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Grateful for Community Connections, Partnership and Support

It’s November — a season of gratitude — and that’s exactly what I felt this election season as thoughts wandered back to November 2021 when voters of our district overwhelmingly approved an operating referendum with 63% support. The funds were specifically approved to:

  • To hire and retain teachers and staff 

  • Lower class sizes

  • Protect and enhance career and technical education opportunities for students

I was recently at a Rotary Meeting, and someone asked me how the funds have been spent. I was happy to report that 100% of the funds have been spent as promised. We’ve hired more teachers. Our elementary class sizes average 23 students per class and the kindergarten class size average is under 20 students, meaning more personal attention for all of our students. Our CTE program is not only still operating, but we are busy planning for the future and looking for ways to expand our programming. 

School funding in Minnesota is a shared partnership between local communities and the state. Our students benefit from our community investment in their learning and we are so grateful for your support. This would not have been achieved without you! 

Community Partners Support Strong Schools

Over the last six months, dozens of people have been involved in a strategic planning process for our schools. During one of our meetings, an expert in healthcare shared that 80% of “healthcare” happens outside of the doctor’s office or medical facilities, which is prompting medical facilities to rethink preventative healthcare planning. They are focusing on what they call the “social determinants of health,” which refers to the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. 

For example: Studies indicate that people with higher levels of education are more likely to be healthier and live longer. Therefore, one of our national health goals is to increase the number of students who graduate high school in four years. Graduating high school leads to higher-paying jobs and fewer health problems like heart disease, diabetes, addiction and depression. 

Likewise, our partners at the Cambridge Medical Center have expertise and excellent programs to support student mental health in our community. One such program, Change to Chill (, helps our students develop strategies to cope with stress and anxiety.

However, we can’t wait until high school. Families with young child are also experiencing high levels of stress. We believe learning starts at birth and our schools want to be an important resource for families. So, part of our Strategic Plan will seek to increase access to high-quality early childhood education and after school care programs for families who want those services. But we can’t do it alone. By partnering with our cities, county, chamber and others, we can more efficiently address this pressing need. 

In a growing community, collaboration matters. We rely on our community partners to provide needed services without the redundancy. We have some exciting opportunities for our students we will announce soon and we’ll continue to identify community partners who align with the goals, mission, and learning objectives of our Strategic Plan.  

Thankful for School Board Members’ Service to our Community 

We are also thankful for our elected School Board members who are tireless advocates for our students and families. At the end of this year, three school board members will be retiring from the Board: Lynn Wedlund, who has served for twelve years, Tim Hitchings, who has also served for twelve years, and Aaron Berg, who served for four years. Mr. Hitchings, who is Board Chair, was also  just honored by the Minnesota Association of School Boards and named to the AllState School Board. We will celebrate our retiring board members at our December School Board meeting. If you would like to share a note of thanks, please send them an email or card via their school district address (at

Grateful for our Teachers and Staff

Finally, our full gratitude this holiday season goes to our incredible teachers and staff whose relationships with students make them feel valued, loved, and appreciated. Our staff also provide guidance, in and out of the classroom, and continue to lead our students toward their goals and full potential. I am so excited to continue working with our great staff on future opportunities for our students. 

As we head into the Thanksgiving season, I want to leave with you one of my favorite passages. 

"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise with songs of praise!"

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you for your continued support.

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