SCHOOL CLOSING: Until further notice, Hutchinson Public School buildings will be closed due to COVID-19 to help limit exposure and protect our students, families, and staff members. More Info


Archives for November 2014

Celebrating Education

West Elementary Attendance Guidelines


One of the most important things families can do to help their children succeed is to make sure they attend school regularly.

When your student is absent:

Contact the school at (320) 587-4470.  State the name, teacher, length and reason for the absence.  If we do not hear from you, we will attempt to call you at home or at work.  If we have not spoken with you or a responsible adult regarding the absence, you must send a note to school.

Excused Absences:

  • Illness
  • Family Death/Illness
  • Religious Holiday / Instruction
  • Medical / Dental Appointments

Unexcused Absences:

  • Missing the bus
  • Staying home to care for siblings
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Oversleeping (Parent or Child)
  • Skipping School
  • No Doctor Note (if required)

Six Strategies to Support School Attendance:

  1. Let children know that you value their education.  Insist they go every day.
  2. Talk to you child about school.  Is your child struggling with schoolwork, classmates, or other problems? Ask how you can help.
  3. Discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher(s).  Ask them to help if needed.
  4. Does your child need a tutor or assessment for special services? Ask for referrals to community programs, and don’t hesitate to use counseling services.
  5. Get to know your child’s friends and their families.
  6. Support/follow school policies.


Second Step Bully Prevention Lessons

To further help our school be a safe, kind, and respectful place, we are implementing the Second Step Bullying  Prevention Unit.  In the lessons, your child will learn specific skills to help stop bullying.  Students will learn how to:

  • Recognize when bullying is happening
  • Report bullying to a caring adult
  • Refuse to let bullying happen to themselves or others
  • Be a bystander who stands up and is part of the solution to bullying

Traditionally, bullying is recognized and defined by three characteristics.  It is aggressive behavior that:

  1. Is repeated over time
  2. Occurs in a relationship where there is a power imbalance
  3. Intends to cause harm or distress

(Committee for Children, 2013)

We need your help.  Get involved in making our school a safe and respectful place by letting us know if you hear about bullying at our school.  Make sure your child knows to tell you or someone at school if he or she is being bullied.  And give your child the clear message that it is never okay to bully others.





American Education Week 2014

American Education Week is November 17 – 21, 2014. It presents all Americans with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. This year’s theme is “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.” and will be reflected in special observances each day of the week-long celebration.

For more information, check out the National Education Association’s website.

Park Elementary’s Great Book Swap

During the week of November 17-21,  Park Elementary will be collecting books for a “book swap”.  The swap will take place on Monday, November 24th.  Please read the details below, take a few minutes to clean out your bookshelf, and join in the fun!

1. Students can bring gently-used, good condition children’s books to school on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (11/17-19).

2. For each book a student brings, (s)he will select a different gently-used, good condition book; the maximum is five books. This will take place during recess on Monday, November 24.  If a student brings more than 5 books, those will be considered a donation towards students who are unable to bring a book to swap. Books published in 2005 or newer and in good condition will be exchanged for like books. Books published 2004 and older and in good condition will be exchanged for like books.

3. To be considered for the swap, books must be appropriate for and geared towards children grades 2-5. Appropriate examples include: children’s chapter books, picture books, nonfiction. No board books or adult books, please.

Questions? Contact Ms. Shadis, Teacher-Librarian.

Let the sharing begin!

Let the sharing begin!

POSTPONED – Section 504 Training


The Section 504 Training scheduled for February 19, 2015 has been postponed. Please watch your email for new details.

2016-2017 Yearbook Information





Order a Hutchinson Tiger Yearbook!

Edited 8-25-16120x90buy1 Yearbook graphic for school website




West Elementary Buddy Bench

The West Elementary playground has a new addition this fall, a Buddy Bench.  The Buddy Bench is an idea inspired by Christian, a first grader in Pennsylvania, to eliminate loneliness and promote inclusion on the playground.  Our students are encouraged to use the Buddy Bench when they are having trouble finding someone to play with.  Students can show kindness and respect by asking someone on the bench to join their friends.  We are excited to have this addition on our playground and hope it will provide a way to make friends and put and end to kids being lonely at recess.

Buddy Bench

Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the Cycle

By Daron VanderHeiden, Superintendent


Educational researchers have known for many years that k-12 educational achievement is directly tied to social economic status. This data shows the more affluent students are, the better they do in school– plain and simple.  This holds true at the local, state, and national levels.  Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, but not many.  The prison systems are full of young men that cannot read; many did not graduate from high school, and most grew up poor, or in poverty. In general, parents who were successful in school tend to support education at a higher level than those who were not successful in school themselves. Dysfunction in families and school failure go hand-in-hand.  I could cite countless research studies and evidence to prove to any non-believers that these are facts and this is the reality of our society.

So, is it a coincidence that poor kids are not as smart as their wealthier counterparts? Or, boys of poverty cannot learn to read as well as wealthier boys and girls? Of course not, it would be absurd to believe this. I do not believe it is a wealth proposition; I believe it is a value proposition.

As a teacher, building principal, and now school superintendent, I have firsthand knowledge of this grim educational reality at the local level. As a school district and community, we need to break this cycle for our at-risk kids.  Educational attainment and achievement have never been more important to our students’ future. Public education is a means to break this cycle of poverty, unemployment, and incarceration.

As a parent, rich or poor, it is important to support and value education on a daily basis. You can provide this support in a few simple, no-cost ways.

Read, read, and read some more.  This cannot be overstated, especially during the language development years of a child and early literacy stages. This starts literally at birth and extends to approximately third grade. Read to your children as often as possible, and as your child gets older, role model reading whenever you can.  Fill your home with age-appropriate reading material.  Those students reading at grade level by third grade tend to do well in school.

Communicate with your child’s teacher(s) on a regular basis and especially if your child is struggling in a specific content area. Share your child’s strengths with their teacher(s).   Communicate early and often, before your child gets too far behind. It is important for your child to know you and your child’s teacher are on the same page, and you are both there to support them in their academic success. Support your child’s teacher(s), as they are the educational experts.

Structure: children like structure because they know what they can count on.  As a parent, develop homework and study routines and stick to them.  Make sure your child has a regular bedtime that provides adequate sleep. Demand and make sure your child attends school every day. Develop high expectations for the completion of homework and doing their best in school.

Value education through your actions and words on a daily basis. Kids are very intuitive and know if you are giving them lip service, or if you really believe it yourself. Your attitude toward school and learning will rub off on your child over time, positively or negatively.

Hutchinson Public Schools are here to partner with you. These simple, no-cost educational supports will make a difference for your child over time. Educational attainment is not a wealth proposition; it is a value proposition.  Rich or poor, all of our kids deserve and need a high quality education. Value education and help break the cycle.

School Closings

During the winter months, the superintendent encounters the challenging task of deciding if we should have school during inclement weather conditions.  After contacting area weather and road condition experts, he makes this decision in the best interest of student safety.

Student Absences Due to Weather:

Parents always have the right to keep their children home because of weather conditions.  If you feel that road conditions or weather conditions make it unsafe for your children to attend, please have them remain at home. Students will be able to make up any work missed.  Please call your child’s school and advise them of the reason your child will be absent that day.

School Closing Information: (No school, late starts, etc.)

For weather-related closings tune to the radio and TV stations listed below or refer to the home page on the district website at  Please do not call the radio/TV stations or the schools.  We need to keep our school lines open.

KDUZ 1260 AM
KARP 106.9 FM

“No school” means all students are excused from attending (Pre-K-12, including ALC).  It also means that any extra-curricular practices or contests are canceled.

Early School Closing Information: (School closing earlier than usual because a storm is moving in or weather conditions have become worse.)

Closing time will be expressed in terms of number of hours early (e.g. 2 hours early means that if your student normally arrives home at 3:30 pm and school is let out two hours early due to inclement weather, your student will arrive home at approximately 1:30 pm). Please be mindful that bus transportation may be delayed due to the inclement weather and road conditions.

Bus routes will run the same as other days but will be earlier.  In the extreme case where buses are unable to transport students, these students will be sheltered in the school until the parents/or guardians pick them up or other arrangements are made.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding regarding this important matter.

Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools