Pine River-Backus School District: Career Pathways will eventually guide student career readiness

District is working on a plan that will help students think about their career far in advance of graduation

School Board.JPG
Rachel Telfer addressed the Pine River-Backus School Board on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, to talk about Career Pathways, the district's program designed to prepare PR-B students to enter the workforce after graduation.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

PINE RIVER — Pine River-Backus School Board members invited guest Curriculum Director Rachel Telfer to talk about the district's up and coming Career Pathways program.

The board's Monday, Feb. 6, regular meeting was light on action, given it came only a week after a work session Jan. 30 where the board addressed lingering scheduling issues.

Telfer opened the meeting discussing Career Pathways, a program in partnership with Sourcewell to create a system to assist students in planning for their life after high school.

"The goal is to partner with administrators, educators, higher education and businesses to come up with a data driven system to help our students building a plan for what they are going to do after high school," Telfer said.

The program includes equipping students with tools for success after graduation, which could include work experience, a career plan or higher education goals. When fully engaged, the program will start very early to help students plan well in advance.


"We're not ready to make this K-12, but we will," Telfer said.

The program could include introducing students in elementary school to a variety of possible careers, documenting what they take interest in and creating a record of their interests and experiences that they can then review as they progress through school and before graduation to make a plan.

"What can our students do that will propel them forward in their next pathway?" Telfer said.

The program could help them create a learning path early on in education that could provide them with electives that can prepare them for a future career. It could also include certifications and on-site experience in careers including in various trades.

The program also tracks soft skills such as attendance, cooperation, community service, workplace learning and credentials.

Telfer said the program is attempting to shift focus from "college for all" to "post high school credentials for all" so students have options, possibly for several pathways.

The district already has some career readiness options in place, but Career Pathways is not yet in place.

"We're not going to have something set by next year, even though I would really like to have something set by next year," Telfer said.


In other business Monday, the board:

  • Learned they will need to look at rescheduling their June 19 work session as a result of Juneteenth becoming an official state holiday.
  • Approved retirement of Terri Kussart, speech language pathologist.
  • Approved hiring Mariah Hines as paraprofessional, Michael Dinnel as varsity baseball coach, Terry Brink as junior high baseball coach, Cassandra Meis as assistant softball coach, Leah Freeman as junior high softball coach, Tom Demars as varsity boys track coach, Karl Ludeman as varsity girls track coach, Steve Heslop as varsity boys golf coach and Mark Gonnion as varsity girls golf coach.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
What To Read Next
Get Local