Current Newsletter

March 2018

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.

School Safety – Our Number One Priority!  

Our children and students are growing up in a much different world than we did, from even a short time ago.  School safety and security is our number one priority – it keeps students in school and provides a safe, productive environment to learn.  Determining internal and external risks for students, families and school staff is not easy – there are many complicating factors – these may or may not be within our control to make a change. While the data and reports on school violence indicate that schools continue to be one of the safest places for students – it sure does not feel like that is the case.  When students die in schools we all need to find ways to “do better” within our families, friend groups, schools, communities and government agencies and stay connected on behalf of our young people.

The Hastings School District - supported by the taxpayers of the community - has taken several steps over the past decade to increase the safety in our schools for our students, staff and community members.  We have implemented several systems district wide, with the primary focus being to make a concerted effort that every student in our schools feels connected.  That connection can be to another student, staff member, or an affiliation with a group or team.  When a student feels isolated and not connected – there is then a greater potential for the student to commit a violent act.

Here is a listing of how the Hastings School District has worked via a three-pronged approach to increase the safety of facilities, increase the support for student mental health needs and increase the ways students can connect to caring adults, peers and their schools.

District Wide Safety Procedures:

  • Electronic Door Management System - Allows us to lock down all doors from remote locations and make sure that on the weekends and evenings the buildings are secure.

  • ALICE Training – Teaches and empowers our staff and students to use their knowledge base of how to best protect themselves in the event of a violent intruder.

  • Raptor Screening Technology - All visitors must have their driver’s licensed scanned upon entering the building.

  • District wide surveillance cameras

  • Background checks required for employees and vendors

  • School Resource Officer

  • Employee Badges required to be worn during the school day

  • Homeland Security - In 2018, we have invited them to walk our buildings with us and review our crisis plans.

  • Re-designed School Entrances - At our school sites, visitors must walk into the main office or past an adult supervisor.

  • Safety Drills - We practice a variety of situations related to a violent intruder and we practice with a high level of intensity and due diligence.

  • TIP 411 – An anonymous tip line that students, staff or parents can access.

  • Walkie-Talkies - All staff going outside have the safety of the walkie-talkies and all administrators are connected to their site and district wide staff.

  • Upgraded glass in several key areas - Placed a protective covering so that glass would not immediately shatter when struck by a bullet.

  • Intruder Alert System at the middle school - We installed pulldowns in several hallways at the middle school so that students and staff can quickly alert the entire building if there is a violent intruder.

  • Approved Bond vote in 2018 - We will be able to add more cameras, upgrade classroom doors at several sites, upgrade more areas of glass, install an intruder alert system at our high school site, install interior door locking system for a 2nd layer of door protection, and re-design a safety entrance at Tilden.

  • Mental Health Resources:

  • Canvas Health Employees - We have a full-time mental health professional at both our high school and middle school sites provided by an outside vendor. (Canvas Health)

  • Sternau and Associates - This psychologist and family therapy firm has been working with the Hastings School District for approximately 30 years now.Sternau and Associates provides mental health services and support to our employees, students and families.

  • 360 Community Social workers - The district hires two social workers from 360 communities to work with students at school and assist families right in their homes.

  • TAP Therapist

  • 7 school counselors – 4 school social workers – 3 school psychologists

  • Support Groups at Hastings High School – The HHS counselors and school psychologist run student support groups for anxiety, depression, social skills chemical use concerns, and chronic illnesses.

  • Collaboration with the Dakota County Crisis Team, Training & Resources

  • Initiatives to educate and connect students:

  • Depression screening in 10th grade - All 10th graders are involved in a depression screening process and parents are contacted if there are indicators of concern for the individual student.

  • Climb Theatre - Plays and performances on bullying and self-control.

  • Respect Retreat

  • Peer Helpers

  • Link Crew

  • Promise Fellows

  • Responsive Classroom

  • 9th grade orientation - We look to build a welcoming culture and highly encourage every 9th grader to get involved in an after school organization or activity.

  • Helping Kids Succeed

  • Empower Me

  • Webs of Support

  • Lunch bunch at the middle school

  • Pinecrest Elementary mentoring program

  • School Climate Group

  • Healthy Decisions making - 9th grade curriculum

  • Summer Wedge - A program to stay connected with students, during the summer months, who need the strong shoulder and guidance during the summer months.

  • IEP teams

  • Student Impact Program

  • Service Learning Program

  • Athletic, Academic and Fine Arts programs - Outstanding after school programs encouraging students to be involved and get connected.

  • Native American Liaison - Through State of Minnesota funding, we were able to recently hire a part-time liaison to help give our district, community and parents guidance in this area of our student population.

  • School Board student lunches with high school students

  • Encouragement of volunteers in all areas of our school district

School Violence Reports and Statistics Links:

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.

CPR Training – Students and Staff:  On the morning of January 12, HHS students Sydney Radke and Addie Buck saved a man’s life by stopping, administering CPR and calling 911.  Sydney was certified in CPR through her job at a local daycare.  Syd and Addie’s actions has inspired others to learn CPR.  On February 16 - during a staff development day - 20 HHS staff members became CPR certified, joining 15 other staff members who are already certified in CPR.  Many students want to learn more about CPR.  All HHS Health 10 students are scheduled for CPR/AED training on April 24.

Stop the Bleed:  Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. It is intended to help bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene.  A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes therefore, it is important to quickly stop the blood loss.  Those nearest to someone with life threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care.  According to a recent National Academies of Science study, trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 46.

We are fortunate to have this training offered to our grade 10 Health students and HHS staff members free of charge on March 19.  The training takes about 1 hour, is easy to learn and builds confidence and there will be hands on practice during the training. Participants will leave feeling much more confident dealing with severe bleeding injuries.  

Graduation Rate:
 In a recent report by the Minnesota Department of Education, Hastings High School was noted for its very high graduation rate of 93.8%, compared to the state graduation rate of 82.7%.  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.                                                                   

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 $548.30 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 $2,500 for student college scholarships. New this year, the senior class officers ran a “Chuck-A-Puck” event at the girls hockey game raising $175 for senior college scholarships.

Thank you to all who supported the HHS Feminism Club’s bike drive by buying a t-shirt or donating online.  Through School Cycle (a UN partnership with Girl Up), the Feminism Club raised $1,134—enough to purchase bikes for 9 girls in Malawi and to provide them with spare parts and maintenance training.  (Only 9% of girls in Malawi graduate from high school.  Many have to walk up to 10 miles just to get to school).  A bike can help a girl travel quickly and safely to and from school, and it gives her the independence to travel freely around her community. That way, she can obtain the education she needs to create a better future for herself, her family and her community.

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 74 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, April 28.  Last year the HHS chapter of NHS collected $21,600 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 3.  Induction of new NHS members (juniors) will be April 9 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!!



MCA Testing 2018:  At Hastings High School we take MCA 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 18 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 Wednesday, May 9 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 25 according to a schedule with their math class in a computer lab.



9th Grade Respect Retreat:  On Wednesday, April 18 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.

Extended Student Absences – Making Up School Work:  As a school, we understand that there are times when families travel and student absences may not always coincide with breaks on the school district calendar.  To help plan for missed school work and to better serve our students who will be absent, we ask that students and families follow our process as outlined in the student handbook.  “Students who know in advance that they will be absent for 3 or more days are to pick up a pre-authorized absence slip in the student office. This slip is to be signed by parents and initialed by teachers prior to leaving.”  This process helps students and teachers communicate and plan for the absence and arrange for making up the school work.  Thank you!

Important dates:  Spring break - school will not be in session beginning Monday, March 12 and will resume Monday, March 19.  Have an enjoyable and safe spring break!  The end of the third quarter is Friday, April 6.  There is no school on Good Friday, March 30 and Monday, April 2.  Friday, May 4 is an early release day (excused at 11:17 a.m.) due to district staff development.

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.    

“Gone Too Soon” – MINNESOTA STATE PATROL VIDEO – Grade 10 Health:  On Monday, March 26 State Trooper Michael Eck 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.

“”:  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.

2018 All Night Grad Party:  The All Night Grad Party (ANGP) is a long-standing tradition for our graduating High School seniors.  It is 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 –

You will not want to miss this great event held on graduation night - June 8 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 is something for everyone!

If you have not purchased a ticket yet, now is the time.  The cost is $60 until after spring break, March 20, when the price increases to $75. Tickets will be $100 at the door. We will be selling tickets at conferences on March 1 and 2.Tickets can also be purchased online at, or at the student office (please make checks out toHastings 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, or by calling Julie Larson at 651-335-7785 or emailing her at

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.  When the grad party is over...proudly display it at your home during your own grad party!

Check out our website 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