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Superintendent Update

posted Jan 12, 2017, 6:34 AM by Kari Osborne

January 8, 2017

Dear Princeton Community,

As part of our Strategic Plan, I went to the schools to talk to our staff.  My last article gave you a portion of the presentation. Here is part two.

Number One Ambassadors

One of the parts of our action plan for Goal V (Improve communication and engagement with staff, parents, business and community partners in order to maximize student success) is to work on helping our staff to be our number one ambassadors.  Research has shown  this strategy results in retention in enrollment, and  is another goal for us.  In order to reach this, we are doing this:

  • We provide Boardnews, which gives our staff a quick review of our board meeting, so  they are the first to know what happens at a board meeting.

  • We will be asking for feedback three times this year, through feedback loops, using technology.

  • We reviewed the process for how to resolve any issues within the district.

  • We reminded everyone how important it is for everyone to be professional and positive in communicating.

  • We reiterated  WE are the district.  No matter which school or program our employees work, we all represent our district in the community.

The Work of our School Board

People do not realize all of the work our school board does.  Besides attending all of our school board meetings (every first and third Tuesday night at 7:00 PM), they work diligently on these committees:

  • Activities

  • Finance

  • Community Education Advisory Board

  • Meet and Confer

  • Minnesota State High School League

  • Negotiations Classified

  • Negotiations Certified

  • Policy

  • Project Oversight

  • Rum River Special Education Cooperative

  • Schools for Equity in Education

  • Teaching and Learning

  • Transportation

  • Wellness

Each board member serves on about four of these committees, and they also prepare for each board meeting by reading all information for the meeting and asking questions to become fully versed.  The board also reads the superintendent’s weekly update each Sunday evening, which keeps them up to date with daily activities and gives board members more context of the daily work in the district.  Finally, board members listen to community members and contact the superintendent to either pass on good news or communicate with the affected parties to problem solve.

People don’t realize all of the good work our board members do!  As an aside, our board will be learning (just like the students!) this month and next, as they attend MSBA’s Phase One and Two Workshops for new school board members, and board members will be attending the MSBA’s Leadership Conference where a group will be presenting a break-out session on our district’s referendum.  Finally, our school board officers will be attending the MSBA School Board Officers’ Workshops in February.

Our District’s Geography

Most people do not realize how big our district is.  We cover 235 square miles, in four counties, including parts of Benton, Isanti, Mille Lacs and Sherburne Counties.  A majority of our students live in Sherburne County.

Our district includes three cities:  all of Princeton, a slice of Milaca, and a part of Zimmerman.  In addition, we have 10 townships:

  • Greenbush Township

  • Princeton Township

  • Blue Hill Township

  • Santiago Township

  • Bogus Brook Township

  • Dalbo Township

  • Baldwin Township

  • Milo Township

  • Spencer Brook Township

  • Wyanett Township

District Demographics

Racial demographics for our district are:  White 94%, Black 1%, Hispanic 3%, Asian 1%, and American Indian 1%.  

We have 14% students in special education, 32% in free and reduced lunch, and .09% English Learners.  Of the English Learners, our top five languages are Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Serbian, and Chinese.  We have 454 students in special education, with our highest primary disability areas as Speech or Language Impairments and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders.  

Our highest free and reduced populations in the district are in the Educational Options program at 72.7% (Accurate Home Care--our Care and Treatment in Princeton) and our new Area Learning Center at 70%.  

The rest of the Superintendent Update will be the content for the next publication.


Julia Espe