Newsroom
 
 
 
The Newsroom
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Welcome to The Newsroom.

The Houston Public Schools' Newsroom contains newsworthy articles, interesting information and notable events that have occurred at Houston Public Schools. Throughout the months and years, the articles have been published on the front page of our website, and are now archived here.  Did you miss an important news item?  Can't remember when an important event happened?  Click the link(s) on the left to locate the article you are looking for.  Currently, articles are archived by month within year. 


The Newsroom also hosts the Education Matters newsletter.  Houston Public Schools' District Newsletter is the primary source for information about the great things happening in our schools.  Composed primarily for readers in and around Houston, Education Matters aims to highlight how we do our best to "discover, develop, and achieve the potential within all learners."

Enjoy!


Newsroom Articles‚Äč
HHS Sophomore Arianna Wins 2017 Visual Arts Award
The 2017 MN State High School League Subsection Visual Arts Exhibition was held at Century High School in Rochester, MN on Saturday, April 22, 2017.  Houston High School sophomore Arianna (Ari), earned a Superior award.

Following is Ari's Artist Statement - a requirement of the competition:
“For my art history pot in ceramics I was inspired by a painting by the Artist Henri Rousseau. The different colors, shapes, and styles he used in this specific painting were very eye catching to me. The landscape of this painting really focused on how nature can be so beautiful.
 
I created this work by hand sculpting the base of the pot with white clay then mixing and experimenting with several different kinds of glazes to get my desired colors. One of my favorite parts of this piece is how the flowers and leaves blend together in the scene around the pot. Another one of my favorite parts is how there are many different shades of greens in the leaves and flower stems. Overall I am very happy with how the piece turned out.”
              Ari's Visual Arts SUPERIOR award entry                                             Ari's Inspiration Painting by Henri Rousseau  [source]

Under the direction of Art Teacher Deb Sobeck, Houston High School art students submitted seven projects to the Subsection Visual Arts Exhibition.  Of these projects, one earned a Superior rating and five earned Excellent ratings.
Earning Excellent ratings were: Hannah, Colin, Dillan, and Evan (not pictured, Mikayla Scheck)
 
 
Thoughts from Mrs. Sobeck
 
~ "I am really proud of Ari.  She works really hard and is a positive force in our class. She is a deserving recipient of this award."

~ “The other students did an outstanding job with the artworks they submitted and should take pride in their high ratings.”
Literacy Night at Houston Elementary
On Thursday, March 30, Houston Elementary School hosted Literacy Night 2017.  The night was a fantastic success.  Many thanks to all who organized this event, who participated, and who attended.  Watch the video below for highlights of this fun evening!
Robotics Regional Tournament in La Crosse 

Come and support the Hurricane Robotics Team at the  FRC Robotics Regional Tournament in La Crosse at the La Crosse Center on April 13th, 14th, and 15th. 

- Free admission!      - Watch the tournament!      - Walk through the pits!          
- See the robots up close!      - Talk with the team members!  


Cheer on your Houston team as they compete against 50 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio.  
 
Tournament Schedule
Thursday, April 13 .......... Practice rounds
Friday, April 14 ............... Qualifying rounds 
Saturday, April 15 ..........
Saturday, April 15 ..........
Saturday, April 15 ..........
More qualifying rounds
Final elimination tournament 
Awards

Team Members
Benjamin Beckman (grade 10), Lillian Carlson (grade 10), Noah Carlson (grade 11), Maria Esch (grade 11), Elizabeth Gaustad (grade 8), Owen Gaustad (grade 8), Evan Heintz (grade 11), Carter Jilk (grade 7), Tanner Kubitz (grade 7), Trenten Kubitz (grade 10), Odin Onsgard (grade 8), Logan Rodriguez (grade 8), and Michaela Spear (grade 8).
The Robotics Team at Work                                                                   Find us on Facebook


It’s Way More than Building Robots

 
Shelley Jerviss Elected i.t.a. Foundation President
 
Shelley Jerviss, President i.t.a. Foundation

Shelley Jerviss, a teacher at Houston Public Schools, was elected President of the i.t.a. (Initial Teaching Alphabet) Foundation in New York City on March 6, 2017.  The mission statement for the i.t.a. Foundation is to "promote literacy by providing independent funding for the development and dissemination of best teaching practices in the use and support of the Initial Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.)"

Shelley has been associated with the i.t.a. Foundation since 1994 when she was part of a team that brought the program to Houston High School. After teaching in the program at the high school level for several years and then bringing it to the elementary school and Summit Learning Center, Shelley joined the Board of Directors for the i.t.a. Foundation in 2001.

Since then she has become a trainer for the Foundation, going to other schools and training staff in districts that have implemented the i.t.a. Program.

 
 



 
Working with students to improve their literacy skills has been a passion of mine ever since I taught elementary school in Houston, and another goal of mine has always been to instill the love of reading in my students.” ~ Shelley Jerviss
Congratulations Shelley!  Thank you for 20+ years of dedication to the i.t.a. Program at Houston Public Schools.
Morgan Earns Academic All State Award 
Morgan, a senior at Houston High School, has received the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association (MGBCA) Academic All-State Award for demonstrating academic and athletic excellence in girls' basketball.
Morgan started 24 games for the Hurricanes basketball team during the 2016-17 season and has worked hard to keep her cumulative GPA at or above 3.8, which is required for the award. 
Mrs. Crary-Pierce’s 8th Graders Win PBIS Challenge
 
Mrs. Crary-Pierce’s 8th graders won the PBIS Challenge for their video on Being Encouraging in the Cafeteria and have earned a breakfast pizza party!  Congratulations Richelle, Curtis, Genna, Brooklynn, Julia, Allison, Logan, Maggie, Morganna and Ryan.

Below is their award-winning video!


Second place goes to Mrs. Mathers’ seniors for Showing Encouragement to the Office.  Rounding out 3rd place was Ms. Daoust’s sophomores for teaching What Community in the Hallway Looks Like.

 
What is PBIS?  
"Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all youth by making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional."  [source]
- What is School-wide PBIS?   
- Why is it so important to focus on teaching positive social behaviors?   
- What is a systems approach in School-wide PBIS?  
To answer these questions and more, please read all about it at the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports website.
Houston Elementary School Science Fair Results
The following HES students are winners of the Houston Elementary Science Fair which was held on Thursday, March 16th.  

The winner of the Grand Champion award was fourth grader, John with Garbage Power.
 
    Grade 3       Grade 4
1st Place
Logan
Magnificent Cereals
  GRAND CHAMPION
1st Place
John
Garbage Power
2nd Place
Avery
Blowing Better Bubbles?
  2nd Place
William
Sharpie be Gone?
3rd Place
Meta
Marshmallow Madness
  3rd Place
Julia
Is Baking Powder Best?
 
    Grade 5        Grade 6
1st Place
Ethan
Which Dissolves the Egg Fastest?
  1st Place
Priya
Can Water Float on Water?
2nd Place
Jordon
Does Smell Affect Taste?
  2nd Place
Olivia
Pop, Pop, Fizz
3rd Place
Mason
Affects of Mementos in Pop
  3rd Place
Jane & Sydney
The Bigger the Egg the Better
Houston Girls BB Wins Gold Award

The Minnesota State High School Coaches Association (MSHMN) has awarded the Houston girls basketball team the Gold Award for team academic all-state.

The team earned this award by averaging a cumulative GPA of 3.745. 


Back Row (L to R): Amber, Jessica, Jeana, Casey, Annette, Morgan

Front Row (L to R): Alyssa, Jenny, Sarah, Becca
Not pictured: Lena Thompson

Spotlight on Tiana - Recipient of Above and Beyond Award

Congratulations to Houston High School Senior, Tiana, who was recently awarded the Above and Beyond Award.  "The annual Above and Beyond Award spotlights area high-school seniors who have either overcome adversity or given selflessly to their community." [source]





On March 5, The Winona Daily News published a story about Tiana titled, ABOVE AND BEYOND: Houston senior overcomes disabilities, finds companion for next step, which describes Tiana's journey dealing with birth defects and health challenges.  As the article explains, "Tiana has spent a lifetime beating odds, defying those who ever used the words wouldn’t or couldn’t when describing her." 

Throughout the article are indications of Tiana's spirit.  Words like persevered, coped, excelled, impressive, and confident are used to describe a young woman who has continued to shine and remain optimistic while overcoming each hurdle in her life.

Those who have worked with Tiana at Houston High School also shared congratulations, praises, and well wishes for their student and friend. Clearly, Tiana is "one in a million" in more ways than one.
"I have the privilege of teaching this young woman twice a day this year. I can't think of a better recipient of this award. Five years ago she entered my classroom and my heart and I have loved teaching her and being around her ever since. What an outstanding young woman. A true testament to perseverance and determination." 
~ Mrs. Jacqueline Mathers, HHS Teacher
"I’ve known Tiana a long time.  She has grown so much, matured and shown herself to be organized, hard working, determined, and optimistic.  We’re going to miss Tiana next year, but we’re excited about the fact that she’s going to Winona State.  She’s going to do wonderful things there."  
~ Mrs. Dionne Schoh, HHS Teacher
"Tiana is a fun student to have in class. She has a great sense of humor and is always up for a challenge. Tiana understands her limitations, but does not let them set her apart or keep her from reaching her goals. She has a good head on her shoulders that will take her far in life."
~ Mrs. Lisa Daoust, HHS Teacher
"Tiana is a hardworking student. She keeps doing her best and if life knocks her down or sets up a block she gives it all she has to keep going and succeeds. She has always brought a smile with her to school. Of course she has her days like we all do but she gets the work done she needs to and comes back the next day or week to take it on again. I admire Tiana so much for her courage, kindness and strength. I wish her good luck and success when she heads to Winona for college."
~ Mrs. Cindy Flatin, HHS Paraprofessional
"Ever since I’ve known Tiana she has demonstrated independence. I’m not at all surprised by the success she has found in school, being accepted to Winona State, and her diligence in training her dog Hero. Probably one of the funniest moments I remember having with Tiana was when she needed to work on coloring in those maze-style adult coloring books. The purpose was to induce a seizure while she was wearing her monitor so the doctors could study the event. Normally I’d only heard Tiana speak positively of any circumstance she faced, but this one day she just blurted out, “those books suck!” I can only imagine how stress-producing that was for her, knowing she may have another seizure at school and to hear her, for once, candidly speak of the situation was just plain funny to those us us who were with her that day. She always has a smile - no matter what. And when she needs assistance she doesn’t seem to hesitate to ask. Words do not come easily to describe how incredibly proud I am of Tiana and her achievements. This young lady is sure to shine wherever she lands in life."
~ Mrs. Rose Sires, HHS Office Manager
"I can't think of a more deserving girl than Tiana, and what a lucky dog."  :-)
~ Krin Abraham, Superintendent
Parenting with Love and Logic starts Monday, March 13th
To register, please call 507-896-5323 ext. 7 by March 8th

Click here for a printable flyer.
  • Do you sometimes wonder who is in charge at your house?

  • Are you struggling to set limits and follow through?

  • Does every request turn into an argument?

  • Do you want a close and loving relationship with your child?
Whether you are looking for answers to the BIG problems or just wanting to learn a few new tricks to put in your parenting tool bag, this is the place for you.  
Entertaining and research based, you will learn how to raise self confident, responsible, respectful children in a fun and family friendly atmosphere!


Facilitator:          Julie O'Mara Meyer, Licensed Psychologist
Hosted by:          Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)
Dates of Class:  Mondays, March 13th, 20th, and 27th.  Mondays, April 3rd and 10th.
Time:                  6:00-7:30 pm
Location:           Houston Preschool Building, 402 S. Grant St.
Cost:                  $15 for workbook

Click here for a printable flyer.
To register call: Houston ECFE at 507-896-5323 ext. 7 by March 8th   
Mail or drop off payment and registration to:
Houston Community Education, 402 S. Grant, Houston, MN 55943

For more information contact: Jamie Woodard (jamie.woodard@hps294.us) or call 507-896-5323 ext. 7
Fiscal Year 2016 Audit: The Rest of the Story
 
The video snippet above is part of the January 5th Board meeting where Craig Popenhagen of Clifton Larson Allen presented the results of the FY16 Audit to the members of our school board.  At that meeting Gwen Rostad, District Director of Finance, was given high praise for her work on this annual report. 
Superintendent Abraham: "To have absolutely no findings from MDE - how common is that?"

Mr. Popenhagen: "That is very uncommon.  It's rare."

Superintendent Abraham: "I would like everybody publicly to know how uncommon that is [that there are no findings from MDE]. We have a Director of Finance who does an absolutely phenomenal job so I'd like to make sure she is given the commendation that she so richly deserves."

I talked with Gwen Rostad to understand why the FY16 Audit results were such an accomplishment.
 
First of all, what is the FY16 Audit?
SOURCE MDE:  "Annually, school districts in Minnesota are required to have an annual independent financial audit, to submit audited financial data to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) electronically, and to submit all required components of the audit report to MDE and to the Office of the State Auditor."



What is a finding?
Gwen: A finding is when they (the auditors) find something not done according to guidelines.

Can you give me examples of what some of the guidelines are?
Gwen:
  • Rules from the Department of Education: there are hundreds
  • Legal Statutes: there are 50+- legal statues to adhere to
  • Our own School Board procedures and policies must be 100% followed
  • Must be based on Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, the federal Single Audit Act, and the Minnesota Legal Compliance Guide issued by the Office of the State Auditor
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
The audit report is clearly quite an undertaking!  What are the reasons for your success?
Gwen:  
  • Everyone is aware of procedures and policies and is willing to adhere to them
  • We work proactively with the auditors
  • If there is a new regulation or guideline, I call the auditor to make sure I understand how it needs to be handled
  • MDE training is offered for employees in the District office
  • The Region V accounting system contains checks and balances that are used to make sure things are done correctly
Other contributing factors to Gwen's success are a Bachelor degree in accounting, Minnesota Association of School Business Officials (MASBO) certification, and the qualities of being particular, diligent, thorough, precise, and accurate.  

Here is what Gwen has to say about her accomplishment:
"I work with a bunch of amazing people. That’s what makes a great audit report possible.” ~ Gwen Rostad
Luther College Band Festival, 2/26 & 2/27

Houston High School Band has three students traveling to the Luther College Band Festival Sunday, February 26 through Monday, February 27.   Houston High School students Amber, Ethan and Noah have been accepted into the Select Honor Bands at Luther. 
 
The three juniors will join nearly 600 students from 5 states who will come together and rehearse on Sunday and Monday before performing a concert on Monday night.
 
The Massed Band Rehearsals will be under the direction of Dr. Linda Moorhouse from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Christopher White from the University of Maine.

The Grand Concert is Monday evening at 6:30 pm in the Center for Faith and Life
on the Luther Campus.  Click here for driving directions and a virtual tour.  The concert is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.
 

Congratulations HHS Musicians!

Amber
Clarinet
Ethan
Trumpet
Noah
Percussion
School Board Recognition Week - February 20 to February 24, 2017

The Minnesota School Boards Association has set February 20-24 as Minnesota School Board Recognition Week in Minnesota as a time to build awareness and understanding of the vital function an elected board of education plays in our society.



Houston Public Schools is joining all public school districts across the state to celebrate School Board Recognition Week to honor:
Michaeleen Bonner
Mimi Carlson
Ron Evenson
Joe Krage
Josh Norlien
Tom Stilin
Gary Wilson

for their commitment to Houston and its children. It takes strong schools to build a strong community, and these men and women devote countless hours to making sure our schools are helping every child learn at a higher level. They make the tough decisions every month and spend many hours studying education issues and regulations in order to provide the kind of accountability our citizens expect.

The key work of school boards is to raise student achievement by:
  • Creating a vision for what the community wants the school district to be and for making student achievement the top priority
  • Establishing standards for what students will be expected to learn and be able to do
  • Ensuring progress is measured to be sure the district’s goals are achieved and students are learning at expected levels
  • Being accountable for their decisions and actions by continually tracking and reporting results
  • Creating a safe, orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach
  • Forming partnerships with others in the community to solve common problems
  • Focusing attention on the need for continuous improvement by questioning, refining and revising issues related to student achievement
Thank You School Board Members!

School board members give Houston citizens a voice in education decision making. Even though we make a special effort to show our appreciation in February, their contribution is a year-round commitment. [source]
February 22nd Marks State's First Bus Driver Appreciation Day
SAINT PAUL, Minn. [article source] – In darkness and daylight, on dirt roads and multi-lane highways, from warm spring days to frigid winters, Minnesota school bus drivers safely transport more than 760,000 students to and from school each day. To recognize this important profession, Wednesday, February 22, has been proclaimed by Governor Mark Dayton the first-ever statewide celebration of School Bus Driver Appreciation Day in Minnesota.

The Minnesota School Bus Operators Association (
MSBOA) and Minnesota Association of Pupil Transportation (MAPT) teamed up to create School Bus Driver Appreciation Day as a way to encourage school leaders, parents, and students to celebrate the often overlooked profession.

Our Wonderful Bus Drivers
We Appreciate You!  Thank You for All You Do to Keep Our Children Safe!
Back row [left to right]:  Richard Carr, John Beckman, Dan Kildahl
Front row [left to right]: Randy Muller, Ron Belongie
, Brent Stampka
 
School bus drivers transport parents’ most precious cargo – their children – day in and day out, and they do this job humbly and with great pride,” said MSBOA President Josh Schiffler. “We are thankful that Governor Dayton has declared February 22 School Bus Driver Appreciation Day in Minnesota so that we can give these quiet heroes the recognition they deserve.”
 
“School bus drivers are often the first person a student interacts with every morning, and the last person they see from school in the afternoon,” said Dr. Cassellius. “They are part of the many, wonderful Minnesotans who positively impact a student’s school experience every day, and I am excited to honor our school bus drivers for all of their hard work.”
 
“We are so grateful for school bus drivers who realize that nothing is more important than our children’s safety,” said Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman.
 
“School Bus Driver Appreciation Day is a great way to honor their work and show our appreciation. We can help them every time we get behind the wheel by stopping for red flashing lights or stop arms and paying attention in neighborhoods and school zones. That’s the best ‘thank you’ we can give them, and together, we can keep our kids safe.”
 
Our Substitute Bus Drivers
We Appreciate You!  Thank You for All You Do to Keep Our Children Safe!
Jeff Beckman Mike Beckman Mary Muller Dave Runningen

Additional reasons to celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Day include the impact that school buses have on student safety and the environment. Students are nearly eight times safer riding to and from school in a school bus than in cars, thanks to rigorous safety standards for vehicles and drivers, as well as student training efforts. The school bus driving industry is the largest form of mass transit in Minnesota, and it has reduced its environmental impact through the use of alternative fuels and retrofits on diesel engines.

“Our school bus drivers take their jobs seriously and are committed to getting kids to and from school safely,” said MAPT President Derrick Agate Sr. “We hope that Minnesotans help us recognize school bus drivers in their communities on February 22, and that more people consider this important and in-demand career.”


 

Happy 100th Day!

 
Hurricane Pride - "Wrestling Style"
The Houston Hurricanes were bursting with pride to show off our newly remodeled High School Gymnasium at the Caledonia/Houston vs. Wabash-Kellogg wrestling meet on Tuesday, February 7th.  

Our newly renovated gym, part of the Summer 2016 Facilities Improvement Project, now boasts a
refinished floor, new bleachers, and wall banners.

The picture below features our beautiful 
gym, “wrestling style”.  
National School Counseling Week 2017
School Counseling: Helping Students Realize Their Potential  School Counseling Week 2017 is Feb. 6–10. The week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), highlights the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and the tremendous impact they can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. 
  • School counselors provide students with academic, college/career and social/emotional development. This week we celebrate them. 
  • School counselors help thousands of K-12 students nationwide. This week we celebrate their efforts, hard work and dedication. 
  • Join the ASCA in celebrating National School Counseling Week 2017, which promotes the unique contributions of 100,000 school counselors across the nation. 
  • Whether it is applying to college or dealing with a personal challenge, your school counselor is here to support your success! 
   Our Counseling Stars at ISD294  
Tina Barness Marian Gavin Jodie English Ricky Smith Crystal Sobotta
 We appreciate you.  We sincerely thank you for all you do!
'Canes Care Helps Out Houston Community 
This past Tuesday, January 31st, the Houston girls’ basketball team organized and completed a fundraiser (‘Canes Care) during their game vs Spring Grove.

The ‘Canes Care fundraiser was able to raise an all-time high in its three year existence. With everyone’s hard work and support, the girls’ basketball program was able to raise $1,050.00 for Houston area cancer patients and their families.  All proceeds will be donated to Houston Area Cancer Support, Inc. 


     The Hurricane girls basketball program wants to thank everyone who helped to make this a success. 


Submitted by Dale Moga
Getting to Know Our Newest School Board Member - Josh Norlien 
Thank you, Josh Norlien, for graciously agreeing to be featured in an article for our school website!  

Josh was officially sworn into office at the January 5th School Board Meeting.  At that meeting, it was decided that Josh would be a member of the On-Line Schools Committee, Board Representation –Legislative Liaison, ECFE Advisory Council, and the HVED Board of Directors.
 
The teachers and staff of our Houston Public School family, and members of the Houston Community were asked, "Do you have anything you’d like to ask or know about Josh Norlien?"  


The words below, written by Josh, are his response to our questions.

"Wow! What a warm welcome I have received from district staff, board members, and the entire community, hello to all.
 
A bit of background info on myself and family, both my wife (Angela) and I are Houston High alumni, class of 1995.  Yes, we are an example of high school sweethearts that have lasted a lifetime. We briefly left the area for work and college, but upon finding out we were expecting our first child we came home to Houston.  We now live in rural Money Creek, and can’t think of a better place to raise our family.
We are the proud parents of Shelby, a junior; Julia, 8th grade; Mylee, 4th grade; Reece, 2nd grade; Peyton, preschool; and Sawyer, who is just about to turn 2 years old.  So, as you can see, I have a vast interest in our entire school district’s success.  

My background in education is purely as a student and parent. I feel the smaller school and class sizes are to our advantage for students to receive more one-on-one time with teachers and the possibility of participating in extracurricular activities, but at the same time I want our students to have a variety of class options and their interests met. I am a firm believer in the quote “If the opportunity doesn’t exist, create it.” That being said, as a board member I welcome ideas and feedback from all, students, teachers, and parents.
 
The addition of our online school, Minnesota Virtual Academy, to the district is another advantage our students have available to them. I have firsthand experience with online classes, in my case I wanted to further my post-secondary education while raising a family and working full-time. That being said I feel there is great value in classroom interaction and discussion.
 
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is what I hope for our students, to have every available option to dream and achieve their goals once they leave us. If its college, trade school, or the work force, we are preparing them for adulthood. They are a reflection of us and our community.
 
In response to a few questions:
  • Our student’s safety takes top priority and I feel we have come leaps and bounds over the past couple years and am confident we will continue to adjust and implement what’s needed, such as the A.L.I.C.E. program which was recently presented to the board by our local law enforcement and first responders.
  • As we all know technology is continuing to evolve at lightning speed, and we need to see what tools can help educate and prepare our kids for their future careers. I am huge fan of our Robotics program and see this as a great example of our school progressing with technology.
  • Along with the benefits of a small school comes the financial challenge as each student represents state funding. We offer open enrollment and so there is no need to be shy with our school pride, let it shine and invite others to check us out. 
  • Taxes are a necessary evil, but at the same time we don’t want to handcuff local residents and businesses.  We want to make sure their tax dollars are used wisely. There is a need to weigh the pros and cons before investing in a program or facility expense. 
I will be the first to say that I am very “green” and have a lot to learn about school operations and budgeting, but with that I look forward to digging in and taking advantage of the tools and training available to do my best.
 
Thank you for your time and I look forward to working with all of you."
 
Josh Norlien
One Act Play Comedy - Cheating Death - Friday, January 27

This Friday night, January 27th, the Houston Drama Department is proud to present a Play in One-Act, Cheating Deatha comedy written by Kamron Klitgaard.
     -  The curtains open on the Houston Elementary School stage at 7:30 PM.
     -  Admission is $1.00. 
     -  Free-will donations will be received for desserts.

Synopsis:
"
When the Angel of Death visits a mental hospital to collect someone on his list, he accidentally reveals himself to the wrong person.  After struggling to convince the patients of his identity, Death attempts to correct his potentially fatal mistake and demands to know which one of them is actually the one he came for.  But the patients refuse to give up their friend’s true identity, even after Death insists that if he doesn’t perform the touch of death within the allotted time, the consequences could be disastrous.  Death must resort to drastic measures and even joins the group session in order to win this deadly battle of wits." [source]  
Music News
Music Listening Teams
Houston's Music Listening Teams competed at the 
2016-17 Regional Contest at Winona State on Friday, January 20th.  Houston's team of Noah CarlsonLilli Carlson and Maria Esch finished 4th out of 15 teams.  Ethan PapenfussEvan HeinzChase Benson and Brandon Grupe finished 9th.  Winona and Pine Island finished 1st and 2nd and will advance to the Championship round at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

SE MN Band Directors Association Honor Band
Michaela, Kenny and Tristan joined students from over 60 schools to play in the SE MN Band Directors Association Honor Band on Saturday, Jan. 14 in Kasson, MN.  Michaela (flute) and Kenny (trombone) were in the 6-8 Grade Band. Tristan (trumpet) was in the 9-10 Grade Band.
 
                               [l-r]  Michaela, Kenny and Tristan
KFIL Player of the Game Winners

In case you missed all of the exciting game broadcasts, below are the the October KFIL Player of the Game winners.  Please note: These October 2016 athletes were notified in January 2017.
 
Each
KFIL Player of the Game winner received a certificate suitable for framing and a certificate for a six-inch Subway Restaurant sub sandwich.
 

Congratulations Hurricanes!

Erin for her Volleyball skills in the Houston vs. Lanesboro game on October 11. Ariel for her Volleyball performance in the Houston vs. Rushford-Peterson game on October 24. Harry for his Football leadership in the Houston vs. Grand Meadow game on October 29.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Monday, January 16
image: Martin Luther King DayOn Monday, January 16th, Houston Public Schools will be closed to honor the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America.

We commemorate the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership.

On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit. source: http://www.thekingcenter.org/meaning-king-holiday


 
Update: A Hurricane-sized ‘thank you’ is extended to the vocalists, musicians, and directors for the exceptional Winter Concert last night! What a fabulous night of holiday music…from acappela to jazz to music in another language to moving pieces to stir the heart…great job, everyone! Mr. Grupe wrote, “Thanks to the Band and Choir students for an outstanding performance last night.  Thanks to all who came out in support of the musicians.  Special thanks to Mr. Sires and Mr. Duffy for the extra work they put in.
MNVA's Chris Gordon - Project Elevate Story of the Month for November
 
Image: Chris GordonMinnesota Virtual Academy Special Ed teacher Chris Gordon has been chosen as K12's Project Elevate Story of the Month for November. Congratulations are in order for Chris, who successfully overcame a recent bout with a rare disease and now uses that life challenge to positively inspire students about overcoming obstacles and bullying.
 
Gordon teaches kids with autism and a range of other disabilities. He consults with other teachers on subjects like what’s the best way to work with students with certain disabilities, in order to benefit them. Working with 22 students online, Gordon said he’s found online school works very well for students with medical issues or those that have struggled with traditional school.  “Online teaching is very beneficial for them,” Gordon said. “I get a great deal of satisfaction helping students grow in an alternative environment. [source]

In October of this year, Gordon, who has been running and racing for much of his life, finished first in his age group in the Mankato Marathon 10K. He raced 6.2 miles in 38 minutes, 39 seconds, his all-time personal record. “Do not let anyone tell you a goal is unreachable,” Gordon posted on Facebook. “Keep the faith, put in the time and effort, and be kind to those around you. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but if something knocks you down, get back up.”  [source]

Click here to read the entire story in The Journal (New Ulm, MN newspaper)
 
Houston Hollidazzle - Saturday, December 3rd
Image - 2016-17 MHS InducteesThe 4th Annual Houston Hollidazzle is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3rd.

-   Have lunch in the CHRISTMAS CAFÉ in the Houston High School
Cafeteria

-   Bring Food Shelf items for the Houston Food Pantry

-   Kids can buy presents for $1.00 for their parents and Elves will help wrap the presents in the Houston High School Choir Room.   All proceeds benefit ECFE programs in Houston.

Live Music in the Houston High School Gym (FREE)
11:00 HHS Band and Choir



Check out the schedule below for a fun-filled Hollidazzle Day!
 
9:30 AM “Dashing through the Snow” Fun Run - Park and Rec Board
 
10:00 AM
to 1:00 PM
Houston High School Gymnasium (FREE)
   - Decorate cookies  - Houston Girl Scouts
   - Coloring and Craft Station – Hometown Pride Group
   - Write a letter to Santa – Houston Teachers and HHS Honor Society
   - Relaxation Station – 4-H Silver Creek Rustlers
   - Make ornaments – 4-H Money Creek Live Wires
   - Christmas Crafts – Houston Cub Scouts
   - s’ELF’ie Station
   - Sleigh Rides – Chamber of Commerce

 
2:00 PM Houston Elementary Gymnasium
   - Christmas Movie (FREE)
   - Concessions available

 
6:30 PM Christmas Parade  - Maple Street
 
Following Parade Christmas Tree Lighting  - City Park
“After Glow” – Music, Cookies and Cocoa in Community Center
Minnesota Honor Society Induction & Academic Lettering Ceremony
image:MN Honor Society Recipients
The HHS 
Minnesota Honor Society Induction & Academic Lettering Ceremony was held the evening of November 14, 2016.  

Principal Lundberg welcomed the attendees and Mrs. Greta Goetting was the speaker for the evening.  Mrs. Crystal Sobotta conducted the swearing-in ceremony, and Principal Lundberg announced the Academic Letter Winners.



2016-2017 MHS Inductees are:
  • Sarah Albrecht
  • Noah Carlson
  • Erin Conley
  • Macey Englund
  • Trent Edwards
  • Maria Esch
  • Kloey Jacobs
  • Jessica Kitching
  • Ethan Papenfuss
The 2015-2016 NHS Inductee is Morgan Beckman.

The 2015-2016 Academic Letter Winners are:
Albrecht, Sarah
Alfson, Alexander
Bartz, Christopher
Beckman, Benjamin
Beckman, Morgan
Benson, Chase
Carlson, Lillian
Carlson, Noah
Carr, Hayley
Chapel, Amber
Conley, Erin
Cripps, Jacob
Cripps, Justin
Dulek, Annette
      Dulek, Drake
Edwards, Trent
Englund, Macey
Erickson, Nicholas
Esch, Maria
Goetting, Benjamin
Heyer, Ariel
Hill, Gretchen
Holland, Jordyn
Hongerholt, James
Jacobs, Kloey
Jerviss, Kelly
Jore, Bree
Kennedy, Marissa
      King, Alyvia
Kitching, Jessica
Kleist, Jordan
Krage, Tanner
Kubitz, Trenten
Lee, Cameron
Lee, Nathan
Lee, Rebecca
Lundberg, Trevor
Lynch, Bridget
Nelson, Tylor
Norlien, Shelby
Papenfuss, Ethan
Rostad, Alyssa

 

      Scanlan, Ariel
Schaub, Hayley
Schneider, Zachary
Schultz, Brynne
Schutte, Micah
Stilin, Audrey
Stilin, Sophia
Sweet, Anna
Thompson, Kate
Thompson, Lydia
Twite, Kyle
Upton, Maya
Van Gundy, Connor
Upcoming ECFE Activities

Please join us for a 
Pancake and Pajama  Story Time!
November 21
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm at the
Houston Learning Center
402 S. Grant Street

Click here for a printable flyer.

Houston ECFE invites you and your child (age 0-5) to a story time event. There will be a reading of the books If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Llama Llama Red Pajama. We will have crafts, make pancakes to eat, and play games. Children (adults too) are encouraged to wear their pajamas. 

To register or if you have any questions, please call:  Houston ECFE at 507-896-5323 ext. 7

Upcoming ECFE Events:
Dec. 5 - Screentime
Dec. 19 - Gingerbread House Making
Jan. 9 - Gym Night

 
HHS Fall Musical - SISTER ACT 

   Opening This Weekend   

Opening this weekend is the Houston High School Fall musical SISTER ACT.

Performances will be held Friday, November 18, Saturday November 19 at 7:00 pm, and Sunday, November 20 at 2:00 pm.

The performances will be held at the Houston Elementary School gymnasium.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students.

Concessions will be available.


 

Houston Public Schools Pay Honor to our Veterans

The annual Veteran’s Day Program was held at Houston Elementary School on Friday, November 11th in the Elementary Gym. All Veterans, active service members, and community members were invited to attend this meaningful celebration to honor those who have served our country. 

Veterans and active service members were dressed in uniform and sat in the front of the gymnasium as they were honored by a program filled with recognition, remembrance, student-written poems, songs, and sincere, heartfelt thanks.  After the ceremony
our veterans and active service members were invited to have lunch at the high school.  It was a great opportunity for our students and service members to get to know one another!

Please take a moment to read the lovely poems and view pictures of this occasion.
 

Thank You Soldier
By: Lilly Carr
 
I don’t know your name
Or in which battle you died
I don’t know your home 
Or the tears that were cried
 
I don’t know where you lay
Or the promises that were broken
I don’t know your uniform 
Or the fears that were unspoken
 
But I do know that you were a brave, courageous soldier
That sacrificed your life 
For the red, white, and blue
 
Thank you soldier, thank you
 
  My Hero
By: Priya Kingsley
 
You are my hero, very brave
All of our lives, you work to save
 
You could be young, you could be old
But you will always be very bold
 
You seem so strong, like a superhuman
But you are just like us, men and women
 
I am still here, I am okay
And I owe it to you this
Veterans Day


Honoring Our Veterans - November 11, 2016




Songs of Honor



Poems of Honor



Quilts of Honor


































 

Washington DC Trip Pancake Breakfast

Come to the Washington DC Trip Pancake Breakfast to help support the Juniors and Seniors from Houston High School who are going on a class trip to Washington D.C.

Where? Houston High School Cafeteria, 306 West Elm Street, Houston, MN

What day? 
Saturday, November 12, 2016

What time? 8:00 am to 1:00 pm

Just $7.00 includes:
     - pancakes and sausage
     - biscuits and gravy
     - coffee and milk


Come one, come all for a great breakfast treat!  

HHS Fall Concert and Music Booster Auction - Tuesday, November 1

------------------------

UPDATE 11/2/2016A HUGE thank you
 is extended to Houston Music supporters! The Fall Concert and Music Booster Auction was another success! There were approximately 280 people in attendance and the auction raised just over $5775.00 in admission and donations. Thank you SO very much!

-------------------------
Don’t miss the wide variety of music that will be performed at the 2016 HHS Fall Concert and Music Booster Auction.  Musicians will include:
   - Jr. High Choir

   - Sr. High Choir
   - Jazz Band
   - High School Concert Band
   - Jr. High Band
Admission is just $1 per person/$5 family max and kids 5 and younger are admitted free.


The Annual Music Booster Auction will follow the concert. Please come out and enjoy a night of community fun.
 
Speaking of the auction, the Houston Music Boosters are looking for your talents and creations. They are looking for baked goods, crafts, services, etc. Donations can be brought to the High School at 306 West Elm Street any time up until the night of the concert. Not a baker or crafter? Then please attend and bid on some goodies or make a monetary donation. This is the one major fundraiser for the year and the proceeds benefit elementary and high school music enrichment.

Red Ribbon Week at Houston Elementary
Houston Elementary will participate in the National Red Ribbon Campaign next week, 10/24-10/28. This campaign is designed to show support for a healthy, abuse free lifestyle.

Red Ribbon Week is an awareness campaign sponsored by the National Family Partnership (NFP.) 
"NFP provides drug awareness by sponsoring the annual National Red Ribbon Campaign™. Since its beginning in 1985, the Red Ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America. In 1988, NFP sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities." [source]
Unity Day - Wednesday, October 19th
The Houston High School Student Council is gearing up for Unity Day next Wednesday, October 19th.  Make it ORANGE and make it end!

"What are your true colors when it comes to bullying? If you care about safe and supportive schools and communities make your color 
ORANGE on Unity Day. That’s the day everyone can come together – in schools, communities, and online – and send one large ORANGE message of support, hope, and unity to show that we are together against bullying and united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion."

ORANGE provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity,” said Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of PACER Center. “When hundreds of individuals in a school or organization wear orange, the vibrant statement becomes a conversation starter, sending the unified message to kids to know that they are not alone.”

Almost 1 out of 4 students will be bullied this year.  Learn how you can help prevent bullying.
article source: Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center
All School Reunion & Grand Re-Opening
During Homecoming Weekend (September 30-October 1), the Hurricane Foundation in conjunction with Houston Public Schools will be hosting the All-School Reunion (click here to see flyerand the Grand Re-opening of the schools to display the work that was completed in the school buildings this summer.

On Saturday, October 1 at 10:00 AM, everyone, whether an alumnus or community member or interested individual, is welcome to come to the Houston Elementary School gymnasium for the dedication and reunion program. The program will begin with information about the remodeling project in all four buildings (elementary school, high school, preschool building and the bus garage) and conclude with the 2016 Houston Alumni Wall of Fame recognition. Refreshments will be served in the gymnasium at the conclusion of the program. Walking tours led by school personnel including Krin Abraham, Superintendent, and Rick Bartz, Elementary Principal will be available for those who would like to see the improvements that have been made to the buildings.

Since 1906 was the year of the first graduating class of Houston High School, 2016 marks the 110th Anniversary of Houston Public Schools. During those 110 years, no matter what changes were made to the buildings or the method of instruction within those buildings, the students, staff and community at Houston Public Schools could be proud of their school. Please come and share in this celebration of our schools and see that the tradition of pride in our schools continues today. For those who want to participate in the entire weekend’s festivities, please come to the football game at the high school football field on Friday, September 30 at 7:00 PM. 
Houston Elementary, 2016-17 Reward School 
On September 1, 2016, the Minnesota Department of Education released the names of the schools that earned Reward status for the 2016-2017 school year. Houston Elementary School was on that list and designated as a Reward school for the fifth time since the designation was started in 2011-2012.

Using the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment scores in mathematics and reading, the schools are ranked according to how well they did with proficiency, student growth and achieving a reduction in the gap that exists between different groups of students. The top 15 percent of the schools that receive Title 1 funds receive the designation of Reward school. The next 25 percent receive the designation of Celebration school. In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2016, Houston Elementary School ranked among the top 15 percent of all elementary schools receiving Title 1 funds in the state of Minnesota and, therefore, was designated as achieving Reward status.

In 2015, Houston Elementary received the designation of Celebration school. Therefore, Houston Elementary School has been designated as a high performing elementary school every year the commendations have been given. Mr. Bartz, the Houston Elementary School Principal, said when told about the designation, “This is a testament to the hard work of the staff, students and parents since we could not receive this honor without everyone working together."
 
Back To School Resources
 
  

Houston Science Teacher Receives National Recognition
Congratulations to HHS Science teacher Marty Momsen on being selected as an NEH Summer Scholar.