November 29, 2017

BlueSky Online School Newsletter


Student Day
Dec. 14, 10am - 2 pm

SeaLife field trip
Dec. 15 @ 1:00 pm

Board Meeting
Dec. 20 @ 10:00 am

Dec 25 - Jan 1

Student Day
Jan 11, 10am - 2pm

January 15

Student Day
Jan 18, 10am - 2pm

End Semester 1
Jan 18 @ 3 pm

January 19 - 22

Principal's Message

We are well into the holiday season with all the excitement the season brings. Many times our students and families have expectations that cause further stress and financial pressure. We have worked in our family to more toward creative gift making, using cash only to stay in budget, create situational memories, and accentuate what we are grateful for. Studies show that material possessions do not equal happiness, but experiences do. The internet is full of great ideas to make the holidays a fun and memorable experience.

Ways to Reduce Stress and Practice Mindfulness Over the Holidays, by Virginia Woodward, Social Work Intern:
Make time for Self-Care: The holidays can be incredibly tough and our schedules are often jam-packed during this time of year. Make sure to set aside some time every week to practice some self-care. Some ideas can include reading a good book, taking a walk in nature, doing meditation, or cooking a healthy and delicious meal - really self-care involves anything that makes you feel relaxed and allows for mindfulness. There are many free apps to promote mindfulness.
Do less, enjoy more: We have the tendency to over-schedule ourselves throughout the holidays and this can lead us to feeling stretched thin. Prioritize what holiday activities are most important to you and forgo those that are not as fulfilling. When we focus on things in our life that really bring us joy, we feel more connected to our own emotions and those of our loved ones.
Pay attention to your health: During the holidays, we stop sticking to a routine, especially one that supports fitness and healthy eating habits. However, regular exercise and a well-balanced diet can be one of the best ways to reduce stress and promote happiness. Try to fit in exercise when you can. Maybe spending an hour at the gym isn't realistic, but perhaps a 15 minute walk during a lunch break is easy to achieve. Making a home cooked meal, at least a few times a week, can increase the likelihood of creating good habits.
Be generous: Tis the season for compassion! Not only does charity and volunteer work help give back to our most vulnerable members of the community, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Charitable acts can be as small as cleaning out your kitchen for nonperishable food donations or as big as organizing a choral group to tour local nursing homes throughout the season. Get ideas for charitable activities: local to MN or more general ideas.

Learn about the 4 C's of Mindfulness.

If you need resources for the holidays or would like to help a family this holiday season, please contact one of our school social workers:

  • Virginia Woodward -
  • Carolyn Disch -
  • Casie Hammel -
  • Lynn Riebe -
  • April Scharnberg -

We would like to encourage all families to head into this month with anticipation and gratitude. Also, please encourage your student to keep working over the winter break to catch up on classes, practice organizational skills, or get ahead. Starting the new year feeling organized and ready to embrace the end of the semester helps the enthusiasm of learning. They can use these study ideas for the new year.

Our doors and hearts are always open to our families. Have a fantastic holiday season!

Renee Parcheta,
Student Services Director

Parent Connect

How was school today?

Do you struggle with talking to your student about their school day? Check out this article written by Elena Aguillar to get some ideas to start your conversations: 15 Questions to Replace "How Was School Today?"

BlueSky Stars

The BlueSky advisors have chosen to recognize these students for their hard work and dedication:

"Jenna Galvan is a hardworking student who always has a positive attitude. She pushes herself to do well and sets high goals. She completed 58 assignments last week alone! Jenna has been incredibly dedicated in her schoolwork and goes above and beyond in her learning. She would like to become a doctor in the future, and has demonstrated the work ethic and skills that she will need. Jenna says, 'I came to BlueSky to get away from drama and to be a better student. I can truthfully say that I have completely accomplished that.' She is always on time, prepared, and a pleasure to work with. Way to go, Jenna!"

- nominated by April Scharnberg and Sara Keller

"Willie Cameron is in his second year here at BlueSky. I am nominating him because this fall he has developed effective routines to stay on top of his schoolwork, do a great job on each assignment, communicate well with staff, and be right on track in his classes. Other schools before BlueSky simply weren't the right fit for Willie, and the online environment and flexible nature of the program was a great change for him to try. This year he is thriving and doing excellent work in his classes. When Willie isn't working on school, he enjoys working out and watching TV."

- nominated by Laura Welciek

Student Day at BlueSky

The next Student Day is taking place on Thursday, December 14th - mark your calendars!

The second Thursday of each month during the first semester is Student Day at the BlueSky office! Work on your assignments, socialize, get help from BlueSky staff, or offer help to other students. Students can sign up for more than one day on the Student Day Form and all grades are welcome to attend.

Attendance Awards

BlueSky would like to congratulate the 131 students who were recognized for their attendance during the first quarter! You can find the names of students who had perfect attendance (no excused or unexcused of any kind) or honorable mention (two or fewer excused, no unexcused) on the BlueSky website.

Halloween Costume Contest

Congrats to Alexandra Thompson who got the most votes on our Facebook page for her spooky and creative Halloween costume and won our 4th annual contest! We had a lot of great submissions this year from students, staff, and a few pets.

I am Thankful For...

Students in Heather Brack's 8th grade English class created a list poem by submitting something they are thankful for this year.

I am thankful for...
My grandma, because she loves me
David Bowie
Education, for teaching me everything I know today
Christmas lights
The Walking Dead
November, because it is my favorite month
My phone, so I can keep in touch with family members who live far away
Being able to afford important things
For the opportunity to be at BlueSky because it's easier to pay attention
My dog
Being able to play lacrosse
For sunsets, because they are breathtaking sometimes
Music and the way it makes me nostalgic
My parents
For food and water
Knowing ASL to talk to the deaf
My fat, food-obsessed cat
Fuzzy blankets to curl up in while I watch a movie and drink hot chocolate
My education
String lights
Holiday breaks
My teachers

Counselor Corner

Introducing an exciting new feature in PowerSchool for students (and their parents/guardians) to view their credits and progress towards completing graduation requirements. Please view this Graduation Progress Video on how to access this feature. For questions or assistance, please contact your BlueSky counselor:
  • Carla Anderson-Diekmann -
  • Amy Chicoine -
  • Dawn Mensing -
  • Phaedra Poppen -
Financial Aid Information
If you or your student are nearing graduation and would like information about applying for financial aid, please attend one of our Financial Aid Information Sessions:

Wednesday, Dec 13 @ 7 pm: Collaborate Ultra room
Thursday, Dec 14 @ noon: Collaborate Ultra room

We Day

It was another exciting and invigorating We Day at the Xcel Center in St. Paul this year, but even more exciting because one of BlueSky's students was featured in the program!

Hailey Sherwood spoke to over 17,000 people about her local service learning project she completed last year called Hailey's Hope. You can watch her speech or read the article from the Mankato Free Press.

Foam, Flames, and Fun!

Students, parents, and staff members were wowed by the workings of chemistry when University of Minnesota Ph.D student Joe McKillip brought the laboratory to BlueSky on November 17. His memorable demos used dry ice, liquid nitrogen, hydrogen gas, and household chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide to show the action of catalysts, the phase of change of sublimation, and the workings of fireworks. In the hands-on activity, students experienced how much liquid the polymer sodium polyacrylate, found in diapers, could hold. McKillip also talked about his pathway through college, his career goals, and his current research on antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Student Work

Nicole Petersen would like to feature Sam Hoffman's work from her Photography class. Sam submitted these pictures for the "Building Character" assignment earlier this year.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | BlueSky Blog