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Across the upper Midwest, RIPL has helped district leadership, teachers, staff, and students use the power of meaningful relationships to transform their school cultures. These relationships foster environments of inclusion, belonging, and learning.


RIPL was an absolutely amazing workshop! I was promised a powerful and impactful training experience, and I was NOT disappointed. Ben Rudrud delivered a powerful message with passion and energy, mixed with a healthy measure of humor, in order to keep our staff focused and spellbound for two hours. Staff members alternated between laughter and tears throughout the inspiring, uplifting, and informative workshop provided by Ben Rudrud. A great many audience members thanked me for bringing to our district such a high quality staff development experience. I have never brought into our district a more effective and powerful presenter as Ben Rudrud of RIPL. As of today, our entire staff at Bemidji School District, from bus drivers custodians and food service staff to administrators, teachers, and para-professionals, has been trained in RIPL. I am supremely confident that this training will significantly increase the capacity of our district staff to build better relationships with students and to improve our climate and culture. The power and potential of RIPL is awesome!

Tim Lutz, Superintendent, Bemidji Area Schools

Thank you for bringing your strong message and enthusiasm to the staff and students of East Grand Forks. This was a treat for all of us to hear that there is good in everyone and we all have meaning. I was very impressed with the content of the 1 hour presentation and the way you captured the audience. The best part of the day was when the students had a chance to reach out to the staff and open up to each one of them. I saw people crying and teachers hugging kids and that is so powerful. With Depression, teenage suicide and drugs being ever so present in high schools around the world this is a great tool that encourages us all the challenge ourselves to be better. As the Activities Director I feel we give kids a place where they feel comfortable and part of something. I think through activities we learn great life lessons and learn to belong to a Team.

Scott, East Grand Forks

There are few presentations that I have witnessed that left the impact that RIPL was for us. I thank you for the time, energy, and challenging us. We will be better educators and people because of what you shared with my faculty and staff. Keep up the good work, because YOU are making a difference.

John, Underwood Schools

I wanted to say that I thought your training was a homerun! The way you engaged us with your passion and knowledge was very powerful and eye opening. I go to roughly 30 trainings/seminars a year and this was the most moving and heart felt of them all. Thank you for your passion and your drive!

Mark, Bemidji

Thanks, Ben for sharing such an inspirational message this week with our Pillager Elementary, Middle and High School Students. You did a great job of tailoring you presentation to maintain the focus of our students at ALL three presentations. The message was exactly what our students needed to hear and it went off without a hitch. Thanks again for your time and inspirational message

Jason, Pillager

You could hear a pin drop in our assembly. Every student and staff member could relate to the presentation. It was real. It was powerful. Most importantly, it reminded us all that we are in this thing called life together and we need one another. Our school and our community is a better place because of our RIPL training.

Nevin, Stephen Argyle School

Thank you for a profound and valuable day of RiPL coaches training. After having RiPL training for all adults at our school, as well as being a part of our student RiPL assemblies, I feel honored to be your RiPL effect as a RiPL coach for my school. Oftentimes, training and assemblies are here and gone; each year on to the next thing. The RiPL system is here to stay in every school that it touches because of the opportunity to have RiPL coaches in every district. (Unless there was a way to have "Bens" and "Scotts" all over, all the time :0). As a RiPL coach, I will be able to bring the impactful and imperative RiPL effect into our school. I look forward to helping our school embrace RiPL now, and always. You rock, Ben! You roll aweseomly, Scott! Keep up the incredible are changing the world.

Molly, Underwood School

Featured Articles

“This is the first training I’ve had that makes me feel like I can be part of the solution.”

– Renee Current, paraprofessional at Bertha-Hewitt School District

By Jenny Holmes, Sourcewell Communications & Public Relations Specialist

There’s a RIPL effect surging across the region and state. RIPL – or Relational, Impactful, Preventative Leadership – equips teachers and staff with tools to connect with students in meaningful ways and create strong relationships. The program also educates school staff on detecting early warning signs that may predict violent student behavior and suicidal tendencies.

Scott Doss, a lifetime educator with over 22 years of administrative experience, and Ben Rudrud, a former police officer of 13 years, created the program. Both oversee day-to-day operations and serve as RIPL consultants.

Since fall 2018, nearly 30 school districts have engaged in RIPL training. The Bertha-Hewitt School District was one of the first to participate.

“So many times in a school tragedy, you always hear about – man, if there were just that one person that would’ve made a connection. If there were just one person that would’ve reached out, you know, maybe we’d have had a different result,” said Darren Glynn, Principal at Bertha-Hewitt Schools.

RIPL focuses on identifying opportunities to intercede and prevent violence before it’s too late. All staff participate in the training — cooks, custodians, bus drivers; all are taught how to have a powerful impact on students beyond the school walls.

Bertha-Hewitt Superintendent Eric Koep said he first heard about the program from Rudrud and immediately knew it was something Bertha-Hewitt staff would embrace. However, Koep couldn’t have foreseen the direct impact the training would have in his life.

Shawn* started his high school journey on a rocky road. Behavioral issues sent him to detention on a regular basis. Outside of school; Shawn’s life was equally tumultuous. Because of a stressful family situation during his junior year, Shawn resorted to living with a friend and taking life day by day.

“That’s when Mr. Koep talked to me,” Shawn said. “He told me everything would be fine. I knew he was a person I could trust whenever I had a problem.”

“My first recollection of Shawn is when he passed me going about 95 mph on the highway a couple years back,” Koep said. “I got to school, called him in, and gave him a good lecture. But he didn’t seem to care when I told him I was going to call home. That stuck with me because you could tell, he felt nobody cared for him.”

Shawn stayed front of mind for Koep, who tried to touch base at least twice a month to ensure Shawn was staying out of trouble and on track to graduate. Then, Shawn voluntarily began visiting Koep’s office more frequently to vent or ask for advice.

“During late winter, he didn’t come to school for a couple of days, so I called his cell phone and he shared some concerns he had,” Koep said. “But after five minutes of chatting, he decided to come in to school.  He came to my office and shared more concerns and we both shed a tear or two before putting a plan in place to finish the year.”

Shawn graduated from high school and is enrolled in college. He also checks in with his friend and mentor, Mr. Koep, for motivation on the tough days.

In addition to staff training, RIPL includes an observational study of a school district’s culture and climate, which provides leaders with feedback to help make their schools safer. RIPL student assemblies focus on making good decisions and building positive, meaningful relationships with one another. During assemblies, students learn about the impact of hurtful words, actions, and bullying. Ongoing professional development for each district is offered to support the initial RIPL training and provide staff with the specific tools to help address mental health issues.

Renee Current is a paraprofessional at Bertha-Hewitt and participated in the initial RIPL training for school staff.

“This is the first training I’ve had that makes me feel like I can be part of the solution,” Current said.

The training has helped staff form daily interactions with students.

“It has reminded me how much one person can affect another,” she explained. “Sometimes a smile and someone to listen is very important. I want each student to know and understand they are special.”

“The staff at Bertha-Hewitt have always been second to none when it comes to building relationships with students,” Koep said. “But the RIPL message has helped us build upon the success we were already having. I recommend that every school in our region and state bring the RIPL team to their district, not just for the initial evaluation and presentation, but for ongoing professional development. Being proactive and building relationships with students needs to happen in order for success in the classroom and on the field to reach its fullest potential.”

RIPL is Sourcewell’s preferred school violence prevention training.

We have the power to prevent violence, together. Let’s get started!

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