Three people and an organization within the Lodi School District were honored with the Taking Positive Steps of Service Award (TPSS) during the Dec. 14 School Board meeting — with the three individuals all being staff members in the district.

Jen Morgan and Katie Crane were both honored for their help with the Latino community. Crane, a high school Spanish teacher, recently introduced a Latino Mentor Connections opportunity for all kids in the district. In the program, students are able to connect with one another and share things about themselves, speak in their native languages, talk about their cultures and find common interests to build relationships. The connection will expand over time and increase the voice of Latino students within the district.

Morgan is an interpreter and administrative assistant who wears multiple hats, but her strongest ability is translating for students, families and staff. She often does her work before and after school, and on the weekends. Much of her work involves supporting families through connecting them to resources and services that, in turn, improve the daily lives of the students and their families.

Lodi Elementary and OSC Principal Mike Pisani nominated the Lodi chapter of Blessings in a Backpack for a TPSS Award. The group helps provide non-perishable food to Lodi students whose families have indicated a need for food over the weekend when they don’t have access to the food service program. The group has continued its work throughout the school year despite the pandemic. The program was expanded to include siblings of each student, regardless of age. Group members honored were Lyle Hendrickson, Lori Harrenstein, Daniel Sjorgen, Penny Schmiedlin, Chris Niemier, Marcia Brown and Beth Mayer.

Tiffany Loken nominated Jean Winter, the school nurse for a TPSS Award. Winter has gone above and beyond to help the district navigate the medical and health information throughout the duration of the pandemic. She has worked nights, weekends and holidays to contact trace and answer questions. She has helped the leadership team design isolation spaces, create signage and plan for how to safely allow students back in schools. Outside of helping with the pandemic, Winter also works with students who are receiving in-person instruction within the enhanced online model, as well as making sure all students have their immunizations up-to-date, and updates medical policy and procedures.

Crane, Morgan and Winter — along with Hendrickson and Harrenstein representing Blessing in a Backpack — were present at the meeting to receive the certificates.

Other news

The school board accepted a pair of donations to the district as well. The first was a $500 donation from the Lodi Valley Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance to the Ice Age Hikers, the middle and high school hiking group.

The second donation was $600 from Sauk Prairie Healthcare to the Wellness Committee in the district.

Lodi High School freshmen Alaina Hatley and Anastasia Eticher organized a food drive on the last night of material pickup at LHS and collected 766.3 pounds of food for Reach Out Lodi.

The LHS winter play was broadcast on local radio and streamed on YouTube. The recording was on Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 and is available on YouTube at The NHFS network is playing Lodi games on its website. All Lodi fans can watch games for free at

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