It’s back to school week for Sibley East Public Schools


It will be back to school next week for Sibley East students.

Sibley East students in Grades 7-12 will start school on Tuesday, September 7.

There will be parent-teacher conferences for elementary students Sept. 7 and 8. The first day of school for elementary students is Thursday, Sept. 9.

Sibley East is anticipating elementary school enrollment to be approximately 660 students, an increase of 30 students from one year ago, according to Principal Mari Lu Martens.

The additional students will be placed in existing classrooms. However, some of the support program teachers have been moved together to share a classroom, Martens said.

“We didn’t add any sections because of the additional students,” Martens explained. There are currently five sections of Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade.

Goals for the year are to enhance instruction and increase student engagement through the use of technology. Because of the successful elementary carnival last spring, enough funds were raised to have SMART boards in every elementary classroom. Plans are, as funds are raised, to add exterior speaker systems.

The elementary in Gaylord will also have access to two new mobile computer labs.

There are two new teachers/fellows at the elementary Dawn Klaiber, who will be teaching first grade in Arlington, and Dulcee Davenport, who will be teaching second grade in Arlington.

One change for elementary students this year is that art, music and physical education will be held throughout the year. In the past, art and music were held one semester. Jan Gieseke will be serving as the long-term substitute for Amanda Feterl in elementary art until November 1.

The greatest change for Sibley East Junior High School this year will be the new, A-B Extended Day Schedule.

Most days, students will have four classes. Most classes will be 85 minutes in length. Band and choir will continue to be offered every other day.

The Junior High will hold its regular schedule on the first day of school.

“I’m expecting confusion, and after that it will be fine,” Junior High Principal Steve Harter predicted. Students will be granted some leniency the first few days.

The Gaylord Elementary and Junior High will have access to two new mobile wireless computer labs. Each has 30 computers.

The new computers will help with computer usage, Harter explained. There are already two stationary computer labs in the building.

Enrollment at Sibley East Junior High School, as of Sept. 25, was at 273 students in Grades 7-9.

“There are one or two sections that are larger than I would have liked,” Harter said. Classrooms will average 26 students.

Sibley East Junior High School is continuing with its cell phone policy. Cell phones may be turned into the office upon arrival at school and may be picked up after school.

There are two new faculty members. Tracie Bjorklund will teach Junior High FACS and Senior High health science. Joy Kempenick will teach Kindergarten – Grade 9 special education.

A new A-B Extended Day schedule and three new teachers highlight changes at Sibley East Senior High School this year.

On the first day of school, a general meeting for all students and staff will be held in the gymnasium from 8:20 – 8:30 a.m. Following the general meeting, class meetings will be held.

An abbreviated “A” schedule will be followed the first day for school.

The three new Senior High teachers are Chad Johnson, social studies and varsity wrestling coach; Andrew Kahler, physics, chemistry and forensics; and Tracie Bjorklund, who will teach health occupations on “B” days.

Enrollment at Sibley East Senior High School was at 275 students as of August 20. There are six foreign exchange students.

With the new schedule, policies will be developed on how to use the academic options periods in the middle of the day. During Academic Options, students must report to their assigned rooms at the assigned time. Students must bring homework to complete or leisure reading material each day. Students may request to see another teacher during their Academic Options period to receive help on assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to have a pass noted in the daily planner from the teacher you are seeking help from. Students are responsible for reporting to any teacher’s room that requests attendance on a particular day. Quiet study or leisure reading is expected in each room. MP3 players with headphones are allowed, but cell phone use is not allowed.

Toward the end of September. Amsden anticipates allowing Junior and Senior Privileges. The proposed policy is that Junior and Senior privileges are earned and can be removed by staff or parents at anytime for failing to meet requirements. Requirements include no failing grades at midterm, quarter or semester grading periods, maintaining at least a 2.0 quarterly grade point average, having no major or recurring behavioral referrals, no truancy or unexcused absences from class or required academic option teacher requests or meetings, failing to remain in approved “social spaces” and out of the “academic areas” without a pass, and driving without parent permission or with other students in your vehicle during your privilege time.

Students who meet requirements must have a signed parent permission form on file in the office to be granted Junior or Senior privileges.