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 January 2016

Prescription Drug Abuse

Student’s Prescription Drug Abuse has Competition
With Brain Boosting Stimulants

By Carmen Morrow, Chemical Health Specialist,  District 423

There has been a shift in what type of student is abusing prescription and over the counter stimulants. Welcome to the students who are high achievers and want to gain an advantage on their competition. Movies like “Limitless” and “Lucy” have appeared to add an interest in the power of smart drugs.

In our society today, there appears to be a pill for almost everything. Adolescents and adults want a quick fix. A pill that will make us feel good, take away physical pain, emotional pain, numb our feelings, escape from the world’s pressures, and now even boost brain power.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Prescription drug abuse is a serious global problem that has more than quadrupled since the 1999.” The NIDA states that when it comes to prescription drug abuse we often think of painkillers or opiates. While this statement is true that these are the most commonly abused prescription drugs causing serious addiction, we often forget about the stimulants.  Usher in an age where we want to be alert, have extra energy, and outperform others around us. A world where academic success and long hours help you achieve goals: goals that will help you receive financial rewards or recognition.

An interesting fact according to Tom Ashbook from On Point is that “The United States has four percent of the world’s population, and produces 88 percent of the world’s legal stimulant drugs.” Commonly used stimulants are; caffeine, energy drinks, ADHD medication; Adderall, Ritalin and other brain enhancer pills like Addium and Modafuni. Most of these are easy to obtain or available if you ask the right people.  Students can borrow from a friend, find a dealer or in some cases, order the drug online. Each drug has its own chemical characteristics and side effects which are unique to each user.  The uncertainties of these mind-body reactions is frightening as they can cause serious health issues.

In the last few years, there has been a shift in what type of individuals use these stimulants and the reasons behind the use.  Many would think of these students as the “good kid” or “high achieving.”  However, the pressure to succeed at academics, ACT scores, or to be alert for online gaming sessions often causes our students to look for Adderall, Ritalin or a similar stimulant to keep them going for both academics and entertainment. The NIDA reports that “The drug Ritalin and Adderall, which is normally prescribed for students with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), is now often taken by college students wanting an edge on improving their focus, memory and mental energy. For those without the ADHD disorder, the drugs can be dangerous and have serious side effects. Their brains are still developing and taking stimulants can be dangerous to our brain functions, mental health and body. Insomnia is not a benefit but a side effect.  Our brain needs adequate sleep to repair and rebuild, brain cells, what most students don’t realize is that addiction occurs with stimulants too.  They are highly addictive and regular use leads to tolerance. Which means that, students need to take more to get the same results. These ADHD drugs are legal only if you have a doctor’s prescription. Obtaining these drugs illegally can have some serious consequences.”

Studies have repeatedly shown that smart drugs don’t actually boost your intelligence but they’re pretty good at making you think that you’re performing better.

You have only one brain. You can artificially stimulate it for perceived short-term benefits or you can nourish and protect it so that it stays sharp for a lifetime. A better choice would be for students to start the day with a moderate amount of their favorite brain-boosting beverage like coffee, tea, hot chocolate or a cappuccino and a breathing and mindfulness session for focus and energy. Students may want to choose these temporary mind-altering short cuts but they need adults to teach and model healthy life coping alternatives.

Tigers of the Week – Real World Design Challenge Team

Congratulations to the HHS Real World Design Challenge team on being named this week’s TIGERs of the Week.  They will be heading to the national competition in March.

RWDC Team of Austin Kopesky, Jacob Jahner, Alex Nelson, Jacob Inselman, Spencer Johnson, Matthew Tretting, and Anthony Sterner

The team won the state championship due to their hard work and dedication. The team designed an Unmanned Aerial System that would be able to detect the amount of moisture in crop land by use of a drone and thermal camera imaging.  They showed tenacity by regaining the state championship and respect for team members views, ideas, and passion in designing their project.

Congratulations Real World Design Challenge Team!

Tigers of the Week – Paige Schilling and Jake Lenz

Congratulations Paige Schilling and Jake Lenz!


Paige Schilling – Dance

Paige is a member of the varsity high kick and varsity jazz teams.  She was awarded All Conference this weekend at the Wright County Conference Championship.  Due to Paige’s experience from last year, other dancers look up to Paige’s competitiveness and focus it takes approaching section tournament time.  Paige always gives 100% at practice from the moment practice begins until the moment practice ends.  She respects her teammates when giving and receiving constructive criticism.  Paige is a very driven teammate that wants herself and her team to become better each day.


Jake Lenz – Boys Hockey

Jake was instrumental in stopping the opponent’s top lines.  His energy on the ice was contagious and he was very difficult to play against.  Jake is not afraid to do the tough work to help the team be successful.  His attitude toward the game is refreshing and would never to anything to disrespect his opponents.  His efforts make those around him better.  Jake gives 100% every day and  continually shows respect for everyone involved with the game of hockey.

Inclement Weather

Dear Parents/Guardians:

During the winter months, I encounter the challenging task of deciding if we should have school during inclement weather conditions.  After contacting area weather and road condition experts, I make 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.

Daron VanderHeiden
Superintendent of Schools

Develop Good Study Habits Now

Develop Good Study Habits Now
By Sherry Mischel-Nagy, Licensed School Counselor

High school is a prime time to develop good study habits that will carry into college courses and make those college courses a little more manageable.  Students should learn how to study smart, rather than relying on studying hard before tests and hoping to pass.  

One important step to think about is matching your approach to studying to how you learn best.  If flash cards work best for you, make your own.  Do you learn better discussing material with someone?  Make sure you have a study partner.  Does drawing or mapping key concepts work best?  Take the time to do this – every night!  Do you need peace and quiet to study effectively?  Find a space that is free from distractions and you feel comfortable in.  This may not be your room, or even your house.  Maybe it’s the public library.  Or, are you someone who needs frequent breaks?  Maybe studying after working out would be best, or just getting outside even for five minutes to break up the time can be helpful.

Figuring some of these things out before you graduate and start college classes will be very beneficial, whether you plan to go to a two year, or a four year school.  Even some technical programs require a course or two that is not all hands-on and will require some studying.  College classes are different from high school classes!  You may only attend class for an hour three times each week, but instructors expect that you will spend time outside of class reading material, studying, and doing homework.  

One important tip is to always GO to class.  Sit in the front if possible as you’ll be more likely to hear well and less likely to be distracted.  Participate in class!  It will help you gain a better understanding of the material.  Another very important tip is to not only take good notes, but to review those notes daily as a natural part of your study routine.  Pulling an all-nighter, or cramming is really the worst way to study.  Make sure you actually do all of the required reading.  You will be expected to know material from a textbook that the instructor will not necessarily go over in class.  Finally, work at being organized and using your time wisely.  Plan your study time – when and where you will do it.  Allow yourself some breaks.  Constant studying is difficult.  Your brain needs an occasional break!  You can even work in some rewards for yourself as you study.

In this digital age, there are many apps that students can use to help them study.  Two to check out are Quizlet and MyHomework.  Quizlet allows students to create their own flashcards and other study aids.  MyHomework helps students keep track of homework and class schedules, due dates, and will send reminders to help them stay organized.  A good website with many resources is  This website even has tips on how to handle test anxiety.  Good study habits in high school should carry over into college and should help make college courses more manageable and maybe even a little bit easier.

Tigers of the Week – Kyle Graf and Ellie Larson

Congratulations to Tiger of the Week
Kyle Graf and Ellie Larson

Kyle Graf – Boys Hockey

Kyle had an outstanding weekend for Hutchinson hockey, leading the team with 9 total points which helped secure two road wins.  Kyle uses his speed an work ethic to his and the team’s advantage.  He has shown that hard work on and off the ice will contribute to team success.  His work ethic is contagious and instrumental in promoting the team concept.  He displays respect for the game, teammates, opponents, and officials.


Ellie Larson – Girls Hockey

Ellie has 7 power play goals this season and 22 total points.  She helped lead the team against St. Peter, scoring two goals in the game.  She always plays hard and treats every situation like it may determine the outcome of the game.  Ellie gives it her all every drill and every shift.  She has earned the respect of her coaches by being a good sport, being smart on the ice, and being coachable and always being willing to learn.

Tigers of the Week – Erin Corrigan & Andrew Schmidt

Congratulations Tigers of the Week
Erin Corrigan and Andrew Schmidt!

Erin Corrigan – Girls Basketball

Led the Hutchinson girl’s basketball team to the Alexandria Holiday Tournament championship. Scored 17 points and
grabbed 6 rebounds against Buffalo.  Erin plays extremely hard every possession and her approach to her teammates
and her commitment are attributes of a Tiger Captain.  Erin’s effort level is superior to anyone I have coached.  The only
thing that matches this is her competitiveness level.  The way Erin treats her coaches and teammates is something I will
ask all my captains to strive for.


Andrew Schmidt – Boys Basketball

Led the team in scoring with 19 points against a tough Worthington team.  Andrew plays with a lot of heart.  He practices as hard as he plays.  Andrew is a team captain and he handles himself with integrity.  He always pushes his teammates
do the same.  He displays great sportsmanship.  Andrew works extremely hard.  He works extremely hard on both
ends of the court. Andrew is respectful to everyone he is around.  He leads by example in practice and in games.

Tigers of the Week – Dylan Pundsack & Morgan Kurth

Congratulations to Tigers of the Week Dylan Pundsack and Morgan Kurth!

Dylan Pundsack – Wrestling

Dylan placed in the annual Big Bear tournament for the fourth time in his career.  Dylan shows great intensity throughout his matches and always displays good sportsmanship.  Dylan was asked to drop down a weight class against conference opponent Waconia and delivered with a very dramatic match.  His effort went above and beyond, putting in time before and after practice in order to drop down a weight class.


Morgan Kurth – Girls Basketball

Over the first 6 games, Morgan is shooting 57.7% from the field, scoring 14.2 points per game.  She also averages 2 steals and 4 rebounds per game.  No one works harder than Morgan and she will always be the first one to tell you “good job”.  She comes to practice and games with a smile on her face.  Effort is probably her strongest trait, she gets the most out of her talents through her hard work and effort.

Better Fuel = Better Performance

Better Fuel = Better Performance

What you put into your body
determines how you will perform
physically and mentally.


Click Here to Learn More

Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools