VHS Updates



From the Principal – Did You Know?

Hello!  It was a great week at VHS!  Hang on for the ride until the end of the year.  From now on, everything will seem to happen faster than it did at the beginning of the year.

Did you know that if your child is not a great math student that he or she is not doomed to a life behind the McDonald’s counter?  I know that’s contrary to what you may have heard but there is life after high school math class.  I Googled “high-paying jobs for people who don’t like math” and according toBusiness Insider, they came up with these and more:  Technical Writer – $65,500; Power Plant Operators – $66,130; Dental Hygienists – $70,210; Elevator Installers/Repairers – $76,650; Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary – $62,160; Occupational Therapist – $75,400–just to name a few of them.  All of our children have different gifts and talents.  We have to remember that and support their strengths.

Attention parents of Senior PSEO students:  This is the time of the year that your kids must check the high school daily bulletin or they are going to miss out on very important information.  Please have them get in the habit so they don’t miss graduation info and important times and dates.

Did you know that we are going to be way behind on spring sports?  I suppose that’s no surprise but I do need to tell you this:  We are not going to run your kids ragged during the week trying to make up all of those events.  School is more important at this time of year.  We will do the best we can to have a decent season but there’s a limit.

Did you know that marijuana is now being made into candy?  We got word on that today.  It’s being made into suckers, gummy worms, and pop rock-like candy.  These are just a few candy items….there are more.  Heads up on all that.

And finally, I want to take a moment to talk about bullying.  There’s a lot of talk at the legislature about how to prevent or stop bullying.  If I knew how to stop bullying, I would write a book and be a billionaire.  Let me assure you that we deal with every single situation that comes our way.  Are all situations bullying?  No.  Not all kids get along.  Do your own kids in your family all get along all the time?  No.  Do you get along with everyone you work with?  No. Well, throw 750 kids into one big happy family under one roof and you will see a few sparks fly from time to time.  For the most part, we see kids “not getting along.”  Once in awhile we see a true bully.  It has become commonplace for people to loosely throw out this statement– “My child is being bullied.”  That may or may not be true.  We will find out and get to the bottom of it.

Now here’s how it goes:  We try to teach kids about how to treat other students.  We counsel.  We sometimes give kids a consequence.  We meet with parents.  We do programs at school.  We even get upset with kids when we can’t figure out why in the world they are being so mean to other students.  We do all we can to stop the bad behavior.

Now…..this whole time you spent reading this article, you were thinking that your kid was not the bully I was talking about.  But…..what if I were talking about your child?  How would you like us to treat your child?  Keep that in mind.  It’s important.

Heads up! Today, April 11th through April 20th, law enforcement is looking actively for people texting and driving.  It’s a $130 dollar fine.  Ouch!  By the way, it’s illegal to text at the stop signs too.  No one’s last message in life should be a text.  Put the phones down….it can wait.  Set a good example for your children who are depending on you for a lot of things (including your wallet).  For once, something is within your control.

Have a great weekend!!

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Hello on this fine Friday!  It was a great week and I sincerely want to thank you for helping out on the testing.  I had a mom tell me her child got her up early to “cook her a good breakfast” and it turned out to a good time for everyone in the family.  Thank you very much!

And speaking of things parents can do to help out…..can we talk about the warm weather that I think is about to come around?  Did you know that we dislike the warm days because it brings out the wardrobe nightmares for us? We see things we are not supposed to see.  I’m talking about underwear, short shorts and revealing low-cut shirts.  It is one of the hardest things we do because nobody wants to pull a kid aside and tell them that what they have on is inappropriate to wear to school.  For sure no male teacher wants to tell a female student that she is not dressed properly.  We don’t care what your kids wear for the most part but if grandma would be disturbed by what her grandkids have on, then we are feeling just like grandma.  And by the way, just because your kids go out the door looking one way, doesn’t mean they show up here looking the same way you last saw them.  (And again, that snow outside looks good to us until Graduation day.)

Did you know we now have a tutoring room for the high school kids that is open from 8 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.?  It is staffed by two people–one is a certified teacher and she is assisted by a para-professional.  Students who need a little more one-on-one teaching are sent there for extra help.  Kids can go during their study halls or before school.  They could even go during the lunch time.  It’s not a hangout–it’s a place for work.

Did you know we don’t mail report cards anymore?  In this age of technology and the Parent Portal, it’s not necessary–unless of course you don’t have access to a computer.  In that case, we would be happy to mail you a report card.  That being said, you can also have your child show you his or her grades on the iPad.  Kids have a portal just like you do.  If you need help logging in, just call our office–749-5437, Ext. 1906.  We would be happy to help you set that up. Every single parent can have access to their child’s information.

Here’s my tech tip of the week:  Did you know there’s an app out there called MyScript Calculator that allows you to just write your problem on the screen and then it figures it out for you?  No typing letters or numbers and no special buttons….just your scribbling.  It’s FREE and it works.  That’s my kind of app!

Just a reminder that Prom is coming up on April 26th.  Yes, it’s a special time for students.  Yes it’s fun to get dressed up, go out to eat and dance the night away …..but remember to make sure you talk to your kids about being safe.  We worry.  We want them back on the following Monday.  Mr. Kowalski has math for them to do on Monday.  There’s no crying in Calculus.

And finally, my husband and I were out to dinner last Sunday in a Duluth restaurant with my oldest daughter and one of her children.  When we were all done eating, the waitress brought us this wonderful dessert–for all of us.  We said that we had not ordered dessert.  She said, “I know–the people who were sitting next to you bought this for you.”  The people next to us were strangers. They were a young family with several children and to this day, we are not sure why they did this for us.  I believe it was a “pay it forward” moment.  It was an opportunity for us to teach the only small child at our table about doing nice things for others for no reason other than kindness.  The kindness of this family went a long way.  I still feel good when I think about this.  If you can or if you ever have the opportunity to do a similar thing, do it.  You will feel good down to your toes.

Have a great weekend!  Go Blue!!!

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good Friday afternoon!   There is much to talk about besides the depressing weather.  In case you haven’t heard, we are in for another snow/rain mess on Sunday night.  I’m telling you this because everything else I have to say after that weather report sounds great!

This week my topic is mostly about State Testing.  On April 2 and 3, we give our 7th, 8th, and 10th grade kids the STATE MCA READING TEST.  Why–you might ask?  Because they use this information to compare us to every other school in the state.  We get a grade on how well our students do.  It matters that our kids do well.

Did you know that these test scores go on your child’s grade transcript? They do.

Did you know that eating a good breakfast will help your child feel and do better on the test?  I wish I could feed all the children here at school on test days but I can’t.  I need your help in this area.  OH and did you know that while you are having breakfast, a word from Mom and Dad about doing well on the test would carry a lot of weight?  Just tell your children to do their very best.  I don’t need them stressed…..I just need them at their best.  You parents have the greatest kids in the world and they are good readers, don’t get me wrong.  Just send them out the door next Wednesday and Thursday with a little more encouragement than usual.

If you want to help your kids with the reading tests, I found these tips on-line.  Take a moment and go over them with your child.  Parental support matters to your child and it matters to us.  Don’t even think otherwise.

I think we have covered the testing–and I know you have heard me say some of this before but it’s that important to all of us.  We all work very hard to teach your kids–and we are all very proud of our students’ success.  We care.

What else is happening at school?  We have the musical tonight through Sunday, the 30th.  What an amazing talent the kids have!  Not only do we have students participating, but we have many people from the community helping in the orchestra “pit” to the costumes, to the sets.  What a fantastic event for the whole community.

And finally, did you know that according to PBS Learning, the findings in their national survey of K-12 teachers said the following about technology in the classroom:

Technology enables them to reinforce and expand on content (74%)

Technology motivates student to learn (74%)

Technology allows teachers to respond to a variety of learning styles (73%)

Seven in 10 teachers (69%) surveyed said educational technology allows them to “do much more than ever before” for their students.

In closing, this time of year is hard on people–hard for all of us.  Try to remember that our students, your children, are probably doing the best they can.  You sent us the best you have. In the big picture, school is a short period of time in which we cram their heads full of all sorts of things in order to make them successful.  In the long run, the most important thing is that they know right from wrong, and that they treat others as they would like to be treated.

Get those inside projects done because pretty soon we will get to go outside–out onto the green grass ……along with hay fever, bug bites, sunburn, humidity …… so how’s that snow looking now?????

Have a good weekend!


From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good afternoon!  Did you know it’s never going to stop snowing?  Find something good about it like “it’s helping to deter a drought” or something…that’s the best I can do. Sorry….and moving on….

Did you know that the last ACT test date you can register for is June 14th?  Check on-line at for registration deadlines.  Don’t miss out!

And speaking of tests, did you know we are making it possible for all 10th grade students  to register for the PSAT test?  There is a $14 non-refundable fee in order to guarantee a test for your child as we order them this spring and the test actually takes place next fall–as Juniors. Should your child change his/her mind about taking the test, the student can sell the test to another student. Parents of 10th grade students–please watch your mail for more information coming your way soon.

Did you know your students had an assembly yesterday that talked about “Student Differences”? Our topic stressed that all people are different and they all have special interests and talents that everyone might not be aware of.  It was a huge success and another exercise in addressing “kindness” as an alternative to bullying.

And speaking of bullying….we can’t stop what we don’t know.  Speak up.

I’m curious…..did you take the left brain/right brain test?  And yes, I know there are other theories out there……but my point was to make you aware that teachers teach in different ways and kids learn in different ways.  Knowledge is half the battle.

Did you know that if the 1.3 million dropouts from the Class of 2010 had graduated, the nation would have seen $337 billion more in earnings over the course of the students’ lifetimes? (  Kids matter to us a great deal.  They matter to the world.

Have a great weekend!  If it’s too yucky to go outside, you can always pick up a book– that’s an archaic thing that may now be referred to as a Kindle, Nook, Smart Phone, etc….you get my drift.  Hang in there…..we’ll all be fine.

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Hello!  What a week!  There is never a day that drags on and on….your kids are working hard in every class and crunch time is here.

Did you know……

* that MCA Reading Tests will take place on April 2 and 3?  Grades 7, 8 and 10 will be testing over two days for approximately 4 hours of tests.

* that kids who eat a good breakfast do better in school than those who don’t?  What should they eat for more brain power?  Protein! Eggs, nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole-grain cereal, oatmeal, blueberries and fruits to name a few. Avoid white flour items like cookies, cakes and muffins.  Don’t eat turkey–we know what that does to us.  And honestly, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep for kids.  Make sure all electronics are “off” when the kids say goodnight.  Reading that great book under the covers will have to wait until after test time. As easy as this sounds, it’s critical to a good test score or good work in the classroom.

Did you know that your child will need to meet technology competency skills when they enter college?  In fact, the University of MN, Duluth, has posted what those competencies are.  Check it out and you will be happy to see how well your children have been prepared when you look at the list:

Is your student getting ready to take the ACT test?  If so, did you know there are many places to go on the web to find sample questions, testing tips, and ways to study?  I even found a Sparknotes for the ACT.  Sparknotes is condensed information on a topic to save you time in reading entire articles.  It cuts to the chase.  Check it out:

And for some sample ACT test questions in all categories, this is a great spot on the ACT site itself:

Do you know what a “right brain” person looks or acts like as compared to a “left-brain” person?  Acording to Carol Phillips, Ed.D, who is an associate professor in education at Harvard, there are a lot of differences.  And to add to the confusion, there is a “middle brain” person as well.  Right brain people make decisions based on emotions; left brain people are guided by time-oriented and sequential information.  Middle brain people are “more flexible” than either one of the  other two.  So do you know what kind of brain you have?  What kind of brain your child has? Or in our case, what kind of brain does the teacher have and how does your child learn from a teacher who has a different brain–a different way of thinking?  I know you are really wondering now, arent’ you?  Read this article– there is a test at the end of the article….it will tell you what kind of “brain” you have.  Have fun and maybe you will see why others “just don’t get you.”

Last but not least, please check out the article about our school Musical coming up shortly.  Make plans to come and enjoy an evening of fun, laughs and music.

Have a good weekend!!!

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Greetings!  It’s warmer, it’s March, and the end of winter is in sight!  Things are looking up.

Just a few things for you today.  First of all, thank you for the positive feedback on my emails to you.  I appreciate that you are taking the time to read them and to stay connected to school.

Did you know that this weekend is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time?  Move those clocks AHEAD on Saturday night–or do it now so you don’t forget.

Did you know that the Graduation date for this year WILL NOT change even if our school year is extended?  Graduation remains May 30th.

Did you know that we have a mountain of lost and found items ranging from boots to jackets to glasses to many sets of car keys?  I’m not sure how kids get home without some of these essential items but perhaps you can send your kids in to check out the “pile” in the main office.  If things are not claimed, we give the items to the nurse’s office to wash and reuse with kids who have a need or we donate them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Did you know that if you have old drugs in your medicine cabinet, they could get into the wrong hands–a child’s hands?  Please…..take the time to bring all the old prescriptions to the pharmacy where they have a disposal process.  I know we would all feel terrible if our own homes were a child’s source of drugs.  Remove the temptation.

Did you know that there is a new iPad/iPhone scientific FREE calculator out there?  It’s called PCalc Lite and it has many options you might be interested in like RPN mode, multiple undo and redo, unit conversions, and constants.  Check it out.

And finally, did you know that heroin is becoming a widely used drug?  You can Google the signs and symptoms, but if you hear words like Smack, Horse, Mud, Brown Sugar, Junk, Black Tar, Big H, Dope, and Skag–that’s what they are talking about.  Talk to your kids.

Thanks for the help with Twitter……I appreciate it.  We move forward.

Congratulations to Ike Erickson- State 50 Freestyle Champ!!!

Congratulations to Isaac Erickson, Virginia high school senior for winning the state title in the 50 Freestyle Event.  Way to go Ike!!

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Do you know about Twitter?  Do you know all the problems that Twitter causes us here at school?

Do you know how long it takes to deal with one single problem on Twitter?  Do you know that we can’t possibly fix all the relationships, the bullying, the mean comments, the mob mentality, the lies or anything else on Twitter?  Do you knowthat we don’t care what Justin Bieber ate for breakfast?

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter “problems” end up at school at some point.  I’m asking for help in stopping this–or help in controlling some of this.  If I had a Twitter Jail, I could fill it up.  Would it fix anything?  I don’t think so.  For some reason, kids being mean to kids, is something that happens less often in a face-to-face situation and more and more often in an on-line format.  It’s cowardly.  It takes on a mob mentality.  Kids think it is a private conversation but fail to see that the whole entire world could be listening in.  Where did we go wrong in telling them about this?  It’s like a rumor mill on steroids!

Did you know we blocked Twitter on the iPads?  Did you know we can’t block your kids’ phones?  Parents have to do that.  Parents have to monitor their kids’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.  If Twitter becomes threatening, parents must contact law enforcement.

Imagine 750 kids with phones.  Imagine the Tweets that are going on during the day if each kid Tweeted just one Tweet.  Imagine how irresistible it is for them NOT to Tweet back some comment when they feel safe and they feel like no adult is “listening.”  It is a false sense of security and anonymity.  It is a virtual nightmare for schools to monitor and deal with.

What can we do to help each other?  We can teach them right from wrong–over and over again.  Some will never get it.  Some kids will learn hard lessons.  Some kids will be hurt.  Some kids will help others in a positive way.  Wouldn’t it be nice if kids used Twitter to boost the morale of other students?  Wouldn’t it be nice if kids sent positive messages to kids who are picked on at school or neglected at home?  Think of all the GREAT possibilities of these social networks.

Did you know that for the most part, kids are “good”?

Did you know I depend on you parents to help us out here at school?

I hope I thank you enough for all of your support.  Patience, patience and more patience.  They will grow up to be very nice people in a few years if they aren’t already.

OH, and maybe you could Tweet your children……tell them you love them in front of the whole world.  Pass along something positive and send someone some happiness.  You will be amazed at how powerful those words are and how good you feel as well.  Lead by example.

Have a good weekend–we have all earned one.  Breathe.

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good afternoon……and Happy Valentine’s Day!  Our place here looks like 1-800-FLOWERS!! The agenda today is short so here we go….

Did you know that we changed the look of our website?  You can still type in the old address and you will be automatically re-directed to the new site.  Here’s the address if you want to take a look:

Did you know that you can now email anyone here at school by clicking on the staff directory on the front page of the high school website?  Before you had to copy and paste the address into your email program.  We hope this is a quicker way to reach people.

Did you know that we don’t have school this Monday the 17th?  It’s President’s Day!

Did you know you can check to see where your kids have been on their iPads?  Look in their “history”.  If they turn off their history option, turn it back on.  You are the boss of the iPad.

Did you know that there are many FREE apps for math in the iPad world?  If you have your own personal iPad, you can go to this site and download any of these highly recommended and FREE math apps:

Are you watching the Olympics?  Do you know the science and math behind how athletes go faster, jump higher, soar longer, skate faster, shoot hockey pucks better?  It’s not just luck. Take a look at this site: (A special thank you to Mr. Kramer at the Parkview)

OK….tonight when you ask your kids what they did at school today and they say “nothing”–it’s just not true.  They just did so much that they just don’t want to go over it all again.  That being said, ask them what the best part of their day was……and you will usually get a little more info out of them– even though it’s like pulling teeth.

See you next week!

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Greetings! It’s a great day at VHS!!!

This week’s message will be a smattering of information and hopefully you will find something of interest here today.

Did you know that April and May will be MCA test months?  Try not to plan any vacations in those two months.  Test windows are set by the state and we are “graded on attendance.”

Did you know that the MCA Reading assessment questions are comprehension and vocabulary questions?

Did you know that the reading samples the kids read are non-fiction as well as fiction? Do they do a lot of non-fiction reading at home?  Even the newspaper qualifies as good practice.

Did you know you could help your student study for the MCA Math test by practicing on this website?

Did you know that you don’t need a dictionary if you have Google?  Just type “define _____” in the search box and it will look it up for you.

Did you know that we offer iPad training for adults?  There is a training scheduled for next Wednesday, February 12th, from 4:30 to 6:30 in the Roosevelt.  Call 749-5437, Ext. 1990 (Community Ed) to get into the class.

Are you curious and interested in what’s really going on in the world with people who “think” about things and “talk” about things?  Then you need to check out this site: TED Talks at  These people are talking about “ideas worth spreading.”  Challenge your brain and check this out.

And speaking of brains, have you ever asked yourself, “What is wrong with that child?” And we are talking about teenagers.  Well, I have asked myself those very words.  We all know more today about how the brain works but just to make you feel better, you should read this article: Adolescent Angst: 5 Facts About the Teen

By the way……I hope you outdid your child when it came to the math facts.  See you next week!


  • Virginia Minnesota Public Schools
  • ISD 706
  • 411 South 5th Ave.
  • Virginia, MN 55792
  • Phone: 218-749-5437
  • Fax: 218-741-8522