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Tiger Talk: Strategic planning

Strategic planning has always been an important part of the Pine River-Backus School District.

The plan – which is the culmination of community, staff and consultative input – guides the district in decision-making and prioritizing. The process is rejuvenating, creative and fun!

While we have revised the PR-B Strategic Plan on a fairly regular basis, recent legislative requirements are moving us to look at it a little differently with even more focus on student achievement.

The new principal and teacher evaluation systems, World’s Best Workforce legislation, increased curricular and assessment rigor, college and career readiness and continued efforts to close achievement gaps – racial, ethnic, economic and disability-based – all affirm the importance of strategic planning.

Like so many efforts, “it takes a village” to be successful. So, too, with PR-B strategic planning. The new guidance requires “community engagement in the development and review of the plan.” It also asks districts to “periodically survey constituencies about their connection to schools and their level of satisfaction.”

The PR-B strategic planning process is under way. Bruce Miles, Big River Group, LLC, will facilitate the process by conducting a strategic planning survey during January, training local leaders to facilitate community outreach sessions and actually working with PR-B teachers and the school board.

There will be two surveys – one for employees and one for the community. The community survey link will be on the website ( and live from Jan. 15-31. So please take a few minutes and complete it. It’s only two questions!

On Jan. 15, all Pine River-Backus employees will get a link to the employee survey via email. Again, it’s only two questions! Miles is the only one who will see the survey results and he will report to the board regarding the data.

Community input sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 13, from 6-8 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 6-8 p.m.; and Thursday, Feb. 20, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

We hope to have students, parents, constituents, educators, business partners, social services and local non-profits, including our faith community, participate. Please consider joining us and helping out with our strategic plan. Simply call the district office to sign up for a session at 218-587-4720. Walk-ins will be welcome, but it’s better if we know how many to expect in each session.

Miles will work with the teachers and the board Wednesday, Feb. 26. At that point, all the data will come to the table and the board will be able to make decisions regarding mission, vision, strategic directives and goals.

That will be an open public meeting and I encourage everyone to attend.

If you want to have a voice in Pine River-Backus’ future – our educational programs and the opportunities we provide students and community — then it’s important to participate in strategic planning.

Proud to be PR-B!