School Board Update

December 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

This month has seemed to fly by. Our office has continued to be busy with supporting the teaching and learning happening throughout the district and beginning to plan for the future. As previously mentioned, we are working diligently to combat the labor shortages that have impacted so many organizations, including ours. We are intentionally taking steps to recruit, attract, and hire high-quality staff in all areas of our organization.


With an eye to the future, we are planning for the CPIS complex construction project this summer which may have an impact on calendars. Our calendar committee is also looking at establishing the proposed 2022-23 school year calendar and we are taking a look at programming plans.


As we turn the corner and head into the new year, we will begin to look at entering into a strategic planning process. This work will be critical to the future of our organization. It will be imperative to engage our community in this work as we build a roadmap that will help guide us over the next several years. If you are interested in joining this team in the important work, please contact me at nrudolph@c-ischools.org. Thank you and GO BIG BLUE!

Administration Report Highlights

Administrative Services & Human Resources

By: Shawn Kirkeide


Teacher Postings

Over the past week, the HR team, working with the principals, posted 10 general education positions and 8 Special Education teaching positions. We have also been actively engaging colleges within Minnesota and surrounding states that have education programs. We have connected with these colleges through emails, phone calls and even participated in virtual classes with prospective candidates and December graduates.


These new teachers will all get a full day for a new teacher workshop and also have mentors for the remainder of the year. Some schools are already in the process of interviewing candidates for some of these positions. Everyone is excited to get these new teachers in to help with struggling students and alleviate some stress with our current teachers.


Wellness

We will be kicking off an opportunity for wellness in January called Resilience. We are working with Advantage Health as well as Isanti County Public health to try and get more opportunities for our employees to engage in wellness and their own mental well-being. Please look for the challenge coming out in January.


Substitutes

A huge thank you goes out to Jennifer Ryberg and Jill Puffer for the work that they have put into substitute recruitment for our buildings. As of mid-November, they have onboarded 10 new substitutes. We are excited that they will be able to work in our building very soon.

Finance & Operations

By: Christopher Kampa, CFA


Finance

The FY2021 audit is nearing completion and we will share the final results in January. I am happy to report that our financial situation has improved substantially. We will certify the final property tax levy at the December Board meeting. We will also submit a revised 10-Year LTFM plan to account for the new building project at CPIS, CIHS, and CMS. We will also set sales parameters for facilities and refunding bonds that will be issued in January. These bonds will not affect property taxes and will allow us to address critical infrastructure projects that are sorely needed around the District.


Transportation

We continue to run late routes on a daily basis. We are sympathetic to the extra pressure this puts on our students and families. The driver shortage is putting considerable strain on our transportation system. Fortunately, we have hired a number of new drivers throughout the year and we are in a much better position than some school districts. The move to a two-tiered system has helped alleviate the driver shortage problem and we will continue to search for new drivers.


Food Service

Challenges continue in Food Service, but everyone is doing a great job and showing a lot of resilience. Like everywhere else, we are dealing with staffing issues with about 20% of our positions unfilled. This has limited our production abilities somewhat, but we have made the necessary adjustments to continue taking care of our students. The supply chain remains very stressed nationwide and has led to weekly challenges trying to find substitute items. We greatly appreciate everyone's patience and flexibility as we are frequently needing to depart from posted menu items. We will be making a slight change to our website beginning in January and we look forward to sharing more information as we get closer.


Building & Grounds

The lighting project conversion to LED lighting will begin after the first of the year. This will lower energy costs and provide better lighting for our students and staff. We continue to make good progress on our construction project planning and will be bringing more bids to the board for approval over the next couple of months. We have been experiencing a number of mechanical issues with the boiler system at CPIS. Fortunately, this has not resulted in any lost instructional time, but it provides more evidence that our decision to make critical infrastructure upgrades at CPIS was the correct decision. The winter season has arrived. Like last year, DW Companies is responsible for snow plowing in Cambridge and Bjorkland Companies is responsible for Isanti.

Community Education

Winter Brochure

Fall courses have wrapped up and we are entering our winter classes sessions. Our Community Education brochure printing was delayed due to unforeseen staffing shortages at the printer. Currently, we expect it to be in homes the week of December 22. Class registration opened on December 1, and we have many enrollments already funneling in. We are excited to continue to expand opportunities for all members of our community.


Community Literacy Locations

Thanks to a grant funded through the Early Childhood Partnership of Isanti County and many books donated by staff and community members, our Early Childhood department has purchased materials for two reading areas at local businesses. Books are set up and intended for use while at the facility and are available for families to take home. One area has been set up at the Cambridge Laundromat, and we are currently seeking a second location in Isanti. Our staff will continue to monitor these spaces and replace books as needed. Thank you to the EC Partnership and all of the generous community members for their book contributions.


Facility Use Task Force

Stakeholders representing a variety of community groups that access our facilities will begin meeting this month. The objective of this work is to hear from multiple perspectives about concerns regarding facility usage and to work collaboratively to determine solutions. There is an opportunity to provide feedback in virtual, asynchronous platforms as well as face-to-face meetings. The group will meet over the course of the next several months, with ongoing updates and opportunities for feedback provided to the Superintendent and the Board.

Teaching & Learning

By: Dr. Brenda Damiani


K-8 Cambridge-Isanti Online Schools Update

There are now 78 students in the K-8 online program; 39 in elementary and 39 in middle school. Students take part in academics through the Edgenuity program where they watch instructional videos and complete assignments. Cambridge-Isanti teachers and advisors then examine the academic and attendance data from the program to determine appropriate one-to-one or small group interventions that are delivered through Google Meet. The K-5 program provides another layer of support through half-hour morning meetings. The goal of the morning meetings is to build relationships with other students and their teacher. The online staff are providing a flexible, engaging and strong program.


Federal Programs Update

The district’s Title I, Title II, Title III, and Title IV grants have been approved by the Department of Education. These funds are in addition to our district revenues and allow us to put additional resources in place that support our students, teachers, and administration. We are very thankful that our district receives these funds.


Data & Assessment Update

Data dashboards are being designed for both trend data and “live” data that is pulled nightly from Skyward. Dashboards include: enrollment, PBIS and behavior dashboards, attendance, World Best Workforce district, and building level goals and assessment. Teachers, principals, SAT, and SST teams are also using student lookup sheets built in Google to view historical assessment and attendance data. The data and assessment team is also ramping up for upcoming district level assessments in January ( K-5 DIBELS early literacy measures, Grades 2-5 NWEA Map, and state ACCESS testing for English Language Learners)

Student Support Services

By: Julie Williams


Special Education

The SELT (Special Education Leadership Team) met on December 7. SELT is comprised of one representative from each building in the district. This builds consistency across the district and allows the team to collaborate on issues and topics related to special education.


Health Services


MDH Call

The State of Minnesota COVID-19 School Testing Program team hosts a webinar series to provide schools with best practice recommendations and new information twice a month. Cambridge-Isanti Schools was recognized during the December 8 call as the case study of a school district that is utilizing the school testing program effectively. When responding to COVID and stopping the spread, there is a trifecta approach which includes following mitigation strategies, testing, and vaccination. During the MDH call, we were able to share information regarding our success we are seeing with testing as a mitigation measure. This has been key in identifying positive cases within the school community so that these staff and students can be isolated away from others which will hopefully curb the spread of COVID-19. In our community, there is a shortage of available COVID testing options. Appointments are scarce, then there is a cost to appointments and waiting 3-5 days for results. The other option is driving over an hour to other testing locations which creates barriers for our families. Having the testing program within the school district has allowed us to identify positive cases for some that likely wouldn’t have tested. It also helps keep kids in school who may have allergies and colds, but are having some symptoms so need a testing option to determine whether they have COVID. When they have a negative test, they are able to stay in school. Our goal for all our options is to have students be able to participate in in-person learning as much as possible -- having the testing program has allowed this which is a success to me.


COVID-19 Testing Information

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

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

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


If a student is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, 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.


Drive-up COVID testing is available for staff and students at Woodland Campus on school days from 8:30-11.


Please note, rapid testing is only available for symptomatic students and staff. We do not have the capacity to offer testing for individuals who do not have symptoms.


Vaccination Clinics

There are many opportunities for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. If interested, please use the following link to find one that fits your needs:


https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp