Webster Dictionary defines “planning” as a means to establish goals, policies and procedures for a social or economic unit.

COVID-19 has brought many unpredictable variables into our lives that have made planning challenging. These many variables add to the decision making, such as:

  • When to wear a mask and when it is acceptable not to wear a mask.
  • Do I send my children to school or choose to have them distance learn?
  • When my children are home, do I work from home or look for child care?
  • Do districts open schools for in-person learning for all or choose a hybrid or distance learning model?

These decisions are not easy to make, especially when our planning needs to involve looking at long- and short-term goals. School boards everywhere develop a strategic plan to help with this decision making.

On Monday, April 5, the Pine River-Backus School Board will begin a training session with the Minnesota School Boards Association looking at goal setting for the school board and the superintendent of schools.

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The purpose of these goals is not only to help guide our decision making, but also to establish a procedure for which we can measure our successes as well as growth areas for the coming years.

PR-B currently has a strategic plan in place that has six focus areas: student achievement, student support, workforce, communication and marketing, academic program, and facilities.

In this unusual year, communication and marketing has us looking into how we can improve disseminating all of the information we are getting from health organizations, schools, government agencies, families, as well as the greater communities of Pine River and Backus.

This needs to be achieved more efficiently and effectively, not relying solely on technology and social media. Pine River-Backus School established a committee to look into ways in which we can improve sharing information with all residents and businesses in Pine River and Backus.

Improving communication with our community is key to addressing the other five focus areas of the PR-B strategic plan. Our communication goal has to address more than just getting information out to the public, but also effectively and reliably engaging with the community.

Join us during the school board training session with MSBA. We will be livestreaming at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 5. The livestream link can be found on the district website: www.prbschools.org.

Jon Clark is the Pine River-Backus School District superintendent.