Pony E-News: 100 days of school; message from school board; and more

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Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017

100 days

Schools celebrate 100 days

Can you believe we've had 100 days of school so far this year? Time flies when you're learning and having fun! Schools across the district celebrated the milestone with special parties yesterday. See more photos on Facebook.

Message from school board chair to our community

Jim Bearden was the main speaker at the 2016 MSBA Winter Leadership conference and the author of the book The Relentless Search for Better Ways. In his book, he writes the following: 

“Most of us are infinitely more comfortable with anger than with fear. Anger lets us focus on somebody or something ʻout thereʼ to blame for an unhappy turn of events. Weʼre convinced that the source of our happiness - or in this case our unhappiness - is ʻout there,ʼ so all we need in order to let ourselves off the hook for our unhappiness is to find the ʻguilty parties.ʼ No problem.” 

Over the past couple weeks, a few district citizens, unhappy over the closing of schools or, perhaps, because recent elections did not turn out as they wished, have taken their unhappiness out on Kristen Hoheisel, District 834ʼs director of finance. They have expressed their anger through various media. To those citizens, Ms. Hoheisel has become the most recent guilty party for their expressions of anger.

In fact, she has done exactly what she was hired to do. She has brought financial recommendations to the board throughout her tenure, and, when appropriate, the board has approved those recommendations. The annual audits done independently of her department “reported no findings when based on the districtʼs compliance with Minnesota laws and regulations.”

She has worked with the board and other administrators to create a balanced budget and a fund balance the board has directed in policy. For doing this important work, on behalf of all district taxpayers, she has received e-mails that have questioned her honesty and her integrity. She has become the somebody out there to blame “for an unhappy turn of events.” 

To those who have written in recent days to insult Ms. Hoheisel, I ask you to stop blaming her. She is not responsible for the closing of schools nor is she responsible for the way recent elections have turned out. Because the board chose to consider alternatives to the status quo, district employees, including Ms. Hoheisel, have become targets. For that, on behalf of the board, I apologize.

-George Hoeppner, school board chairperson

Top musicians from SAHS perform in music festival


Top musicians from Stillwater Area High School performed at the Suburban East Conference Music Festival. The festival involves the top bands, choirs and orchestras from all nine of the schools that make up the SEC. During the day, the musicians are given the opportunity to perform for their peers and colleagues as well as for highly skilled clinicians to work with each group at the conclusion of their performance.


Track coach inducted into hall of fame

Congrats to long-time coach Scott Christensen who was inducted into the Minnesota Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame! Christensen's track teams have captured five state championships and racked up a total of 21 top-five finishes at state. He has also guided the Ponies to three True Team state titles and finished among the top five 21 times. Read more.

Healthier schools make smarter kids


Did You Know? Our students across the district have access to more healthy and delicious condiments and toppings for school meals than ever before - including guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and peppers.

It's just part of our efforts to make our schools healthier places for kids, because we know kids who eat well learn better. Learn more about wellness in our schools at stillwaterschools.org/healthymoves.

You can help make a difference! Remember to leave the sugary treats and candy-stuffed valentines at home this year. Instead, our staff will be providing fun and active ways for our kids to celebrate the season.


Proceeds from the Partnership Party fund enrichment programs for students at all Stillwater Area Public Schools. Tickets are available at www.Party2017.gesture.com.


Check out digital Backpack for information about youth sports, activities, clubs, events and more!