School Board Update

November 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

  • Gifts and Donations
  • Reimbursement Resolution for Series 2022A Bonds
  • Intent Resolution to refund the Series 2012A General Obligation School Building Refunding Bonds
  • 2021-22 Minnesota State High School League Foundation Fund Request


The full board agenda can be found here.

Superintendent's Report - Dr. Rudolph

We are so grateful for the support that was shown by our communities on November 2 regarding the approval of both referendum questions. For the first time in four years, we are positioned to move into the spring with a focus on teaching and learning rather than cutting budgets. This week we have been working on acknowledging and thanking the tireless efforts of so many who helped the district share our story. There are so many people to thank that this will likely go on for several weeks. What a great challenge to have!


As mentioned in the HR report, we are also working diligently to solve our staffing and sub shortage challenges. We recognize that these shortages in all bargaining units have brought additional strain on our organization in a myriad of ways. We have made some small strides in our sub shortages, but continue to experience open positions every day. This matter is a top priority as we enter into the winter months. We have many positions and opportunities posted on our district website and would encourage community members to consider joining the C-I team! Our School District was recently awarded 2021 Best of Isanti-Chisago Counties Reader’s Choice Award for BEST PLACE TO WORK. Please consider becoming a Bluejacket!


As communicated with all district employees last week, we continue to monitor the federal ETS mandate and make plans to be in compliance by the deadline if need be.


This past week, I had the opportunity to interview high school student cast members of the High School Theatre production of Wizard of Oz as a part of our District Showcase. We have amazingly talented students and adults. If you have not had a chance to attend this production, I would strongly encourage you to do so! The remaining shows are scheduled for this weekend. Tickets are available at www.showtix4u.com and the in person ticket booth opens 1 hour prior to each show.

Administration Report Highlights

Administrative Services & Human Resources

By: Shawn Kirkeide


Staff Shortage

The Human Resources team is working hard to help with the staff shortage that is seen throughout the nation and Cambridge-Isanti Schools is no exception. The HR team hosted a C-I District Job Fair in October as well as attended the East Central Job Fair in Cambridge. We have garnered some employees for those events. We have also used more professional resources, associations and advertisements in hopes of creating a broader scope. The team is also reaching out to colleges and universities in the hopes of connecting with the recent December graduates. By implementing creative outreach strategies we are hopeful in our ability to connect with new potential employees.


Reporting

We are finishing up the STAR (Staff Automated Report), which is a report that contains employment and assignment information regarding licensure. Thank you Pam Mix for all of the hard work she did connecting with Principals and Admin Assistants to gather the most accurate information needed for this report. In October we also completed the Effectiveness Reporting, in which we submit a list of probationary teachers that did and did not obtain tenure within our district along with the college that they attended.


We also were required to submit an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission) report which is conducted annually. This report contains information about the race and gender of our staff in multiple positions in our district.


Insurance

The insurance committee met for the first time on November 1st. At that meeting, George Vander Weit from OneDigital stated that claims are running at 86% of expected and that some of the high claims from last year will drop off this year as well. At this time he believes that our insurance is running as it should and that our reserves are looking good.


Wellness

Our Wellness Committee also met this past month and is planning to team up with Advantage Health. Through this program, we will provide challenges throughout the year and even the opportunity for speakers and webinars. This is an evolving process and we will continue to update as we make progress.

Finance & Operations

By: Christopher Kampa, CFA


Finance

We are really grateful for all of the support we received from the community, our staff, and our students for the operating referendum. The referendum passed with overwhelming support. I am excited for the additional resources we will be able to provide to our students. We will use these funds in a responsible and sustainable manner. The audit is on schedule to be completed by the end of December. We will bring the audited financial statements to the board in January.


Transportation

We transitioned to a two-tier model this year to address the nation-wide driver shortage and offer better service for families. Unfortunately, we are still running a few late routes because we do not have enough driver coverage. This issue will get worse before it gets better. We are adding new drivers to our system, but new federal training requirements go into effect early next year that will make it more difficult to train drivers. However, the move to a two-tier system has proven to be a successful decision because we are spending less than the previous four years on transportation. More importantly, we are getting more students to school on time than we would be able to under the traditional single-tiered system.


Food Service

Inflation, supply chain challenges, and staffing shortages are impacting our food service operations. However, our staff is doing a tremendous job ensuring our students nutritious breakfasts and lunches.


Building & Grounds

The Buildings and Grounds crews are transitioning to winter mode. Our buildings have converted to heating modes. Our grounds crews have prepared our equipment for snow removal. Our snow removal contractor is the same as last year. DW Companies will cover the Cambridge sites and Bjorklund Companies will take care of our Isanti sites. Our crews and contractors will maintain the sidewalks and parking lots during snow events, please use caution on snow event days as it sometimes takes a bit for the salt to start melting the snow and ice away. Everything else is business as usual, our crews do an exceptional job of maintaining our facilities.

Community Education

By: Christina Thayer Anderson


Hiring

All program areas within Community Ed continue to be short on staff. Without additional staff, we are unable to meet current demands in some program areas (with significant needs in aquatics, Adventure Center, and instructors needed for youth enrichment classes) or address future needs/wants. We are hopeful to attract additional staff through the strategies HR is using for other departments within the District.


As a positive, we are receiving additional revenue each month from the state-funded Workforce Stabilization Grant for Childcare Workers. This funding is available for programs that are DHS certified, with additional revenue available for programs that accept county child care assistance. 70% of this grant award must be spent on additional wages and/or benefits for staff in school age care programs. This funding will allow us to increase wages during the grant period, with the hope to stabilize the workforce in school age care and recruit and retain newly qualified applicants.


Special Events

The Early Childhood Halloween Bash returned this year, including Trunk or Treat and the traditional indoor activities and games. We had our largest participation ever this year, with 621 people in attendance! This winter we will bring back our Valentine’s Pool Party, a fun family event, and look forward to continuing to expand our community events.


Kindergarten Transition Team

We are excited to share that the Kindergarten Transition team has reconvened for the first time since COVID hit in March 2020. This group, a partnership between Teaching & Learning and Community Education, is currently focused on recruitment and support strategies for our incoming kindergarteners. Families have choices when it comes to kindergarten enrollment, and we are invested in sharing our story for why we believe all kindergarten-eligible students should be a Bluejacket! We are looking forward to future meetings and our strengthened partnership as we prepare current preschoolers for K, and for our incoming kindergarteners and their families.

Teaching & Learning

By: Dr. Brenda Damiani


Teaching and Learning Advisory

The Teaching and Learning Advisory met on November 9. This advisory group is composed of the Department of Teaching and Learning, district staff, parents, and community members. The topics for the fall meeting included Federal Programs, Curriculum, and Data and Assessment. Teaching and Learning Advisory members provide feedback to the department regarding district programs, curriculum, instruction, data and assessment, and instructional technology.


MTSS

Members from the following groups: Department of Teaching and Learning, special education coordinators, counselors/social workers, and academic coaches are participating in Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) training through the Department of Education. A small group is also participating in training through the University of Minnesota Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. MTSS is a systemic, continuous improvement framework for ensuring positive outcomes for every student. Schools are using data from fall academic testing to determine where students may need additional academic support.

Student Support Services

By: Julie Williams


McKinney-Vento Report

Each year, the district is required to submit data to MDE for the Consolidated State Performance Reports (CSPR). The CSPR is a data collection tool administered annually by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). The CSPR tool collects information relating to activities and outcomes of specific ESEA programs, as well as information relating to activities and outcomes of the McKinney-Vento Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is federal legislation that was passed on December 10, 2015. It amends three separate federal laws: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and the Education Flexibility Partnership Act.


To be eligible for services according to the McKinney-Vento Act, a homeless student must meet the Act’s definition of homeless. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” [42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2)]. Lacking any one of these three conditions would make a child eligible. In other words, if the residence is not fixed, regular, and adequate, it is considered a homeless situation. As the District Homeless Liaison, I work with the building liaisons to determine eligibility for students based on their unique situations. Eligible students then receive assistance that may include transportation, food service, reduced activity fees, and Title I services.


For the 2020-2021 school year, Cambridge-Isanti Schools had 20 students that qualified under the McKinney-Vento Act. Students were in situations where they were doubled up, in shelters, or staying in hotels/motels according to the data.