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Student/Family Handbook

Welcome to SES!

We are excited you have decided to join our community. At the School of Environmental Studies, our school vision is to be "a thoughtful community of leaders engaging with others to create a sustainable world." Please use the information below as a resource for a successful school year.

District 196 logo

SES is part of District 196

We have the same expectations as the rest of the district.

District's Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook


for support accessing Schoology as a parent, click the picture

All SES courses will have a Schoology page that students are required to interact with regularly. Parents are encouraged to also monitor these pages. In addition to having general course information, parents can access the gradebook for that class, as well. For support accessing Schoology as a parent, click the Schoology icon.


Every student is issued a district-owned iPad for academic purposes. There are basic district expectations that every student should be aware of which can be found here. Resources for parents regarding iPad usage can be found here.

Additionally, there are expectations that are specific to the SES community regarding iPad use. They are:

  • All students will label their charging cord and brick with their name.

  • All students will bring their iPad fully charged EVERY DAY.

  • All students will use their iPads for learning. Cell phones are not an alternative device for iPads.

  • Students may use their phone to listen to music at appropriate work times, but playlists should be set up in advance.

  • Staff will work to set up charging stations in classrooms and houses.


We understand phones have become an important part of most people's lives. We also know they can be distracting in school and work environments. Therefore, when it comes to phones at school, we ask:

  • Phones should be out of sight and silent during classes (in bags, at pod desks, etc).
  • Teachers will do their best to plan for tech breaks during class, so students know they’ll have an appropriate time to check them. If a student hasn't been instructed that a time is a designated tech break, students should not have their phones out.

  • Students may use phones if directed to by a teacher.

  • Students may use phones to listen to music at appropriate work times, but playlists should be set up in advance. They must use ear buds/headphones to listen to music.

  • Headphones/earbuds/airpods should be stored in a school bag unless directed otherwise.

If a student has issues following phone expectations, they teacher will address it with the student. If it persists, they will be sent to the office and the following could occur:

  • student will be instructed to leave their phone in the office for the duration of the day
  • the office will hold on to the phone until a meeting with a parent has happened
  • a cell phone usage contract could be created
  • detention or ISS could be issued


Many students at SES elect to have a Study Hall during their school day. We value these opportunities for students because it is a time for them to get caught up on work they may be behind on, learn about what they missed when they were absent, work with peers on group projects, etc. In order to ensure Study Halls are used as productively as possible, we ask that students:

  • Make a to do list for that block in their planners/on a post-it after attendance has been taken.
  • For students who have Study Hall in House, students who wish to work with others will remain in the centrum. Pods are reserved for individual work.

  • Students need to be seated on chairs (no floors).

  • Each study hall will have a sign in/sign out list kept in a central location. Students will sign out for all reasons, including the bathroom.

  • If students are done with work, students should consider some of the following possible activities to use their time well:

    • Review grades and assignments in Schoology

    • Think through any longer-term assignments and tests and what could be done proactively

    • Check out a book from the library.

    • Do some service: food waste reduction, collecting lunch trays, cleaning, watering plants, etc.

SES Bell Schedule for the 22-23 School Year:

Block 1: 7:35 – 9:05

Block 2: 9:08 – 10:37

Block 3: 10:40 – 12:09

Lunch 1: 11:42 – 12:12 (Rose House, Gold House)

Lunch 2: 12:12 – 12:42 (Blue House, Green House)

Block 4: 12:45 – 2:15

*3 minute passing time between each transition


The School of Environmental Studies believes that attendance is essential for student success. In addition to valuable instruction that happens in each class every day, students are also given resources, time to work with peers and staff, and experiences that are invaluable to support learning and preparedness for life after SES. District 196’s attendance policy can be found here.

Below are the highlights specific to SES:


For the 22-23 school year, the school day starts at 7:35am. Students are expected to be seated in class at that time each day. The front and back doors to the school are unlocked until that time. If a student arrives at school after 7:35am, they can only enter the building through our front doors. Once they enter the front entryway, they will need to use the doorbell that is located on the wall to notify the front desk they are here. The door will be opened for the student and they MUST report directly to the front office:

  • The student will be given a pass to go to class

  • Their attendance will be changed from “absent” to “tardy” in the system

  • Their tardy will be recorded. Students who get three tardies in one trimester to the same class will be given lunch detention. If the issue persists, further intervention, including parent meetings, or In School Suspension are possible

  • Please note, students who arrive to any class more than 15 minutes late will be marked ABSENT (not tardy) to their class)

Once the school day has started, students arriving habitually late to classes (Blocks 2, 3, or 4) will be referred to the office for intervention.

Students who take classes at their home high schools during the day may need to leave early or arrive late to/from classes at SES. This is approved and students will not be marked tardy in these instances. However, they must discuss the need for an altered schedule with the teacher whose class they are missing. Together, there will be an agreement about the student's unique circumstances. Students are then expected to follow those agreed upon time frames and could be marked tardy if they deviate from them.


We understand that sometimes students need to miss school. When this happens, parents must notify the school in one of two ways:

  • call the school at (952) 431-8750
  • use Report an Absence online

If your student is missing more than three days of school due to a health-related issue, please call our School Nurse, Jenni Greseth, at (952) 431-8796. If they are missing school due to mental health reasons, please call either Counselor Nathan Nelson at (952) 431-8798, Dean of Students, Trent Thompson at (952) 431-8797, or School Psychologist, Terri Cairns at (952) 431-8750. We are here to help you problem solve! For a list of absences that are considered "excused," please visit the district website.

Families will receive letters home in the mail when their student has missed 3, 6, 7, and 10 days per trimester. Once a student misses 6 days in a trimester (excluding the types of absences specified in section 3.1 in the District guidelines), a meeting with the student, parent/guardian, and administrator wiIl need to occur. At this meeting, an administrator will review and investigate the reasons for the absences and determine a course of action which may include one or more of the following:

  • Parent/Student meeting

  • Parent/Student meeting with teacher(s) and counselor, and/or

  • Development of an attendance intervention plan (including the possible loss of credit if attendance does not improve)


  • The school day is from 7:35 am-2:15 pm daily.
  • The building opens each day at 7:15am, when teachers and office staff start their work day.
  • If a student needs to be dropped to school prior to 7:15am, they will have access to the front entryway between the two sets of front doors starting at 6:45am. This area is heated/air conditioned, has outlets for charging devices, and a few benches to sit on while they wait.
  • If a student is staying in the building after school ends at 2:15, they must be in the Forum area unless they have a prearranged meeting/activity with a teacher.
  • All students must leave the building by 3:15pm, when teachers' work days ends.
  • If a student needs to stay at school past 3:15pm, they are welcome to wait in the entryway of the building.


  • Like all District 196 schools, SES has a school lunch program from which students are welcome to purchase their lunches and breakfasts:
  • Students are welcome to bring a lunch from home. We encourage the use of reusable containers and silverware when possible
  • All students are encouraged to participate in SES' "Support the Sort" program. We ask students to try to reduce the amount thrown in the landfill by considering the following:
    • first, only take or bring the amount of food you want to eat
    • second, consider sharing any unopened leftovers that have not been opened by using our share table
    • next, compost what you can. At SES we can compost any fruit or vegetable
    • recycle what packaging you are able to
    • what's left goes in the landfill
  • SES encourages students to get some fresh air and consider eating outside at lunchtime. We are NOT and open campus. Students may only eat in the designated areas. Leaving those areas without permission will result in revocation of the privilege to eat outdoors
  • Students are NOT allowed to order carry out food to be delivered during the school day


SES serves upperclassmen who are preparing for college or the workforce. We trust students know how to use their time in a respectful, responsible manner. Therefore, if a student needs to use the restroom, get a drink, or see the nurse, we ask they:

  • wait until passing time, if possible

  • let a teacher know if they must leave during a class (different teachers will have different ways they manage this. They should avoid times before teachers have taken attendance and given initial instructions for the large group)

  • use their best judgment to determine an appropriate time to excuse themselves from class if they can't wait until passing time (i.e: when they won't be missing important instruction or be a distraction to others)

  • take care of the their needs in a timely manner and return to class without disrupting others

Only students who demonstrate they cannot meet these expectations will be asked to use passes to leave class to use the restroom or get a drink.

Passes from the Health Office: Students must check out of classes with their teacher and will receive a pass from the Health office to return to class.

For students who prefer to use a nonbinary bathroom, the front office has a bathroom that is always available.


The SES vision statement is: "A thoughtful community of leaders engaging with others to create a sustainable world." Sometimes students make choices that are not as thoughtful as they would have wished. When these instances happen, SES refers to the districtwide Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook for guidance on how to handle the situation. There may be occasions when the use of other interventions to repair the harm are an options, such as:

  • Detention- SES has detention during lunch. If a student is issued a lunch detention, they are expected to report to the front office at the start of lunch to check in and turn in their phone. They will then be excused to get a lunch, if needed. They are expected to eat and work on homework quietly for the rest of their lunch hour. It is NOT the office's responsibility to remind students they have lunch detention. Students who are late or do not show up to lunch detention will be issued additional consequences.
  • In School Suspension (ISS)- Students may be assigned the consequence of spending their school day (or a portion of it) in ISS. In this case, parents will be notified and a student will sign a contract, agreeing to the expectations associated with ISS
  • Out of School Suspension- Some situations require a student be assigned out of school suspension time. Parents will be notified and paperwork will be sent home. Students who have been suspended out of school are not allowed on school grounds at any time for the duration of their suspension. It is the student's responsibility to check Schoology and keep up with missed course work while they are out. If they have questions about an assignment, it is their responsibility to contact their teacher(s).

In every disciplinary situation, we strive to have the harm repaired in a restorative manner. There may be times when the interventions listed above are used in conjunction with other responses that better repair the situation. In these cases, parents and students will work with Administration to determine an appropriate plan for all stakeholders involved.


At SES we believe layering real world, thoughtful experiences on top of rigorous academic work is what deepens learning. Therefore, our faculty strives to get students out of our building. This could mean bringing them across the street to Lebanon Hills Park, walking to the MN Zoo, or exploring our own 12 acre campus. Outside learning is possibility everyday; so students can store walking shoes and outdoor gear in their Pods.

Additionally, there are times when leaving our campus is the best way to facilitate learning for students. In these cases teachers may have students ride a school bus to a location and permission slips and other pertinent information will be sent to families. Another way we are able to get students to important off-site places is through carpooling. Since SES students are all in grades 11 and 12, many students are able to help drive their peers local places as part of planned course work.

In order for this type of learning to be successful, parents/guardians need to sign consent. That form needs to be completed annually and can be found here. If a family decides carpooling is not right for them, they can indicate that on the form as well.

Student collecting outdoor plot data


SES is fortunate to partner with the four comprehensive high schools in ISD 196: Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview, and Rosemount. Students who attend SES are able to take a class at their home high school if that course is not offered at SES (the most common examples are: Choir, Band, and World Language classes). When this is the right fit for a student, they must work with Administration to create a schedule that accommodates both their home high school class and their SES classes. These circumstances are unique to each student, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Students are permitted to leave/arrive to SES a few minutes early or late to accommodate traveling time to/from their home high schools. Typically this is about 10-15 minutes but should be communicated directly with the teacher whose class they are missing.
  • Students are only permitted to go directly to and/or from school to school. They are NOT allowed to stop for food, gas, to pick up others, etc.
  • SES parking passes ARE accepted at home high schools- students do NOT need to purchase one at each school


It's essential that students and staff at SES feel safe. In accordance with state law, we practice drills during the school year so students understand what to do in case of different emergency situations:

  • Stay in Place Drill: this is something we practice to prepare for a variety of possible situations (i.e: a person in the building is having a medical emergency that requires paramedics and we'd like hallways to be clear, or there is a situation in the community where students are not imminently in danger but we'd like to minimize transitions, etc). In the event we would need to use this, an announcement would be made that we need to stay in place until further notice. Students would be asked to remain in the classroom they are currently assigned to, despite the bell potentially ringing.. If a student or class is not in their classroom for some reason, they will be expected to return to their assigned classroom at that time as quickly as possible. Students and parents should NOT assume they are in danger in the event this happens.

  • Tornado/Storm Drill: In the event of severe weather, students and staff are expected to move to an area in the building that is free from windows. Each room in the building has a map that shows the closest places to each location. An announcement will be made over the loud speaker and students should calmly make their way to the designated area. They should stay there until another announcement is made, indicating the threat of harm has passed.

  • Fire Drill: If there is a fire in the building, an alarm will sound throughout the building. Students and staff should make their way to the closest door to evacuate the building (there are maps in each room to identify the closest door). students are to make their way across the parking lots (front or back) to give room for fire trucks or other emergency vehicles. They should wait with the staff in charge and listen for the message containing the next step.

  • An Intruder in the Building: In the unlikely event that an intruder enters the building with intent to harm, there is an emergency button that will be pushed in the front office. When it is pushed, the local police and the district office are notified. Additionally, an automated voice recording plays that says, "Attention everyone, there is an emergency in the building. This is not a drill" several times in a row. We will allow students to practice hearing the message and think through what they might do, should it need to be used. The best information we have from law enforcement regarding safety in situations like these is to consider three different actions, based on the information the adults in the room are giving you:

    • Run: if the location of the intruder is known and a safe route can be determined, students and staff should run in the opposite direction, out of the building. We have an agreement with the Minnesota Zoo that we can use their property as a reunification site. The agreed upon location is the Zoo gate by the West end of the SES parking lot.

    • Hide: if it makes more sense to hide, students and staff should do so in an area out of view from the intruder. They should lock or block the door and remain quiet (including silencing cell phones)

    • Fight: this is a last resort in situations like these

Due to the variable nature of the circumstances of situations like these, students will not practice the above during a drill. Instead, they will listen to the automated message and then discuss the different options and when each choice may or may not be appropriate.

SES will do drills for the situations mentioned above one time per trimester on a designated “Safety Day.” We will have an altered schedule on these days and will devote the time needed to ensure students understand what to do in case of an emergency.

Should there ever be an emergency event at SES, please rest assured that our first priority is to keep every student safe. Please understand that calling the school or your student may not be the safest, most efficient way to get information. Instead, the District Office will work with us to communicate to families using automated calls and emails.