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A Great Community to Raise a Family

If you’ve attended any summer programs or community events this month, you’ve seen that our Cambridge-Isanti community is a great place to raise a family! From our Adventure Center excursions to the Isanti Rodeo Days Parade to our Early Childhood Family events in the parks, we’ve enjoyed seeing many of our Bluejacket staff, students and families enjoying summer activities. And, there is so much more to come! If you are new to our community, please stop in or call our District Office to register for school so you receive all the information you need for a smooth transition. We can’t wait to meet you.

We hope to see many of our students at Kids Day at the Fair on Friday, July 21. Please stop by our C-I Schools tent and say hello. If you have children ages 0-5, we hope you will stop in for our early childhood days in the park. Our early childhood families are gathering at Bluebird Park - Isanti, Tuesday, July 25, 10 - 11 AM or Cambridge City Park, Wednesday, July 26,  10 - 11 AM. There is no registration required, just stop by! For incoming Kindergarten families, our Gearing Up for Kindergarten classes begin August 7 - 17; registration is required. Learn more at c-ischools.org/early-childhood. 

For middle school and high school students interested in sports, registration is now open for fall. Please visit our Bluejackets activities website at https://cibluejackets.org/. 

Strategic Plan Implementation

Our District Strategic Plan, developed in partnership with our community and adopted by our School Board earlier this year, has set clear priorities for the coming school year. We are working toward four measurable outcomes: 1) All young children and their families will have access to opportunities for early learning and school readiness; 2) All students report a feeling of belonging within the school community; 3) All students demonstrate annual growth toward goals; 4) All students will graduate with a plan for their future.

To achieve these goals, we are focusing on four strategic priorities: 

1. Ensuring student academic growth and success. We will continue our focus on strengthening literacy and English Language Arts instruction. Because of our strategic planning work over the last year, we are well-positioned to fully implement Minnesota’s new READ Act and continue professional development for our teachers in the Science of Reading. We are far ahead of many other districts in this work, thanks to the leadership of principals and our teaching and learning staff.

We are also continuing to expand our C-I Career Pathways, which is supported by additional voter-approved referendum funding specifically targeted for career and technical education. 

Another top priority for the year will be implementing a new assessment and benchmarking system, Fastbridge, which will help our team measure progress and continuously improve curriculum and instruction.

2. Fostering positive personal relationships with families and the community. We believe relationships are at the heart of learning and living. We are working to instill a strong sense of belonging and build positive relationships that challenge and support individual growth among students. To do so, we believe in partnering with families. Families are a child’s first teachers. We respect family choices and want to be partners in your child’s learning and development. When families are involved in student learning, students do better. We invite all families to get involved in our schools and take an active interest in the community we build for our children.

3. Improving the mental health and well-being of all students and staff. Humans thrive when we believe in our future, have a growth mindset, set goals, balance work and play, and understand the links between social, emotional, physical and mental health. Working in collaboration with community partners, we are developing a comprehensive School-based Mental Health System to promote positive school climate, social and emotional learning, and mental health and well-being. 

In June, our District was one of only two districts specially called out by the Commissioner of Education for our good work in building positive behavioral interventions and support. Still, there is more work to be done. We will be providing additional training for staff in identifying and supporting mental health concerns, and we will expand partnerships to provide supports. We also want to empower students to be able to seek help and report concerns about the mental health or well-being of themselves and/or others. There are new state mandates for suicide prevention and mental health supports that will go into effect at the beginning of the school year. We are also updating our website to include more information for families, staff and students.

4. Broaden community partnerships to maximize resources and support the growth of the school district. We have already enhanced our partnership with our cities and county to look at the long-term growth of our community. We are completing a number of deferred maintenance projects on our schools and will begin the process of developing a comprehensive master plan during the coming school year. Buildings are long-lived assets for any school district. It is our duty to be responsible stewards and caretakers for future generations.

Preparing for New State Mandates

During a two-day workshop in June, our school principals and leadership team met to align our strategic plan work with ongoing operations in the face of unprecedented new state mandates. The education bill alone this year was 350 pages of new laws that will fundamentally change work conditions for employees and services for students and families. Our strategic planning work anticipated some of the changes, and as stated earlier, we are well prepared to implement the literacy and career-technical education programs. We are also an exemplary district for others in our approach to student discipline and teaching positive behavior— the Bluejacket Way with respect • responsibility • honesty • self-discipline • compassion.

Our greatest challenge will be new mandates that require additional investments. All employers in the state are now required to provide safe and sick time for part-time employees, who previously may not have qualified for that benefit. There are also new unemployment benefits for school employees. All schools are now required to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students, early childhood through high school. All of these new requirements will help children and families, and school districts now must work them into their budgets.

Preparing Now for Back to School

In less than one month, our student-athletes will return to campus, and we will be ready to welcome new teachers and families. We have been working hard this summer to incorporate all the new requirements and improve communication to families about all of the opportunities available through our schools. We are excited about the future for students, staff, families and our community! Cambridge-Isanti is a great place to work and raise a family. And — it’s always a great day to be a Bluejacket!

Nate Rudolph

Superintendent


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