Good morning team MTCS!

I want to wish you all a happy Friday and congratulate you on a successful first quarter of the school year. From August 16th when new staff arrived through today, so much work has been done to create safe, caring, and positive learning environments for our students. Your work has not gone unnoticed.

I really enjoyed being in so many of your classrooms earlier this week. During the annual meeting, I mentioned that I had spent a lot of time in buildings this fall, but not as much time in classrooms. I also mentioned that my visits may become a little more noticeable moving forward. On Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of visiting 32 classrooms across our 5 seat based schools. I believe it is important to have an understanding of what is happening in our classrooms to be able to make informed decisions in the district office. I look forward to continuing this practice, and visiting some online classrooms as well, as we move through the year.

On Monday, we woke up to our first dose of winter weather and driving conditions. As Minnesotan’s we know that we are in store for another 4 or 5 months of unpredictable weather. In preparation for likely weather related closures, I want to share the general guidelines I use in making weather related decisions. It is a general rule of thumb used by districts that a windchill of -35 or lower results in building closures. Snow amounts are much trickier, based on timing and amounts of snowfall. I will try to make a decision on building closures prior to 8:00 PM the evening before the event. In some cases, more time is needed to make a sound decision. In those cases, I will make a decision prior to 5:00 AM on the day of the event. Building closure decisions after 5:00 AM are still possible, but rare and would be related to the inability of a vendor to provide service or an issue with the building. We will try to avoid early releases in almost all scenarios as it is very dangerous to release students to homes they may not have access to. We will use E-Learning days for the first 5 weather related building closures. Hopefully, we experience a mild winter and this paragraph becomes a moot point.

I want to make a quick mention of an underused MTCS resource. Our website (www.mtcs.org) is full of resources, forms, school calendars, policies, letterhead and more. Through our website and the staff portal you can reach SMARTeR where you can find check statements, W2s, and more. Finally, I want to highlight our You Matter Here podcast hosted by Wendy Lorenz-Walraven and produced by Andrea Miller and Jenny Buck. Listening to these podcasts during your snowy commutes will make time fly and you’ll get to hear about the amazing things happening across MTCS.

I wish you all a great second quarter. Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the extra hour of sleep!