Fall planning is underway
As August approaches, our Cambridge-Isanti team is diligently planning for the future of our district. We currently have about 20 sub-groups working on the planning process to develop the three plans required by the Minnesota Department of Education. Next week, we look forward to the Department of Education providing clear direction for our return to learning in one of three formats
1. In-person learning for all students.
2. Hybrid model considering capacity limits and social distance restrictions by the state.
3. Improved distance learning.
As a district, it is our sincere hope that we will be allowed to return to in-person learning for all students. We know that children learn best when they are face-to-face with highly qualified educators. If conditions do not allow us to do so, we will be prepared to implement the hybrid or improved distance learning contingency plan required by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Department of Health.
We are also preparing to pivot between all three plans at the direction of local or state health officials throughout the school year. We understand that reopening schools is critical to healthy child development, our community and the future of our local economy. Moving forward, we will carefully balance the priorities of health and safety, quality education and social-emotional health and well-being for all. We will again survey families about their plans and needs after the Governor makes his announcement next week.
C-I Schools online option
Earlier this month, C-I Schools announced a fully online option for students in grades 6-12. Before COVID19 disrupted our lives, our Innovation Teams in Cambridge-Isanti had been planning to launch a new online option - to provide a hometown choice for students currently enrolled or considering enrolling in a Minnesota online program or charter school. We are fortunate to have a number of specially trained leaders and teachers who have substantial experience in online learning. C-I Schools online option is partnering with Edmentum/Plato, one of the nation’s leading online curriculum platforms to offer this new online option. It will include interactive lessons, real-time and pre-recorded instruction and full support of our school counselors and specially trained teachers. Families interested in this option may sign-up on our website at C-ISchools.org.
We are optimistic about a post-pandemic future for our students. And this is a critical time for planning. In a rapidly changing world—where there are new discoveries in health, science, math and technology every day—what is most important in preparing our students for the future? What is important for our students to know and be able to do in the future? We invite every citizen to go online and answer ten questions at www.c-ischools.org/future or call 763-689-6188 Mon-Thurs 8-4 p.m. We are also working with Morris-Leatherman to update our community survey, which was done last in 2016.
Over the last two years, our district has reduced expenditures by $7.5 million. Because state funding has not kept pace with rising costs over the last decade, our district will need to continue to reduce budgets and services each year due to the structural deficit. As one of the lowest-funded districts in Minnesota, we receive $1,200 per pupil below the state average. Why is this? In Minnesota, school funding is a shared responsibility among local, state and federal funding. Most school districts have a local operating referendum, and our board has resisted asking our community for additional support until it is absolutely necessary. We are at a crossroads, and we need to plan for the future. What are your priorities for our schools? We’d like to know.
Our community has a long history of supporting our local schools and we are filled with gratitude, particularly for the support during the disruptions of the last year. We are optimistic about the future and believe the collective wisdom of all residents will help us plan. We appreciate your time and thoughtful consideration of our survey questions, please go to www.c-ischools.org/future to share your feedback.