VIDEO – Grade 10 Health:  On Monday, March 27 a representative State Trooper from the Minnesota State Patrol East Metro District will be promoting the wearing of seat belts and showing the effects of drunk/impaired drivers in a video called “Gone Too Soon.”  As parents we are all concerned about our children when they are on the roads.  This effort by the State Patrol is to teach the reality of what truly happens in auto accidents involving impaired drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.  This video shows actual crash scene footage and has a tremendous impact on anyone who watches it.

Tragically, our community has lost young people in automobile accidents – we want to do anything we can to help bring the message of safe and responsible driving to our students.  The State Patrol will be showing the video in grade 10 Health classes.  If you believe that this video would be too difficult for your child to view in light of a tragedy that has been close to them or your family, please let us know.  We can provide a different location for your child to be while the class watches the video.  Please let myself or your child’s counselor know at 651-480-7489 if that is the case for your child.  Thank you for your support.

“Turnitin.com”:  What is this??  Your children know.  Teachers at Hastings High School are utilizing Turnitin as an effective online tool for evaluating student learning.  When students submit assignments to Turnitin they are turning work in to a comprehensive cloud-based program that helps students learn by facilitating efficient personalized feedback.   Teachers are committed to using the system to increase the amount of feedback students receive and to improve the quality of the feedback.  Turnitin also checks students' work for potential plagiarism by comparing it against the world's largest comparison database.  Many teachers are using this as a teaching tool so students can avoid unintentional plagiarism and ensure they are keeping their work original.  The system also streamlines peer reviews, enabling increased feedback students receive on their work.  Teachers using the program are huge fans of this opportunity for our students.

Important dates:  Spring break - school will not be in session beginning Monday, March 13 and will resume Monday, March 20.  Have an enjoyable and safe spring break!  The end of the third quarter is Friday, April 7.  Thursday, April 13 is an early release day (excused at 11:17 a.m.) due to district staff development.  There is no school on Good Friday, April 14 and Monday, April 17.

2017 All Night Grad Party:  The All Night Grad Party (ANGP) is a long standing tradition for our graduating High School seniors. It’s a safe environment for our kids to spend the evening after graduation with their friends and have lots of fun!

Have you:  *Purchased a ticket? *Signed up to volunteer? *Started thinking about a senior poster? *Considered donating cash or a prize?

You can do all these things and more on our website – www.hastingsgradparty.com

You won’t want to miss this great event held on graduation night- June 9th from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM. This fun filled night is a gift from HHS parents to our graduating seniors. There will be tons of games, free food, great prizes, temporary tattoos, raffles, fun surprises, and a hilarious hypnotist show at the end of the night. There’s something for everyone!

If you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, now is the time.  The cost is $60 until after spring break, March 20th, when the price increases to $75. Tickets will be $100 at the door. We will be selling tickets at conferences on March 2nd and 3rd. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.hastingsgradparty.com, or at the student office (please make checks out to Hastings All Night Grad Party.) If you find it difficult to pay the ticket price, partial and full ticket assistance is available. Please see Asst. Principal Kris Husaby to fill out a Scholarship Request form. All requests are confidential. No student will be turned away for financial reasons.

This party cannot happen without dozens of volunteers. We need you! Don’t have a senior this year? We need parents of freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors to volunteer! There are many different types of volunteer opportunities including jobs during the school year, the day of graduation, during the party, and cleaning up the morning after the party. We can find the perfect job for you. It’s easy to volunteer online at www.hastingsgradparty.com, or by calling Julie Larson at 651-335-7785 or emailing her at julieaslarson@comcast.net

Senior Posters -  From funny childhood snapshots to family photos, to pictures with treasured friends, the senior poster is a way to showcase your graduate's personality and accomplishments. And they are a tradition at Hastings High School! The posters line the hall during the All Night Grad Party for the graduates (and parent volunteers) to enjoy. Use your imagination to make a poster that is a one of a kind tribute to your graduate. And when the grad party is over...proudly display it at your home during your own grad party!

Check out our website www.hastingsgradparty.com for answers to all of your senior poster questions.

If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other issues, feel free to contact me directly at 480-7474.  Thank you for your continued support!


Mike Johnson, Principal