“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” Frederick Douglass
News flash!!! Unicorns, dragons, and even a few dinosaurs were spotted in the halls of ISLA today! Yes, although there were certainly a few strange creatures around the school today, and the children were animated and lively with ISLA Spirit Week, the powerful learning experiences and the application of inquiry through immersion continued full steam ahead!
Third Grade 2022-2023 Classroom Size Planning. As many of you have heard, I asked the ISLA board to consider whether or not we should continue with three classes at the 3rd Grade level next year, or if we should consolidate the three classes into two classes of 27 and 28 each. Obviously, smaller class sizes are the ideal situation, but I wanted the board to consider the financial implications of maintaining three classes with the current enrollment, and to keep in mind that a resolution would be necessary to consolidate the grades, as we have a class size limit established in our charter of 25 students. However, we have recently had some applicants to that grade level, and this changes the financial outlook for that grade. At the February 15th board meeting, the board discussed the issue extensively, and we heard from a number of parents and staff, but ultimately did not decide one way or another about this issue. The good news is that we conducted our lottery in the days following the board meeting, and have recently had even more applicants to that grade level since then, and this changes the financial outlook for that grade. As the default position of this grade is to maintain the established three classroom structure, and as the board did not take any action to the contrary, I don't believe we need board action at this time. We will leave the classroom formation as is, with three classes of 3rd grade for the 2022-2023 school year.
Covid news and planning: Current Safe Learning Plan Update.
We have now had 106 total positive cases of Covid 19 from our student body, and have quarantined 230 students so far this year. We have had 15 staff members who have tested positive this school year. We have had 7 students participate in the Test to Stay program.
As a point of reference, we currently have 0 positive cases on our staff, 2 students positive, and 1 student participating in the Test to Stay program.
We have adopted the revised CDC isolation/quarantine guidelines for staff and students. We are now only requiring only a 5 day isolation for positive cases (Day zero is the first day you have symptoms). We are continuing to identify close contacts from the classroom. Vaccinated close contacts can continue to attend school and should get tested about 5 days after the close contact. Unvaccinated close contacts are given the option to quarantine at home for 5 days or participate in the Test to Stay program. The Test to Stay program allows students to attend school as long as families agree to monitor for symptoms and administer COVID tests as required.. These students are asked to test several times in the 5 days following the close contact, and as long as the tests are negative they can come to school.
Testing: We have received more tests, and have distributed them to families as needed and are also using them for students participating in the Test to Stay program.
Bus Invoices/Financing: Next week, we will be sending out invoices for our transportation service. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain a bit more about the financing of transportation for charter schools, and why we have to pay for busing now. Charter schools are entitled to request for bus service free of charge from their resident district, which we always did in the past, as this service covered ridership for a good portion of our students. However, as we have now moved out of the Hopkins school district into the Edina school district, we now have to foot the bill, because if we requested this service from Edina, we would not be able to provide transportation for many students who live outside of the Edina district. The ISLA school board also wanted all existing bus riders at the time of our move (legacy riders) to continue to have free bus service, and we wanted to expand our bus service to offer the service to many more new families. While we do get some funding from the state, it only covers about a third of the total cost. The transportation committee has committed to pro-rating the fees for all students until November, when we added the 8th bus and the service level improved dramatically. Here is the breakdown of expenses:
Legacy riders, Free and Reduced, and Edina residents (per statute): Always free.
Scholarships are available.
Original bus fee quoted to all families: 338 per rider, 676 max per family
Prorated bus fee: $ 262.89 per rider, $ 525.78 max per family
Actual cost per rider after state subsidy: $ 869
ISLA deficit per rider after state subsidy and bus fee: $ 606
While the ISLA board was fully cognizant of the implications of this deficit, and we budgeted accordingly, we will still be offering the opportunity for everyone to contribute to the transportation fund at the time of billing.
Save the Date!
This weather has us dreaming of warmer days ahead.
Save the date for the ISLA End of School Year Carnival to celebrate a successful year! June 5th, 2-4 Pm
More details to follow!
ISLA Lunch Program 2022 is requesting Volunteers!
Did you know that Volunteers are critical to ISLA's lunch program? Working alongside Jorge Gomez (ISLA's lunch manager), ISLA lunch volunteers prep for lunch, greet the kids, serve the food, and clean up. This is a fun opportunity to help out and see the kids during the school day. Due to the activities involved, bringing siblings along for this volunteer role is not allowed. As a reminder all volunteers must follow ISLA's Vaccination Policy.
ISLA is seeking 3 volunteers for each day, 10:45am-1:15pm. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up here:
Deadline for this price is Monday, February 28th at 11:59pm. After that, ticket prices will increase to $60.
ALL STAFF receive one free ticket, but you MUST claim it by February 28th at 11:59pm!
Any additional spouse, partner, friends or family must purchase a paid ticket.
*Tickets are non refundable. Fiesta de la Primavera is a fundraising event and is the largest fundraiser we have to support our school's wonderful Language Ambassador program. In light of this, if the in-person Fiesta event must be canceled due to Covid, weather, or any other circumstance outside of the PTO's control, all ticket sales will be treated as a donation to support the mission of the ISLA PTO. Thank you for your understanding and support!
**ISLA PTO is a registered charity for tax donation purposes.
Fiesta de la Primavera will hold both a live & silent auction at the event as well as an online auction! That will be live in early March with more info coming soon on bidding! For now, here’s another peek at some of the things we have to look forward to…
Arepa Night Experience
Family Photo Session w/digital prints
Pool party w/yard games, snacks & drinks
Boating/tubing days out on local lakes
ISLA Summer Camp enrollment
Minnehaha Falls Adventure
Biking Retreats & picnics
Hopkins scavenger hunt
One week of pet sitting
Custom woodworking piece
Cabin getaway in Northern Minnesota
MN Twins Delta Sky Club & MN United PREMIER Seat Tickets
Make sure to grab your Fiesta tickets now before prices go up at the end of the month! Let’s celebrate and have some fun while supporting the amazing LA Program!