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Weekly Wednesday Update April 8

Does your student need a little infusion of SES Community Spirit?? 

Encourage them to participate in the SES School Spirit Challenges via FlipGrid!

During this time of distance learning and socially distancing, we need something to bring us back together.  And so we have for you… SES SPIRIT DAYS!! Every Wednesday during distance learning (and maybe a few bonus days here and there) we will be having themed dress-up days to keep ourselves connected within the SES community, even though we are all so far away.

We have created a Flip Grid to share our school spirit within our school community. The more students participate the better chance thye have to win fabulous SES Merch… yep drawings and prizes!!  And, every week, we will pick some of our favorite participants to highlight through SES Social Media.   

Students should watch for the announcement of these SES School Spirit Challenges every Wednesday (and keep an eye out for bonus days too) via Updates to the SES Juniors 19-20 group or SES Seniors 19-20 group in Schoology.  The Update will include the link to a new Flip Grid Topic where you can post a mini-video of yourself showing your SES School Spirit! (Bonus points if you involve your family and/or pets in the videos :) #SESCommunitySpirit

A few highlights from today’s challenge... Wacky Hat Wednesday... you can still jump into FlipGrid and join the fun!

A Message from Principal Trainer

Hello SES Community!

We are one and a half weeks into distance learning and I hope you have all been able to settle into a routine. Teachers are working VERY hard to try to connect with every student. It is incredibly important that we have engagement from each student. Please ask your learner what they have been able to do so far. We understand some students may be overwhelmed and feeling behind. It is ok to tell teachers this. We are here to support one another. Let’s make sure we stay committed to connection.

Additionally, I will be sending a survey out to you, parents, to see what needs you’re identifying that we can respond to. Please look for the link to this SHORT survey on Friday.  We want to get our finger on the pulse of how this is going and what more we can do for learners and families. Students will be getting a survey as well. Your voice is important to us throughout all this!

Hopefully, you all received my email regarding the Pass/No Credit option for students. If you see your student feeling overwhelmed and would like to consider this option, please communicate with their teachers and we can facilitate this happening. 

Earth Day is our favorite holiday at SES. While we won’t be in school to celebrate it the way we normally would, we still plan to have a way to honor it. Look for communication regarding ideas to focus on something fun regarding Earth Day soon.

Standardized tests continue to be something we are seeking clarity on. Counselor Nelson has an update on AP tests (see below). Information on the ACT and MCA testing will be coming soon!  

Remember, if you find yourself needing resources at all, the SES Distance Learning webpage is FULL of info. Check it out!

While we wish we were in person, know that we are all thinking about students and families everyday. Let us know what we can do to support you and reach out if you need anything.

Stay Healthy,

Lauren Trainer


Notes on Tech Issues and Support

As we continue distance learning, our Schoology learning management system is continuing to monitor usage and things seem to be improving daily.

Video Conferencing Update:

Due to safety and security concerns, the district has temporarily pausing the use of Zoom for classes/groups of students and teachers. Limited use (one student to one staff member) is permitted. They are researching options to determine the safest platform. More information will be available by Friday. 

Support structures in place for distance learning:

Reminder of last week’s advice:

  • Schoology has been working better in a browser {} than on the App.

  • The major high-volume time has been 9:30-11:00 am. Please don’t give up, try another time.

  • While working with the district tech people, we have found out that if you have Charter/ Spectrum internet there is an issue with the two programs working together. Please use the Home Internet Browsing Issue Workaround Directions document to help alleviate this issue. 


Mental Health Resources

Our school mental health staff continue to be available during this time of distance learning. If you have concerns about your student’s mental health, ask if they would be open to talking with Mrs. Cairns (School Psychologist), Mr. Nelson (School Counselor) or Nurse Jenni via phone, text, email or video conferencing. We also have therapists we can refer to that are doing therapy on-line.

Please contact:  (School Psychologist)   (School Counselor) (School Nurse)


A Note from Nurse Jenni (our licensed school nurse)

Hello SES families. My name is Jenni Greseth and I am the long term substitute school nurse for SES.  Please know that I am here as a resource for health questions and concerns during this time. If your household is impacted by illness, job loss or insurance change I may be able to help you connect to local resources.  Stay healthy and enjoy our spring weather! 

Jenni Greseth, RN, LSN,

Notes from Counselor Nelson

To SES AP Students and Parents:

The College Board has released more information regarding students' ability to take AP Exams at home. This update intends to highlight and summarize some of the essential pieces of information. Students and families are highly encouraged to visit the AP Coronavirus Updates page. This page contains details including: the dates for each exam, how exam administration will be structured, and specifics about the types of question(s) that each exam will ask.

  •  All AP exams will be online during the weeks of May 11-22. Check here for test dates and times

  • For most subjects, the exams will be 45 minutes long and include an additional 5 minutes for uploading. Students will need to access the online testing system 30 minutes prior to the start of the exam.

  • There will be no multiple choice - just essay (also called free response) questions. Most exams will have one or two free-response questions. Students will need to write and submit their responses within the allotted time for each question.

  • This year's AP Exams will be open book/open note. The College Board has tips for taking open book/open note exams.

  • All exams can be taken this year with a tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer. Students will be able to either: type and upload their responses or, write responses by hand and submit a photo using their cell phone. 

  • AP is willing to assist students who do not have the technology needed to do the online exams.  If you need help with technology, complete and submit the form titled “Don’t have Internet or a Device?” by April 24.

  • Exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.

  • College Board will continue to post videos on AP Live (YouTube) to help students prepare. They will also post more sample questions/responses and offer some simulations in late April so students can practice taking online tests.

  • Students do not have to re-register for the exams.  They already registered last fall. 

The College Board will release details of how to access the testing system in late April. This information will include video demonstrations so students can familiarize themselves with the system. It will be critically important that all students take time to practice using the system before exam day.

The College Board has details about the scoring of exams, as well as a notification that they plan to employ several tools to guard against impersonation, collaboration, and plagiarism. While the exams are open-note, each student needs to be sure that they are the only one working on the exam during the administration. More details about both scoring and exam security are available on the Advanced Placement website.

We know our SES AP students have worked hard this year to learn and prepare for AP Exams.  The staff and faculty of SES stand ready to support our students as they prepare for this opportunity. If you have any questions about AP testing, please ask your AP teacher or the SES AP Coordinator, Nathan Nelson. We appreciate all of your flexibility and understanding as we work through this unique time.


SES Senior Scholarships:

There are eight scholarships available and the application deadline is Friday, May 1.

SES Foundation:  Five - $1000 scholarships for SES seniors.

Flint Hills Discovery: Two - $2500 scholarships for SES seniors.

Fairview Ridges:  One $1500 scholarship for a SES senior. 


Each applicant will be evaluated on: academics, activities, community service, and leadership. 

To be eligible for the Flint Hills scholarship, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 and have plans to pursue a career in a math or science related field.  Applicants should also have experience in leadership and entrepreneurialism.

Steps to apply:

  1. One application may  be used for all scholarships.

  2. Clearly indicate your: name, address, phone number, e-mail, parent contact, and college you plan on attending in the fall of 2020.

  3. Please list your: school activities, non-school activities, work, and volunteer experiences during high school.

  4. Please write an essay of one to two pages in length about your future academic and career goals and how a scholarship will help you attain them.

  5. You will need to submit the names of two individuals who fill out a form to recommend you for the scholarship.  If your recommenders are SES or District 196 staff you do not need to give any contact information – just their names and position in the district .  If it is not a District 196 staff person, then you will need to provide a phone number and email.  Do not ask your recommenders to write a letter.  Mr. Nelson will contact them and they will fill out a standard form.

  6. To be eligible for the Flint Hills Discovery Scholarship financial need must be considered (the other scholarships don’t require this). You must provide the front page of your FAFSA/Student Aid Report which indicates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  A copy of an online estimate is also acceptable.


How to submit:  Once you’ve completed the “steps to apply” please email (or mail) the completed documents to:

Nathan Nelson, SES Counselor 

School of Environmental Studies

12155 Johnny Cake Ridge Road

Apple Valley, MN 55124


SES Education Foundation 

The School of Environmental Studies Education Foundation (SESEF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community foundation dedicated to supporting the excellent education of students at the School of Environmental Studies. The foundation, established in 1999, is composed of volunteer parents, faculty and citizens interested in the success of the School of Environmental Studies and its students.

Interested in becoming a SESEF Board member? Please attend our meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of every month from 6:00 - 7:00 in the SES Forum or email us at for more information. * Please note that the meeting on April 14th will be held virtually.  Please reach out directly to if you would like the link to attend.