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
The 2022-2023 UAS School year is in full-gear and moving swiftly. It’s hard to believe we are already one-third of the way through this year. As we enter the winter season, here are a few updates for you from the Superintendent’s desk.
New Board Members
In early November, the general election was held that included the election of two new School Board members. Mr. Mike Klasen and Mr. Jim Warga were elected to the Upsala Area School Board of Education and will begin their terms on January 2, 2023. Mr. Klasen and Mr Warga will be replacing Mr. Ryan Thomas and Mr. Trevor Soltis as Board members. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to Mr. Thomas and Mr. Soltis for their Board service and welcome Mr. Klasen and Mr. Warga to the Board. In addition, Board Chairperson Mr. Dean Peterson was re-elected to the Board. Our School Board reorganization meeting and officer elections will take place during the regular Board meeting in January. I am looking forward to working with our Board members to continue the tradition of excellence here at UAS.
Winter Weather Delays/Cancellations
One constant of every school year is the impact that the weather can have on school schedules and activities. The winter months always bring the possibility of school closures and delays. 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 lead custodian, Don Ehrenberg, and some of our transportation staff. 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 with the main office. We currently have been using this messaging system this year and if you have not been receiving messages, there may be an issue with your contact information. We will also post the message on our social media including Twitter, Facebook, and the District’s website. 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.
Over the summer, we also made some major upgrades to our district website. If you have visited recently, you will have noticed that the website is more appealing and easier to navigate. The website will also be more responsive to your searches and will function more efficiently on multiple devices. We are still working on updates to the documents and information on the website. We hope that the website will provide you with all the information you need regarding UAS. UAS also has a mobile app where you can find the website information. You may find the app wherever you get apps for your smartphone/tablet. Contact the District Office if you would like additional information.
In closing, I would like to thank all students, parents/guardians, staff members, School Board members, and community members for the ongoing support of Upsala Area Schools. We strive for excellence every day at UAS and your support enables us to achieve at high levels. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions, concerns, or input to share.
Vern Capelle, Superintendent