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Letter from Superintendent Eric Olson: Connections matter in ISD 882

Dear Monticello School Community,

Every day I walk around buildings in our district, I’m blown away by so many different things. The smiles, the lessons, the energy … but above all else, it is the variety and number of connections I see being made on a daily basis.

Few things make me more proud. As I’ve written before, and put into our three main district goals, building relationships and connections inside and outside of the district is one of my priorities. The importance of our educators establishing those connections with students, students connecting with other students, educators with other educators, and school members with members of the community cannot be overstated.

We are each other’s greatest resource. The best thing we have in this world are the people around us, and the opportunity to use them to grow, to learn, to better ourselves and to help better them. This is what great teams do and that is the culture that I want to foster more deeply here in Monticello.

One of the things that we are emphasizing this year through our Social Emotional Learning curriculum is that relationships and connections are two-way streets. They don’t happen without effort from both sides, and the more each side invests, the stronger they become. That is so important in our buildings, as we teach kids to build healthy relationships - such a vastly important part of life - and we try to build those healthy, engaging relationships with them.

But it isn’t just important for our educators and our students. We believe it’s also incredibly valuable to build those connections with our stakeholders - our parents, our families, our school community.

Recently, we’ve made a concerted effort to work harder on our end of those relationships. The district has made a push to increase communication, transparency, and opportunities for parents to both gain knowledge and have a voice in the educational process. Through newsletters, videos, programs like Coffee Chat and Patron Days, we want to build as many connections as we can.

We hope that you find these resources useful, and that you are able to invest some time into them. We know that our connection to our families and our community will become the strongest when both sides invest into the relationship, and our school community members bring their passionate voices to the table when the opportunity presents itself. I was incredibly pleased to see a nice turnout at our first Coffee Chat this past weekend, where I had the opportunity to talk, and more importantly to listen, to a number of our stakeholders. It was such a valuable opportunity, and one I look forward to repeating in January. I hope that our community members that attended would tell you the same, and I hope to see even more passionate people at our next gathering.

We want to make Monticello School District the most special district in the state of Minnesota, and I believe we’re on the way to doing that. Many of the requirements to do so will take place in our classrooms, but not all. We need to continue to create and maintain a school community that is interested in what happens in district buildings, is passionate about the power of education, and is invested in the future of our students. I firmly believe this community is already leaps and bounds ahead of so many others in that area, but there is always room to grow.

So, I offer these words of encouragement. Next time you come across an opportunity to participate in a district event, take advantage of it. Next time there’s a parent-teacher conference, come with questions. Next time you receive news from the district, give it a read. It will help you connect to us, and us to you. Together, we will continue to grow stronger.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Eric Olson