Current Newsletter

May 2018

Dear Parents - with a busy end of the school-year upon us, please be aware of these important items.

Celebrate Youth Week May 14–18, 2018.  These efforts are brought to you from Hastings High School and the Hastings Police Department, as well as many community volunteers. The purpose of this week is to acknowledge the many wonderful youth in our community and to encourage good choices through Prom, Graduation and the summer months!  Every year there is an emphasis during Celebrate Youth Week on committing to a chemical-free lifestyle and wearing seat belts to save lives.  Throughout the school there will be posters, positive messages and video announcements.  Each year during Celebrate Youth Week, we host the perfect attendance airplane toss from the bridge.  This is a celebration of the outstanding efforts for our students committed to being here every day.  

The HHS Prom is Saturday, May 19, 2018.  Grand March begins at 4:00 p.m. in the gymnasium of HHS.  The doors to get into the Grand March open at 3:00 p.m. and the cost is $1.00 or a canned food item.  All proceeds from the Grand March go to Hastings Family Service.  The dance is from 9:00 p.m. to midnight in the high school commons.  This year’s theme is “Cinderella.”

E-cigarettes and Other Vaping Products.
  In 2017, Minnesota high-school tobacco use spiked to 26%; the first increase in 17 years. Much of this increase was due to e-cigarettes, with high-school e-cigarette use increasing by 50% in the last three years; currently 19% of high school students report use. A specific product called JUUL, which looks like a USB or flash drive, now dominates roughly 50% of the e-cigarette market. These products are easily hidden, emit limited odor, and the aerosol dissipates quickly. The JUUL pods, which are often flavored like candy or fruit, contain the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. As outlined in Minnesota Laws Addressing Tobacco Product Use in Public and Charter Schools (PDF) (click on ), a factsheet from the Public Health Law Center, all tobacco use, including e-cigarette use and vaping, are prohibited by state law in public schools.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale, or vape, aerosolized liquid (e-juice). E-cigarettes, “vapes”, vape or hookah pens, e-pipes, and other vaping products recently surpassed conventional cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among youth so it is critical that public health officials and the general public understand the potential risks of using them.

Among Minnesota high school students, e-cigarette use is now double conventional cigarette use.  Additionally, nearly 6 percent of adults currently use e-cigarettes, compared to less than 2 percent in 2010; and, nearly 13 percent of adults age 18-24 use e-cigarettes. The use of multiple tobacco products – dual use – is common: most adult e-cigarette users also use cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not safe for youth.  Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain. Because the brain is still developing until about age 25, youth and young adult exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning. No amount of nicotine is safe for youth.

Over one in five of Minnesota high school students who has tried e-cigarettes has never tried any conventional tobacco products. Recent evidence suggests that, compared to youth who have never used them, youth who have tried e-cigarettes are twice as likely to start smoking in the future.  Learn more about the Health Risks of Nicotine for Youth.

Here is the link to the MN statute for e-cigs & tobacco:

Senior Privileges.  This year seniors will enjoy Senior Privileges – this neat effort has been developed by a group of students from the senior and junior classes as well as staff members at HHS.  The purpose of the partnership is to recognize seniors in a positive way, foster mutual respect through graduation day, and provide opportunities to thank and honor students, staff, the school and community.  To be honest – in the past, behavior of seniors on their last days was chaotic, unsafe, disruptive and mean-spirited.  For the last four years the Senior Privileges and the end of the school year has been fantastic!  Seniors enjoyed the extra privileges, our school climate was positive and the staff and students felt good about our seniors.  We look forward to another great senior class and the end of their high school year.

It was clear from students that they were appreciative that the change resulted in privileges that no senior class had in the past, that they did not want the poor behavior of a few students to define them as a class, and that if students did behave poorly they should be held accountable – even if that meant not participating in graduation.  Simply put – any student who is disruptive or disrespectful will be sent home for their last days of high school and have their participation in the graduation ceremony jeopardized.  Participation in the graduation ceremony is a privilege, not a right.  Last year we had a few students that lost their Senior Privileges.  As students are naturally excited, we expect all seniors to view school during the spring of their senior year as meaningful, legitimate school days. 

Student Behavior in the Last Weeks of School. 
We recognize and appreciate that many students respect their school and community, and are very appreciative of the education provided for them.  They take the time during the spring to thank those staff and community members who have been important to their education, and want to finish their final days of school at HHS with dignity and respect.  As a staff, we appreciate their efforts and support the many ways they show their thanks.  Unfortunately, there can be a small number of individual students that want to create disruption, show disrespect to our school, other students and community, or “trash” the school.  We can all agree that there is no place for this in our school and community, and we will work to keep our school the positive and respectful place it is.  Thank you for encouraging positive behavior in all students at the end of the school year.

Awards Night.
  The annual Awards Night for academic awards and scholarships will be Monday, May 21 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.  The Jazz Ensemble will perform at 7:00 p.m. for entertainment as families enter the auditorium for the awards presentation.  Award recipients will receive a letter indicating if they are to receive an award, scholarship or both.  Many scholarships will be awarded by presenters from local families and businesses. This is a great evening of honoring students!

Important dates.  Memorial Day - school will not be in session on Monday, May 28.  Seniors: the last day of school is Friday, June 1 as long as there are no “Senior Skip Days” and individual students are not failing classes required for graduation.  The last day of school for students in grades 9-11 is Thursday, June 7.

Final Exam Policy & Last Day Schedule – Final exams for students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will be held on Wednesday, June 6 (periods 1, 3, 5 & 7) and Thursday, June 7 (periods 2, 4 & 6).  Students must be present for their final exams and are not allowed to take them early.  The last day of school is Thursday, June 7. 

Graduation.  The Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2018 will be Friday, June 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  Weather permitting graduation will be at Todd Field – in the event of inclement weather graduation will be moved inside to the gym at Hastings High School.  No tickets are required to attend an outdoor graduation at Todd Field, however building occupancy of the gym means seating is limited for an indoor graduation.  Each graduate received a letter detailing graduation plans along with 6 tickets for family use in the event of an indoor graduation – no additional tickets are available.  Hastings Community Television broadcasts a live simulcast of indoor graduations for people to view from their homes.  If graduation is outdoors, HCTV will record then re-broadcast graduation at a later date.

All gradates will wear the school-provided cap and gown – the only additions are the National Honor Society stole and the Global Languages Honor Society, Youth in Government and Top 10 Percent honor cords.  There is no rental charge; however, if a student wants to keep his/her tassel and cap, they may be purchased as a set for $10.00 the night of graduation. 

Student-Athlete Academic Achievement.  The average grade point average (GPA) for fall athletes this year was 3.44, while the average GPA for winter athletes was 3.39 – or an overall average GPA of 3.41 for all student-athletes to date in the 2017-18 school year.   These numbers are representative of all athletes, in all sports, all levels – over 500 kids in total.     The 3.41 average GPA is almost a half-point above (.38 to be exact) the 3.01 average for the entire HHS student body.   

All Night Grad Party  Get ready for fun and games at the Hastings All Night Grad Party Western Hoedown!  Seniors won’t want to miss this awesome event held on graduation night, June 8th from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM.  This fun filled lock-in is an incredible gift from HHS parents to our graduating seniors.  There will be tons of food, games, great prizes, temporary tattoos, raffles, some fun surprises, and a hilarious hypnotist show at the end of the night all included in the price of the ticket! This will be a night your children will never forget!

Tickets can be purchased online through our website, or at the HHS Student Office. Tickets are $75 and will increase to $100 at the door. There are full and partial scholarships available by contacting Assistant Principal Kris Husaby.

We still need volunteers in the safety area. All parents are welcome to volunteer - junior and senior parents are especially encouraged to join in the fun! It takes many volunteers to make this a fun and safe night for our graduates. Please join us - it’s fun! Volunteers must be age 25 or older. If you’ve already signed up to volunteer, you will be contacted by the appropriate committee head with details soon. It’s easy to volunteer online at or by emailing Julie Larson at

Memory Lane Senior Posters. You and/or your graduate are invited and encouraged to create a senior poster to display during the party. These posters will be displayed during the party and sent home at the end of the night. The graduates have a lot of fun looking at them. Please go to our website to see some examples from past years.  Click on “Senior Posters” on our home page.  

*Find us on Facebook!  *Follow us on Twitter!  Please contact Jody Rudh at 651-438-0130 or with questions.

Hazing.  Please see the enclosed letter addressing hazing.  Students have been and will continue to be informed that hazing is wrong and will not be tolerated.  If you suspect any hazing activities please contact any school official, Hastings Police or the Dakota County Attorney’s Office.  Thank you for your part in putting an end to hazing!

College Boot Camp.  The College Boot Camp 2018 registration is now open!  Get in shape for college application season with the 8th annual College Boot Camp on August 7 and 8.  This event offers presentations and workshops led by representatives from local colleges and HHS counseling staff as well as 2 college campus visits.  The goals of the Boot Camp are to (1) Encourage students to start early given increasingly early priority deadlines and busy Fall schedules. (2) Familiarize students with online resources, college application processes, and financial aid. (3) Help students prepare stronger applications and essays for colleges and scholarships. (4) Help students learn about the college experience and hopefully find the right “fit.”

Students need to register on Family Connection – student accounts only – survey on the “About Me” tab now / BEFORE the end of the school year.  Exact times and details TBD but will be roughly 9:00-5:00 on August 7 and 8:00-3:00 on August 8.  Parents will be invited to attend part of the day on August 7th. Cost is $15.  Please pay via PaySchools or contact Davis Gooch (counselor) if you are unable to pay.  The fee will cover the bus for campus visits, supplies, and food.

Pledge to End the Use of the R-Word.  We are very thankful for our students in the Hastings STAARS Program for engaging high school students and staff in a pledge to end the use of the R-word.  The students created trivia questions on a variety of topics to ask the high school students after spinning the “Wheel of Respect.”  The STAARS students want to interact with their peers to show them that they have similar interests and abilities like all high school students do, and to encourage the students to see them as a person first - not their intellectual disability.  Their leadership led to hundreds of students wearing buttons, t-shirts and signing “The Pledge” banner that we will hang on the HHS bridge!!

Why Pledge?  The R-word is the word 'retard(ed)'.  Why does it hurt?  The R-word hurts because it is exclusive.  It's offensive.  It's derogatory.  The campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word or using it in social media as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.  Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.  Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language.  For more information please see

Hastings Public Schools’ STAARS Program serves young adults, ages 18-21, with a range of abilities and disabilities who need assistance in making the transition from school to life in the community. Students are referred to STAARS by their high school IEP team.  STAARS provides opportunities for students to grow in areas such as job experiences/training, self-advocacy, written and verbal communication, community service, and independent living.  The educational focus is to prepare the students for post-secondary life, as specified in each individualized education plan. 


Thank you to the STAARS students, parents and staff members for making a positive difference in our community!!!

Summer School Credit Recovery Program.  If your child has failed English, Math, Science and/or Social Studies they are encouraged to consider taking a class or two during our summer session. With the state of Minnesota’s increased graduation requirements it has become more difficult for students who have failed classes to complete graduation requirements within four years without attending summer school. 

Summer Session:  June 18 – July 13, 2018 (note: no school July 4)

Classes:  Block 1 (8:00 - 10:00 a.m.), Block 2 (10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

If you are interested in summer school please contact the counseling office at 651-480-7489 and speak with your child’s counselor or e-mail your concerns to your counselor.


(A-F) Kim Hoff                        

(G-L) Naomi Marietta              

(M-R) Drew Cooper                 

(S-Z) Davis Gooch                   

If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other issue, feel free to contact me directly at 480-7474.  Thank you to the Class of 2018 for your leadership and achievements!        


Mike Johnson – HHS Principal

May, 2018



Dear Parents,


Hazing is abusive and unacceptable behavior that not only violates School District policy, but could also constitute a criminal offense.  About eight years ago, several students in the Hastings community were subjected to hazing.  The students who did the hazing were charged with crimes by the County Attorney and received sanctions from both the Juvenile Court and the School District.  It is important that this type of behavior be stopped and that we join together in the community to ensure the safety of our students. 


The Hastings School District policy on hazing is very clear – any activity that intimidates, threatens, harasses or humiliates a student in order for that student to be initiated or affiliated with a group constitutes hazing even if that student gives implied permission.  Unfortunately, hazing rituals involving paddling as well as dousing other kids with food items such as eggs, ketchup, mustard and flour occur across America.  The culture of hazing is one of power, threats, humiliation and intimidation.  Some see hazing as an acceptable “rite of passage” from middle school to high school.  These individuals are flat out wrong. 


Hazing results in long lasting emotional scars and lingering threats.  Victims are often told that if they don’t submit or if they go to the police, they will be sought out and paddled again ten times worse or even beaten up.  Fear of such consequences leads many victims and their families to never report these incidents to school and law enforcement officials.  We need to make sure that offenders are identified and held accountable.  By doing so, we believe we can make a big difference in ending this inappropriate and criminal conduct in our community.


Mike Johnson, Hastings High School Principal, will address the student body at HHS to specifically address the hazing policy and communicate the expectations for their behavior as outlined in the student handbook.  The high school will have many hazing announcements at the end of the year for all students to hear.  Hastings Middle School has a bullying and hazing curriculum that helps students understand the lasting effects of hazing and the proper procedures for reporting any activities that occur.  The reverse side of this letter contains information pertaining to possible civil legal action if a member of your family is a victim of hazing. 


It doesn’t matter whether hazing occurs on or off school property or is directly or indirectly related to a school activity.  Hazing in any form or for any reason is unacceptable behavior that must not be tolerated in our community.  Offenders need to be held accountable and victims supported, and we are committed to doing so.  We need your cooperation and support in this effort.  If you learn of any information pertaining to hazing, please contact the School District at 651-480-7002, County Attorney’s Office 651-438-4438 or the Hastings Police Department 651-480-2300 as soon as possible.  Thank you.



Tim Collins - Superintendent ISD 200          
Mike Johnson - Principal
James Backstrom - Dakota County Attorney
Bryan Schafer - Hastings Police Chief

COR/Hazing notice