The community took advantage of an open house event Jan. 16 at the new St. Croix River Education District facility in downtown Rush City.
The office building, 425 Dana Ave. S., houses 40-some of SCRED’s 60 employees inside a 12,000 square foot building, designed with offices along the sides with a sizeable training room in the center. Ground broke on June 5, 2012, and the employees started moving later in November.
For SCRED Executive Director Kim Gibbons, she is excited to have the organization back under one roof, since serious mold problems in the old, now demolished building caused the business to move its employees to a location in North Branch.
She said of the brand new building, “It’s a warm atmosphere.”
The facility was built on land that housed the former SCRED and Creekside Pizza buildings. For construction to happen, the city agreed to demolish the original SCRED building and sell the lot for a dollar to SCRED, while SCRED bought and demolished the pizza building.
This was good news to the city, which did not want to lose a good local business and employee base that has patronized other businesses in town. It was good news for SCRED and its members, too, who always liked Rush City due to the city’s convenient, central location among the school districts served.
And it appears the business will be around for a while, as evident through the 15-year commitment that each of the member districts signed about a year ago.
What SCRED offers
Formed in 1991, SCRED provides educational services for students and teachers in the school districts of Chisago Lakes, North Branch, Rush City, Pine City, Hinckley-Finlayson, East Central and Trio Wolf Creek. Its primary purpose: to increase students’ and staff’s educational opportunities through cooperation.
During a tour at last week’s open house, office manager Diane Nelson pointed out the facility’s Adult Basic Education wing featuring offices and a conference room for tutoring and classes. An elective service for districts, ABE provides adults with educational opportunities to acquire and improve their literacy skills necessary to become self-sufficient in all aspects of life.
Other elective services offered by SCRED include We ‘R Able, which provides learning and recreational opportunities for adults with disabilities; Project SEEK, a summer enrichment program for students who are gifted and talented; home school testing; truancy workers; and school nurses by request.
Next, Nelson showed the instructional services area, consisting of a team that assists staff from member districts with training in such areas as reading and math. Down the hall, she introduced the outcomes team, which helps manage all of the district’s testing data and helps districts use these data to improve instruction provided to all of the students.
The tour also clued the public in on a number of other core services that SCRED provides to its member school districts.
Specialists called collaborative planners work with teachers in every district to improve instruction and help troubleshoot programming issues. There are six collaborative planners in these areas: emotional or behavior problems, low incidence disabilities, academic problems and early childhood.
SCRED employs teachers who work with students who are deaf or hard of hearing and visually impaired. These teachers travel to the school districts to work with students and their teachers. Another teacher works with students who have physical impairments, health disorders that impede learning and traumatic brain injuries.
Further, SCRED employs three occupational therapists and a physical therapist who work with children with various disabilities. Also on staff are social workers who help students overcome the difficulties in their lives through counseling, crisis intervention and prevention programs.
SCRED employs 10 school psychologists who help children and youths succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents and other professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections at home, school and the community for all students.
In administration, SCRED’s executive director oversees the organization, implements agreed upon procedures and manages the budget and billing procedures. The director of Special Education manages special education services and helps districts improve services to students with disabilities. The Unique Learners’ managers provide on-site supervision and support for special education programming within their districts of assignment.
Most SCRED programs are funded using money made available by the school districts to pay for shared programs. The organization is also funded through state, federal and grant aid.