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Family Focus 7/25/2020

date 07/25/2020 author Ed Friesen category 2020-21, July 2020 comment Leave a comment

July 24, 2020

Dear BA Families:

Each week brings us new changes, challenges and opportunities. Know that our staff is praying for each other and our students and families during this time. Our COVID Team met for nearly three hours this week to share their subcommittee recommendations based on the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This impressive group focused on continuing our mission to seek excellence in all that we do for our students at Bethlehem Academy. The COVID Team is developing action steps to implement three scenarios, Scenario 1 - Everyone is back with safety measures; Scenario 2 - A hybrid of this model; and Scenario 3 - Online learning. 

As we plan for these three scenarios, we’d like your feedback on several issues related to our back to school plans. Please complete the short (5 minute) survey here: This information will help inform the work of our task forces and assist us in making plans suited to the families we serve. Thank you in advance for your input on this.

We thank you for your honest and open feedback from students, parents and staff in regards to distance learning experiences last spring. We understand that new strategies to engage students and ensure excellence will need to be implemented for any online learning environment, even our snow days. Although many experienced a positive learning environment, others shared ideas for improvement and better communication. Our staff is excited to review best practices from schools nationwide as we plan for any possible online learning in the future.

Where are we at in our time frame to share final plans with students and families?

  • July 27-29: Staff and Board meetings to review health and safety plans
  • July 30: Governor Walz announcement and recommendations for schools and BA Teacher Leader meeting to review and revise the COVID Team plans
  • August 3: District Meeting to review their plans and how this impacts BA
  • August 1-7: Bring in student leadership to improve on ideas and create videos
  • August 7: Parent and student communication regarding fall plans through “Friday Focus for Families” newsletter and links on our website and social media accounts


  • Greenhouse - We’re building! Drive by to see the progress and development of our new greenhouse. What a joy to expand our educational excellence in our agricultural program.
  • High School STEM Solar Grant Pilot Program - BA is one of a few select MN high schools chosen to be a part of Minnesota Independent Schools Forum STEM Community Partnership with We Share Solar. Our high school will be receiving materials and curriculum to implement a new STEM project utilizing solar power. Not only will this be built into our curriculum across high school subjects, but students will build a solar powered item to support communities in need in Africa. Our staff will receive training this fall for implementation later this year.
  • Positivity Project Pilot Program for Middle School - BA was also awarded a middle school grant to pilot a new Positivity Project curriculum. This program will be implemented into our religion classes and focuses on developing young minds and hearts. Our staff will receive professional development this August.
  • Senior Student Webpage & Links: Seniors, be sure to check out our college planning webpage for information, links and scholarships to assist you as you continue your personal journey following graduation! Bethlehem Academy, a Catholic school in the Sinsinawa Dominican tradition, strives to empower its students and staff to achieve personal, spiritual and academic excellence. We challenge ourselves to love as Jesus Christ loved, to lead, to serve, to inspire and to seek the truth: Veritas.
  • Donation Updates: Did you want to support BA during the summer with a gift or a memorial? Online gifts accepted at this link
  • Summer Fundraisers: What amazing, generous group of SMART Challenge Riders we have! See below to sponsor one of these amazing people. In addition, it’s not too late to join us for golf! Register or sponsor our Cardinal Golf Classic, at the link below. 

Please join me in praying for Julie Trnka and her family at the loss of her father-in-law. Continue to pray for our school, DMCS, and our parish as we plan for this fall to bring our students and staff back together in prayer, study, community and service.


Mindy Reeder,



Summer Office Hours

The front office is open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 1pm through August 20. The office is closed on Fridays. Regular office hours resume Monday, August 24.


The SMART Ride is this upcoming week: Thursday, July 30-Saturday, August 1

12 riders are ready for this year’s SMART Ride next week! Each bike in support of Catholic education; all proceeds go to BA student scholarships. Find rider profiles and sponsor your favorite rider(s) here.

Friday, August 7 @ The Legacy

Join us for this fun tournament & great social event in support of Bethlehem Academy! Just $100/golfer includes 18 holes, awards dinner, gift and on-course games. Register by July 31. Form attached or sign up online here. 

Wanted: Facemasks 

We are developing a parent wish list for COVID-19 related items. At this time, we are asking anyone who has the time/interest/supplies to please make and donate cloth facemasks.  While we have a supply of disposable facemasks on hand, and will provide a Cardinal facemask for every student and staff, we know we will need extra masks as the year progresses. Completed masks can be dropped off at the BA Office during regular business hours. Thank you!

From the Nurse’s Office

Students entering 7th grade this fall:  Please make sure that you have had your tetanus booster and 1st meningitis shot before the start of school in the fall.  Reminder letters will be sent out.  

Students entering 12th grade this fall:  The meningitis booster requirements for this fall has been postponed because of Covid 19.  Many have already had their booster shot.  If you are seeing your doctor for any reason, you can still have this immunization but it is not necessary before the start of school in fall.

Coop Sports Update

Attached is text from a Faribault Daily News article regarding Faribault Public Schools District 656 school board’s most recent meetings regarding the cooperative sports programs.  The public school board is turning their focus towards examining the loss of students through open-enrollment to neighboring school districts. We encourage you to continue to express gratitude for the cooperative program opportunities and share the positive benefits to the Faribault community.  We know this can be an emotional issue, but it is important to be positive, appreciative, and supportive of Faribault Public Schools.  Every community needs a good public school system.  And, every public school system needs the support of its community.  Finding solutions to these and other underlying issues facing Faribault will involve much dialogue and people working together.

MSHSL Sports Update

The MN State High School League (MSHSL) is holding weekly online meetings with activities directors. We continue to plan for fall sports but know there will be changes in how we operate. The MSHSL Board of Directors meets on August 4.  Summer activities are operating on protocols based on the Minnesota Department of Health’s guidance for youth and adult sports released June 19 as well as the new face mask/face covering order.  Please note that it is important for students to practice social distancing and hygiene habits all the time, not just while participating in activities. 


Class of 2021: Faribault Rotary Strive Program

Faribault Rotary’s introductory Strive session was held June 10, but they would like more students involved! Meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of the month through January. Because of the unique circumstances, students may watch a recorded version of this session and it will count as them attending it live. A link to the video that discusses Strive and how to register for the program is at: See June 18 email for more information; contact Kurt Halvorsen at with questions.

Class of 2021: Army ROTC Scholarship Program

The Army ROTC scholarship application is currently open. Students who complete the application can earn a full tuition and fee scholarship to more than 1,700 colleges nationwide. Some colleges are unique in that they will give free room and board to Army ROTC scholarship awardees. The first scholarship review board meets in October, so it is vital that those who desire to apply start now so they have enough time to complete the online application and ensure all other requirements; physical fitness test, transcript requested / submitted, and Officer interview. Interested seniors should contact Mr. Todd Frerichs 

Class of 2021 & 2022: 1st United Bank Board of Directors

1st United Bank has an exciting opportunity for students in Faribault and surrounding communities. They are accepting applications for our 2020-2021 Junior Board of Directors. Eligible applicants include Juniors and Seniors in High School for the 2020-2021 school year. Individuals should possess an enthusiastic approach to community involvement, and an interest in business, banking or finance. Please see the attached flyer for more information.


Aim Higher Scholarships

The Aim Higher Foundation has announced expanded scholarship opportunities for K-8 students this summer. New applicants are encouraged to apply via the TADS financial aid application, and students whose family situation due to COVID-19 are encouraged to update their spring application. See the attached flyer for more information on how to apply, or go to to find out more. Application deadline is August 7. 


(click on hyperlink for more information)

7/30-8/1 SMART Ride
8/7 Cardinal Golf Classic
8/7 BA Reopen Plans announced
8/13 BA Fall Sports Meeting
8/17 HS Fall Sports Open
8/24 MS Fall Sports Open
8/31 Orientation
9/1 First Day of School!


Attached Files



FDN Coop Stay Article 7-20-20.pdf

Cardinal Classic Golf flyer 2020.pdf


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Our Mission
Bethlehem Academy, a Catholic school in the Sinsinawa Dominican tradition, strives to empower its students and staff to achieve personal, spiritual and academic excellence. We challenge ourselves to love as Jesus Christ loved, to lead, to serve, to inspire and to seek the truth: Veritas.
105 3rd Ave. SW
Faribault, MN  55021
Phone:  507-334-3948
Fax:  507-334-3949