June 8 was a bittersweet board meeting for Eastern Carver County Schools.
The contract for new superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams was accepted, while Clint Christopher, current superintendent, said goodbye.
Earlier this school year, Christopher, who has been with District 112 for six years, the first three years as associate superintendent, announced he was leaving the position to return to Iowa.
"First of all I want to say thank you. ... This is a great district. It was an honor and privilege," Christopher said. While he acknowledged the challenges faced in recent years, he noted "this is a community that cares. Students never cease to amaze me."
Christopher, whose daughter Brylee graduated from Chanhassen High School last week, said his own kids thrived while attending school in the district.
"I am finding it hard to leave people. I was fortunate to work side-by-side with great people," said Christopher. He said he tried to lead with humanity and heart, doing what's best for kids his focus. "It's been a journey."
"You're so authentic, so real. Your passion for kids was always evident right there in front of everyone," said board member Tim Klein. Klein said the challenges faced, and how the district is responding, ECCS is "going to be better because of it."
Board Chair Jeffrey Ross said there was an understanding of the current financial situation within the district when negotiating a contract with Sayles-Adams. "We didn't want to cause any strain," Ross said.
Sayles-Adams will receive $240,000 for the superintendent salary.
When looking at surrounding districts, the contract is roughly 10 percent less than some, said Jim O'Connell, Director of Administrative Services for ECCS.
"People gulp when they see the salary number," said board member Lisa Anderson. "We worked hard to get our teacher average up to be competitive. It's only fair with our executive positions as well."
Christopher told the board they chose the right candidate in Sayles-Adams.
"I'm very excited about Lisa coming into the district. She will, with my whole heart, move this district to the next level," Christopher said.
Ross said he believes this moment will be a turning point in District 112, in continuing to provide the best education possible for students.
DISTANCE LEARNING CONTINUES
While the traditional school year is complete, the work with students is not.
It was determined the extended school year for Specialized Education Services will remain all distance learning, occurring in July.
Additionally, all credit recovery for grades 9-12 as well monthly learning plans for elementary-aged students will be engaged from home beginning June 22.
District 112 Community Education will celebrate summer with academic enrichment at different locations four days a week.
- Monday at Brandondale
- Tuesday at Carver Crossing
- Wednesday at Riverview Terrace
- Thursday at Creeks Run Townhomes
In terms of enrichment classes, all 31 adult classes have been canceled, while 79 of 220 youth classes have been canceled.
Summer child care registration included 58 students for Summer EdVentures (preschool), 386 students for Summer Club Care (K-5), and 91 students for The PULSE (middle school).
Report cards were released to parents on Monday, while district staff will be participating in an end-of-the-year survey. More input sessions with elementary and secondary staff will be ongoing.
While the nutrition school closure program is complete, District 112 is now operating a supplemental summer food program. Nutrition Services will continue to distribute meals at Clover Ridge and Riverview Terrace on Mondays and Wednesdays to all students 18 and under.
There is no delivery option for meals in the summer with transportation not operating.
What will fall look like?
That's the No. 1 question Christopher has been asked recently when out and about in the community.
Laura Pingry-Kile, director of Specialized Services, said a COVID response team has been meeting every Wednesday. Among their current work is planning for the fall.
They are developing three basic scenarios:
- Students in school full-time.
- A hybrid model where students learn from home and school.
- Students are distance learning full-time.
The 2020-21 budget was discussed at the June 8 workshop and will be voted on at the next meeting on June 22.
It was acknowledged that current kindergarten enrollment is a little behind last year, though David Brecht, District 112 Student Services Administrator, said they have seen an increase in sign-ups in recent weeks.
"We had two walk-ins (on Monday). That was the first time we've had that since all of this began," Brecht said.
Current projections for Pre-K through 12th grade enrollment in the district for 2020-21 is 9,709, down 27 students from the previous year. The current projection enrollment model shows increases of 50, 60 and 70 students between 2021-22 and 2023-24.