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Community Matters

Community Matters

​​The past few years have brought unique challenges to our world and really amplified just how important community is. And what is community? It’s neighbors helping neighbors, children supporting one another. It is a sense that when someone is down on their luck, a neighbor is there. When our teams compete, win or lose, there is a crowd cheering them on. And when we are ready to celebrate, somebody cares. It also means that you are not alone when there is hard work to be done.

When I look around, I have a deep sense of gratitude for the community that surrounds us. YOU are what make the Cambridge-Isanti communities such a wonderful place to live and raise a family. With everything going on in the world, we find real hope in this strong sense of community in our cities and our schools.

March brings a focus on kindness, compassion and community within our schools. From students collecting “Pennies for Patients” at Cambridge Primary School to Isanti Intermediate’s food drive for Family Pathways later this month, and Isanti Middle School participating in volleyball, basketball, and dodgeball to benefit the American Heart Association — our students are learning that our community is stronger when we care for others.

 

Our Bluejacket Community

We are fortunate to have such strong leaders and role models who demonstrate community and hard work every day. One of those individuals is CIHS Activities Director Mark Solberg. Many have heard that he will be retiring this year, but his impact on this community will carry on for generations. In his 42 years with our schools, Mr. Solberg has always promoted character, kindness and community. The rest of the country is learning about his impact too. We recently learned that Mr. Solberg is a finalist for the National Activities Director of the Year award. His eternal optimism, his “Thank-a-Ref” tweets, and his tireless promotion of respect, responsibility, honesty, self-discipline, and compassion — his leadership — make it always a good day to be a Bluejacket! The pride is felt throughout our community, and we are so grateful.

Community Needed for Planning

Later this spring, our school district will be undertaking a new strategic planning effort. It will be different from the past five-year plans. Our world is changing rapidly, and in an era of uncertainty and predictability, our planning will need to be more adaptable. We will, however, need your help. Building on our last community task force, we will again ask community members with expertise and forward-thinking to come together to help us focus our attention on the most pressing priorities. We will once again look for representation from all areas of expertise and perspectives. If you are interested in participating, please email our office: dist-communications@c-ischools.org. As a community, you are the owners of our schools and our future direction needs to align with the values, hopes and dreams you have for the future.

Community During Crisis

Last month we saw the perfect example of community togetherness when we had to evacuate Cambridge Primary and Cambridge Intermediate Schools due to a gas leak. First, our principals, teachers and staff implemented their evacuation protocols quickly, efficiently and safely. Cambridge City Fire Department and the gas company responded and contained the situation. Before we even called for assistance, our School Resource Officer went to assist with traffic, allowing our students to take a “walking field trip” to the area churches. Our transportation office sent buses to assist in evacuating special needs students who were unable to walk that far, again without being called. Finally, administrators and support staff from every school assisted in the response.

Our deep gratitude goes to the staff and members of Common Grounds Church and Christ the King Catholic Church, who graciously opened their doors for students on a cold winter day. Our emergency preparedness plans include these churches as relocation sites, with whom an agreement is worked out far in advance, but it is always with the hope that the emergency plans will never be needed. When we needed support, the staff at both churches dropped their plans for the day to welcome hundreds of children into their halls. We even saw neighbors come by to bring coloring books and activities to keep students engaged. This is the sense of community that makes every child in our community know they are loved and supported.

Reconnecting with Community

Social connection is critical for a happy and healthy life. This month, Isanti County is promoting the GREAT RECONNECTION! Coming out of two years of social isolation and a long Minnesota winter, everyone is encouraged to reconnect! Everyone in our community is invited to join a 5-day challenge focusing on connecting with friends, connecting with family, and reconnecting with our community. The March challenge includes daily activities to promote positive wellbeing. If you are looking for a larger dose of positivity, register for a Free Happiness Workshop on March 30 at the Isanti County Historical Society. As they say, “Life is short and connections are precious.” Learn more about the GREAT RECONNECTION at https://www.co.isanti.mn.us/779/Orange-Frog.

With everything going on in the world, we are reminded that the world can sometimes be a scary place for kids. As we learn more about the humanitarian crisis and read news reports that have global implications, we hope our children will feel safe in their community. Our prayers are with the people of Ukraine, for the safety of the children, and for a peaceful resolution. I am hopeful that as our children learn the values of kindness, compassion and community their futures will see less conflict. We need to ensure that our next generation understands the power of community and the tremendous benefits that come with a strong sense of community. 


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