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Weekly Wednesday Update Feb. 5

Hello SES Families,

It is so nice to have some sunshine this week!  Though the temperatures are a little colder, the crisp, sunny winter air is perfect for the SES Seniors, who started the Winter Unit this week. They learned about layering and hypothermia, how to use a map and compass, and started the novel Into the Wild. The students will explore their own philosophy and survival skills while examining the challenges faced by Chris McCandless and the author Jon Krakauer. Later this week, seniors will learn how to build a fire and a shelter and about heat transfer concepts. The unit will end with the “Winter Olympics”... keep an eye out for pictures from that fun event in a future Weekly Wednesday article. 

During this unit Seniors should expect to be outside every day for all or part of House and need appropriate winter gear. This includes jackets, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves/mittens, and other layers for warmth and wetness. We always have a need for extra winter gear during this time, so if your family has any gear that you are willing to donate to our SES Gear Library, please send it in with your student. They can give it to a House teacher.

Seniors also have the option to participate in our annual winter overnight. This will be happening Wednesday, February 12. Students will build shelters on the grounds of SES and experience a night of winter camping. More details and a permission slip will be sent home soon.



Baker Overnight Highlights

As the Seniors are beginning their outdoor unit, the junior are wrapping their’s up.  Last week, nearly all the 11th graders at SES took advantage of the opportunity to spend approximately 24 hours at Baker Park.  Some highlights of their experiences include:

  • Working with professional naturalists to learn about organism adaptations to cold environments (Did you that frogs make antifreeze with glucose and urine to make it through the winter?!)

  • Data collection on deer population in the park and discussion of population management

  • A core community experience... planning and cooking their own meals over campfire with cabin mates

  • Observation of chickadees eating seeds out of hand and off of head!

  • A glorious night hike, big camp fires, stories, games and music


Important Upcoming Dates

  • Tuesday, February 11 - Environmental College & Career Fair 6:00 - 8:00

  • Wednesday, February 12 - Senior Winter Overnight (optional)

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

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

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

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

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


Environmental College Fair

SES is hosting  its annual Environmental College and Career Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Representatives from approximately 30 colleges and universities will be on hand to provide information about educational opportunities, campus life, financial aid and the college application process.  There is a focus on the environment, but information about all college majors and programs will be available. The event is free and open to any interested students and their parents within or outside of district 196. Please join us for this outstanding event! 

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 Stephanie.Steinbron@district196.orgwith any questions. 


SES in the News!

Our students were recently featured in the Dakota County school e-news in recognition of our school waste reduction initiatives.  Please read the article below, highlighting these efforts by SES students and staff! If you are a Dakota County Resident and would like to receive news like this directly from the county a sign-up on their website is available for all.  (This particular article was featured under the content area of Environmental News for Schools.) 

Schools in the Spotlight: School of Environmental Studieschool4

The School of Environmental Studies (SES) in Apple Valley participated in Dakota County’s Minnesota GreenCorps projectto try out wasted food prevention strategies. The SES project had numerous successes including:

▪ Reduced the average daily amount of food waste per student, saving an estimated 938 pounds of food each school year.

▪ Cut wasted milk by 41 percent, equivalent to saving 40,333 gallons of water every year.

▪ Created a new Share Table for students to place unopened food and beverage items.

▪ Added a Flavor Station, so students can customize their meal.

▪ Increased education on the environmental impacts of wasted food and reimbursable meal requirements (e.g., not required to take milk) through presentations, table tents, posters and pledges.

Following the project, SES received a Fuel Up to Play 60 grant and installed a bulk milk dispenser. Reusable cups have replaced milk cartons, resulting in an elimination of 6,160 milk cartons since the start of the school year and a reduction of 81 percent of milk waste from pre-project numbers.

This project was successful because of support from MN GreenCorps member, Hannah Keller; Principal Lauren Trainer; Coordinator of Food and Nutrition Services, Spencer Fischer; Food Service Manager, Lisa Germond; and AVID Teacher, Kim Colburn-Lindell. Thank you, SES, for being a waste reduction trailblazer.


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. 


Yearbooks are on Sale!

If you have not yet purchased yours (or a senior ad) there is still time while the price is just $45. The price will increase soon. Please visit the Josten’s website to order your copy today. 


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 an 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 contact


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.