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Community Education services the community

Community Education programs provide a variety of lifelong experiences for community members from birth through senior citizen age.

Since 1972 the school district Community Education levy has provided a funding base for many Community Education services. Participation fees, grants and fundraisers also give financial resources to Community Education.

As a resident of the Pequot Lakes School District, you are encouraged to use the Community Education services. Ways to be an active consumer of Community Education (CE) are: sign up for a CE class or enroll your child in a CE class or activity; share your knowledge and skills to lead a CE class; volunteer as a parent or adult to be a youth sports coach or to serve as a board member on the CE Advisory Council, the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA) board, the Pequot Lakes Community Theater board, the Youth Sports Advisory board or the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)/School Readiness Parent Advisory Council.

Community partnerships are an integral part of CE program operations. Current partners with Pequot Lakes CE include the Initiative Foundation, the Pequot Lakes Library, the Crosslake Library, Crosslake Park and Recreation, Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the city of Jenkins, Crow Wing County Public Health, Five Wings Arts Council, The Crossing Arts Alliance, Pequot Lakes Trailside Center, Crosslake Community School, Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Lakes Printing in Brainerd.

Partners are financial supporters, volunteers for the CE programs or those who provide services such as publicity, marketing and access to facilities for program use in co-sponsored activities. Connecting with local community resources is a way to enhance services and involve more participants to support the educational activities. Cooperative ventures improve the quality and variety of program opportunities. It is a statutory requirement that a CE program not duplicate local programs and service.

Annually a CE program submits a report of program participation to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The 2011-12 Pequot Lakes Community Education report covers the program activities from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.

Participation numbers show there were 160 children who registered for the Kid Konnection school-age child-care program; 753 preschool participants in programs like Safety Kids and swimming lessons; 1,817 youth participants in CE youth enrichment such as Science Fun for Kids, day camp activities and youth driver’s education.

In addition, students participated in youth sports in the following numbers: 676 students in grades K-5, 117 in grades 6-8 and 132 adult coaches.

Adult enrichment numbers were 3,917, which includes attendance at the GLAPA shows and driver improvement classes. The Early Childhood Coalition had 339 participants in a variety of educational services that were offered by that community-based coalition.

Adding all of the participation numbers together indicates there were 7,751 times when a community member participated in one or more CE activity.

These participation numbers do not include the enrollment in ECFE, School Readiness, Early Childhood Screening or Adult Basic Education (ABE) data that are submitted to MDE in other state reports.

Pequot Lakes Community Education strives to serve the residents of the school district. If you have not been involved with a CE program, check out the opportunities on the school website. Go to and click on “Community Education.”

Watch for the winter book with classes for December 2012 through March 2013. Community Education is here to serve you.

(Julie Despot is Pequot Lakes School District Community Education director.)