320-573-2174 ext. 105
Hello, and Welcome to Upsala Area Schools
My name is Vern Capelle, and I am honored to serve the Upsala Area Schools – ISD 487 as the Superintendent, and in turn serve the communities of Upsala, Bowlus, Grey Eagle, and more. I am endlessly proud of our Districts' academic growth and our community's continuous, outstanding support. At UAS we operate with a passionate, skilled staff dedicated to unlocking the full-potential of each of our students.
Upsala Area Schools has a long, rich history that dates back to 1920, when four separate elementary schools consolidated under one new brick building. Today we continue to seek out technology advancements, programming enhancements, and innovative teaching techniques to not only honor our original graduates, but also to inspire and mold our future generations.
(Graduate) Educational Specialist – Educational Leadership –– Concordia University; St. Paul
(Graduate) Master of Arts – Educational Leadership –– Concordia University; St. Paul
(Undergraduate) Bachelor of Science – Biology/Secondary Education –– University of Wisconsin; River Falls
From the Superintendent's Desk
Greetings UAS Community
As I write this update to you, we are experiencing an above normal stretch of warm weather for midNovember. The warmer temperature has provided us with an extended fall season as we have concluded our first quarter of the 2023- 2024 school year and with that the fall activities. While we are enjoying the mild weather to this point, we know that winter weather will soon arrive and with that the potential of school closures and delays. Communication is the most important part of these decisions and we want to ensure that we communicate any decisions to close/ delay based on weather with parents/families as soon as possible.
The decision to close, or start late, begins at the moment there is a predicted storm or prior to 5:00 am on the morning of the storm. I begin gathering information about the weather and road conditions from various sources, such as the Minnesota Department of Transportation, National Weather Service (NWS), area Superintendents, and Morrison County Public Works, as well as consulting with our building and grounds manager, Andy Harren and some transportation coordinator, Sherry Soltis. I also will get out and drive the roads myself to gauge the conditions.
Even with all this information, the decision to close or delay is still a very difficult one to make and I am certain there will be times when others will disagree with my decision. I cannot guarantee that I will make the correct decision every time, but I will guarantee that the decision to close or delay school will be made with the safety of our students and staff as my primary concern. I will also make every effort to make the decision to close or delay in a timely fashion that will minimize any disruptions to the schedules of our families. Depending on the snowfall and/or current weather conditions, and how soon plows may be on the roads, I will attempt to make this decision by 5:45 am at the latest.
The decision to close or delay is not always an easy one to make, but through careful analysis of various sources of information, we will make our decision as quickly as possible in order to communicate with everyone as early as we can. Once a decision has been made to close, start late, or close early; communicating this decision to parents and staff is critical. Upsala Area Schools uses a variety of media to disseminate these decisions, including the use of automated phone calls, social media and news outlets. Primarily, we will use our JMC messaging system to communicate closures/delays with families. This system consists of text messages and robocalls to alert parents/guardians to school schedule changes. Parents/Guardians, please make sure that you have updated your primary contact information in the JMC parent portal. If you require assistance in updating your contact information, please contact the main office. We will also post the announcements on the live feed of our District webpage/app and social media sites. In addition, we will post announcements on the following news media outlets: WYRQ, KLTF, and KFML Radio - Little Falls; WCCO & WCCO Radio 830 - Minneapolis; KASM Radio - Albany; KCLD, KZPK, and KCML - St. Cloud; KSTP & KSAX - Alexandria; KMSP Fox 9; KEYL Radio - Long Prairie; SC Times Website; and KARE 11. When we communicate the decision to close, start late, or close early; we will attempt to include all the details for parents, students, and staff. Please understand that the media outlets may not include all the details when they distribute the announcement. In the event that we close school for the day, or if we close early, due to severe weather, all extra-curricular and after school activities will also be canceled or postponed. I also want to encourage all families to make sure that you have a plan in place in case of school closure or delay. Careful planning and communication will ensure that all of our students and staff members are safe during any winter storm weather.
Occasionally, the timing of winter weather is such that we do not need to close/delay the school day, however, co-curricular activity schedules may be disrupted. We will rely on the same messaging systems to communicate any schedule changes outside of the school day as well. You may also stay informed by frequently checking the District website/app where the current activity schedules will be published. The schedules will reflect the most up to date information on co-curricular events and activities.
Meteorologists have been predicting that the winter of 23-24 will not be as intense as last winter, however, we all know that Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. Winter weather is something that Minnesotans are accustomed to and we will make every effort to minimize the disruption caused by winter weather as we move into the winter months. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Vern Capelle, EdS
Superintendent of Schools