Director’s Update, January 17, 2018: For Parents of Seniors

As we approach Quarter 3 midterm in a short few weeks (February 6!), we are monitoring not
only grades, but also attendance. Seniors in particular are not going to want to run afoul of
attendance requirements because they surely don’t want to put their graduation at risk. Therefore,
here are a few reminders for parents: even if your son or daughter is 18 years old, you must still
call the school when he or she is going to be absent. (Contrary to popular wishing, not even an
eighteen-year- old cannot excuse himself from school!)
College Visits:
We are developing a senior checklist as part of seniors’ preparation for graduation. Attendance,
grades, and college planning are part of our ongoing discussion with seniors. Toward that end, a
few college visits are being planned to the following post-secondary institutions: SMSU in
Marshall; the Alexandria Vocational-Technical College, and Ridgewater in Willmar. Dates will
be announced as soon as they are known.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Night will be held in February so that
seniors can complete FAFSAs in order to fulfill the requirements of their (realized or hoped-for)
colleges. They should plan to bring a tax return for one of the past two tax years in order to
complete the application; other necessary information needed for FAFSA includes students’ and
parents’ social security numbers, information concerning A FAFSA is required at virtually every
college unless you happen to be paying 100% of college expenses. Parents are welcome and
encouraged to attend. Also please know if that if you do not wish to divulge your income to your
son or daughter, you can still attend the FAFSA Night to learn how to complete the application.
A Word on Seniors and Failed Core Courses:
If your son or daughter had a failing I grade in any core course and you have questions about
whether this will interfere with graduation plans, please call me! We have sat down with every
senior to do a credit review. Some seniors who needed to fill out credits are doing so through the
ALC in Granite Falls or Montevideo. If your son or daughter is doing ALC packets in order to
complete necessary credits, they must complete them before graduation so that ALC can
issue the credit earned to ECHO Charter; otherwise, your child might “walk” for graduation
but may be carrying an unsigned diploma.
More news will be forthcoming on plans for graduation!
Helen Blue-Redner, Director and 7-12 Science Teacher, ECHO Charter School
Ed.S./Principal Licensure Candidate, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Ed.M., Harvard University