By Rachel Kytonen
The Cambridge Intermediate School highlighted the successes of its special education program during the Cambridge-Isanti School Board meeting Thursday, July 21.
CIS Principal Scott Peterson, along with CIS special education specialists Rebekah Peterson, Trudy Hunt and Cherie Berg, talked about how they have worked hard to build relationships with their special education students and families.
“We have a lot of fun activities in our rooms, a lot of high energy, use a lot of technology, and the kids like to be involved,” explained R. Peterson. “The three of us work very well together, and we have great synergy. We also work very hard.”
R. Peterson explained how the use of technology, particularly using a Flip video camera, has inspired the kids to do their best.
“When I have this camera on, the kids know they need to be on task and working hard,” R. Peterson said. “Otherwise, they know I’ll move right onto the next student, and they like to see themselves on camera.”
R. Peterson said she also uses the video camera to highlight the positives in the classroom, and oftentimes after she videotapes a student doing well, she’ll later on show the students the video, and it encourages other students to do well.
“I use the Flip camera to highlight the students’ good behavior and show them when students are following the expected behaviors in the classroom,” R. Peterson said.
R. Peterson also showed the school board some examples of videos she took of the students when they were working on various projects.
Berg, a speech pathologist, explained she works with the students on articulation and speech, but also said it’s a team effort, and had high praise for the district, administrators and her colleagues.
Hunt, who explained language arts is her passion, said she likes to tie in “real-life” experiences into the classroom.
“I’m constantly engaging students in writing, and we also take the students out into the community for various outings,” Hunt said. “We’ve taken them to the bakery, the thrift store, and also garage sales so they can work on their math skills,” Hunt said. “We like to get them out into more social settings.”
S. Peterson said the school has spent a lot of time focusing on building relationships.
“We have worked hard to build relationships with our students, teachers and their families,” S. Peterson said. “We have a lot of communication between the teachers and families.”
In other action the board:
• Heard from IIS Principal Mark Ziebarth and his wife Cathy, who were chaperones on the recent trip to Australia as part of the student foreign exchange program with Mitchell High School in Sydney. The students spent a few weeks visiting Sydney, the suburbs, and the Great Barrier Reef. They also climbed the Harbor Bridge in Sydney and toured the Opera House. In addition, Ziebarth spent time visiting three elementary schools.
• Approved the superintendent’s evaluation for Superintendent Bruce Novak. On a scale of 1 to 5, Novak received an overall rating of 4. The evaluations were completed by the school board members, administrators and members of the community. “We were very pleased with the feedback we got,” noted Board Member Anne Nelson.