School Board Update

January 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

By the time the School Board reads this Administrative Report, we will have had students back in our school buildings for three days. As we have been preparing to welcome students back to in-person learning the positive energy and anticipation has noticeably been building. Many have commented that it feels like the first days of school again, only in January (and with snow). We are so fortunate to have amazing teachers, staff, and administrators who have worked endlessly to ensure a successful learning model transition once again!


While preparing for students to return, we have also been preparing to launch our district community task force who will be focused planning for the future of our school district. You may remember a few months ago a call for members of the community to volunteer to join our district to help us make decisions regarding the future of Cambridge-Isanti Schools. We are happy to report that we had an overwhelming response and are in the process of the selection process. The task force will be charged to study the mission, goals, finances, facilities, organizational structure and resources available to the Cambridge-Isanti Schools and make recommendations for a three to five year plan to address and prioritize the challenges and opportunities the district faces, with a commitment to ensuring a high-quality education for the students we serve. The meetings will be held monthly with the opportunity for subcommittee work in between meetings as needed. Again, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and interest and are excited to get started with this group in January.

Administration Report Highlights

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES & HUMAN RESOURCES

by: Shawn Kirkeide


Last week we were able to recall all of our furloughed staff members, as we plan to make a learning model shift that will be bringing students back into all of our buildings in some capacity on January 19. We can’t wait to have everyone back in the buildings, and we loved hearing the excitement in everyone’s voices as we called them to tell them the good news!


The HR team has also been hard at work preparing the teacher seniority list, OSHA 300 report, and Pay Equity report that are all due at the end of this month. In addition, we recently completed a new Teacher Retirement Q&A document that was sent out to all teachers last week. We’ve received positive feedback from the teacher group and intend to create similar retirement Q&As for all other employee groups in the near future.


In other good news, we are thrilled to announce another insurance related benefit option to staff through our partnership with Omada! Staff deemed at high risk for certain chronic diseases would be able to receive a personal coach and real time support in improving their diet, activity levels, stress levels, and sleep. This service does not cost the District anything, it is realized in the claims for the individual utilizing it at a very low cost to them.


FINANCE AND OPERATIONS

by: Christopher Kampa, CFA


Finance

Our audit is completed and Bill Lauer from MMKR will present the results at the January board meeting. Our expenditures decreased for the first time in the previous ten years and our unassigned fund balance increased by $133,000. We also wrapped up the submission requirements on the first round of CRF funding. We received $1.8 million in total from the federal government, Isanti and Chisago counties, and Isanti Township. We are also awaiting more information on the next round of CARES funding and we anticipate receiving an additional $1.7 million to assist with COVID-related expenses.


Transportation

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with CESO to fill the vacant Transportation Director role. Rich Enga and Jerry Anderson will serve as the Head and Assistant Director, respectively. Both Rich and Jerry have a lot of experience in managing transportation departments and we are excited to have them on board.


Food Service

We received an extension of the USDA nutrition program and will be able to continue to offer free meals for our students. On hybrid days when students are not in session at a building, meal pickups will be available at Isanti Middle School and Cambridge Isanti High School from 9:00AM - 11:00AM, on days when school is in session. We are very happy to be welcoming our kitchen staff back this week, and look forward to moving closer to our traditional meal service!


Building & Grounds

Our Buildings and Grounds crews are prepping for the return of our students at our Elementary and Intermediate sites on January 19th. They are putting the finishing touches on our buildings so they are ready for our kids to return. Our Custodial crews will be back to full strength as all the callbacks have been completed and all furloughed employees are returning to work on January 18th. Our cleaning and disinfecting protocols will remain the same as they were prior to going into the distance learning model. We have made all the necessary adjustments required by MDE and MDH to ensure we offer a safe learning environment for our staff and students.


The Buildings and Grounds staff are working on our 10-year facilities plan with the help of Kraus Anderson, Apex, and Nexus Solutions. We will partner with our consultants, along with the newly formed task force, to prioritize district projects in the short term as well as future projects.


COMMUNITY EDUCATION

by: Aviva Hillenbrand


The winter brochure has reached homes (click here to see it for yourself). Registrations are pouring in! At the same time, our programs are well underway with summer planning and registration preparation for fall of 2021. Finally, we are reviewing the Facility Use procedures and rental rates to ensure we are protecting the district from unnecessary risk, that we are comparable to surrounding facilities, and to streamline the process.


TEACHING & LEARNING

by: Dr. Brenda Damiani


January 14 and 15 Return to Learn Planning Days

Staff participated in two Planning Days to prepare for students returning to our buildings. Staff participated in training regarding health and safety protocols, collaborated regarding curriculum pacing and assessment, and prepared classrooms for students. We are excited to see our students in-person!


Student Enrollment


The New Student Online Enrollment (NSOE) module will be activated at the end of January. This module will allow new families to enroll students ONLINE, instead of filling out pages and pages of paperwork, sometimes filling them out many times in different locations if they have several children. We are excited to have this up and running prior to kindergarten registration in February. Kindergarten information meetings will be held virtually and information will be sent to families soon.


Technology

The primary and intermediate schools have been working hard this week to collect Chromebooks from K-5 families who received one during distance learning. The Chromebooks are being cleaned and placed back into carts for classroom use when students return to the in-person learning model.


Data & Assessment


State Testing for English Language students will begin on February 16 to meet the window for the Minnesota Department of Education. K-5 students will be taking the early literacy DIBELS assessments and the NWEA assessments between January 21 and March 12. This “winter” data will be used to identify students in need of intervention services and to help identify gaps in learning. This data is also used in reporting of ADSIS and Title grants.


STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

by: Julie Williams


Special Education

We were excited to invite special education students who needed intensive services into the buildings on January 5 at the Secondary sites! It was great to see students in-person and to facilitate learning, team building and connections in an in-person setting. Students attended following a modified alternate model and were in person for a half day one time for the two weeks leading up to the district wide learning model change. We are looking forward to the week of January 18 when we are able to welcome students back at all the buildings!


Nursing/COVID-19

Along with learning, sharing and practicing the new guidelines for COVID-19, the nurse group has been working with Isanti County as we prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Our group was able to observe the vaccine clinic public health put on January 6 for first responders, public health and essential workers running vaccine clinics. Our group was also able to receive the vaccine if they wanted it as we will be partnering with Isanti County to offer the vaccine to Tier 1B (educators and school staff) when the rollout for that tier is ready. We will hold the clinics in our district and invite other districts that are in Isanti County to participate along with our staff (Braham, ASA, and Rum River Co-op).


The Health office staff are gearing up to offer the saliva testing program as outlined by MDH to staff beginning on January 21 from 7am-10am. This program will continue every other week. Health office staff will manage the program and oversee school staff as they self-administer the tests onsite. The district COVID Coordinator will oversee the entire district program and collaborate with health office staff to ensure collection of testing kits and delivery to the lab following MDH guidelines. Staff will receive their test rests within 72 hours and those results will be sent directly to the individual. This program is optional and free of charge to our district staff.