November 6, 2020
UMA Community - 
As we enter another segment of learning at a distance, I want to thank you for taking my calls, answering my questions, and bringing your thoughts, concerns and praise of our staff to my attention.  The UMA team is committed to finding more ways to connect, collaborate, and contribute to the entire learning community.  This will take time, energy, space, resources and creativity - but we can move forward.   

In the news, Governor Walz has issued executive orders this week that grant schools the opportunity to address some of these needs.  This will prompt some data seeking, some changes in schedules, some new resources and ultimately more movement forward for educators and households.  Once again, we will keep you updated and answer any clarifying questions. 

As each of us enters this next phase differently, struggles will continue and many will need support - UMA will continue to be available to you as a center for access to resources.  Please reach out to myself or any staff member when you have needs and concerns. 

Enjoy this time of beautiful weather, enjoy the crispness of late fall and the brisk season of early winter - all of which is right around the corner.

Amy Erickson - Executive Director

Give to the Max Fund Drive                            
Let’s not sugarcoat it, 2020 has been an incredibly challenging  year. Upper Mississippi Academy (UMA), like most organizations, has quickly adapted, revised and re-created its learning environment as the pandemic continues to unfold.  As educational institutions have been forced to rethink traditional ways reflected in their move to hybrid and distance learning, UMA has remained resilient and continues to build on one of its core strengths -- providing students with non-traditional and hands-on learning experiences.

UMA knows that students learn best when they are engaged, feel connected, and are provided different ways to demonstrate personal learning and knowledge.  At a time when students are “zoomed out” and feeling more and more isolated, UMA is working to counter this by building stronger “student to student”, “student to staff”, and “student to their world” connections by providing new learning opportunities … albeit in the safe home environments of students. 

This is where you come in! 

UMA is asking for your support during this year’s 2020 GiveMN fund drive to help raise $9000 ($30/student) to purchase hands-on learning supplies in all areas of academics, packaged as “school to home kits.” Since we cannot consistently be in the classroom, UMA wants to “bring the classroom to students in their homes.”  

Think about the learning students can experience by participating in class projects, community day activities, or clubs that blend academics, fun, and community building.  Some areas are listed below, many more are obtainable:

  1. Gardening/essential ingredients kits that provide students with their own indoor garden (bulbs and or herbs) materials.

  2. Safe Science - experiment ingredients and equipment

  3. Knitting/crochet/loom kits –  needles, yarn, various looms.

  4. UMaker sewing kit – Sewing supplies, patterns, accessories (buttons, zippers, trim, etc.) and fabric.

  5. Beginning carpentry kit – the “art” of joinery; frame making supplies using limited tools.

  6. Friendship kits – e.g. lanyard bracelet supplies, beading, jewelry making supplies. 

  7. Outdoor Connections - observation and collection kits for use outdoors in all seasons

  8. And the list goes on!!!  (possibly instrument making, a student driven idea yet to be unearthed, or maybe an idea from you!) 

Supporting our community of lifelong learners -   
Support UMA during our GiveMN 2020 fund drive!  Any size gift makes a difference in supporting the mission of UMA to provide students with hands-on learning to facilitate learning, creativity, and connection.  You can do this by:

·  Giving a one-time donation TODAY to UMA through the GiveMN website HERE or through UMA’s Paypal Fund Giving site HERE

·  Choosing to become a monthly sustainer by going to either of the above sites and register to give monthly.

Thank you for your ongoing support and financial gifts especially during such challenging times!  UMA is grateful and we thank you for being part of our extended learning community.
What's Happening in the Classroom
Supporting UMA's Design & Engineering learning pathway is a high school elective class on Robotics & Programming. Reading about technology or robotics in a book is the traditional way to learn, but by building or controlling a robot is hands-on learning that sticks around. So that students at home could manipulate the hundreds of small components, plastic organizers were purchased to store the pieces so they could be distributed to the sixteen students in the class.  
There are six units in this robotics series from Arduino which are rotated among the students during the semester. With live instruction and modeling by UMA teacher Aaron Hefstad, one of the first units this quarter was assembling and programming a light sensor. UMA's curriculum helps ensure students can meet the demands of our evolving workforce, building essential students' skills, content knowledge, and fluency in STEM fields.
Family Resources
Free Covid Testing
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that it will open a saliva testing site at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium at 175 Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul and the Minneapolis Convention Center at 1302 2nd Ave S inMinneapolis.  Testing will be available from noon to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.  Appointments can be made through the Vault Health registration site

Nasal swab testing is available in Burnsville and Stillwater from 12-6 pm 
November 8-10 at these locations:
Church of the Risen Savior
1501 County Road 42 East
Burnsville, MN 55306

350 Maryknoll Dr N
Stillwater, MN 55082

Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance doesn’t cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains completely free to everyone.

Holiday Assistance
Places of worship, non-profit agencies, food banks and other charities provide a wide variety of assistance.  Some programs require applications and/or have income or residential requirements.  Looking for what is available in your neighborhood is a good place to start.  For a list of agencies offering this sort of help in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka and Dakota counties,  please click here

If you have a specific need and would like help finding resources please feel free to contact the following staff, we would like to talk with you;
Heidi Jaeger, Social Worker 612-314-5354
Joclyn Tiedt, Social Worker  612-208-3854 
Anna Walters, School Counselor 612-888-2153
UMA Climate Changers
We think Upper Mississippi Academy is pretty special and unique.  If  your  family thinks so too, please let friends and neighbors know about our hands-on, experiential learning.  We still have open seats in all grades and students could begin at the start of quarter 2 on November 9, 2020.  Our website features a virtual tour for those interested in learning more about us.  Families interested in attending should complete an online 2020-2021 application.  

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Upcoming Dates
November 9 - Start of Quarter 2
November 16 - Student Release Day - No School
November 17-19 - Materials pick-up as needed
November 19 - Give to the Max Day
November 25-27 - No School-Holiday
Copyright © 2020 Upper Mississippi Academy, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
19 Exchange Street East
St. Paul, MN  55101

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Upper Mississippi Academy · 19 East Exchange Street · St. Paul, MN 55101 · USA

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