On March 22, I had the pleasure of doing a Supershadow with Karen Olson, instructional assistant at Cambridge-Isanti High School. Karen has been in the district for eight years with the last five at CIHS. After many volunteer hours with her children at Isanti Intermediate School/School For All Seasons, she was originally hired there as an IA. She has also served at Cambridge Middle School and Moving Forward.
Karen has a tremendous background with degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. She has worked at both Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants. Her background lends itself well to the work she is doing helping students in science classes.
Karen learns right along with students by taking notes, helping them with their work, labs, and group work. Part of her role is to assist students with their homework, and as needed, their tests. She also helps students with their notes as she has her full set she has taken from classes.
As part of our morning together, I was able to see Karen in action in several classes. We started in Ms. Hennen’s biology class where students were working the six phases of cell development. I was even able to get in on the action with a group as we were matching diagrams and descriptions to the six phases.
After a brief passing time where we went back to Karen’s home base in a special education classroom where she did a quick check in and grabbed the three-ring binder for the next class, we were off to oceanography taught by Ms. Leding. As Ms. Leding was describing the “make something cool project," Karen was working with students as they were considering what they might do for the project. One student had been absent and Karen quickly got them situated and assisted him in completing a form for the class.
Next it was to Mr. Viesselman’s 9th grade integrated science class. Again, right along with the students, Karen took notes, helped other students with their notes and assisted them during the lesson portion of the class. While not directly related to Karen’s work, I was able to witness a very cool lab demo from Mr. Viesselman involving potassium chlorate and gummy bears. You will have to go visit to see the very interesting experiment!
I really enjoyed my Supershadow with Karen and getting to know her a little. What a tremendous person with an exceptional background helping our students. he is caring, compassionate and very dedicated to helping students with science. Our district and specifically, CIHS, is very fortunate to have such a great person working with students. Very special thanks to Karen for a great Supershadow!
-Dr. Ray Queener
Superintendent of Cambridge-Isanti Schools