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Category : Looking to the future

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We're moving to Peachjar!

date 11/30/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

Peachjar imageSay goodbye to multiple flyers in your Tuesday folders and hello to electronic flyers from Peachjar! We’ll be moving to electronic flyers using Peachjar beginning December 12. And now, we can add high school and middle school flyers into the mix. Peachjar is a system that will house all of our electronic flyers. Parents can find school flyers and newsletters, PTC and student club flyers, and outside organizations will distribute their flyers using the system too.

This green initiative will save the schools thousands of dollars. We also know that it will save countless staff hours in printing, sorting, and organizing.

Parents will receive an email notification once a week when flyers are updated or they can access flyers at any time with the Peachjar button (coming soon to your school's website).

We hope this makes it easier for parents to manage the information coming home. If your email address is not on file with your child's school, you can update it on Parent Portal using the demographics tab, just make sure that you've selected yourself, and not your student. You can also contact your child's school to update your email. Remember, you can always access flyers at any time via your school's website.

For questions about Peachjar, please contact Communication Coordinator Jessica Setness at 218-327-5716 or .

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Activity Facilities Taskforce

date 10/02/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

AFTImage - Taskforce title on field lights backgroundWe want to take a moment to introduce you to the Activity Facilities Taskforce. Following the process of the Elementary Facilities Taskforce, or EFT, the activities group represents a group of concerned citizens who have gathered to work on athletic and activity space needs for the ISD 318 school district and our communities.

The Activity Facilities Task Force is proactively looking to accommodate expanding athletic teams, the safety of the marching band members, landlocked outdoor school facilities, and growing community events. The group consists of parents, community members, and city staff, and is supported by coaching staff from Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Everyone is welcome to join in the group.

The AFT plans to discuss, develop, and present a comprehensive plan to the ISD 318 School Board on or before November 1. Their next meeting will be on October 4 at 6:00 pm in the ISD 318 Administration Building. You can also view past meeting presentations and minutes on the AFT website at sites.google.com/view/bigforkrapidsaft/. If you are interested in joining the AFT or learning more, please email . You may also call or text 218-380-7238.

 

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Free & Reduced Meals

date 08/15/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

With the start of a new school year, we’re asking all families to complete the Free & Reduced Meals Application, even if they think they might not apply. The application means much more than just a reduced cost to families.Gas card mock-up.png

The district receives federal funding based on the number of families who qualify for free or reduced meals. And, even our athletic teams are affected by the free and reduced numbers. MSHSL section placement is determined by both enrollment and free and reduced applications. Plus, families can also qualify for reduced athletic fees.

There are lots of ways to submit your application. You may have already received an application in the mail from the Food & Nutrition Department. Or, on the isd318.org website, under the Parents Link tab, just click on the Free & Reduced Meals link. There you can download a copy and mail it to the district. You may also access Free & Reduced applications through your child’s school office.

For the 2017-2018 School Year, every family, regardless of income, who completes the Free & Reduced application will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gas card! Plus schools in which 75% of families complete the application will receive a free pizza party for kids and staff!

For more information about Free & Reduced Meals, visit the Food & Nutrition Section of our website or call the Food & Nutrition Department at 218-327-5771.

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Welcome Superintendent Olson!

date 07/24/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

We'd like to welcome Mrs. Joni Olson as the Superintendent for District 318. 

Olson was most recently the Executive Director of Student Achievement and Strategic Alignment for St. Cloud Area Schools. She began her educational career serving in multi-district and school special education programs. She has been an administrator for St. Cloud Area Schools for 19 years, first as an assistant principal, then as a principal and most recently as an executive director.

"I’m thrilled to be joining the team in ISD 318 and have been so impressed with the warm welcome from the district, staff and community,” said Olson. "I am very excited about the excellent opportunities provided to students in ISD 318. Students have a wide range of academic and activity options from which to select. There is something to meet the interests of all students in the district."

Mrs. Olson was born in Silver Bay, Minnesota and moved to St. Cloud to attend St. Cloud State University where she studied social work and sociology. Her master's degree and certification in educational administration were also from St. Cloud State University. Mrs. Olson received her superintendent's licensure from St. Mary's University.

Mrs. Olson underwent a rigorous interview process before being selected as Superintendent. Six semi-finalists in the Superintendent Search were chosen from a candidate pool of 22 applicants. The School Board will met with those over two days for interviews. Of the six, three finalists were chosen for a second round of interviews. 

The finalists participated in a full day of interviews, meeting in focus groups with principals, district administration, high school students, support staff, teachers, and community members, before a final interview each evening with the School Board. Participants in the focus groups spent an hour with each candidate asking questions about their background, experience, and philosophy. Feedback forms from each focus group were provided to Board members and helped the School Board make a final decision at the end of the week.

Superintendent Survey Results

date 05/15/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

SuptSearch.png

The Superintendent Search is underway. The School Board is working with a team from School Exec Connect to help find the best fit for our district.

 

The timeline is as follows:

  • Application Deadline: May 9

  • Selected candidates taken to the Board on: May 11

  • First round interviews on: May 16

  • Second round interviews on: May 17-19

  • Position Begins: July 1, 2017 or ASAP after that date

 

We have also compiled community, staff, and Board feedback from our Superintendent Survey. The qualities you most wanted to see in a Superintendent are as follows in order of most important to least:

  • Is both honest and ethical in dealing with community.

  • Has good communication skills with both staff and community.

  • Develops and directs an effective leadership team.

  • Understands and demonstrates sound management.

  • Is familiar with state and federal education laws.

  • Provides educational leadership.

  • Has a progressive yet realistic educational philosophy.

  • Is committed to professional growth for self and staff.

  • Understands sound fiscal management procedures.

  • Values collaboration.

  • Works cooperatively with the school board.

  • Understands the legislative process.

  • Understands Minnesota's collective bargaining process.

  • Delegates authority while maintaining accountability.

  • Is experienced in implementing educational priorities.

  • Is experienced in curriculum and development.

  • Shows interest in broad range of community groups.

  • Has administrative experience in similar district(s).

  • Selects, assigns, and evaluates staff.

 

All of the responses to the open-ended questions have also been compiled and provided to School Exec Connect to help shape the Superintendent Interview Questions.

 

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Superintendent Survey

date 04/03/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

Though no one is looking forward to saying goodbye to our Superintendent Bruce Thomas, the School Board is hard at work on a Superintendent Search. The Board wants to ensure that we are finding the best fit for our district and for our community. That’s why we’re asking you to participate in the Superintendent Search Survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/CmtySupSurvey.

 

The School Board is soliciting input from school district residents and staff to help in the search for a new superintendent. The material collected through the survey will help shape the candidate interview questions.

 

This is your chance to help set the leadership direction for the school district for the coming years. This quick, six-question survey should only take a few minutes to complete but will have a lasting impact on our district.

 

Survey results from community and staff members will be compiled for the Board to review and to help shape interview questions. Candidate interviews are expected to take place in May. If you have questions about the Superintendent Search, please contact Human Resources Director Colleen Schussman at 218-327-5708.


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GRHS students tackle community issues

date 02/16/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

Back in December, Civics students sparked their knowledge about issues facing our community. Adults from around the community came together to talk to the teens about how they could get involved to make a change.

 

Students analyzed data about our community gathered in the 2014 Itasca Area Youth Survey. They chose a topic within the community that concerned them and then developed an action plan, presented it to classmates and community members, and are writing letters to local legislators. "This project involves students living, breathing, and doing Civics,” said GRHS Social Studies teacher Brielle Carlson.

 

And the students are ready to share their information with you. Just click on the images below to see a pdf of their presentations.

Image of power point slide title - Healthy Living Image of power point slide title - CCYFA
Image of power point slide title - Language to Elementary Schools Image of power point slide title - Stable Relationships
Image of power point slide title - Lower Suicide Rates Image of power point slide title - Tech Day


 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. Please see the Social Media Comment Guidelines for complete details.

 

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School site sizes

date 01/17/2017 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

We’ve been listening to your feedback about our elementary facilities. Many of you have wondered why we can’t purchase more portables or just add on to the buildings. Right now we have 14 portable classrooms attached to our elementary buildings. That’s the equivalent of the number of classrooms in Cohasset Elementary!

 

Adding portables to our buildings also puts strain on the core facilities like the lunchrooms and gymnasiums, as well as the boilers and pick up/drop off areas. And if we were to remodel the schools to accommodate those areas, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) would require us to purchase additional land.

 

MDE recommends that elementary schools be placed on sites of 10-15 acres, plus one additional acre per 100 students. You can see our struggle in the image below. What’s more, these calculations don’t account for moving the fifth graders back to the elementary level.

 

SiteSize Infographic.png

Calculations in this image were made at a base acreage of 12.5 acres per school plus 1 acre per 100 students.

 

We welcome your input as we look at alternate solutions to our growing elementary facility problem. If you have questions or comments about our work on the facilities plan, please email or call the District office at (218) 327-5723.

 

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Understanding the Tax Levy

date 10/03/2016 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

kidaccountant.jpg

School finance can be a complicated topic, that’s why we’re here to talk about the tax levy with you. School funding is financed through a combination of some federal funds, state-collected taxes and locally collected property taxes.

 

The total amount of property taxes that a district must collect to successfully educate students is known as the tax levy. The amount that a district can levy is divided into categories, and the state identifies the maximum amount that can be levied in each area. In some areas the district must levy the maximum amount to avoid penalties or reductions in other areas. The areas in which the district has flexibility are known as the Long Term Maintenance Fund and Board Approved Referendum.

 

The district levy is combined with the city and county levies, and help determine the tax rate. Tax rate is determined by property assessments and the number of people and businesses sharing the tax burden. Property assessments may rise or fall and businesses may come or leave, so your tax rate can change even if the levy does not.

 

The school district must Certify the Proposed Levy by September 30 and then Adopt the Final Levy at the Truth & Taxation meeting held on December 5, 2016. When certifying the proposed levy, a School Board may opt to levy for the maximum or specify a dollar amount. If a School Board specifies a dollar amount they are unable to make any changes to that amount. By making a motion to levy for the maximum, the Board is allowing and can accept changes that the State may make before final approval at the Truth & Taxation meeting.

 

If you have questions about school finance, please contact Pat Goggin, the district Business Manager at 218-327-5703 or by email at pgoggin@isd318.org.

 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. Please see the Social Media Comment Guidelines for complete details.

 

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School Sizes

date 07/14/2016 author ISD #318 category Looking to the future comment Leave a comment

“Space issue is severe.” That was the headline following the School Board meeting on June 27. At that meeting, the Board was presented with the 2016-2017 budget. Business Manager Patrick Goggin pointed out that the budget did not address the space issue and illustrated that it was not going away based on birth rates in Itasca County.

 

In January 2015, a group of teachers and principals toured other schools to see examples of school construction and how schools with larger enrollment could actually feel smaller. On the right, you’ll see a comparison of the schools toured with Southwest Elementary. You’ll notice that the site size is significantly larger, though Southwest boasts the largest amount of acreage among our elementaries. Enrollment is also larger, but perhaps most significant is square feet per student in each building.

 

The Minnesota Department of Education recommends 135 square feet per student. When including support space square footage, the recommendation is 150 square feet. The graphic at right clearly illustrates that our children are lacking the necessary space for learning.

 

Though the voters did not approve the referendum last November, the district continues to work to address our growing facility needs. We are completing work with the Blandin Foundation to facilitate community input. That process will be used to inform the facility planning in the future. Information from that group will be shared as soon as it is available.

 

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact the district with questions or comments about facility planning by emailing us at or leaving a comment below.






 

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Questions, comments, and observations can be shared by posting a comment below. Please note that there may be a short delay before your comment is public. Comments on this blog are subject to our Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy. Please see the Social Media Comment Guidelines for complete details.

 

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Watch us on YouTube: ISD 318 Schools