We are enjoying this beautiful fall weather and we continue to hope for a safe and bountiful harvest.

The 2017-2018 school year is off to great starts in the Osage, Riceville and St. Ansgar School Districts with all being successful in the classrooms and in our extra-curricular areas. We are writing you today to let you know about the collaborations we are working on with the three Mitchell County School Districts.

Educational funding has been less than it has been in decades, and all schools must work smarter and be more creative in continuing to offer world class school systems and class offerings for our students and the future of Mitchell County.

We are collaborating with multiple business partners to help with workforce demands while at the same time focusing on creating graduates who possess a well -rounded education.

Many good paying jobs today only require a one-year certificate or two-year degree, where students accrue less debt and are able to find jobs easily right here in Mitchell, Worth and Howard Counties.

For others a four-year degree path is best, and we are confident our school systems are preparing them for that next step as well.

We are blessed with an outstanding quality of life with close proximities to medical and shopping facilities, a wide variety of business and ag-related careers and high quality schools.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

During the past year and a half, leaders from all three schools have been meeting along with business leaders to work on reducing barriers to collaboration with all three schools.

We are currently meeting monthly to work toward common school calendars, which will allow for students to take courses across district lines and for staff to be shared easily. Daily schedules aligning is another goal so we can continue to provide the highest quality programing in all three schools by sharing staff, as needed.

Anytime staff members are shared it saves district dollars. It does not appear state funding for schools is going to increase in the near future. Therefore, schools need to work together to insure the best offerings for our students. Teacher education programs are down over 35 percent. We are already feeling a shortage of substitute teachers and seeing less applicants for job openings as more people want to be near urban centers.

We need your support and positivity as we live in a world that is changing. We, too, as schools must continue to evolve to meet the needs of our communities. We all need to work together to insure the livelihood of all three districts well into the future.

Barb Schwamman, Superintendent

Osage and Riceville Schools

Jody Gray, Superintendent

St. Ansgar Schools

Osage School Board

Riceville School Board

St. Ansgar School Board

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