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Welcome to the 2013-14 school year at PR-B

A wonderful, fun and relaxing summer can’t compare with the anticipation of a new school year, especially here at Pine River-Backus.

Teachers and staff have been at school getting ready — setting up classrooms, reviewing curriculum, attending professional development sessions — and our students have been here, too. Smiling faces greet me every day as our summer school students, fall sports athletes and community education participants are in the classrooms, gymnasiums and even out and about training for cross country, or bug collecting, or gardening!

Pine River-Backus Schools are always busy with lots of positive energy and a focus on personal growth and learning. Equally busy are our parents and students getting ready to get back to the school routine of learning, studying and working — not to mention extracurricular sports, arts and service learning.

Here are a few tips to help you get back into your family routine from EducationWorld:

• Set a firm, reasonable bedtime. Students need plenty of rest, especially as they readjust to the school year schedule.

• Take time for a healthy breakfast each day — free for all students at school! Children who eat well before school have the energy to take advantage of important instruction.

• Find a place for every thing, and put everything in its place. The beginning of the year is the time to set routines that will avoid lost backpacks and materials.

As I’ve had the opportunity to attend “back to school” preparation sessions, I’ve heard colleagues and nationally recognized professionals talk about what’s important for today’s students. The conversations are interesting and recognize that the many years of “high stakes” testing required by No Child Left Behind and the global trend to standardize curriculum — today’s Common Core — may deter from the skills students need to be successful tomorrow.

The most recent research — yes, and it is always changing to keep up with our changing world — indicates that today’s students need to be creative, curious and critical thinkers. Tomorrow’s successful people will be entrepreneurial and have some variation of these characteristics: inspiration, creativity, courage, direct and fortitude.

They will see opportunity, have foresight and be ambitious, passionate, confident, innovative, willing to take risks, socially competent and persistent (Zhao 2012). The future challenge to making a living requires the ability to see problems and develop new solutions. Many will find their ways as new entrepreneurs. not only in the business world, but also in the world of politics, social values and education.

As a result, educators and parents are challenged to ensure that our children’s natural sense of creativity and curiosity is encouraged and developed. So, a few more tips from the Center for Development and Learning:

1. Model creativity.

2. Question assumptions.

3. Look at problems differently.

4. Encourage different ideas.

5. Give students time to be creative.

6. Reward creative ideas, even when they’re not perfect.

7. Encourage sensible risk.

8. Tolerate ambiguity and mistakes.

9. Identify and surmount obstacles.

10. Teach self responsibility and delayed gratification.

11. Encourage creative collaboration and other/new viewpoints.

12. Find excitement.

We shouldn’t have a problem finding excitement over the next few weeks, so enjoy and know you’re nurturing creativity. On behalf of all of us — the school board, administrators, teachers and support staff — welcome to the 2013-14 PR-B school year and we are proud to be PR-B!

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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