• The Bluejacket Way

  • Nate Rudolph

    Superintendent Nate Rudolph

  • So thankful for so many great teachers!

    Posted by Dr. Rudolph on 5/5/2022

    Most of us, as adults, can reflect on our lives and name a few people who helped us grow into who we are today. Beyond our parents and family members, most of us can name a teacher (or two or three) who inspired us to try new things, challenged us to expand our thinking, had patience and supported us when we didn’t quite get it, encouraged us to try again, and loved us (even when we made it hard). They believed in us, even when we didn’t believe in ourselves. They saw a spark and a future we were too young to see.

    This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and we want to say thank you. You have given kids hope and inspired a new level of resilience and adaptability. You have shown our students that they are more than a grade or points, that learning is more than sitting in a seat, and that together we can overcome the world’s greatest challenges.

    Thank you, teachers, for choosing a career of loving kids, building relationships, and inspiring future independence and leadership. Thank you for becoming a teacher, and most of all, thank you for being a Bluejacket! We appreciate you!!

    This week inspires us all to think about the great teachers who touched our lives and the great teachers in the Cambridge-Isanti Schools. There are so many! Anytime our district posts about favorite teachers on our Facebook Page, we are flooded with comments and gratitude for teachers who have had decades of impact. There are literally hundreds of comments, but I’d like to share just a few.

    Amy Herberg shared, “There are so many greats, it is a hard question…I was lucky enough to get to know a few of my teachers on a personal level before they retired, Linda Pearson 5th grade, Alison Atkins and Jan Palmquist Kindergarten, also two teachers that brought me out of my quiet shell in middle school that left a lasting impression were Mr. Jakovich (spelling?) and Mr. Jaeger. My kids have had many great teachers that I call my friends!!”

    “LOVED all of my teachers,” said Kristen 'Donnay' Alderink, “but Halverson, Sharon Erickson, Sue Bergum, Metzger, both Maikkula's, Rich Exsted, Barb Hall, Jenny Schlenker, Kirkeide....soo many amazing teachers!!!”

    “I'm thankful to have had so many great teachers over the years, but the one who always comes to mind first is Mrs. Belsheim at Cambridge Elementary, grade 3 (many, many moons ago!)’” noted Deb Sanders Erickson.

    “At CIHS: Allison Goodman. She was really understanding and always willing to help. Also a shout out to Freida Kroll and Kathy Larson. They were a power team that cared about their students!” from Lindsey Swartz.

    And Tricia Anderson remembered Jan Palmquist, “I loved school because you knew she loved us!”

    Last week, our community lost one of the greats. George Larson, a teacher, football coach and athletic director, died peacefully at the age of 89. As a Bluejacket, he impacted thousands of lives, and there will be a generational ripple of his optimistic and uplifting outlook on life. He made a difference in this community. As I walk the halls of our schools, I see hundreds of teachers who are following in his footsteps, caring about kids and community, and inspiring hope for a better future.

    Being a teacher is who you are, not just what you do. Each teacher has the unique ability to transform lives and positively impact future generations. Of course, they do not work alone. It takes support from instructional assistants, custodial staff, bus drivers, administrators, nutrition services staff, and a partnership with families, volunteers and communities. But this week, we focus on teachers.

    To all of our Cambridge-Isanti teachers — past and present — you change the world for the better over & over again by being a champion of our children! For that, and so much more, we thank you!!

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  • Community Matters

    Posted by Superintendent Rudolph on 3/24/2022

    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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