North Branch Schools plan return of traditional events

Members of its COVID Response Team were honored at the North Branch Area Public Schools’ March 11 board meeting for their service in finding solutions to the district’s coronavirus-related challenges. Members of the team include (from left) Superintendent Sara Paul, school nurse Abigail Krause, school nurse Kristen Swalboski, Human Resources representative Jody Spofford, Chisago County Public Health’s Barb Mork, Chisago County Public Health’s Rushess Schneider, Director of Community Relations Patrick Tepoorten. Not pictured: Director of Community Education Brett Carlson. 

As coronavirus numbers decline and the world works to return to normal in many ways, North Branch Area Public Schools is doing its part to reinstate popular events its students lost last spring. 

Superintendent Sara Paul recently announced that the district is “bringing back our traditions” with the return of four events in May and June. All are subject to change as determined by COVID numbers and state restrictions.  


The North Branch Area High School plans to perform a spring musical this year in four performances over May 6-9. 

Director Laura Michels has chosen the play “Grease” since it limits the number of performers to a pod of 25 students, and the blocking and dance numbers allow for social distancing. 

At this time, advisors are working to figure out methods to offer live-viewing and streaming options for audiences.


For more than 10 years, district students have spent one day each spring working in the community on projects like raking leaves, painting, picking up trash and reading to senior citizens. Students in all grades participate. 

This year’s event will take place Friday, May 21. 

 “Our sports teams and teachers all step up,” Paul said, “and get the students an opportunity to give back to others district-wide.” 

 Anyone who would like to receive help with a project should contact Community Relations Coordinator Patrick Tepoorten at 651-674-1018 or 


 A prom open to juniors and seniors is set for Friday, June 11, just a couple days before graduation. 

 According to Paul, an established venue with a large indoor space as well as a large tent outside will accommodate the students with space for distancing. 

 “Again, parents are playing a key role,” she said of the planning, and also thanked Director of Community Education Brett Carlson and Principal Coleman McDonough for “coming together to make this happen for our students.”


 A graduation ceremony is being planned for Sunday, June 13, and will likely be an outdoor event held in the football stadium. 

 Paul said the district has hired a company that will supply an outdoor stage, sound equipment, video screen, and the ability to carry the sound over FM frequency. 

 “It also allows us to pivot by working with this company,” she said. “If for some reason we have to go to the really restrictive delivery of gradation, there’s a way to deliver this in cars, to stay in vehicles.” She said the west parking lot could be utilized to host an “in car” ceremony. 

 If the event needed to be moved indoors due to inclement weather, Paul said the event could be streamed to multiple large spaces within the high school building to spread people out.

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