School Board Update

September 2021

Meeting Overview

Each month the board is presented with non-action and action items for their consideration. A few noteworthy items from this month's meeting are included here.


Items Approved by the Board


The full board agenda can be found here.

Superintendent's Report - Dr. Rudolph

The first month of school always brings a flurry of activity, excitement, and opportunities for leadership. We are so excited to have students back in our schools! Our current enrollment is just over 5,000 students which is outstanding. Our entire Bluejacket staff have been focused on building relationships and really getting to know and support students through the transition back to school. We are so proud to work with amazing staff members and tremendous students and families.


In August the School Board unanimously approved placing a referendum for our schools on the ballot this fall. Residents of the District may vote early in-person or by mail. Early Voting opened on September 17 at both the ESC and CIHS. We encourage all to visit our district website for information regarding the referendum and to come and vote early. Our hours at the Education Service Center are 7:30am to 4:30pm and at the High School they are 7:30am to 4:00pm. The future of our school district is at stake.

Administration Report Highlights

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES & HUMAN RESOURCES

by: Shawn Kirkeide


Back to School Trainings

The HR department had multiple opportunities to help with some of the Back to School Training. We were able to roll out the Mandatory Trainings through Schoology again this year with a few tweeks. We are now able to track with better consistency who has completed the required training, and who still needs to finish them up. We are now able to remind the employees automatically if they haven’t completed the training and also give them a certificate when it is completed. A big thank you to Patrick Morrow for his continued support with this project.


HR was also able to offer in-person training again this year with Transportation, Food Service, Paraprofessionals, and Administrative Assistants. Along with returning to offer a valuable teacher and paraprofessional substitute training opportunity. Many participants express appreciation for this opportunity to learn and grow as a substitute in our distinct.


Interim Community Education Director

Over the past few weeks, we had the opportunity to interview for Interim Community Education Director. We are pleased to now recommend for hire to the board Christina Thayer Anderson. Christina comes to us from White Bear Lake as a Community Education Coordinator. Christina has over 15 years of experience in Community Education and she is thrilled to be hired in Cambridge-Isanti and very excited to start. Christina will start transitioning into her new role the week of September 27th.


FINANCE AND OPERATIONS

by: Christopher Kampa, CFA


Finance

The proposed preliminary 2021 payable 2022 property tax levy will be presented at the September 23 board meeting. Minnesota school districts are required by state law to certify their proposed preliminary property tax levy to the County Auditor by September 30 to project the payable 2022 property taxes for residents of the school district. Final property tax levy and budget information would then be presented at a truth in taxation meeting held sometime between November 25th and December 10th. The School Board will be asked to certify the final payable 2022 property tax levy during the December 16, 2021 School Board meeting.


Transportation

Our community has been amazing in responding to the transportation challenges we are facing due to the driver shortage. We have made vast improvements on route timing since the first couple days of school. We are short by about ten drivers. Every licensed office staff member and mechanic are driving routes. We hope to have three new drivers start next week.


Food Service

Food Service is enjoying many new challenges and opportunities to overcome them. While we are still struggling with staffing, it has improved slightly and our staff are making great efforts to keep everything running smoothly. Stresses on the supply chain continue, and we are doing our best to keep to the posted menu to the degree we are able. We would like to thank everyone for their patience as we continue to improve our service!


Building & Grounds

Our critical infrastructure and additional construction projects for the upcoming spring/summer are in the design stage with Nexus Solutions. The LED lighting projects are ahead of schedule and we will open bids on September 28th and plan to begin work in November. We are finalizing plans and budgets for the CPIS steam-to-hot water conversion and CMS wastewater project.


TEACHING & LEARNING

by: Dr. Brenda Damiani


Professional Development

The Department of Teaching and Learning, Principals, and Academic Coaches are busy preparing for the September 24 Professional Development Day. The day will focus on the Teacher Development and Evaluation Instructional Framework, Assessment, PBIS, Content Teams, and Learning Models. This is also the day that Flexible Professional Learning is launched for the year. Licensed staff have the opportunity to participate in professional learning that is tailored to their specific needs throughout the year.


Federal Programs

The Cambridge-Isanti District qualified for Title III funds through the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for the first time this year. Title III funds are based on a District’s English Language Learner (E.L.L.) population and provides funds to support E.L.L efforts. This Title III application as well as the District’s Title II & Title IV applications have been submitted to MDE for review. Due to SERVS issues on MDE’s end we have been unable to submit our Title I application but will do so as soon as they fix their tech issues. All ADSIS requirements have been submitted to MDE and our Middle Schools have begun implementation of the LifeSkills grant this Fall.


STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

by: Julie Williams


COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Overview

In August, the district formed a COVID-19 Response Committee (CRC) to discuss and review guidance and district case data related to COVID-19. This team is composed of representatives from Cambridge-Isanti Schools and Isanti County Public Health. The committee will continue to monitor data and guidance in order to respond to transmission rates within the school community. Various layered mitigation strategies will be utilized to ensure that students experience an in-person learning model as much as possible throughout the school year.


The COVID Response Committee will consider district data, including positive staff/student cases, cases by location, transmission rates, absenteeism, etc., when implementing new mitigation strategies or learning model changes. The committee has developed an approach, based on data, to implement layered strategies for a cohort (i.e. classroom, program, activity, grade level) or building with increased transmission rates which may include recommended or required quarantine for a short period of time, required masking for a short period of time, changes to distancing guidelines, changes to movement within building and activities (i.e. use of a secondary lunchroom or cohorting for recess), and temporary shifts in learning models.


Student & Staff COVID-19 Testing Program - For Individuals not Experiencing Symptoms

The Minnesota Department of Health has continued to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 testing in slowing the spread. As a result, MDH is collaborating with school districts to offer access to testing kits for students in all school buildings. This is optional.


At the elementary level (PreK-grade 5): Tests will be available for a parent/guardian to pick up in the nurse's office on Mondays during office hours. The student would then complete a Zoom enabled visit with Vault Health to take the test. The parent/guardian would then return the test to the nurses office the next day (Tuesday) by 12:30pm.


At the secondary level (grade 6-grade 12+): Tests will be available for parent/guardian or students to pick up in the nurse's office on Mondays during office hours. If the student is picking up a test, they must have a written note from the parent requesting the test. The student would then complete a Zoom enabled visit with Vault Health to take the test. The parent/guardian or student would then return the test to the nurses office the next day (Tuesday) by 12:30pm.


As a district, we do need to follow a tight schedule to ensure tests are completed and returned on the time schedule provided by MDH. All test kits will be picked up at the nurses offices on Tuesdays and sent to the lab for processing.


This optional testing opportunity will be offered every week for students and staff. The school is not notified of the results so if a staff member or a student receives a positive result, the staff member or parent/guardian must notify the school nurse.


Note: If you are unable to pick up a test, you are able to access the statewide testing program that provides free test kits to your home. Minnesota and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for everyone who lives in Minnesota, with or without symptoms, at no cost. Typically Vault saliva test kits ship within a day of receiving the order. Note that shipping and delivery does not happen on Sundays or holidays.

Vault: No-Cost COVID Testing For All Minnesotans


This optional testing is only for asymptomatic staff and students. If staff or students are experiencing symptoms they should remain at home and access COVID-19 testing through their clinic or other community testing option.


Student COVID-19 Testing Program - For Students and Staff Experiencing Symptoms

As part of the school testing program, the Minnesota Department of Health is working with schools to access rapid tests that can be used for symptomatic students. This is optional. Students would only be tested with consent from their parents/guardians.


If a student is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, then the school nurse will offer the option of a rapid test to the parent/guardian. If the parent/guardian consents to testing, the test will be administered and the school nurse will call with results and explain isolation (and quarantine for family members) or return to school plan as appropriate. If the parent/guardian declines the test, they are able to pick up their student who is ill and the student must remain home until symptoms have improved.


Flu Shot Clinic

Our district flu shot clinics are fast approaching. Clinic dates and locations are as follows:


  • October 4th: Isanti Intermediate School 3:00-5:00 PM (Room 148)
  • October 6th: Isanti Middle School 3:30-5:30 PM (Conference Room B)
  • October 11th: Cambridge Intermediate School 3:00-6:00 PM (Auditorium)
  • October 11th: Cambridge-Isanti High School 3:00-5:00 PM (Room 151)