Community support leads to successful schools

Community pride has been on display for years in the cities and townships served by Independent School District 15. Our students and staff are fortunate to have a multitude of citizens excited to be involved in a positive manner. To find evidence of this relationship, please spend some time in and around our schools.

Some recent events have helped us all make positive connections. Many of our local businesses had display booths at the Spring Expo organized by the St. Francis Chamber of Commerce. Our high school commons and gymnasium were alive with activity and conversations. As people of all ages streamed through, connections were made and ideas were shared. It is an annual event that brings us together.

Each of our elementary schools have annual carnivals attended by hundreds of community members. Children of all ages, parents, grandparents, school board members and school employees from every department imaginable all gather to support our schools. Our local businesses, many of which supported the expo, are making donations of time, money, prizes and more. Positive connections can mean participating in a golf putting contest, a dunk tank and everything in between; fun, fun and more fun.

This is the time of year for our scholarship gala hosted by our Foundation 15 board members; a team which has successfully raised money year after year to award scholarships to students graduating from St. Francis High School. Foundation 15 continues to grow and do great things for our students. Again, these annual functions are supported by our citizens and our local businesses.

A few weeks ago, we were able to share some exciting new technology with members of our local Lions Club. Troy Ferguson, assistant director of community education, organized a visit to Cedar Creek Community School to experience a 3D viewing of educational content. Holli Hillman, fourth-grade instructor, led the demonstration and fielded questions. The quote of the night from one of the Lions was, “I wish I were back in school!” Please feel free to schedule visits with our principals, and thank you for your continued support in and around our community.

The commissioner from the Minnesota Department of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius, visited our school system for two specific reasons last week. She too, shared the 3D experience with our fourth-grade students. Following that successful visit, Cassellius spent some quality time with teachers discussing our Q Comp observation process and our professional development model.

Monday, April 29, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann visited a kindergarten class and a fifth-grade class at East Bethel Community School. She then made one more stop at Cedar Creek Community School to visit the fourth-grade 3D classroom. She was appreciative of the time she spent experiencing some of the cutting-edge technology in our system.

If you’re setting your calendar for summer, Community Ed and the Lions, along with a group of high school students, are hosting a pancake breakfast at Sandhill Center for the Arts. It will take place on Saturday, June 15, and is planned to be an inter-generational gathering to connect our senior citizens with our high school students.

Once again, the progress we are making is the result of the support from our community members and the business owners who have taken an interest in our educational system. We appreciate the assistance and welcome everyone’s participation in the schools, at contests, and at all of our events.

Anoka County is filled with wonderful schools and supportive communities. I know other districts have communication avenues relevant to their citizens. Please consider getting involved with your schools and communities.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Ed Saxton is the superintendent for the St. Francis Independent School District 15. 

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