We are here to support all of our students with open minds, open hearts

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Hello WAPS families - 

A verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is expected to be announced within the hour. The news will trigger many strong emotions in our students, our staff, our families and our general community. 

Our teachers and staff in all buildings are prepared to help our students and families deal with these emotions in a variety of ways. This could include taking class time to discuss, without judgement, students’ reaction to the verdict, or by helping to arrange meetings with school counselors and school social workers if students are in need of more support.

Specifically at Winona Senior High School, school counselors and social workers will provide safe spaces outside of the classroom for students to gather and process the information together. This will include rooms based on grade level, as well as an affinity group for students of color led by school social worker Rose Carr and another safe space for students who have a personal connection to law enforcement led by school social worker Angela McQuinn. There will be opportunities for distance learning students as well, including a separate virtual space for distance learning students of color.

While we believe that our students are the safest here at school among caring adults and peers, we know that you may need time to gather as a family. Office staff are prepared to excuse students if requested by a parent or guardian. 

We acknowledge that we all respond to these events in different ways and we do not have all the answers. We can, however, be prepared to support our students and our families with grace, compassion and empathy. We promise to do so with open eyes, open ears, open minds and open hearts.


Thank you,

Dr. Annette K. Freiheit


Winona Area Public Schools