Thank You, ISD 199 Staff!

Thank You, ISD 199 Teachers and Staff!
Posted on 05/04/2022
A graduate hugs a Simley High School teacherIn March of 2020, Minnesota schools closed and pivoted to distance learning in response to effects of COVID-19. Now, two years later, we continue to grapple with the pandemic and its side effects. Although these enduring challenges have been frustrating, it has been amazing to see our staff’s commitment to students, to each other, and to our community.

Considering all of the challenges associated with the pandemic, staff shortages have been some of the most difficult. Staffing issues have caused school districts around us to shift learning formats this school year. However, ISD 199 has been able to keep students in their current format. Staff have gone to great lengths to support both students and their colleagues because they know that this format is the best experience for students on a daily basis. Every morning, our principals juggle assignments and work with staff to make sure they’re providing the coverage and services necessary to the success of our kids.

Staff have continuously found creative ways to cover classes, cover bus routes, make meals happen, and seamlessly deliver all of the usual school-day services. From the time they step through the school doors, staff are adapting, innovating, modifying, and changing their days to accommodate students.

In November and January, we notified families that bus route schedules could temporarily change if our transportation staffing changed. Despite staff illnesses and few bus driver substitutes, ISD 199 Transportation staff have kept buses running. Drivers have added to their original routes, substitute drivers have routinely taken on routes, and office staff have stepped in to get students to school on time. There may still be some temporary schedule changes before the end of the school year, but the department’s foresight and hard work have helped us maintain student routines despite the obstacles so far.

In addition to staffing shortages, schools are adapting to the supply chain shortages and delivery delays that many industries are facing. Our food service staff are some of the hardest hit with these manufacturing and shipping issues. Each day, our cafeterias experience delayed deliveries of ingredients and unfulfilled orders of necessary supplies like trays. Yet, they adapt their menus and processes to ensure that every student receives a full, well-balanced meal.

Our front offices and school nurse offices are also continually working to provide the best and most compassionate service to families and staff. They have helped support and guide our school community through every procedure change related to or resulting from the pandemic with patience and grace. Their expertise is unmatched, and their resolve is tireless.

The will of our staff is off the charts, and we’re very fortunate to have the staff we have at Inver Grove Heights Schools. Thank you to every person in our district: teachers, paraprofessionals, substitutes, bus drivers and transportation staff, food service staff, school nurses, buildings and grounds staff, childcare workers, activities staff, administrative assistants, technology staff, community education staff, administrators, event workers, and volunteers as well as the students, families, and neighbors who have supported our efforts. Most importantly, thank you all for the collaboration that has taken place to make things happen the way they have been happening so we can achieve our goal of keeping kids in their current format.

Despite the struggles during the pandemic, it has been amazing to see the extraordinary efforts of our wonderful staff. Thank you!