Guest Column: Cambridge-Isanti Schools look to the future

It may be the excitement of a new year – or ushering in a new decade – or perhaps it’s the excitement of kindergarten registration season, but I find myself looking forward and thinking about the future. 

What experiences do children need from our schools that will prepare them for the future? What opportunities will the future hold for our children? What are the key skills and characteristics that will prepare them for a future that will look different than what we know?  

It’s hard to predict the future. Who would have thought 10 years ago that the world’s largest hotel company would own no property (Airbnb) or that advanced technology systems such as GPS  and precision planting tools would help to enhance efficiency in farming operations? 

It is safe to say that our children will continue to face rapid change, so they will always need to be learning and adapting. 

I believe the greatest gift we can give our children is to inspire a joy for learning and spark an insatiable sense of curiosity and wonder about the world. Each child has unique gifts. If we can help them find and pursue their interests, talents and purpose, they will be more motivated to pursue excellence and be the leaders our nation needs. 

Developing in children the confidence to lead, achieve and innovate is core to our mission in Cambridge-Isanti Schools.  

Schools can’t do it alone.  

In my short time as superintendent, I’ve been very impressed with, and excited about, the partnerships and community involvement in our schools. Together, we expand opportunities for kids, and learning extends beyond the walls of our classrooms. From our partnership with the community college to mentors in the trades, military, agriculture, environmental science, healthcare and business (to name a few), we are so fortunate to enlist the expertise of people whose interests and passions match those of our students. We are thankful for our community partners who love what they do and want to share it with young people. 

The future of education requires us to recognize that each child’s journey is unique. It is our job to help them discover their interests, match learning opportunities with the appropriate pathway, and develop their self-discipline and ownership for learning. We must provide a variety of pathways and opportunities for students to pursue their hopes and dreams. 

As a district, this will take purposeful planning as we move into our future. In doing so, it will be important to continue to partner with our community stakeholders and engage our community to help cast a vision for the future of our schools. 

So, as we begin enrolling the class of 2033 into Kindergarten, we are thinking ahead. By 2050, these Kindergarteners will be the leaders in our communities, businesses, churches and government. And, if life expectancy continues to increase – these children will live to see the turn of a new century.  

Let’s make sure we instill a love of learning as an essential life-long skill. Let’s help them discover their interests and talents. Let’s expand their opportunities in school and in the community to demonstrate they are responsible, honest, respectful, compassionate and self-disciplined. It’s the Bluejacket Way! 

DR. NATE RUDOLPH is superintendent of Cambridge-Isanti Schools.

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