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School board hears thoughts of community, staff

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Around 25 people attended the Pequot Lakes School Board’s Hour of Listening on Monday, Feb. 3, with a showing of the seven school board members, around nine staff members and nine members of the public.

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The board called the meeting to talk with the community about what should be included in the district’s strategic roadmap, which the board is in the process of drafting.

Board members sat with staff and community members to take notes on their ideas of what the district is doing well, what it needs to change, what a high-functioning district looks like and what the economy will demand of workers in 2025, which is when this year’s first-graders will graduate.

Some staff commented that they were happy with how the district has caught up on technology with its computer purchases, and others were happy with the number of learning initiatives set up at the elementary school.

One teacher praised the Day of Caring at the high school level, in which students volunteer in the community for a day, and suggested that there be more opportunities like that at the elementary level.

Chris Nick, elementary music teacher, said she’s happy with the commitment the district has to the arts, and that she’s happy to see that all students have arts opportunities in many forms.

Laurie Wig, director of curriculum, assessment and technology, said she hopes the school district will focus on all forms of college and career readiness, whatever a student’s path might be.

Along those lines, one community member expressed concern over whether the school’s one guidance counselor is able to meet with every student to talk about career opportunities.

He suggested that instead of teaching students to be workers or employees, why not teach them to be entrepreneurs and executives?

The discussion led to ways to involve local business owners or department heads with the district to offer advice, job shadowing or internships.

Discussing what a high-functioning district looks like, community member Amy Sjoblad said the fact that the board was talking to the public, as it was at the Hour of Listening, was a good step.

Another said a high-functioning district is one that meets the needs of all students, and prepares them for what’s out in the world and what sort of competition they’ll face.

Discussion topics at the Hour of Listening followed a survey on the district’s website. Superintendent Chris Lindholm said the survey will stay open until Feb. 21, and community input is welcomed and encouraged.

Kate Perkins can be reached at kate.perkins@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EchoJournalKate.

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