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Patriot Perspective: Pequot Lakes High School fall update

By now most of the public has observed some of the physical changes involving Pequot Lakes High School. Did you know that a number of initiatives are happening inside, too?

During the numerous events that were provided to the community to see the changes on the high school campus, I heard over and over: “I hardly recognize the building from when I went to school here.” I think you would be surprised how many changes have happened beyond what you can see, such as those involving program delivery.

The first significant change would be in the direction of technology. The high school campus has two stationary computer labs; this is pretty standard for a school our size. The significant change involves the number of devices being used to deliver curriculum and instruction. More specifically, 270 Chromebooks and 60 laptops and carts of iPads are being implemented to assist in delivering the most recent cutting-edge curriculum available.

While some districts have gone to a 1:1 initiative, where each student is handed a device, our district was fiscally prudent in prescribing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that encourages students to bring devices to assist in their learning. Our district then uses the right tool for the right application. Some courses use Chromebooks that are cloud based to deliver digital textbooks, while math courses use slates and scientific calculators, whereas the science department uses iPads and Chromebooks. This infusion of technology is preparing our students for the digital 21st century.

Another change is Ramp Up for Readiness being implemented for all students in grades 9-12. Ramp Up is centered on the premise that all students need to go to college, with college defined as any training following high school. The statistics illustrate the ever-changing 21st century work force needs to be technically proficient in order to be marketable in a globally competitive job market.

This fall, students have begun the process of developing a Post-Secondary Readiness Plan using a variety of resources. Conferences were scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 24, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. This year conferences will start to take on an additional purpose: to review student’s post-secondary readiness. This year Pequot Lakes High School will incorporate Ramp Up as part of conferences.

Pequot Lakes High School was selected to participate in We Act Day Minnesota held Oct. 8 at the Xcel Energy Center. Pequot Lakes was represented by 60 students and staff in recognition for their volunteer service in our communities. Students had the opportunity to be part of a high-energy crowd of 18,000 young people enjoying a number of different performances and messages. Students who attended this event commented on how much it affected them and their desire to make a positive change in the world. In fact, Pequot Lakes High School students have decided to kick off their first “We Act” event: We Scare Hunger. This event will run Oct. 23-Nov. 1 in grades K-12. Students, staff and community members are being asked to donate non-perishable food items as part of the Halloween festivities.

Some students will be asking for non-perishable food items instead of candy. Additional events will be planned throughout the year. This is a great movement of young people who want to change our world for the better.

The fourth annual Veterans Day program will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in the new athletic center. All veterans who live in our community are invited to attend our program so we can properly recognize them for their service. All students in grades 5-12 will be encouraged to invite their family members who are veterans to attend our program. Guest speakers are being arranged and service organizations invited to participate. This event is extremely important to our students so they can learn about the selfless service and the cost of freedom that we enjoy each day. Please plan on joining us.