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Weekly Wednesday Update Feb. 12

Hello SES Families,

We just had the most amazing couple of days!  A variety of students from across the district visited SES on Tuesday night for the Environmental College Fair. There was an excellent turnout from SES students and the surrounding area schools.  Many of the college representatives mentioned how much they enjoyed conversing with SES students and hearing about their unique educational experiences and adventures. Please reach out to the college representatives if you have any follow up questions.  I know they would love to hear from you.


 While some of our SES community were at the Environmental College fair, a large group of SES Seniors were preparing for the Winter Overnight, which got bumped up a night, due to the SUPER chilly weather that was forecast to move in Wednesday night and BOY are we glad we moved it up… it’s cold out there!! Students spent Monday or Tuesday building quinzees or tarp shelters and then spent the night camping in their created shelters. 

(A quinzhee or quinzee /ˈkwɪnziː/ is a Canadian snow shelter that is made from a large pile of loose snow which is shaped then hollowed. This is in contrast to an igloo, which is built up from blocks of hard snow, and a snow cave, constructed by digging into the snow. - Wikipedia)

Then, after many students slept overnight in the snowy dens, ALL the seniors spent the house portion of their day trekking through Lebanon Hills to prove their winter survival skills. They had to navigate the snowy terrain using a compass and a topographical map to reach assigned destinations where they built a shelter, build a fire to cook a hot meal for their team and accomplished other reflective tasks in their journals.

By the end of the day we had some VERY tired students (and staff) but everyone proved they are truly Minnesotan and can survive our winter weather!  We are all super happy that skills were proven in Wednesday’s beautiful winter weather and not Thursday’s frigid, no-one-wants-to-go-out-in-that weather!


Important Upcoming Dates

  • Thursday, February 13th - LAST DAY for parents to order Senior Ads for the Yearbook, please visit the Josten's website to order your ad.

  • Monday, February 17th - LAST DAY to register for the MN Bilingual Seals and Certificates Test in FeePay

  • Friday, February 14th - NO SCHOOL for students/ High School Staff Development

  • Monday, February 17th - NO SCHOOL for students/ President’s Day 

  • Thursday, February 20 - Friday, February 28 - Winter Intensive Theme

  • Friday, March 6th - NO SCHOOL for students/ End of Trimester 2


Minnesota Bilingual and Multilingual Seals and World Language Proficiency Certificates

Students in their senior year that speak a language other than English, either at home or through learning a world language, may sign up in FeePay to take the MN Bilingual Seals and Certificates test.  The test will assess proficiency in English and another language through reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Certificates and Seals proficiency levels will be printed on transcripts (which is helpful for job applications) and the results may also qualify for college credit at MNSCU systems.  The deadline to sign-up is February 17th and the test will be here, at SES on March 17th.  Please contact with any questions. 

Yearbooks are on Sale!

If you have not yet purchased yours there is still time but the price has just been increased to $50. Additionally, the last day to purchase Senior Ads for the yearbooks is THIS THURSDAY, February 13th! Please visit Josten's website to order your yearbook and/or Senior Ad today! 


Winter Intensive Theme Course Registration/Fees 

Please talk with your student (and/or check in Schoology) to find out which intensive theme course they are registered for this winter. Some courses have fees associated with them, which are used to cover entrance fees, transportation costs, guest speakers, etc. If you qualify for free/reduced lunch, our School of Environmental Studies Education Foundation (SESEF) provides grants to help cover these fees. Your student is responsible for paying the fee (through FeePay) or completing the grant form by February 14th to participate in their selected course.  Questions? Please call the front office! 

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the more popular courses (Animal Care & Handling, Wilderness First Aid, and Creative Writing) are slightly over-enrolled.  Thus registration in these classes will be limited to the students who are currently registered AND who make the FeePay payment, or apply for an SESEF grant to cover the fee, FIRST.  Once the cap for the course is reached it will be closed and you will NOT be able to pay the course fee in the FeePay system.  If this happens, your student will need to see Mr. Nelson to enroll in a different intensive theme course. 

Courses not listed below include International Field Studies and Theater in the City, all of which have already finalized their rosters and collected payment.

Winter Intensive Theme Courses

Course Fee

Animal Care & Handling


Capitol Policy & Law


Creative Writing


Winter Rec 1


Winter Rec Too (2)


Wilderness First Aid


FS: Winter Exploration



FeePay System

We apologize for all the inconveniences that the issues with FeePay have been causing. We believe strides in getting everything all ironed out are being made. One thing we need all families to look into are their lunch accounts. Please login and check your balances. Autopay was impacted, as well as the “low balance” reminders. Many students have low or negative balances in their lunch accounts and families may not even be aware.  As always, let us know if we can help!

If you are still having trouble accessing your FeePay account since the the system changes in December, please use the District Tips for Troubleshooting the FeePay System to reset your access. 

ACT is quickly approaching

All juniors in ISD 196 will be taking the ACT (WITHOUT the writing portion) on April 7th. Please know that junior teachers are hard at work, giving your students experiences to prepare them for this test. House teachers are giving students test-taking tips and exposing them to sample test sections. Math teachers are doing the same in their classes as well.  Students who are in AVID have and will continue to have additional deeper practice in preparation for all parts of the ACT test. Beyond the practice that is integrated into these courses, there are some additional FREE practice opportunities available in the month of March. There will be sessions to support the Math section on Mondays after school as well as opportunities to receive more in-depth strategies and practice testing on three Saturday mornings. Check back in next week’s Weekly Wednesday message for all the date/time details!

Notes from Nurse Jenni (our licensed school nurse)

Medication reminder for parents and students:  All prescription medications should be kept in the health office. This excludes inhalers, EpiPens, and Glucagon. Please contact Jenni if you have any questions or 


Notes from Counselor Nelson

The Apple Valley High School Common Scholarship Application is now available. These scholarships are given by local businesses, community members, service organizations, and alumni.  It is due in the AVHS Counseling Office by 3:00 PM on March 2, 2020. SES seniors whose home high school is AVHS are eligible to apply.  It is a paper application. See Mr. Nelson in the Counseling Office for a copy.


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. 


Could you use some extra food over the weekend? SES participates in the Sheridan Story Weekend Food Program. Your family can receive a free 4 to 5-pound bag of food discretely left with your student on Friday mornings. Families can choose between traditional, East African, Latino, Southeast Asian, and ready-to-eat foods. There are no requirements to sign up. Just let us know! This can also be for one week, one month, or the whole year, whenever you need a little extra help. To sign up or for questions please


Boys and Girls Spring Rugby 

Spring rugby registration is now open for our district-wide club rugby girls and boys teams. Rugby teaches total body skills, including safe tackling techniques, which carry over into multiple sports.  Rugby suits all body styles and skills. No experience is necessary! 

Preseason (indoor) practice begins on March 1st at Blackhawk Middle School Gym (1-3PM for boys, 4:30-6:30 for girls).  We have a full day camp on Friday, March 6th from 9-3 at the West St. Paul dome.  Games begin in April and playoffs finish around the first week of June. Go to to learn more about rugby and for details about registration. Read more about us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @EaganRugby.


District 196 has a current need for Substitute Teachers

If you are interested in subbing but do not have a standard teaching license, you may obtain a Short Call Substitute license through Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) / Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)  with a 4-year degree.  Along with this Short Call Substitute license, you will need to attend a weeklong training class with District 196.  The final training class of the school year will be February 24-28, 2020 from 8:00am -12:15pm each day. If interested in becoming a Short Call substitute please start the process to obtain your short call license and sign up for the training class at   If you have any questions, please contact Barb Hall at 651-423-7761.