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Our Next Generation of Bluejackets!

I once heard that there is more computer technology in a John Deere combine today than was in the rocket ship that originally sent men to the moon in 1969. I grew up on a farm, so I was skeptical of that stat; however, the advances in agricultural technology are pretty amazing. On my family farm in south central Minnesota, GPS guide tractors and precision planters use air pressure to plant seeds at the optimal depth to yield the best crops. 

It’s January and our fields are buried in snow, but across the country in Las Vegas this month agriculture took center stage at the annual electronics convention. John Deere launched a self-driving tractor. According to John Deere, the advance in AgTech would allow a family of four to run an entire farm. As I think about my dad and brother continuing to run our family farm, I am filled with optimism and hope that advances in technology will allow them to continue to do so for many, many years.

The advances also made me think about our awesome responsibility as educators. I could never have imagined growing up on the farm that GPS, knowledge of satellites and computer technology would become essential skills in agriculture. What other skills will our students need to succeed in a rapidly changing world?

As we prepare to enroll the Class of 2036 into kindergarten this year, I have to wonder: what inventions will they create? What types of communities will they live in? And from an educational viewpoint, how do we inspire students to be the inventors, creators and adaptable lifelong learners our world will need? More importantly, how do we ensure they grow into good people who care about others and their community? With all the advances in technology, how do we keep a focus on humanity?

Over the last year, our district has been updating our Strategic Plan and engaged 68 staff, parents, students, and community members in thinking about the future. What is our mission as a school district, and what do we want for our children and our community?

More importantly, in the face of technological advancements, how do we ensure that our students remain human-centered — focused on the relationships, connections, compassion, honesty and responsibility that make a community somewhere you want to live and work? 

In Cambridge-Isanti Schools, our mission, in partnership with our community, is to educate, empower and inspire every student, every day to achieve their full potential.

We believe that…

  • Every person deserves to be valued, feel safe, supported and included with compassion and respect.

  • Every individual has skills and talents that make them uniquely equipped to contribute as a responsible citizen. 

  • Education provides enhanced access to opportunities.

  • Engagement in lifelong learning begins at birth.

  • Communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability are necessary to thrive in a changing world.

  • Multiple and differing perspectives contribute to informed decision making and learning.

  • Honesty and integrity are essential to all positive relationships.

  • Success can come from working through adversity.

  • Learning occurs best when social, emotional, physical and mental health needs are met.

  • Hiring, retaining and supporting a highly effective staff will lead to a successful educational environment.

  • Collaboration with families and caregivers is crucial to a learner’s development.

  • Involvement in meaningful activities enriches life.

  • Strong communities and schools support each other.

We have four strategic priorities that are focused on student academic growth and success, building partnerships with families and community, improving mental health and well-being for students and staff, and broadening community partnerships to prepare for future growth. We invite all families in our community to connect with our schools and staff. Regardless of your age, we provide lifelong learning opportunities for all.

As we work to enhance our career tech and college readiness opportunities, I’m confident our students will be well-prepared to fill important trade, technical, mechanical, healthcare, and human services jobs of the future. Watching our middle school students learn to code and seeing our robotics team compete is exciting. Knowing that all of our students are learning personal responsibility and a strong work ethic, I believe our future is strong. We teach and exemplify our Bluejacket Character Traits of honesty, respect, responsibility, self-discipline and compassion.

It’s registration season in our school district. Kindergarten registration is now open for families with five year olds. Families can learn more about kindergarten options and enroll through our online portal at www.c-ischools.org/kindergarten.  Preschool registration opens on February 1. Visit www.c-ischools.org/early-childhood to learn more. New high school students transferring from charter or K-8 private schools should be enrolling now, and can enroll at www.c-ischools.org/enroll. Then contact the high school to make an appointment with a counselor. High school students will soon begin selecting their courses. 

Cambridge-Isanti Schools have a long tradition of developing future leaders. Leaders like General Shawn Menke, Minnesota National Guard and Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, were well-prepared to innovate, adapt and build teams to confront modern day challenges. We owe our next generation of Bluejackets the same opportunities to lead and achieve in a rapidly changing world. That is our focus. This is a wonderful place to raise a family and more and more people are learning: It’s always a great day to be a Bluejacket!


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