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After A Busy Summer, We’re Ready for School to Start!

What an exciting school year we have before us! Thanks to the generous support of local voters last November, we are entering the new school year with LOWER class sizes and a lot of new teachers! As a result, class sizes will be smaller at every level. 

We are prepared to welcome 70 new teachers to Cambridge-Isanti Schools this year. We hope everyone in our community will help us make them feel welcome and appreciated. 

Our goal during last year’s referendum was to recruit and retain talented and caring educators. As a result, we increased starting salaries for new teachers and provided our veteran teachers with a modest raise. We avoided cuts in career and technical education electives and have rehired more than half of the teaching positions that were eliminated from 2019-2021 budget cutting. We are proud to report that 100% of the additional operating funding approved by voters is being used as promised.

We are committed to transparency and fiscal responsibility, and will continue to share updates on career and technical education enhancements plans as the year progresses. 

A Busy Summer for Students

After the pandemic disruptions to learning, many students have been busy this summer with reading and math tutoring and high school credit completion. Cambridge-Isanti Schools received two large state grants this year to fund more student supports, beyond our annual operating budgets.

This summer we continued to offer mental health support for all students during our summer programming and provided meals and transportation for students to participate in summer programs. More than 1,200 students participated in statewide field trips, tutoring, STEAM Camp, HS credit completion courses, credit recovery classes, and extended year services at NO COST to families this summer. A $400,000 summer programming grant secured by our Teaching and Learning and Community Education departments allowed students to keep their curiosity and learning humming most of the summer. The federal summer grant funds also helped high school students get back on track after two years of disrupted learning. More than 175 students earned hundreds of high school credits this summer, bringing many back on track for graduation and success in years to come. We appreciate all of our staff who worked over these past couple of months to provide incredible opportunities for students.

Another $250,000 Minnesota Department of Education grant will support ongoing intervention coordination and a multi-tier system of supports for students. Our goal is that no child slips through the cracks, and we will have a coordinated effort to support teachers and principals in getting the appropriate intervention services to students if they struggle or are disengaged.

Strategic Planning Underway

Over the last six weeks, we have had a team of 40 parents, staff, students and community members involved in updating our strategic plan, which will identify our most important focus areas for the next three years. Their work is expected to go to the Board in September, and we will be reaching out for additional volunteers to engage in planning for each focus area this fall. So please watch for additional information coming forth next month.

Long-term Facilities Projects

We are completing critical infrastructure projects this summer by tapping into education funding designated explicitly for long-term facilities maintenance. We have replaced the original boilers and heating/air handling systems at Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Intermediate and Cambridge High Schools to improve indoor air quality. The old boilers were beyond their useful life. The exterior envelopes of the buildings were also repaired, filling air gaps and adding spray foam insulation to the ceiling deck. Roof repairs will continue at Cambridge Primary and Cambridge Intermediate Schools through October. Next summer, windows will be replaced and have already been ordered to avoid future price increases and supply chain delays.

LED lighting was installed in all schools and is expected to save $75,000 annually in electric bills. All buildings are also now on the same mechanical automation systems, as we replaced older pneumatic controls and switches in our older buildings.

Wastewater treatment problems were corrected at Cambridge Middle School in compliance with EPA standards. Crews have been incredibly busy this summer, ensuring our buildings are maintained to serve students for decades to come.

Space Considerations at Isanti Primary School

We are a growing community, and the business and economic development happening in the county will impact our schools. Isanti Primary is already very close to being beyond its capacity. We are installing two portable classrooms to expand capacity this year. The District will work cooperatively with the cities and county to understand their master plans and better plan for the projected growth impacts in the future. 

School Starts September 6 

We are so excited to welcome our students back to school this fall. We are also excited to welcome volunteers into our schools this year. If you’d like to get involved in our schools, please contact our volunteer coordinators. We are a growing community, and the more caring adults we have impacting the lives of children, the better supported our children will be. 

Isanti County is a special place to live, work and raise a family. Our team in Cambridge-Isanti Schools is privileged to serve this community. If you know any new families to our region, please encourage them to contact our schools and enroll now. September 6 is just around the corner! 

As always, it’s a great day to be a Bluejacket!

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