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Pequot Lakes School Board members digest community responses to survey

Pequot Lakes School Board members pored over 140 responses to a survey asking what residents think of the school district as the board works to develop a vision of what the district will look like in the year 2020.

Monday, March 3, board members split up into groups to further dissect the feedback during a work session. Another such session is planned April 7 to start writing a document. Once a vision is created, the district will develop strategic directions to achieve that vision.

Superintendent Chris Lindholm said he was happy with the number of survey responses. Residents shared 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.

Lindholm broke responses into categories — business owners, staff, students, parents, other — with some responses going into more than one of those categories as some business owners are also parents, etc.

He then distilled those responses down to a common thread theme of three groups — business owner, staff and parents — and had school board members break into three groups to each look at one of those sets of comments to pull out recurrent messages.

“I think it’s important that we honor all that input,” Lindholm said, noting the community members took the time to share their thoughts and he wanted board members to immerse themselves in what the public had to say.

“People took time to chime in here. We need to soak it up,” he said.

Next, Lindholm will have teacher leadership teams from the elementary, middle school and high school look at the information and draft preliminary vision statements.

“In 2020 we want to be known for or recognized for ... fill in the blank. That’s what we will wrestle with April 7,” Lindholm said, noting the goal will be to synthesize the input and have some discussion about how to interpret it.

The board, superintendent and administration are working to develop a strategic road map for the district, consisting of four parts: mission, core values, vision and strategic directions. The board has drafted mission and core values, but sought community input before drafting the vision and strategic directions.