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
As I write this article, I am looking out of my office window at the results of our recent snowstorm that brought us another 8 inches of snow and forced another school closure. It is hard to think of Spring approaching with more than a foot of snowpack still on the ground.
The winter season of 2022-2023 has been a challenging one with many calendar adjustments due to weather. The disruption of our school routines is only one of the impacts that result from inclement weather and we all understand the stress that school closures and delays bring to our students and families.
We have currently adjusted our calendar to make-up 2 of the snow days for students and staff. We are also going to recommend that the Upsala School Board revise the school calendar to change April 6 from a non-student/staff day to a regular school day for students and staff. As of today, we are not planning to add any more student days to the end of the year, however, we will have to wait and see what the weather does over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more updates in the near future.
Spring not only brings many changes in our weather, but we also see a number of other events that come with the change of seasons. The winter sports are gearing up for postseason contests. Our arts activities are preparing for Spring contests and performances. The Robotics team is preparing for its major competition which involves a trip to Missouri this year and our Spring activities are preparing to begin their seasons.
I’ve stated this many times over my career, but I am always amazed at how fast the school year goes. Soon, we will be preparing for our commencement ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2023. The 2023 Commencement will also mark the 100th anniversary of the first graduating class from UAS. The first class of five student graduated from UAS in May of 1923. We will be beginning our planning for this year’s commencement celebration in the near future.
Spring also brings the busy legislative session at the State Capital. This session has already begun and the pace has been very fast with a large number of bills being introduced into committees. As you may be aware, our District is represented in the State House by UAS alum Isaac Schultz.
Legislative advocacy on behalf of our students is something that I take very seriously. The issues that we advocate for are issues that we feel will benefit the students and community of UAS. UAS is a member of the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA) which advocates on behalf of rural school districts around the State of Minnesota. Some of the key issues to follow include:
- Increases in the basic education aid formula.
- Reduction of the Special Education cross-subsidy.
- Funding and policies to help schools with facilities maintenance.
- Improving the equalization formulas to provide local tax relief.
I will be participating in a number of advocacy events in the coming weeks to testify to the importance of these issues.
Lastly, I want to recognize and congratulate some of our students and staff. Natalie Wensmann and Nicholas Kulla will be awarded the Students of Character Award by Region 5 and Ms. Chelsea Fuchs and Ms. Gretchen Schleper will be awarded the Educators of Excellence Award by Region 5. These students/staff members exemplify the mission, vision and values of Upsala Area Schools and they are very deserving of this award. Natalie, Nicholas, Ms. Fuchs, and Ms. Schleper will be recognized at Awards banquets later this Spring sponsored by Sourcewell.
Vern Capelle, Superintendent