Recent success highlighted in District 911

Dr. Ray Queener
Dr. Ray Queener

Ray Queener, Superintendent
Cambridge-Isanti Schools

Entering the final month of the 2013-14 school year, I am pleased to celebrate the many successes of District 911 with you.

I have quickly established the talents and character of our students, the dedication of district staff and the wonderful support of the Cambridge-Isanti community makes this a great place to be. I greatly anticipate continuing to lead the district as it introduces new ideas and methods that will increase its capacities as it plans to expand opportunities for all students. Investing in our students is important to help them become thriving, responsible citizens and leaders. I am confident that the decisions and efforts of the district will help to this end.

As superintendent, I have been able to observe many strengths of the district and also make recommendations for areas needing support for the benefit of our schools.

Recognizing the need to look toward the future for the evolving needs of students and staff, an innovation grant has been created by setting aside budget resources for 2014-15. This grant will allow teachers to bring innovation into their classrooms through special projects and professional development that will help them to incorporate the cutting edge in education. Principals and faculty will also have the opportunity to attend a three-day tech camp this summer. Tech camp will train staff how to effectively use technology to impact curriculum and instruction as it becomes increasingly vital to learning.

We continue to strategically plan for the future of District 911. Action teams are meeting regularly to develop action plans to implement the nine strategies that will support the district’s mission. Nearly 250 parents, teachers, leaders and students of the community have been involved in the strategic planning process. It has been an exciting collaboration. Planning for the future of our schools will help to decide on priorities for action that will best serve students. The planning team will meet for its second session on Aug. 15-16 to review action plans before the strategic plan will be presented to the school board Aug. 21.

Recently the finance department was awarded the School Finance Award from the Minnesota Department of Education for meeting required deadliness for submission of audited fiscal financial data and reporting criteria. I, along with the entire district, extend my congratulations to the finance department as it continues to manage and plan for the use of resources to the fullest advantage of all students.

This year introduced new opportunities to invest in the learning environments and educational resources for students with the support of the bond referendum and new legislation. All schools will be modified this summer with the construction of safe, secure entrances. Standardizing visitor management at our schools and increasing awareness and management of building traffic will help to fulfill the district’s standards to provide safe, healthy learning environments for our students.

Thank you in advance for accommodating the limited use of our buildings during summer construction projects which are set to begin on Monday, June 9. You will be able to follow the progress of construction projects on the district website and I am eager for the entire community to benefit from addressing the repair and renovation needs of our buildings and grounds.

District 911 is an extension of the community and I have enjoyed and benefited from serving on local councils as I have learned about Cambridge-Isanti from several local leaders, individuals and organizations. The pride and care for the community is evident with the support and unity for school activities and community initiatives — something that is important as the district advances.

I thank you for the ongoing generosity and concern for our students. The Dollars for Scholars Phon-A-Thon was a huge success with more than $21,000 being raised for college scholarships for Cambridge-Isanti High School students. The reintroduction of the Kaleidoscope Revue fully funded the First Annual “Inspired to the Top Dinner” honoring seniors in the top 10 percent of their class and a staff member who has inspired their achievement. These events from last month are just a couple of many demonstrations of the support for students and the community partnerships that are necessary for the welfare of District 911.

Finally, May 5-10 is National Teacher Appreciation Week and I wanted to extend my sincerest appreciation for all our teachers do each and every day.  As I have been able to be out and visit classrooms, it is evident we have outstanding teachers that are dedicated and committed to our students.

Thank you teachers for sharing your many talents with our community’s most precious resources: our students. Please take this opportunity in joining me in thanking our teaching staff at District 911.

I look forward to sharing more great news with you and I encourage you to learn more about District 911 and its programs and schools. You can visit the district website at or follow me on Twitter @Queener1.