Tiger Team Update

3.28.19 Tiger Team Update

Memo to Staff on 19-20 Budget

In the spirit of transparency I wanted to give our team an update on our budget planning for the 2019-20 school year. Our work starts with running projection models of revenue and expenditures and compare that to needs across the district. A budget is basically our best guess as many important variables related to building a budget are unknown. We will not know if we will receive any increases on the basic state funding formula or other possible revenue streams until the end of May when the state legislative session concludes.

Unfortunately, we cannot wait to build our budget until the end of May when the session ends as we have important staffing and scheduling decisions to make to plan for the upcoming year. Therefore, we set parameters on things like enrollment, state funding, class size, wage increases, staffing needs, and inflation as it relates to energy costs, etc.

After running several simulations and projection models we project that will have an increase of approximately $400,000 in revenue and an increase of approximately $1,450,000 in expenditures. This is an approximate $1,050,000 budget difference. We plan to make up the difference by using strategies that include:

  • Utilizing a portion of the current unassigned fund balance
  • Small adjustments in staffing to stay within the class size parameters
  • Transportation route reduction
  • One time shifts of capital, staff development, and technology budgets.

Our planning will be fluid as we will be moving forward with staffing and scheduling for next year based on information we have now. However, in the event that the legislative session concludes and we were to receive a higher increase we will relook at needs across the district. It is very important that we make small adjustments yearly to avoid multi million dollars budget cuts in the future.

Public Schools Week

Did you know that this is the very 1st Public Schools Week ever? There is a week for pretty much everything under the sun, but there was never a nationally recognized week for public education until now.

Join us to celebrate and embrace everything about public education. We educate students no matter how much money their family has, how well they read, what language they speak, or what they believe in. What we do makes a difference and our democracy is dependent on education. We are all in this this together! Be #477PrincetonProud!

Thank you to everyone who shared their reason for being #PublicSchoolProud.

Communication Plan

District Administration and the Public Engagement committee have been drafting our district's Communication Plan over the last several months. The plan will consist of mapping out the preferred ways for us to communicate with each other, students/families, and the community, along with the ways we'd like to receive communications back.

We have created an infographic explaining our district's chain of communication and effective ways to communicate. Please take a moment to review and feel free to share with others, including families and community members.

Tiger Trivia!

The winner of Tiger Trivia #6 was Laurie Richards of Princeton Intermediate. Congrats! Look for Tiger Trivia #7 somewhere in this edition of the Tiger Team Update!

Tiger Pledge Campaign...Coming Soon!

Next Tuesday we will be officially launching the Princeton Tiger Pledge! If you haven't heard about this yet, we are encouraging everyone to "own your stripes, strengths and needs". We are so excited to share the launch video next week, and we look forward to everyone taking the pledge!

Image of the Princeton Tiger Pledge

Tiger Basketball Video

In case you missed it, Jodi shared a video recapping the awesome season our Boys Basketball team just finished. Here is a link to the video!

https://www.wevideo.com/view/1342119840
Also while you are clicking on things, click here for Tiger Trivia!

Tiger Team Update Archive

2.22.19

District Curriculum & Instruction Leadership Team

I have shared a draft of our district organizational chart in the past. I will speak to this to further during March 7th Staff Development . The organizational chart is representative of our game plan to intentionally work on our 3 'big rocks': curriculum/instruction, climate, and multi-tiered levels of support for our students.

The organizational chart also represents a participatory leadership team that has district leadership for each of our 'big rocks'. We have our district climate leadership team up and running with teacher and administrative representation. We are currently working to restructure our district leadership team for curriculum and instruction (formerly known as DILT).

We will soon be posting opportunities to serve on our district curriculum and instruction leadership team. These individuals will also provide leadership in facilitating vertical (department) PLC meetings as part of our curriculum writing/mapping work. The openings are designed to have equal representation across grade levels and content areas. We will have the following openings:

  • K-5 ELA Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • 6-12 ELA Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-5 Math Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • 6-12 Math Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-5 Science Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • 6-12 Science Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-5 Social Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-12 Social Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-12 Music Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-12 Art Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • K-12 Physical Education/Health Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • 6-12 Career and Tech Ed PLC Vertical Facilitator and District Representative
  • PK-5 Special Education PLC Vertical Facilitator and District Representative
  • 6-12+ Special Education PLC Vertical Facilitator and District Representative
  • PK - 12+ Guidance Counselor Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • Area Learning Center Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative
  • Princeton Online Academy Vertical PLC Facilitator and District Representative

Flexible Learning Days

A district-wide communication has been sent out to parents introducing our plan for flexible learning days. The next step is for buildings and classrooms to get communications out to parents and students. I am hopeful that the weather will hold off long enough for us for to have something in place to implement a flexible learning day for any future potential school closure due to inclement weather.

What are Flex Learning Days??

If you missed it, see an introduction to Flex Learning Days in the 2.20.19 edition of the Tiger Team Update at the bottom of this page!

Snow Day Make Up Plan

Although this plan is subject to change, my intent is to NOT recommend adding student contact days to the calendar for this year. This would only change if we have more snow days prior to us implementing our Flexible Learning Day Plan. I will be recommending that the 5 lost contracted licensed staff days are made up the following way:

  • 1 Day (on your own time) for Flexible Learning planning and preparation.
  • 4 Days of curriculum writing time during the summer. The process for this is yet to be determined. I have directed our teaching and learning department to work with our newly established district curriculum and instruction leadership team to create a process and a standard consistent way to document/map our curriculum.
Tiger Trivia!

For those of you who have missed Tiger Trivia, we have a musical treat for you! Click here for Tiger Trivia #6 and good luck! Winner will be chosen on Tuesday, February 26 so get your answers in quick!

Copiers / Printers

I want to give our team a heads up that I am asking that a plan be put together to reduce the amount of paper consumption and printing/copying happening throughout our district. We are in the digital age and have the ability to do most things in an electronic method. I believe we will have the ability to save the district thousands of dollars a year with some basic modifications.

Over the course of the next few years you will see less copiers and printers throughout the district. We realize we will always have a need for some copiers and printers, but the plan will be to replace older machines in the district with less machines that will be more efficient.

For the time being I am asking you all to always ask yourself if their is an electronic solution prior to making copies. Please take a minute to watch the funny video below at it relates to this topic! Thanks in advance.

Nominate an Educator of Excellence!

Who's the Best Teacher You Know? Tell us about that teacher today! MREA will recognize educators from four regions in Greater Minnesota with the 2019 Educators of Excellence Award. Nominations must be received by March 1, 2019.

Nominate inspiring teachers who demonstrate:

  • Positive impact on students and student achievement
  • Leadership in the school, district and community
  • Innovative and creative instructional practice that impact all students
  • Collaborative efforts with fellow educators, parents, families and the community

Learn more about the Educator of Excellence by visiting MREA.

2.20.19

Nominate an Educator of Excellence!

Who's the Best Teacher You Know? Tell us about that teacher today! MREA will recognize educators from four regions in Greater Minnesota with the 2019 Educators of Excellence Award. Nominations must be received by March 1, 2019.

Nominate inspiring teachers who demonstrate:

  • Positive impact on students and student achievement
  • Leadership in the school, district and community
  • Innovative and creative instructional practice that impact all students
  • Collaborative efforts with fellow educators, parents, families and the community

Learn more about the Educator of Excellence by visiting MREA.

PBIS

Princeton Intermediate has been selected as a 2018-19 Minnesota PBIS Ambassador School! The goals of the Minnesota PBIS Ambassador Schools Program are to:

  • Strengthen the knowledge and skills of graduates of Minnesota’s educator preparation programs regarding classroom management and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS)
  • Increase the coverage of classroom management and PBIS in the state’s educator preparation programs
  • Foster cooperation and collaboration between educator preparation programs and schools and districts that implement PBIS well

Congrats on this distinction and showing Tiger Pride!

School Board Update

In an effort to keep you up to date on what's going on in the District we are re-launching our bi-monthly School Board Update.

The 2.19.19 School Board meeting covered the following topics. You can view the agenda in Board Book for more information!

  • School makeup days (see Flex Learning Days in this Tiger Team Update)
  • 20-21 Proposed Calendar- school board is recommending a similar calendar to our current calendars
  • Student Council Representative
  • Revised Budget
  • Enrollment Parameters for 2019-2020
  • Strategic Planning
  • Second Reading of Policies
Flexible Learning Days Program Pilot

At Princeton Public Schools we believe that learning can and should occur anywhere. With that in mind, we are introducing the concept of flexible learning days. Flexible learning days mean that school can be in session without students and staff being physically present at the school. Days may be planned in advance and take place in the event of an unscheduled school closure, redefining the meaning of a “snow day”. Flexible learning days may also be used to make up previously-cancelled days.

Thanks to our recent 1:1 rollout and widespread access to internet in our district, our teachers and students grades 6-12 have the ability to interact with one another in an online environment to share lessons, answer questions, and guide learning. We understand some of our students do not have access to reliable internet. Because of this all assignments given on flexible learning days will have flexible due dates. Teachers will be available both the day of and the week following a flexible learning day to help students with their assignments and questions. Students in PreK - grade 5 will have pre-planned activities sent home prior to any flexible learning day.

Given this winter’s severe weather, our School Board has given their support to pilot flexible learning days this school year to explore this as a long term solution. If we can get this up and running we will not run the risk of adding regular school days to the calendar in June.

It is our intent to expedite our planning of flexible learning days. We ask you to start the process of planning practice sessions with students, developing lessons, and creating and teaching student expectations for flexible learning days. Click here to view our guidelines for flexible learning days. The following steps will be taken over the next week or two:

  1. Parent communication regarding flex learning days from the district.
  2. Teaching and Learning Department will provide examples and staff development to teachers through our PD on Demand and onsite visits that will be arranged with Principals.
  3. PLC’s are encouraged to spend time planning flex learning days together.
  4. 1 contracted licensed staff make-up day will be used for teachers to work on their own time to plan for future flexible learning days.
  5. Principals will send a communication home to parents specific to each site.
  6. Each teacher is expected to practice with students and communicate expectations with families.
  7. Principals will to monitor and solicit feedback from teachers as to when we feel ready to give this a try. We will stand ready to implement a flexible learning day as soon as we feel ready.
  8. As a pilot, we will go into this knowing that there will be issues that we will uncover and problems we will need to solve. I am asking teachers to look at this new journey positively, use their creativity, and to do their best.

The School Board is excited to use this innovative solution, however, they made it clear that this is a pilot program. We will survey students, parents, and staff after conducting flexible learning days to determine their effectiveness and whether we will adopt this as a permanent practice in our district.


Marketing & Public Relations

An observation I have had in my first 7 months on the job is the disconnect between reality and perception as it relates to our school district. The reality I see everyday happening in our district is that our team and our students are immersed in amazing, awesome, and incredible work in a safe, respectful, and supportive environment. This great work is diminished every time some disgruntled/disenfranchised person takes to social media to attack our district, our team members, and sometimes even our students. More often than not the attacks are full of inaccurate information. I have found that these things distract us and pull us away from keeping our eye on the mission of the district.

I recently attended a workshop with some of the companies of the world regarding social media and how they combat the random 1-star reviews with critical or damaging statements. Their advice is to drown out the negative with the positive. Marketing is the practice of influencing how people think and feel about our schools. We know the awesomeness happening in our schools, but others will not unless we actively tell our story.

I am appealing to you to bind together as a team do the following:

  • Keep doing strong work and providing daily examples of the awesome work happening in our district.
  • Take pictures and videos of what you are doing and send them to your Principals or Directors, ben.barton@isd477.org and emily.mcKinnon@isd477.org.
  • Say good things about us publicly and if you have any issue use the proper chain of communication. All strong teams and organizations live by the idea of "praise publicly and criticize privately".
I realize you all don't know me very well yet, but I'd like to give you a bit of a peek behind the curtain. I'm competitor! Although I am new here, I have a tremendous amount of pride in our great public schools and frankly it ticks me off beyond words when shots are taken at our district, a team member, or students. Furthermore, the lack of awareness of all the amazing things happening in our great district is troublesome. I've been told that its just human nature that people focus on the negative and not the positive. Well I think that is garbage! Let's create a climate and culture that is positive and fight the negativity that surrounds us in today's society. We all know that we are not perfect and will always have our issues to work through. However, we will address any issue in a professional and private manner to come to a resolution. Folks, I've always been driven by having a pretty big chip on my shoulder and am motivated by proving people wrong. Join me!

1.14.19

1.14.19 Tiger Team Update

NEW! District Grant Procedure

District admin and our grant writer have worked together to design a new application procedure for grants. Please review the Grant Application Request Guidelines and follow this procedure for all grant applications going forward. Please share this information with your colleagues and click here for trivia!

NEW! Staff Classifieds Page

Back by popular demand, you can now post ads for your items for sale, services provided, items wanted, or good news pieces. Click here for details and instructions.

MN Timberwolves Educator Appreciation

The Minnesota Timberwolves are proud to offer an Educator Appreciation Program. Employees will have access to a complimentary ticket offer all season long as a thank you for all you do. Click here for more information!

Use Promo Code PRINCETON19 for your discount!

Tiger Trivia Winner

Congrats to Linda Alexander at PHS, the winner of the Turkey Trivia $10 gift card! According to Google, there are various opinions as to who the first president was to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey. Look for Trivia #5 in this edition of the Tiger Team Update!

Benovate

It's Contest Time! Sign-Up Begins January 1st!

Join the Benovate sponsored contest, starting January 14th through February 1st! Members will be able to decided if they would prefer a a Step or Engagement Score Contest. Those who choose to participate in "We'll be Well in 2019", must sign up in Benovate BEFORE Sunday, January 13th.

Whole Life Challenge

What is the whole life challenge?

The Whole Life Challenge is a 6-week lifestyle journey, dedicated to improving your health, fitness, and overall well-being - one habit at a time. Please check your email for info on how to sign-up.

The Power of Positive Leadership

No matter what anyone says, just show up and do the work.
If they praise you, show up and do the work.
If they criticize you, show up and do the work.
If no one even notices you, just show up and do the work.
Just keep showing up, doing the work, and leading the way.
Lead with passion.
Fuel up with optimism.
Have faith.
Power up with love.
Maintain hope.
Be stubborn.
Fight the good fight.
Refuse to give up.
Ignore the critics.
Believe in the impossible.
Show up.
Do the work.
You'll be glad you did.
True grit leads to true success.

11.22.18

Toilet Paper Bowl

It's bigger than the Superbowl! The Princeton Schools Staff will once again participate in the Toilet Paper Bowl and collect paper products to distribute to families in need. All buildings are encouraged to participate, and whomever collects the most rolls will win a treat and a shiny new traveling trophy! This is a staff only collection. We will collect paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues) December 3-14. We ask that each building designated spot to store the paper products. Good luck everyone!

Tiger Trivia

The answer to last week's question was The Odd Couple. Congrats to Jill Sikkink at the IS who won a $20 gift card to Coborn's.

We're making today's trivia easy...click here for the question and Happy Thanksgiving!

11.15.18

American Education Week

This week is NEA American Education Week and it is intended to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are working to make a difference to ensure that all of our children receives a quality education. A very sincere and heartfelt thank you for all you do!

In appreciation for everyone's hard work, there will be a snack delivered to each school's staff lounge on Friday, November 16. Enjoy and thank you for all you do!

Trivia Winner!

Congrats to Gwen Rapp at the High School, the winner of Tiger Trivia #2. Pictures of Supt. Barton covering the guidance office will be posted in the next Tiger Team Update!

Darius Rucker was the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish in the 90's. The original artist of Wagon Wheel was Old Crow Medicine Show (which included Bob Dylan). The bonus answer was Jessica Lupkes and the FFA. Look for Trivia #3 in this edition of the Tiger Team Update!

Changes to Staff Newsletter

Thank you to everyone who recently submitted content for the quarterly staff newsletter. We have determined that since we already have regular communications coming to staff in the form of The Tiger Times and the Tiger Team Update, we will be discontinuing the quarterly newsletter.

With this change, we are excited to announce that we will soon be sharing a live Staff Classifieds webpage. All staff will have the opportunity to share their news, services and items for sale with other staff members. Be on the lookout for this information coming soon, and click here!

United Way Campaign

As mentioned in our last Tiger Team Update, the Sherburne County Area United Way is kicking off its 2019 campaign. View a video here, highlighting what the United Way is doing right here in our communities! Click here to download a pledge form if you would like to contribute.

Board News

Back by popular demand, the Bi-Weekly Board News and Updates is making its return! Look for this in the next edition of the Tiger Team Update!

Eye of the Tiger

In case you missed it in my last Tiger Times, here is our latest Eye of the Tiger!

Congrats to our Support Staff Honorees!

On Nov 15, I attended the Educational Support Staff Awards banquet that recognizes and celebrate the accomplishments of the outstanding support staff in our schools.
This year's honorees included:

  • Lisa Bekius - Primary School
  • Paula Green - High School
  • Aaron Kisch - District
  • Becky Servaty - Intermediate
  • Jake Tou - District

Join me in congratulating these amazing individuals!

Support Staff Honorees

Paula, Aaron, Becky, Jake (Lisa not pictured).

10.25.18

10.25.18 Tiger Team Update

Long Range Facility Planning

One of the four committees that the school board oversees is the Long Range Planning Committee. The major focus of this group is on our facility needs now and into the future. We are researching the best process to use to collect data to assist us in making decisions. This will likely include surveys to our internal team and to the public, focus groups, study of data collected from our last building project, census studies, current assessment of our existing buildings, etc.
I wanted you to be aware of this because you will likely start hearing things about it and we will also be asking you for input. Please start thinking about what facility needs you feel should be addressed.

SEL School Management Strategies Survey

We are requesting that all staff members take a short survey in response to the Top 10 School Management Strategies that were presented at our Back to School kickoff assembly in August. This survey was distributed via email, but click here to take the survey if you haven't already done so. Please submit your response by Monday, October 29th.

You can view the Top 10 School Management Strategies here.

Trivia Winner!

Congrats to Shirley Tonn at the Primary School, the winner of Tiger Trivia #1. Rocky Balboa's nemesis in Rocky 4 was Ivan Drago.
Look for Trivia #2 in this edition of the Tiger Team Update!

Coffee & Conversation

I held our second Coffee & Conversation October 24. The topics discussed were:

  • Chain of Communication
  • College & Career Readiness
  • High School Redesign
  • SEL and PBIS
  • Stellar music program in our schools
  • Title I and similar programming in each building
  • How to proactively help older students who may be struggling with curriculum.
  • Early entrance into Kindergarten
  • Spanish Immersion program

You can read more about this and past meetings on my Coffee & Conversation page.

Congrats to our LEEA Honorees!

On Oct 24, I attended the Leadership in Educational Excellence Awards banquet that honored some of the outstanding teachers in the district. This year's honorees included:

  • Michelle Hallbeck - primary school
  • Jodi Gatewood - middle school
  • Dianne Greenwood - intermediate school
  • Scott Walquist - high school

Join me in congratulating these teachers!

Teachers receiving LEEA award

United Way Campaign

The Sherburne County Area United Way is launching their annual campaign in early November--look for more information to come! This brochure explains many of the ways that the United Way has helped our community.

MN Timberwolves Educator Appreciation

The Minnesota Timberwolves are proud to offer an Educator Appreciation Program. Employees will have access to a complimentary ticket offer all season long as a thank you for all you do. Click here for more information!

Eye of the Tiger

In case you missed it in my last Tiger Times, here is our latest Eye of the Tiger! Also, take a moment to read this important message.

Let it go

10.11.18

10.11.18 Tiger Team Update

Communication

One of my mentors once shared with me that a Superintendent has 3 main jobs. They are: communicate, communicate, communicate! To further reinforce this, one of our district's strategic plan goals is communication. Although we have been increasing our efforts to connect with stakeholders using multiple modes, it occurred to me that I have done little to communicate with our team since opening remarks in August. Therefore, starting with this communication there will be regular correspondence in this format coming out of the Superintendent's office. It will be called Tiger Team Update. Just for fun I will be randomly embedding trivia questions in my communications for chances to win a prize. Although the following isn’t all inclusive I wanted you to know what we are attempting as it relates to communication:

Picture of Tigger and Eeyore
Crisis Team

We have developed a new team called our Crisis Team to create plans to prevent, mitigate, and respond to potential crisis. This team meets monthly and consists of school administration, police chief, fire chief, nurses, and mental health professionals. We plan around active shooter response, evacuations related to fires, bomb threats and gas leaks, tornado, pandemics, death or serious accident of a staff member or student. None of this is fun to think about, but we need to be prepared. Our focus this year will be to continue to evolve in the area of soft and hard lockdowns. Our goal by the end of the year is to have conducted table top exercises with staff running-through options on what to do in certain situations. If this goes well we may even be able to conduct simulations with staff. The theme of these trainings will be to empower staff to make decisions that will save your life and others based on the situation.

Organization Structure

As I learn the lay of the land and talk to many people it has occurred to me that there is a strong desire by many on our team to better organize our structure as a district and in our schools. Our administrative team has an upcoming date to focus on all of the work happening in the district and look at areas we can eliminate, consolidate, and streamline. We’ve been referring to this work as identifying our “Big Rocks”. Once we define our “Big Rocks” we will use this to restructure our leadership district and school leadership teams to be more aligned. As I’ve mentioned to you several times, WE ARE A TEAM! For us to best function as a team we need to organize ourselves to best work efficiently and effectively as a team.

picture that reads "we need to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear"
Eye of the Tiger

I hope that you have been reading Barton’s Tiger Times. The intended audience for this communication is both parents and staff. I want to “up our game” in Tiger Times and add a spotlight video feature each week to showcase the “awesome” happening in our schools, called Eye of the Tiger (queue music). This will simply be me coming around to interview a team member or student to showcase the awesome things they are doing. These will be short and sweet and will only be about a minute long. Please send me ideas of people or great things to showcase in our “Eye of the Tiger”.

Telling our story

During my opening remarks in August I suggested that we want to have a culture where every team member feels like they are an owner. As owners of our great school district it is important that we tell our story to celebrate the incredible work happening in the district. Princeton Public Schools is trending upward and need to capitalize on the opportunity to positively tell our story. Therefore I wanted you to be aware that over the next few months we be working (Click Here for Trivia Question) to create a series of videos to showcase the work happening in our district. I will keep you posted as to when we will be out and about getting video footage to begin the production process.