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 2017

Tiger of the Week: Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 2017 – Abbie Hatlestad

Congrats to Abbie, our Tiger of the Week for November 27 – December 1

Abbie Hatlestad – Dance

Abbie is an excellent role model for new and veteran dancers. She comes to practice each day with a positive attitude and a tremendous work ethic. She is a determined individual when setting and meeting individual and team goals. Abbie never underestimates the power of collaboration and loyalty. She represents what all artists and athletes strive to be.

Are the kids alright?

A Look at Mental Health

By Antonia Barrick, Health Services Coordinator


“Recent estimates indicate that mental health issues affect 20-25% of children and adolescents in the United States, and of these, only 36% receive mental health services” (Bains & Diallo, 2016). As parents and adults we have seen the increase in reports related to mental health concerns across our country and even worldwide. The terrorist attacks, the shootings, celebrity deaths, the protests and so on. It feels like this has become our new norm. However, we need to take back the health of our kids and support them.

Youth suicide has been an increased concern for our public and with reports of suicide being the third leading cause of death for youth ages 10-19 we need to figure out how to support our youth (Strunk, et al,2014). It is reported the majority of youth having suicidal ideation do not seek out help from an adult but rather a friend (Strunk, et al, 2014). This means we need to look for signs of mental health concerns in our kids, teach our children to ask for help when they are approached by friends, and have resources available. “Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help” (NAMI, n.d.). Having open conversations and not overreacting to your child’s feelings and needs is essential in building a supportive relationship. Starting this process early can help you identify if there are small changes in your child’s health and when interventions are needed. Discuss what you are seeing and suggest a plan. Remember be patient, understanding and provide hope.

Each mental health illness has its own symptoms, but common signs can include the following for adults/adolescents:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gains or concern with appearance

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums” (NAMI, n.d.)

As parents, guardians, and trusted adults in our youth’s life we want to know what we can do!

  • Don’t buy into the stigma- separate the illness from the person
  • Expect decent behavior- lay out what you need from the individual and use specific language i.e. if you continue to scream at me I will not communicate with you.
  • Learn to communicate effectively- say “I am concerned that you don’t seem interested in what I am saying” instead of “You’re not listening to me”.
  • See it from their perspective- how are they feeling
  • Focus on the larger goal- we may become defensive at times, but look at what you want to accomplish and take a step back and think if this will be beneficial for our goal.
  • Use direct, simple, clear, language and describe what you want and why- i.e. “Please read and sign them before we have lunch. I’d feel relieved knowing they’re done, and we can enjoy the rest of the afternoon knowing you’re ready for school”

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care professional for further guidance and support for you and your child.

NAMI (n.d.). Received from:

NAMI (n.d.). Received from:

Strunk, C.M., Sorter, M.T., Ossege, J., King, K.A. (2014). Emotionally Troubled Teens’ Help-Seeking Behaviors: An Evaluation of Surviving the Teens Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program. The Journal for School Nursing 30(5) p 366-375 doi: 10.1177/1059840513511494

Bains, R.M., Diallo, A.F. (2016). Mental Health Services in School-Based Health Centers: Systematic Review. The Journal for School Nursing 32(1) p. 8-19. Doi: 10.1177/1059840515590607

Activity Schedule: November 27 – December 2, 2017

Click Here for this weeks activities schedule.

Activities Department

Thayne Johnson, Activities Director
Lori Mittelsteadt, Administrative Assistant



Tiger of the Week November 20-24, 2017 – Alex Hantge

Our TIGER of the Week for November 20 – 24 is Alex Hantge – Girls Hockey

Alex made an outstanding play to set up the first goal of the season. In the first 2 games she has 1 goal and 2 assists.  She  works hard on and off the ice every single day. She sets the tone at practice with her effort and positive attitude. Alex is always willing to learn and try new things that will help the team. She is a great play-maker on the ice and has the ability to make everyone who plays with her a little bit better. Although she is only a sophomore, she has a good deal of varsity experience and her leadership has had a big influence on the team in the first two games of the season.

Activity Schedule: November 20-25, 2017

Click Here for this weeks activities schedule.

Activities Department

Thayne Johnson, Activities Director
Lori Mittelsteadt, Administrative Assistant



Snow Days – Winter is Coming

By Daron VanderHeiden, Superintendent

As we approach the Winter season in Minnesota, we also enter the associated dilemmas of snow days, late starts, and early dismissals.

As a kid, I remember how excited I got when hearing about the looming threat of snow storms.  I was focused on the possibility of having NO SCHOOL, and the money-making potential I had with my shovel in hand.  Of course, I had to do our family’s driveway and sidewalk first. How time has changed my view towards snowstorms.  Rather than causing excitement, now the threat of bad weather brings with it a heavy weight.

Despite what you may hear in the community, there really is a rhyme and reason for the decisions that are made concerning opening and closing schools due to inclement weather conditions. I can assure you, it has nothing to do with funding, employee contracts, or make-up days, and everything to do with safety.

Weather is unpredictable and if you do not like the current weather in Minnesota, wait 20 minutes and it will change!  Yes, that is true to some extent; however, current weather forecasting technologies are quite accurate.   As we prepare for the possibility of bad weather, we will rely on this information to assist us in making sound decisions.

Roads.  Who knows roads better than the people who have been plowing them for years?  We confer with transportation personnel in a real-time setting as they are plowing or not plowing roads due to conditions.  These snow plow drivers are a huge asset when making effective decisions.

North, south, east, and west.  The weather and road conditions can vary significantly in different areas of the school district.  Our district is expansive in size and that, too, makes a difference in decisions.  The weather you and your distant neighbors on the other side of the district are experiencing, may be quite different.

Bus drivers.  Nobody understands student transportation better than seasoned, veteran bus drivers.  They understand the road conditions and the strengths and limitations of a school bus.  We rely heavily on their opinions in making decisions.

Safety.  Safety is the number one priority of the district.  We want our students, families, and staff to be safe as they travel to and from school.  We are always concerned about the safety of students and staff, and this concern heightens as the roads and weather conditions worsen.

Parents.  Parents always have the final say in sending their children to school or not as it relates to bad weather.  If you do not feel comfortable putting your child on the bus because of bad weather, we understand and will respect that decision. We ask that you contact your child’s school office and inform them of your decision. If you are a parent, please consider alternative plans for the potential of a late start, early dismissal, or school closure now when you have the time to communicate these plans with your children and the other trusted adults involved.

Most often, weather-related decisions about school closures are not ones that satisfy everyone.  The final decision to close or open school rests with me. These decisions are not taken lightly. A system of procedures and information-gathering is used and the safety of our students and staff is always the bottom line.

Tiger of the Week: November 13-18, 2017

Congratulations to Lexi Kucera,  our TIGER of the Week for November 13 – 18.

Lexi Kucera – Girls Swim and Dive

Lexi won both of her individual events at the section meet and was part of two winning relays.  She has been a “go to” swimmer for the team all season long. We are lucky to be able to put her in almost any event and count a first place finish.


Activity Schedule: November 13-18, 2017

Click Here for this weeks activities schedule.

Activities Department

Thayne Johnson, Activities Director
Lori Mittelsteadt, Administrative Assistant



Wall of Fame Nominations

Nominations for candidates for the 2018 Wall of Fame are now being accepted.

Categories include

  • Coach/Advisor
  • Athlete
  • Fan
  • Outstanding Graduate
  • Fine Arts

Each person inducted into the Wall of Fame will have their picture and synopsis displayed at the Hutchinson High School. The Induction Ceremony will take place before the homecoming football game in 2018.

Nominations are due by May 15, 2018.

Click Here for the Nomination Form

Tigers of the Week: November 6-10, 2017

Our TIGERs of the Week for November 6 – 10 both come from the fall musical “The Music Man”.  Congratulations to John and Paige.

John Oeltjenbruns – Fall Musical

John turned in a great performance as Charlie Cowell in the Fall Musical.  John worked hard on his character. He was always ready to lend a hand whenever needed. He put a great deal of effort into rehearsals and worked to bring out the best in his fellow cast mates.

Paige Jurek – Fall Musical

Paige did a fantastic job as Student Manager for the fall musical. She was reliable, kept many details organized and was always ready to lend a hand. She worked to bring out the best in her fellow cast mates.

Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools