VHS Updates



Virginia Public Schools — Now on Facebook and Twitter!


For information on “What’s Going On?” in the Virginia School District, check out our new Facebook page!  and our Twitter Page




The Virginia High School, serving students in grades seven through twelve, will open the school year on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.  Students will report first to their homerooms at 8:08 a.m. for distribution of important information. Homeroom locations will be listed on the online schedule, posted at the school doors and on the bulletin board by the high school office. All students must enter through door #5 and if entering the building after 8:08 a.m. students will have to “buzz” in at door #5 for security purposes.


This year you will see a new face in the high school office.  Mrs. Lisa Perkovich, 7-12 Principal, joined the staff of Virginia High School on July 1 after the retirement of Mrs. Hakly.


Students may view their schedules online beginning August 12th and paper copies will be distributed during homeroom on the first day of school. After homeroom, students will report to their first hour class  and follow their class schedule for the balance of the day. 

Students requesting schedule changes are encouraged to contact the high school office during the summer. If a change is needed, there is form available for you to fill out and drop off at the high school office. Once school begins, a student has one week to change classes.  After that, classes may only be dropped.

Early Release Days – Remember that every other Wednesday this year will be an early release day.  Your kids will be released at 2:05 PM.   See a copy of the schedule here: 

NEW STUDENTS: If you are new to the district and have not yet registered for school, you should do so as soon as possible.  Parents/Guardians or students may call the high school office at 749-5437, extension 1906 for registration information or stop in the high school office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.


On Wednesday September 2nd, all seventh grade students and their parents are encouraged to attend our high school orientation.  During this orientation, schedules will be distributed, valuable information about school expectations and options will be discussed, and students will follow a mock schedule to learn locations throughout the building.                                      

Location: Goodman Auditorium   Time: 6:30 P.M.

On Thursday, September 3rd, there will be an open house for all parents and students in grades 7-12 during the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. and again from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Students and parents are invited to stop in any time during these times to meet and greet your teachers and new staff. New students are highly encouraged to attend the open house and receive a guided tour.

If you cannot attend open house or orientation, an additional information session is available to new students on the first day of school.  We encourage you to utilize one of the first two options so they do not miss any of their regularly scheduled classes.


Virginia High School is proud to continue the active partnership with parents.  In an effort to provide additional resources for parents, we encourage you to utilize our website at, follow us on Facebook by searching Virginia Minnesota Public Schools or one of the following opportunities: 

Schoology: A content management system that houses a large amount of student assignments, exams, and learning resources.  Beginning this year, parents now have the ability to log into the system and view the learning process as a student would see it.  Each parent is provided a unique log in code so when parents log in, you see only what your child sees.  Please look for an email at the beginning of the year with your information.  If you do not see it, please contact the high school office for more information.

Parent Portal: Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact teachers and monitor their child’s academic, behavior, and attendance progress through the Parent Portal on our Infinite Campus student information system.  For assistance in logging in, please contact the high school office.


Consistent school attendance is important to the overall success of a student. If you think missing a day here or there won’t matter, think again.  By missing just one day every two weeks, you would be on track to miss 10 percent of the school year and that can happen before you know it!  Students are allowed a maximum of 10 absences per semester. Keep in mind that a student who is chronically absent is 20 percent less likely to graduate from high school and 25 percent less likely to enroll in college.  Good habits start now!

When it is necessary for a student to miss school, the district will continue its practice of no longer accepting notes from students for all day absences.  Instead, we are asking that you call the high school office and leave a message as to who was absent, what day, and for what time(s) of day your child was absent.  You may call the school at any time—even midnight– but please call before 8:08 a.m. of the day following the absence.  Our attendance line is 749-5437, Ext. 8025. Students will still need a note to get out of school for doctor and dental appointments.


All returning students in grades 7-12 will be issued an iPad and required paperwork on the first day of school. Students are expected to take these devices home.  The required paperwork and applicable fees must be returned to the school within the first two weeks of school or the student will no longer be able to take the device home.   The loss of this privilege will make it difficult to complete homework, study for exams, and stay organized as no paper planners are provided to students.

Insurance Fees for Technology Devices:

$50 for non-free/reduced students

$25 for those that qualify for reduced meals

$0 for those that qualify for free meals

Additional insurance options and payment options may be available and information will be provided in the paperwork packets distributed on the first day of school.


Student/Parent Handbooks will be emailed to parents and students. If you, the parent, have no email, paper copies will be available in the high school office.  The Student/Parent Handbook will also be posted to the high school website at  For a full list of district policies, please visit

Back to School Icon



All students will be issued a locker and it is their responsibility to bring and utilize a lock in order to receive an iPad.


Students should bring notebooks, pencils, and other necessary school supplies. 

No students are allowed to carry full size backpacks from class to class.  We do allow the skinny backpack.  There simply is no room for them in the halls or the classes. 

Gym Classes: 

Students will meet with their instructors on the first day of school and receive information concerning needed equipment and/or supplies.

The Cafeteria:

Grades 7-8: Students must eat lunch in the cafeteria. 10:52-11:22 (Wed’s 10:26-10:56)

Grades 9-12: Students may eat lunch in the cafeteria or off campus. 11:48-12:18 (Wed’s 11:13-11:43)

The school cafeteria will be available for students who wish to purchase their lunch.  In addition to the planned hot lunch or salad bar options, there are several ala carte items which the students may choose instead of purchasing a full lunch.  These items include submarine sandwiches, malts, pizza, nachos, and a variety of other snack items.


Mrs. Lisa Perkovich, Secondary Principal, lperkovich@vmps.org281-749-5437 ext. 1916

Mr. John Vukmanich, Assistant Principal,, 218-749-5437 ext. 1912

From the Principal—A Final Article – “Did You Know?”

Happy Friday…….and truer words were never spoken…..right?  If ever we needed coffee, it’s today.  Lots going on for all of us.  Your life just changed and so did your kids’.  Prepare yourself for a little adjustment period.  Your kids have one summer attitude, and you may have another.  I hope you can work things out …….

Important:  As you know, there are some students who did not finish their work for the year. It’s called an “F” in our gradebook.  All is not lost.  If your child is in grades 9-12 and she failed a class, I am strongly encouraging you to get her signed up for summer school.  DO NOT DELAY……it starts Monday.  And no–it’s not too late to sign up.  You can just have your kids show up on Monday–at the James Madison School– and get enrolled.  If you need clarification on what your child failed, call this number — 742-3910, and talk to Mrs. Bristol. She has a list that she can cross-reference.  Kids can make up 1 credit, or two half credits. Summer school is for core classes only which are Science, Math, English, and Social Studies.

What happens if your child doesn’t make up the classes in summer school?  Well, the classes they failed will be rescheduled into next year’s schedule.  What’s wrong with that?  Depending on how many classes your child has to repeat, your child will then become in danger of not graduating on time.  Summer school is a serious consideration in order to avoid the possibility of not graduating on time.  Summer school is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and it lasts for 6 weeks.  Please consider it an option if your child failed any core class.

Summer Hours at the High School will be from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday – Thursday.  If you need something, come in and talk to us in June.  No one is here in July except for 4 short days.  The high school office will open again on August 10th.  School starts on September 8th.

When will my child get his or her schedule?  The schedule will be built in the next couple of weeks.  We will mail your schedules to you at the end of June as we can’t open the parent or student portal until August.  I could give you a long and technical explanation, but just trust me that we can’t.  Changes to any schedule can be made in August.  That being said, keep in mind that if your child signed up for a class, we built the schedule around those requests. We hired teachers around those requests.  If your child has all of his requested or needed classes, his schedule will not be changed unless it lowers the class size in a larger class. And no, not all of you can have a 7th hour study hall.  And no, I can’t have all of your kids in a last hour PE class instead of a first hour PE class.  The swimming unit is never longer than two weeks… the wet hair in the morning will be minimal.  They’ll live.  I promise.  Only the Wicked Witch of the West melted when she got wet.

And one last important housekeeping item:  If your kids took a PSEO class or a Concurrent Enrollment Class, keep in mind that we, the high school, do not ever receive a copy of the college transcript.  You must request the college transcript from whichever college your child received the college credit.  This is important because you don’t want to pay for a class your child already took.  Those kids will be digging in your wallet enough much less you paying for the same class twice.

Is your head spinning yet?  I know it’s a lot but I’d rather have you know now rather than later. Call if you have questions.  Counseling Office – 742-3910 and High School Office – 742-3915.

So where does that leave us?  As I promised, I wanted to give you my top 10 things I learned as a principal….so here we go:  (I feel like David Letterman without all the great pet tricks….)

1 – I can’t please everyone.  It only gets me in trouble.  Eventually, I have to be on one side or the other.  It is a frustration that I don’t have a magic wand because I really could have used one over the last 30 years.

2 – I have found that people tell their own version of the truth.  Did you know that there were actually that many versions to “the truth”?  I learned that.

3 – It usually takes Two to Tangle (not Tango)….for the sake of my example.  Rarely is a disagreement or conflict one kid arguing or fighting with himself.

4 – 98% of the fights that take place in school are girls fighting over boys or boys fighting over girls.  Enough said about that. Oh there is one more thing:  Girls will hold that grudge all the way to their 40th class reunion, but the boys will forget about it 5 minutes after it’s over.  I can see you are all nodding your heads……interesting isn’t it.

5 – I have learned to believe about 60% of what kids tell me is happening at your house– and I want to tell you that you should believe about 60% about what your child is saying is going on here.  I’m sure some dramatic scenes have been replayed in your home that may not even resemble the actual incident that we have on record here.  Just food for thought.  (See item 2.)

6 – I can’t fix bullying.  I don’t believe anyone can fix it or stop it entirely.  I can certainly deal with it and try to correct it but for the last few hundred years, people have been mean to each other.  Bullying is not just a “kid thing.”  Look around your workplace. Look around the world for that matter.  Why in the world are we mean to each other?

7 – I can only control myself.  I would love to control a lot more things but it doesn’t work that way.  You are all in the same boat.  You can only control yourselves as well.  Frustrating isn’t it.

8 – Did you know that kids like “law and order” in the classroom?  It’s true.  They like structure.  They like to know that the teacher is in control.  They like fair and reasonable expectations.  How do I know this?  Because if they are in a class that is unruly, they march themselves down to my office and tell me about it.  They know right from wrong and they know good teaching from poor teaching.  They want good teaching –they demand it.  And we owe it to them.

9 – I learned and would like everyone to take more responsibility for themselves and to teach the kids to be responsible for their own actions.  We should all stop blaming others for the way things are in our lives.  We should all look to ourselves first and make changes there first.  It’s easy to stand back and blame the next guy–but it takes real character to own bad behavior and mistakes.  An apology still goes a long way.  Everyone makes mistakes.

10 – I can be bought for Circus Peanuts.  I really don’t know what’s wrong with me but I have a penchant for them.  If I even open a bag, I feel compelled to eat every last one of them.  I eat them until my chest hurts to breathe and my teeth feel like they have little sweaters on them.  They should come with a toothbrush stapled to the side of the bag.  I’m guessing that many of you cringed when I even mentioned them……or got the heebie jeebies……sorry.

There are certainly many more things that I learned in my educational career, but there are not enough hours in the day to tell my story.  I tell teachers to write down the funny and crazy things that they see in their teaching day.  It’s quite the career choice and there is never a dull moment.

One final thought……If I had my life to do over again, I would still be an educator.  I care very much about kids and I care about making sure they get a great education.  When I die, I hope they put on my tombstone:  “She cared about kids.”

I wish all of you the best this summer and next year.  I have been honored in so many ways as your principal.  You have a great school and great teachers.  The community is always supportive and great to work with.  I have never seen so many people willing to help when help was needed.  Count your blessings.  Remember to be kind every day–  because your act of kindness may be the only kindness that another person will feel that day.

Thank you for allowing me to be your principal for the past 9 years.  It truly has been an honor and a privilege.  My best to all of you.

Mrs. Hakly


From the Principal – “Did You Know?”

Good afternoon,

Having trouble focusing today?  It’s something in the air.  It’s eerily quiet here at the moment so I’ll take a few minutes to get down to the nitty gritty…..I think I spelled that correctly.  By the way, I could not hold a candle to those little people in the National Spelling Bee.  Good gracious.  I did not even know those words were in the English language.  I looked up the last word–nunatak–this morning.  Did you? I spelled GOOGLE and found the word.  You see….everyone has a gift and something they are good at.  Some spell, some Google.

Important:  The last day of school is Thursday, June 4th.  The high school will be dismissed at 2:08 p.m.–exactly one hour early.  Hang your “Welcome Back” banners up Wednesday night.  I know they’ll be so excited to get home to see you–and so excited to open your refrigerators–and so excited to have all their friends over while you are at work…….  I’ll stop there…..I sense the tension is building as I write.  Be brave. Don’t worry….it will be fine.  (The first day of school next year is September 8th.  Write that down in big letters on your refrigerator……you’ll be fine.)

What ARE your kids going to do this summer?  I want to give you some help in monitoring their on-line and mobile access.  There are 10 apps out there that you might want to read up on.  Some are FREE and some are not.  Most are Android and iPhone compatible.  These apps will help you to monitor the time your kids spend on their phones, what they do on their phones, and even how to stop the distracted driving we hope they are not doing with their phones.

If you have a concern about your children being “addicted” to their phones, there’s also an app that tells them how many times they check their phones.  It might be eye-opening for them and for you.  I’m sure none of us are looking at our phones more than a couple times a day, right?  Ahhhh…..there is help for adults as well…….so please put your phones down and see below.

Here’s the list in no certain order:  MobSafety Ranger Browser, DinnerTime, Famigo, VideoMonster, Canary–Teen Safety, IgnoreNoMore, Qustodio, Avira Social Network Protection, ContentWatch Net Nanny7, and Checky.  I found these on a great website called

I found another great website that offers FREE books for kids to read either on their computers or on their phones.  I was surprised to see modern best-sellers there.  Check out  This was just one site I found.  There are many others. (I know, I just told you how to get your kids off their phones……but reading on them is a good thing.)

I need your help— Your kids really need locks for their lockers.  Believe it or not, not all kids “keep their hands to themselves.”  I wish they did but they don’t.  Help your kids protect their valuables….or don’t have them bring the valuables to school at all.  By the way, your kids carry more money on them than I do.  I don’t think there’s a kid here who doesn’t have a twenty in his/her pocket.  I’m lucky to have enough for a Redbox movie…..or for a chicken sandwich from the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s.

And finally, I experienced something yesterday that I will share with you.  As you know, graduation is around the corner.  It’s the highlight of most–not all–kids’ school careers.  It’s the prize they get for all their hard work.  Well, I had a student come and see me yesterday afternoon.  He was visibly shaken.  He was emotional.  He said, “I’m going to make it.  I’m going to graduate.  I did not think it was that important to me but as I was walking the halls of Virginia High School today, it occurred to me that it really was important to me.”  And the tears came.

Now….what about the student who doesn’t make it?  And we do have students who don’t make it for many different reasons.  Are they doomed?  No.  Can they pick themselves up, dust off, and continue their education? Yes. All is not lost.  Students can find success in their lives even if they don’t graduate on time.  Some just need a little extra time because “LIFE” happened to them—and maybe they had no control over their situations.  They are kids.

Our job is to always encourage….even when it seems like our encouragement is falling on deaf ears.  They will never forget who supported them…..nor will they forget who wrote them off.  Long story short……an encouraging word goes a long way and is long remembered.

See you next time… final time for my “Did You Know?” article… which I will tell you my “Top 10 Things I Learned as a Principal.”  You might be surprised.

Have a good weekend!


From the Principal – “Did You Know?”

Good afternoon,

I have to tell you.  I found myself reaching for the Advil today.  It’s nothing bad–just really busy here today.  I see you all nodding in agreement.  I bet you guys have one foot out the door as well as everyone else does here.  I attribute that “get out of work early” anxiety to our short summers.  We are forced to “have fun” as fast as we can because winter is around the corner.  Talk about stress!

If you are already in your car, put your seatbelt on and read while someone else is driving.  I’ll keep it brief.

Have you found those “lost” library books?  Dig a little deeper–they are there somewhere.  If you don’t find them, I’m going to have to give my last two Advil to the library people.  They love their books–each and every one of them.  I get the feeling that they would be willing to come over and help you look for them.  Put the coffee on…..

Senior Parent Reminders:

Baccalaureate – Wednesday, June 3, Goodman Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Graduation Rehearsal (Mandatory) – June 4, right after 6th hour – Goodman Auditorium

Graduation – June 4th, Goodman Auditorium, 7:00 p.m. – Open Seating (Graduates need to be here at 6:30 to line up)

Now, if your child chooses not to participate, please let me know.  It takes us a while to figure out seating on stage.  Make sure your child has a cap and gown.  If they don’t, give me a call and we will provide one for them.

Today we had our annual awards assembly.  Lots of kids received awards. And lots of kids did not receive awards.  Lots of kids did not receive awards for their character, their kindness, or for their average grades.  I want you to know that I noticed them.  They were clapping for those on stage.  I applaud all of my students and I believe that most of them are working as hard as they can.  If they are not, we have a little chat in my office.  We never give up on them. They are our future. Keep in mind that you will never see their report cards……..but you will see their character.  Remember that.  Honor that.

And speaking of honoring, please remember all the men and women who have served our great country.  It only takes a moment to remember that soldiers gave their lives for all of us. Thank them– by honoring them.  Teach your children.

No school on Monday.  It’s “Click-it or Ticket” weekend.  Enjoy the time with your family.  It’s important. Be safe.

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good afternoon,

Was it a little easier to get out of bed today knowing it was Friday?  I hope so.  I thought it was Friday on Wednesday if that makes you feel any better.  You’ve been there.  We’ve got dark clouds, dreary rain, freezing temperatures, state testing snafus, canceled sports, but on a Friday???….. it just seems a little more tolerable.  The kids are good and hanging in there. How are you doing?

OK Parents…..we have nagged your kids to return the borrowed library books, but for some reason they have yet to appear.  Could you take a look around the house and see if you can find any of them?  I know for a fact that lots of them will “be found” when the kids clean out their lockers–heavens to Betsy–you would not believe the multitude of questionable items stacked up in there!  I shudder to think about that.  Thanks for the help.  What greater weekend activity is there than a library book hunt?

Did you know that we allow any and all 11th grade students to sign up to take the PSAT test next year?  If you want your child to take this test, it costs $14.  They need to get their names on the list and their money turned in to the counseling office by May 26th.  These tests are ordered a year in advance and we only receive the number of tests we order so don’t miss this opportunity while it’s here.

I have to tattle on your kids.  They do not read….or the majority of them……do not read the daily bulletin that is sent directly to their emails and to their Schoology accounts every single day.  We send it to them so we don’t have to interrupt classes every day to read the bulletin to them.  We thought it was a great idea–everything at their fingertips–every day.  I don’t get it. I think they come by it naturally though….like when we adults buy something and it comes with directions that we don’t read until we put a swing set together that looks like a merry-go-round.  Perhaps it’s not such a strange thing.

That being said, maybe you guys better read the daily bulletin at  just to keep up with all of the things that are going on here at school.  Impress your children—-no easy task I might add.  (Wow….that’s an impressive link!  If I were you, I’d go there once and bookmark it.)

Did you know that a large number of you are calling the high school office with “last minute appointments” and “messages” you want delivered to your children?  We, of course, will try to accommodate but we have kids all over the place.  They are outside, inside, in the gyms, in the multi-purpose room, in the pool, etc.  We don’t call classrooms to interrupt classes so we have to do it the old-fashioned way—with a runner–yes, similar to the Pony Express.  I’m just letting you know that our horses are tired…….you get my drift….and thanks.

There is an Awards Program next Friday, May 22nd, at 9:00 a.m. in Goodman Auditorium. You are all invited as well as grandma and grandpa.  This is what the hard work is all about–proper recognition.  Come and be a part of this day for your kids.  They earned it. (Heck, you probably feel like you earned it with the amount of time you spent helping your kids with the homework.  You better come and get your reward too!)

And speaking of Fridays, did you know that there are two Fridays left in the school year? Two.  Just two.  One. Two. My teachers made me say that.  :)

Last but not least, I told my own kids that if they did everything I told them to do, they would never make a mistake.  (And no, I’m not sure I had thought that all the way through but I’ll go on…..)  My point was, that if they took my good parental advice, they would probably not make bad choices in life.  Do you think they did everything I advised them to do or not do?  No.  I don’t know what to tell you.

When kids get into trouble, I hear parents say, “That’s not how I raised my child.”  And believe me, I know what you are saying.  Here we all are, standing in front of them as big as life, with many life experiences under our belts, and they look at us as if we know nothing.  We probably thought the same of our parents.  I would guess that this scenario is what prompted a sign I saw the other day–  “Hire a teenager now while they know everything.”  Find the humor in that…….for what it’s worth.

Happy Friday…….Saturday is only hours away.

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good afternoon~

You made it through the week.  I know it may have looked doubtful at some point, but here we are.  How in the world do we do it?

Something is coming to your mailbox soon.  What, you might ask?  It’s a letter from the district that explains Early Release Days next year, a school calendar, and a little magnet to put on your refrigerator with the Early Release dates and times on it.  Put it up right away.  Go directly to the refrigerator and throw it on there now or your little ones will have it in their toy boxes.

Did you know that there are less than 4 weeks of school left?  How’s that news hitting you? Need more coffee?  I’m telling you this because I need you to check your child’s grades now. There shouldn’t be any last minute rescue missions during that 11th hour to try to save a grade.  Do it now and get that grade off life support.

OK–Parents of Seniors:  We know when Senior Skip Day is.  Yes, the kids talk about it in front of us–like we are inanimate objects–and they do it every year!  I’m only going to say this to you– and it’s because I worry about kids when they are not in school–but I can tell you that what goes on on Senior Skip Day is not always good…..and for sure not as safe as going to school is. Tradition or not – it’s not a good idea.  (Remember that their frontal lobes are not fully developed therefore they make poor decisions.)  OK ….Enough said.  That’s all  in your hands now.  Be strong.

Cliques.  Are they here at school?  Yes they are.  Did you have them when you went to school?  Yes you did.  I really don’t think I can control that but I can help you put them in perspective.  When you go to work, do you find yourselves hanging out with a certain group of people and avoiding other groups?  I’m guessing that most of you are nodding your heads.  Why would your kids be any different?  It would be wonderful if they all–or all of you–mixed it up with everyone but I don’t even think it’s possible.  And on top of that, I’m quite sure you have said to your kids, “I don’t want you hanging out with so and so”……..right?  Relax on that one……it will all work out for them.  We want them all to belong somewhere.

And to wrap up the day, I want to remind you that it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday.  And since I’m probably talking to many “moms” today, I’d have to say that you moms are the heart of the home.  You make it a place to feel safe and loved.  Your kids care what you think of them. You set the expectations of your children’s lives by your example alone.  No pressure…..but it’s a tremendous responsibility.  You deserve to be honored on this day.  Let your children pamper you.  Put your feet up.  Let them burn dinner in the kitchen.  Bite your lip if they leave a mess when they are cooking pancakes for you.  Smile when they give you bizarre gifts.  Act as if you have wanted a spotted lizard all of your life.  I, too, honor you and thank you for raising your children to know right from wrong.  I know where those lessons came from.

Enjoy the weekend……catch a fish…..


From the Principal – Did You Know?

Happy May Day–Did you get a May Basket?  I hope so……get that candy out now—-I think they call that “comfort food” don’t they?  You can exercise tomorrow.

Couple of things~  Your email is our best way to contact you.  Please keep us updated if you make a change.  Quite frankly, you guys change your emails way less often than you change your phone numbers….it’s hard to keep up.  Remember to update any contact info as soon as there is a change.  In case of an emergency, time means everything.

Just a quick reminder that the 11th grade students are taking their MCA Math test on Monday and TuesdayMay 4 and 5.  If you haven’t had that frying pan out for awhile, dust it off and get ready. A good breakfast is important when brainpower is needed.  (Aren’t you glad you don’t have a test to study for?  Or homework?) Or maybe you did wish you had a test so YOUR mom would come over and cook your breakfast!!  OH the good old days.

Listen up parents of Seniors:  Did you know that there is a lack of interest in the Senior Banquet?  They are in danger of not having a banquet.  We emailed all parents of seniors in order for you to prod your kids into signing up and paying the dues–$15.00 for dinner and a nice evening with their friends.  This is just a heads up that if more kids don’t sign up, the advisor is prepared to cancel it.  It would be sad not to share that day with their classmates. The final sign-up date is next Wednesday.

Is there anything bothering you about the behavior of your kids lately?  Are they all of a sudden skipping classes? Getting bad grades? Disappearing for periods of time? Hanging out with a new set of sketchy friends? Asking for money more often? Tired or depressed?  These are just a few of the signs of drug abuse.  One of the first things we see here at school is truancy.  We take attendance every hour.  Why? Because they are teenagers.  Missing an hour of their day makes no sense to us.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  If they are not in class, we wonder what it is, exactly, that they are doing instead.

I attended the community meeting on the escalation of heroin use in our community.  There are other drugs being used as well, but the heroin use is really increasing ….. and it’s killing people–young people.  It was good to see some of you there with your kids.  They got to hear first hand about what an addiction did to some young lives.  I want to pass on what I thought was one of the most important deterrents:  Parent disapproval of drug use was one of the most effective weapons against drug use.  Kids do not want to make you mad at them or disappointed in them.  Did you know that you had that much influence on your kids?  Use that info.  One young man also said that if his mom would have called up his friend’s mom to see if he was really there, he would never have gotten away with using drugs.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  One phone call could have changed his life.

Be a parent.  Check on your kids.  It’s your job and they expect you to do this. Do not disappoint them.  Talk, talk, talk to them.  Ask questions.  Check on them.  You are NOT violating any privacy.  They can be private when they are on their own.  Remember that what you think of them matters.

And speaking of parenting, let’s talk about Facebook.  I wish it did not exist.  I know that’s extreme but it does not do one positive thing for us here at school.  It is a platform to say anything to anyone.  It’s not private.  There are thousands of Facebook postings going out every day and they are not all nice.  Kids read them.  Kids are hurt by them.  Words are powerful and long-lasting.  Kids bring those issues into school and all of a sudden my Dean of Students is neck deep in Facebook issues.  We cannot control Facebook.  We do not want to control Facebook.  We are asking parents to control your child’s Facebook.  Evaluate this to see if they really need Facebook.  People lose jobs due to Facebook.  People lose friends due to Facebook.  Like I said before, we don’t need to know the exact moment someone goes to change a diaper. That is not gripping information that I live for. Just food for thought.

I hope you don’t feel all beat up……I hope you feel empowered.  You are key to your kids’ success.  We parents never really give up.  There is something in us that won’t allow us to let go of our children.  Afterall, some of them were hard to come by.  Some of them need a little help until their frontal lobe develops.  (I see some of you Googling now ….”When…. does….. that…… frontal…… lobe…… develop?”)  I hear you thinking—–I’m not sure I can survive this teenage scene.  You can.  We live with 750 of them here and they are lots of fun.  Enjoy the time you have with them.  Soon they will be gone and you’ll be wishing they would come for a visit…or at least call you—oh, make that “text you.”  People don’t call anymore.

Have a fantastic weekend!  It’s summer tomorrow….don’t miss it.



From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good afternoon,

Someone let me know when I can put my snow pants and mittens away.  I’m cold.  The good news?  This weather sort of curbs that desire to skip class.  If it’s icky outside, they don’t mind spending their time with us.  When 70 degrees hits, I shudder.  And the rambunctious kids are another story……(And you thought I was talking about the kids, didn’t you.)  But enough of my worries.

What’s up for the weekend?  Prom!  It’s tomorrow!!! Pictures start at 5:15, the Grand March is in Goodman Auditorium at 6:30, the meal is served at 7:15, and the dance is from 8:30 to 11:30. Kids are not allowed to leave until 11:15.  Why?  Because now you have a time frame of your child’s whereabouts.  We hand them off to you at 11:15.  They cannot come and go like the wind——once they are with us, they stay with us.

Oh and a couple of other things:  Parents cannot go to the Curling Club to see the decorations.  I’m not sure how to tell you this, but once you see the Grand March and send them to the dinner and dance, you have become the second most important thing in their lives.  They want to be on their own without you guys “hovering.”  (They made me tell you this. I’m innocent.)

Speaking of parenting, have you thought about a prom curfew?  It’s OK if you have.  You know that old saying about “Nothing good happens after midnight,” is absolutely true.  You know what I’m talking about.  Be strong.  Have the courage to tell your kids what time they have to be home.  And remember those cell phones you bought your kids–the ones you pay the bill on every month?  I think you should use those minutes you bought.  Call them and tell them—- every 15 minutes—– that you love them.  You get my drift.  I’m sure they’ll appreciate hearing from you.  Fear not.

I’m teasing you a little about all of this, but deep down I worry about kids on this night.  I just want them all to come back to school on Monday after their fun night out.  It’s a special night. It’s exciting.  None of us want any tragedy.  Tell them to be careful.

OK….moving on.

Here’s the MCA Testing Schedule that remains:

Math 7 – Monday, April 27 & Wednesday, April 29

Math 8 – Thursday, April 30 & Friday, May 1

Math 11 – Monday, May 4 & Tuesday, May 5

Science 8 – Wednesday, May 6 & Thursday, May 7

Science 10 – Tuesday, May 12 & Wednesday, May 13

Just encourage your kids to do their best.  No stress.

Did you know that opiate (Heroin) addiction is on the rise?  It is all around us and it can affect any one of our families.  Find out what’s going on at “The Heroin Community Forum” next Thursday, the 30th, in the North Room of the Miner’s Memorial Building.  The presentation goes from 7 – 8 p.m. and then there is a Q&A after that.  This is a FREE program.  Bring your kids.

And finally, what kind of behavior do we expect from our kids?  We expect them to be polite, respectful, quiet, studious, on time, prepared, dressed properly, honest and for sure, we expect them NOT to text and drive.  Have you talked to them about texting and driving?  Do you text and drive?  Are you doing what you expect your kids not to do?  They are watching you…….Just food for thought.  It’s hard to be a parent….be brave.

From the Principal – Did You Know?

Good afternoon and welcome to the last 7 weeks of school!  Where are my manners?  Please sit down…….Take 5 and let’s get caught up on all the latest news! There………that’s  better.

I have a couple of important announcements.  First of all, the last day of school is June 4th. We are releasing students an hour early that day so the high school (7-12) will be out at 2:08 p.m.  Mark that down and get ready for those wonderful children to come running into your arms.  They will be with you (for what seems like an eternity) for the next few months. Heaven help you…………(I kid, of course.)

And speaking of those angels, I want to remind you that we (and you parents) will see an increase in anxiety at this time of year.  It builds to a boiling point and it’s real.  There is a lot of 4th quarter stress due to cramming for tests in order to pass the quarter, stress about graduating on time, stress from sports, and just plain stress from sitting in a desk 7 hours a day and wishing they could be outside.  I believe it is similar to little baby calves getting out of the barn in the spring. They are dying to kick up their heels.

Oh….and one more little thing….the dress code.  Remember last year?  I reminded you that if your child wears shorts, the shorts should have legs on them.  No legs on the shorts equals underwear.  Grandma would not approve.  Please, please help us with that.  Thank you.

Now…..parents of 11th grade students need to hear this.  The number one reason a student gets dismissed from the ACT test is because they try to use a TI-89 Calculator.  I am sending a letter to all parents of 11th graders next week, so you can make sure your child has the right one.  Make sure to read that letter in its entirety.  It’s important.  You can also go to for FAQ’s on the ACT test.  The test is April 28, right here on our campus.  OH, and put your wallet away…’s FREE.  This saves you close to $60.

Did you know that we offered the Accuplacer (college entrance exam) Test here a couple of weeks ago?  If your child is signed up for a PSEO Class or a Concurrent Enrollment Class, he or she will have to take and pass this test in order to receive college credit.  Now, if they missed the test, they will have to re-test at Mesabi Community College.  The college tests on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. All testing must be completed by July 1st.  Certain cut-scores must be met in order to receive college credit.  Contact Cindy Altobelli at 218-749-7727 or at  Don’t put this off.

And speaking of PSEO, there is a mandatory PSEO meeting for students planning on attending Mesabi Community College (either part-time or full time during the 2015-16 school year) on Wednesday, April 29, at 3:15 p.m. in the Resource Center.  Either a parent or student must attend.  You will be able to pick up information and talk to a college rep at this time.  Enter through door #3 on the front of the building.

OK….are you still with me?  Apparently I had a lot to say today……  :)  There are changes coming next year for a couple of things.  (I will remind you a few times because we are creatures of habit and we are all really busy. I get it.)

First of all, school start and end times will change for next year.  The 7-12 kids will start school at 8:08 and end the school day at 3:05.  This is not a huge change but sometimes just a few minutes make a big difference in your morning routine–like either you get a pop tart or your don’t, right?  I’m already nervous for you…….

Second, the School District will be implementing Early Release Days two times a month next year.  You will receive a letter shortly–and a calendar–from the District which will explain more about who, what, when, where and why.  School will be dismissed at 2:08 on those Early Release days.  

And finally, I must tell you that you will have a new principal next year.  I have decided to retire.  I absolutely love my job–it’s not that.  Everyone in my family is healthy–it’s not that.  I guess that now that I am trying to explain it to you, I don’t even have a good reason to retire…..but nevertheless, I am.  I know you know the old cliche — life is short —and, well…. it is.  I want to retire while I’m physically and mentally able to participate in all aspects of life. I’m excited about it –and look forward to it.  I have enjoyed every minute of my time with all of you.  Working in Virginia has been the highlight of my career.  I was and always will be proud to say that I worked here—with all of you.  I will forever be a Blue Devil.

I hope I have had some sort of impact on your lives and the lives of your children.  If nothing else, I hope I have helped you put things in perspective about how life is for your children here at school.  I care very much about this school and the traditions you have upheld for many years.  You have much to be proud of. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and this great community.


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