FALL 2017 DISTRICT NEWSLETTER



Save Receipts for School Supplies!  

             (View K-12 Education Tax Credit Video)

Minnesota Revenue offers two valuable tax benefits for parents who purchase school supplies for their K-12 students, the K-12 Education Credit and Subtraction. These benefits can reduce parents’ taxes to increase their refund, but is only available for those who keep their receipts. Purchases for most school supplies, field trips, and musical instruments for school band are eligible.

Most Minnesota parents qualify for the K-12 subtraction, which reduces their taxable income. Parents under certain income limits may also qualify for the K-12 credit, which can refund up to 75% of their costs – even for parents who don’t owe any taxes. Visit the Minnesota Revenue website for details.

  • Ice on Opener? Spring? At Pequot Lakes Schools, we are suffering from full-blown Cabin Fever. We are entering week four of indoor training for outdoor sports. The golf team has played every ...
    Posted Apr 17, 2018, 4:47 PM by Brenda Williams
  • Incredible Community Partnerships The Pequot Lakes Schools strategic plan adopted in June 2014 calls for strong partnerships with our local community to support the great work of our staff and the magic of ...
    Posted Mar 21, 2018, 7:06 AM by Brenda Williams
  • Be the Nice Kid “Some kids will be smarter than you, some kids have cooler clothes than you, some kids are better at sports than you. It doesn’t matter. You have your thing ...
    Posted Mar 21, 2018, 7:05 AM by Brenda Williams
  • Coaching from the Stands Parenting is a difficult job. Few can claim to have all the answers and no one is able to predict the outcome. Yet, there are some certainties in parenting that ...
    Posted Feb 9, 2018, 9:31 AM by Brenda Williams
  • First Day of School As I think back to my childhood and growing up, I vividly recall what it felt like every year on the first day of school. I remember feeling anxious, uncertain ...
    Posted Jan 30, 2018, 3:19 PM by Brenda Williams
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 77. View more »

Ice on Opener?

posted Apr 17, 2018, 4:47 PM by Brenda Williams

Spring? At Pequot Lakes Schools, we are suffering from full-blown Cabin Fever. We are entering week four of indoor training for outdoor sports. The golf team has played every simulation of video golf, the baseball and softball teams have perfected the indoor grounder, and the track team is trying to figure out how to pole vault in the athletic center. We are hoping the weather cooperates soon; the gym gets small with five sports teams trying to share space.

When the weather does turn, we will be facing a barrage of games and meets that have been rescheduled from early April. Add to that busy schedule a series of spring award activities and graduation, and you have a whirlwind of activity that will wear out your eraser with all our changes. We will do our best to post the updates on our Athletic schedule and the High School calendar page.

Pequot Lakes High School has been a cauldron of success this past year and we are looking forward to anticipated success of our spring activities. Recently, our Robotics team competed in the Minnesota Land of 10,000 Lakes regional competition, bringing home first place of 60 teams and qualifying for World Competition in Detroit. The team continues to fundraise for the trip to Detroit at the end of April; consider donating through the following link: https://pequotlakes.revtrak.net/robotics-team-donation#/v/Robotics-Team.

Spring also brings our annual Day of Caring service learning activity for students. The Day of Caring is an opportunity for Pequot Lakes students to give back to the communities of Crosslake, Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, and Nisswa by providing labor to community organizations or the elderly. We are in search of projects large and small and welcome your ideas by going to this link, https://goo.gl/forms/LzAkJSXm8Ksnuxt03, or by calling the High School office at 568-9210.

The wild weather of Spring struck on both the band concert night and the choir concert night. It was fortunate that we were able to arrange performance at our Festival of the Arts celebration on March 27th. So many people here that night to help us celebrate our artists. What a fun event and many thanks to the community for your patronage. Consider coming to see the PLHS Spring Play on April 13 and 14. It will be a Wizard of Oz musical.

As the calendar turns to April and the weather eventually warms, we will be carefully making preparations for the annual graduation ceremonies. Friday, May 25th will be an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of a very talented group of seniors. This year’s graduation speakers will be Alexia Miller, Dylan Lerfald, Jack White, and Clare Ganley with the class selecting Spanish teacher Mr. Wagner to be their graduation guest speaker. While we welcome the opportunity to launch these young men and women into the life of adulthood, we will miss the many familiar personalities that have filled our halls for the past several years.

While we continue our patient wait for spring, we welcome back the snowbirds and Patriot supporters who are excited to see what success awaits our Pequot Lakes students in the months that remain of school.  Go Patriots.

-- Aaron Nelson, High School Principal

Incredible Community Partnerships

posted Mar 21, 2018, 7:06 AM by Brenda Williams

The Pequot Lakes Schools strategic plan adopted in June 2014 calls for strong partnerships with our local community to support the great work of our staff and the magic of student learning. Many wonderful partnerships already existed when the plan was adopted, including but not limited to upgrading the school district facilities to support growing enrollment, a strong Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) that raises thousands of dollars each year to support students, local business support for the district’s Project Lead The Way program, and the Watch D.O.G.S. program providing an adult male volunteer every day at Eagle View Elementary. In addition, the Patriot Activities Club (PAC) has provided tens of thousands of dollars to support student activities, local businesses privately fund fan buses for state and section tournament games, the city and school district partner to employ a school resources officer, district leadership meets with local clergy each quarter to maintain positive relationships, and PLHS students volunteer annually providing a Day of Caring to local community members. With so many great partnerships already in place, the call to increase and improve community engagement with the school district looked to be a daunting task back in 2014.

Without question, strategic partnerships with our local communities are stronger and even more meaningful nearly four years later. Along with the continuation of everything mentioned above, PLHS hosted the third annual Career Fair in February with over 90 community volunteers onsite to help interview students and will host the first Summer Job Fair on March 22nd in partnership with the Pequot Lakes Chamber and the regional Bridges program. Pequot Tool provides incredible local support for the recently launched - and successful - Robotics program, the Executive Chef at Breezy Point Resort volunteers routinely as a teacher/mentor for ProStart - our new culinary arts program, and several PLHS students have participated in successful internship experiences in local businesses already this year. It can be hard to believe, but the list continues… The Central Lakes Rotary Club is in the second year of providing 12 - 15 mentors for high school students as part of the STRIVE program, the Patriot Foundation is currently being relaunched in partnership with the Initiative Foundation to support scholarships and local innovation grants, Youth Frontiers retreats are funded locally each year for four grade levels, and the Greater Pequot Lakes Community Foundation is currently being launched to support community efforts with the school district represented on the advisory board. Finally, the Pequot Lakes Chamber, the City of Pequot Lakes, and the school district are partnering strategically to jointly employ a part-time Communications Director.

Listing just some of our community partnerships has this article approaching the word count maximum, illustrating just how much we all love being Patriots! And oh, I forgot to mention Kinship Partners, and ”externships” for teachers this summer, and reading volunteers, and Grad Blast volunteers, funding for portable bleachers, GLAPA, HS/MS tutors, Junior Achievement presenters, and the list goes on…

-- Chris Lindholm, Superintendent of Schools

Be the Nice Kid

posted Mar 21, 2018, 7:04 AM by Brenda Williams   [ updated Mar 21, 2018, 7:05 AM ]

“Some kids will be smarter than you, some kids have cooler clothes than you,

some kids are better at sports than you. It doesn’t matter. You have your thing too.

Be the kid who can get along. Be the kid who is generous.

Be the kid the kid who is happy for other people. Be the kid who does the right thing.

Be the nice kid.”

~Bryan Stavnak

This is a powerful message about embracing and celebrating differences which seems timely in regards to recent events. Parents often ask what we each can do right here, right now to make our world and schools safer. We can’t solve the nation’s issues quickly, but one person can make a difference here and now. “Strong, loving, and caring human relationships cost nothing yet are powerful in the fight against school violence. We need to continue to keep our kids connected at home and in school. “ Mark Mischke, BHS Principal

So how do we build meaningful connections with our students at school? We build community in our classrooms. We greet them, talk with them, get to know them, and have classroom meetings. We ensure they know the expectations and then celebrate students who demonstrate Patriot Pride positive choices with golden tickets redeemable in the school store. We have Wear-It Wednesdays with our blue shirts to show we all belong together. Our 4th graders participate in the Kindness Retreat to extend their understanding and connections. Teachers work with students in small groups and individually to ensure their learning and connect with students who are striving to do their best.

How to build meaningful connections at home? Connecting at home begins at a very young age. It’s a family spending time having fun and/or working together. It also means setting boundaries and having expectations. Tuning into your child and developing an open line of communication with your child by talking about feelings and emotions and more importantly how to handle them. As a parent, connecting also means knowing what your students are watching on devices, who their friends are and actively monitoring activities. With young children, reading together is a powerful connection and valuable for their language development.

An article I read recently discussed the balance of kindness and assertion. The goal is for students to be kind, to accept others, embrace differences and care about each other. It’s ensuring our children know what kindness is, but also having connections at school and home so they are comfortable speaking up for themselves and for others. This year at EV the vocabulary is we want students to be bucket fillers and not bucket dippers and if they see something that isn’t okay to tell an adult, to get help. We need children to be kind and treat each other well, and yet if they see unkind or unsafe action to speak up. That happens when they have connections with adults they trust and know will assist when needed.

Families give children roots and the wings to fly. Schools, like Eagle View, support that foundation and reinforce the expectations of respect, responsibility, and safety. Working together, let’s make sure all of our children are rooted in kindness and connections.

-- Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal

Coaching from the Stands

posted Feb 9, 2018, 9:31 AM by Brenda Williams

Parenting is a difficult job. Few can claim to have all the answers and no one is able to predict the outcome. Yet, there are some certainties in parenting that have proven themselves through the years. Encouraging children to take responsibility, to persevere through difficulty, to show respect, and to think of the potential outcome before taking action; these are a few of the character building efforts by parents that pay off. Successful parenting is less like following a recipe for your favorite hotdish and more like making a casserole with whatever you can find in the pantry. Interpretation: there is no one right way to raise every child; it involves a lot of trial and error.

Like parenting, coaching and mentoring students is challenging, involving a lot of trial and error. Yet, it seems that far less grace and forgiveness is allotted to coaches than to a parent struggling with raising their child. Recently, the Brainerd High School boys basketball coach tendered his resignation and that of his staff at the end of this season. The reason? Parents. Lake Park-Audubon schools recently reinstated their girls basketball coaches after one was put on administrative leave and another quit in protest. The reason for the suspension? Parent complaints about coaching. Ask any school leader what the most difficult positions to fill in their schools are; answer, coaches. As school districts across the country deal with a shallow pool of candidates that is drying up like a puddle on a hot summer day, the struggle to field teams is made harder by the unwillingness of teachers and many parents to take on the role of coach.

Here is the paradox of the situation. While we accept that parenting is a journey in darkness taken one step at a time and fraught with unexpected turns of fate and many disappointments, we expect that teachers and coaches know how to get it right every time. If the guidebook to 100% successful parenting is yet to be written, where is the guidebook to 100% successful coaching? The answer is the same in both cases. As much as we as parents long for the right decision in every situation we encounter so that our children can reach their fullest potential, we learn that some of the greatest lessons come from failure. It has been said that Thomas Edison failed 2000 times before succeeding with the light bulb. We learn as parents to understand that success as a parent is never declaring defeat and continuing to persevere. So do these values extend to the field of sport? Are we as parents willing to accept that school and sport are filled with unexpected difficulties that require a determination toward success through the combined efforts of teachers/coaches and parents? Educating a child is a team effort between teacher and parent where failure is not permanent and success is a journey. Hey, you up there in the stands, come join in the effort to coach our children to learn to succeed.

-- Aaron Nelson, HS Principal

First Day of School

posted Jan 30, 2018, 3:19 PM by Brenda Williams

As I think back to my childhood and growing up, I vividly recall what it felt like every year on the first day of school. I remember feeling anxious, uncertain of what the day would bring, especially not knowing who my teacher would be or what friends I might have in class. Fast forward to adulthood, I equate the first day of school to a change in career and workplace; similar feelings of excitement but a bit nerve-racking. This was me at the start of this past school year; new to Pequot Lakes School as Business Manager for the District.

It seemed fitting that my first day was also the first day back for all the staff. Indeed for me, this was like all other first days of school. Thoughts circled my mind. What if I’m late? Where do I go? Who will I know? According to the Harvard Study of Communications, “it only takes seven seconds” to make a first impression, and it was all up to me to make a good first impression. As I arrived to school, on time by the way, I visibly noticed the eagerness of educators assembling in the halls greeting one another back from summer break, reminding each other how fast summer went and how can it already be the start of school? Right away, I observed camaraderie, direction, enthusiasm, integrity, participation, support and validity. My first seven seconds turned into minutes which turned into hours and then an end to my first day. What I realized that first day was not so much about making a first impression; it was about being a Patriot.

What does it mean to be a Patriot? Patriots are admirable, confident, honest, kind, open-minded, personable, respectful, and dedicated to inspiring a passion for learning to ensure success for every student, family and community member. Patriots are family. Patriots risk taking on challenges that others dare not. Patriots plan and prepare for success. Patriots listen and understand the dynamics of diversity. Patriots do not give up. Patriots rely on each other to make noble decisions. Patriots share in fun times and unite in difficult times. Patriots are purposeful. Patriots make a difference in the lives of others every day. Patriot pride flourishes every day in our schools and communities for the reason that the students and staff are proud to be Patriots. Patriots are making first impressions every day.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. If one first impression only takes seven seconds, how many Patriot first impressions can one make in a day? As a business manager, I love numbers! Each Patriot has the opportunity to make over 12,000 first impressions each day. Make them memorable in a Patriot Way!

I am thankful to each and every Patriot in our District. Thank you to Board Members, District Leaders, Administrators, Teachers, Paraprofessionals, Secretaries, Support Staff, School Nurse, Cooks, Custodians, Bus Drivers, Coaches, Students, Families and Community Members for making memorable first impressions on my first day of school.

My first day of school this year was the best day ever! I look forward to many more first days of school as the Business Manager for Pequot Schools. Patriot Proud!

-- Heidi Hagen, Business Manager

Jumpstart that Resolution

posted Jan 30, 2018, 3:17 PM by Brenda Williams

It’s January in Minnesota. People say there are no guarantees in life, but I can prove those people wrong. I guarantee some folks in Minnesota are tired of winter. I can guarantee many folks are daydreaming about the lapping of the water on the shores of their favorite lake, and I can also guarantee for some of you, your New Year’s resolution is already off the tracks. We all know the common ones of losing weight, eating healthier, striving to spend more time enjoying life, not just running the race of it, etc. Many of us have tried them and more often than not we have failed in achieving what we’ve set out to accomplish.

Sure, your resolution might be off the tracks right now, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay there. According to Forbes, just 8% of people actually achieve their resolution goals. Well, 8% isn’t a lot, but it is better than 7! As you ponder where you are with your resolution or possibly getting on board with trying a new one, don’t forget to look for opportunities right in front of you. If you want to get healthier via diet or exercise, make it as simple or easy as possible. The beauty of where we live is we aren’t far away from simple. When temps allow, go for a walk. It isn’t hard to get away from the all the bustle of today’s world in our neck of the woods. We are surrounded by all kinds of nature’s beauty that cannot only help us exercise but recharge the soul. If you stop for coffee in the morning, skip the donut. If you head out for lunch, consider a salad. Too often we see the challenge of changes to our lifestyle as insurmountable because we have to see immediate progress. We think we have to starve ourselves so we can lose 10 pounds in a week or think we need to spend an hour on the treadmill every day. Those are hard changes to accomplish.

Keep it simple and find your path to success. It doesn’t have to move mountains. Nobody else even has to notice, although it is really nice when they do! Find simple adjustments you can make in your lifestyle to aid in changing what you want to change. If you just skipped the donut every morning with coffee, that’s improving right? If you parked as far away from the store and walked in, that would help, right? Are you trying to spend more time with family? Put the phones and devices down after dinner a couple nights a week. You don’t need to throw your entire life routine away just to improve an area or two. Remember those tracks we talked about earlier that you might have fallen off? How about being your own, “Little Engine that Could” and hopping right back on those tracks and telling yourself, “I think I can, I think I can….”

-- Rich Spiczka, Community Education Director

Winter Weather Decisions / Legislative Advocacy

posted Jan 12, 2018, 2:17 PM by Brenda Williams

Winter is officially here and it’s time to remind everyone about our district procedures for weather-related decisions. When weather is questionable, we will be in contact with our transportation department, public safety officials, and neighboring districts. A member of our transportation team and/or I often drive some of the known difficult areas to confirm conditions on the ground. Our goal for morning situations is to make a decision by 5:30am, as we have employees rolling into work by that time. We will communicate the message to families and staff first through our automated phone calling system, and then through our district website and the following radio/TV stations: 93.3, 94.3, 102.7, 103.5, 106.7, 107.5, WCCO, KARE-11, KMSP (Fox 9), KSTP, WDIO/WIRT TV, and www.cancellations.com. Please check these resources before calling the school offices as most staff will not be at work to answer the phones!

The decision to delay or close school is based on the safety of our students while also recognizing that any change of routine puts a significant strain on many families. Our excellent team of bus drivers will always put a safe bus ride ahead of an on-time bus ride. Parents always have the right to keep children at home if they feel it is not safe to send them out. As a general rule, we will run school if we can get buses started and transport students safely.

Legislative Advocacy

Did you know Pequot Lakes is in the bottom 2 - 4% of all districts in MN in revenue per student to operate the district? This means that 96 - 98% of the districts in MN receive and spend more per student than we do. Our district is currently receiving over $1,500 less per student than in 2003 in basic education revenue when adjusted for inflation. Most districts have filled this funding gap through voter-approved operating levies of up to $4,400 per student, yet in districts like Pequot Lakes with a high percentage of seasonal properties, the impact on local residents is far greater than in other districts with a larger commercial and residential tax base. Relying on local property taxes to fund schools creates huge disparities in the resources districts have to educate students and fails to provide a “general and uniform system of education” as required by the MN Constitution. Our school board has exhausted their legal authority to increase district revenues so it is now up to the public to approve a local levy increase or up to the MN legislature to create a more equitable funding system. Please join me in advocating for our Patriot students by asking the legislature to increase the basic education formula to 2003 levels and to reduce the state’s dependence on local property taxes to fund basic education. Our students certainly deserve better than the bottom 2%.

-- Chris Lindholm, Superintendent of Schools

Bullying Prevention

posted Dec 20, 2017, 11:00 AM by Brenda Williams

The Patriot Perspective is a phenomenal tool for our schools to broadcast all the wonderful things that are going on in our community. With the recent negative publicity floating around Minnesota state news regarding bullying, I think it is appropriate to use this segment to inform our community about the positive spin we are taking regarding the topic of bullying and bullying prevention at Pequot Lakes Middle School.

What started as a casual challenge at a staff meeting earlier this fall -- asking our entire staff to wear orange on “Unity Day” -- has become a significant movement at PLMS. Recognized annually on a Wednesday in October, Unity Day is an event sponsored by PACER, a Minnesota-based organization whose primary mission is enhancing the quality of life and expanding opportunities for children, youth, and young adults with all disabilities. “Orange provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity,” said Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of PACER Center. “When hundreds of individuals in a school or organization wear orange, the vibrant statement becomes a conversation starter, sending the unified message to kids to know that they are not alone.” Walking into our staff meeting that Wednesday morning we were greeted by a staff where each and every teacher and para was adorning orange. This powerful imagery intensified as our student body flooded the halls that morning. PLMS made a statement about the culture of our building that day.

We also recognize that there is a lot more to battling bullying in our schools than a bunch of adults wearing orange. As the month of October gave way to November, we segued into grade level meetings focused on the proactive prevention of bullying at our school. Tapping into data provided through national surveys, we challenged each of our 564 Pequot Lakes middle schoolers to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Data indicates that, nationally, about 1 in 5 students reported being bullied last year, 66% of all bullying goes unreported, and only 25% of bullying prevention systems at schools effectively reduce bullying (www.pacer.org). What started as a challenge to our students, with a simple statement and a short video, has now evolved into a larger message that has encompassed our entire building. This message is built upon one hopeful piece of data; that 57% of all bullying stops when a peer intervenes.

Continuing with our challenge, our students took part in a viewing of the movie “Wonder” during the first weeks of December. Based on the New York Times best-selling children’s book, “Wonder” tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman as he navigates life as a 5th grader with mandibulofacial dysostosis, an extremely rare medical facial difference.

Some might ask, “Why send middle schoolers to a movie that they could go see on their own?” The outpouring of enthusiasm from students and staff regarding the novel moved us to take the poignant message of this book to a wider PLMS audience. Auggie’s situation, wearing the scars of the many surgeries throughout his life, provides a very obvious and superficial dissimilarity that our students can “see”. The challenge facing our teachers is to help our students to see challenges beyond those that are only skin deep. The film represents but a small fragment of a larger message PLMS is delivering; challenging our students to value the difference amongst all of us and to stand up when their classmates deviate from that expectation. Our students were an incredible audience and were very receptive to the true messaging behind the film.

This is more than our school’s effort to be in compliance with the Safe and Supportive Schools Act put into place in 2014. It goes beyond middle schoolers creating a “pledge chain” in the hall or filling Sunset Cinema to watch a video about a kid that was “different”. PLMS is committed to creating a safe and collaborative school culture where students feel free to be themselves; to be different, and to model what it means to be a “hero without a cape.” There is great momentum going at Pequot Lakes Middle School. We thank our staff for taking a small idea and helping it grow to a larger movement. We appreciate the shared vision of our PTA and their support of PLMS in offsetting half of the costs of this effort. And most importantly, we thank our students for making the pledge to end bullying. There is no greater antidote to bullying than the steadfast refusal of our student body to tolerate bullying.

A community meeting about our building’s efforts to end bullying will be held at 6pm on Monday, February 12th, in the ML/HS Auditorium. This meeting will be held in conjunction with our 5-12 conference night in ISD 186. Join us in helping to eradicate bullying from our schools and our community.

-- Michael O'Neil, Middle School Principal

Oh, and by the way, Thank You!

posted Dec 7, 2017, 3:31 PM by Brenda Williams

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” William Arthur Ward

Recently, while walking the halls of the school, I was struck by the cleanliness of our High School. Nary a wrapper, broken pencil, or well-chewed gum stuck to the floor, littered the halls; leading me to reflect on why I was struck by nothingness. This cleanliness of the hallway over half-way through the day was remarkable in one respect, few people will ever notice.

The day in the life of a school teacher is a whirlwind of activity, even more so for a Principal. When we are busy, we do not often take time to reflect on our day and think about what makes the day a good one. As parents, we are as busy after work as we are during the work day, running our children to activities and practices. Taking time to reflect is a luxury we often cannot afford. Yet it was in a moment of rare silence in the hallway of the school that I found myself standing alone, reflecting. Had I ever said thank you to our students for their efforts to clean up after themselves? Had I ever said thank you to our custodial staff for working so hard to keep a clean and orderly environment? If gratitude was felt but never shared, is it still gratitude?

Thinking of gratitude and entering the season of thankfulness it seems only appropriate that we take a moment to offer a tribute to those who are deserving.

Thank you: to the parent who packs a backpack with lunch and homework every morning, and who eagerly tackles algebra, history, and literature homework every night because you know it will matter in your child’s life.

Thank you: to the bus driver, cook, custodian, teacher, para who does their job everyday to the best of their ability. When you do your job well, no one may notice but it gives you great pride to know your service to the students matters. Parents of our community value the pride you take in a job well done.

Thank you: to the local business member who offers their time to volunteer in a school career fair, interviewing a dozen students for an imaginary job. You may never hire one student but the experience you give our students helps them to become better employees.

Thank you: to the concerned citizen who calls the office when you notice suspicious behavior around the school because you care about the safety of the children. Your concern has created a sense of security that helps our students feel safe at school, an essential foundation of learning.

Thank you: to the teacher who just spent the past three evenings grading papers, missing a few of their own child’s activities, to ensure that their students receive meaningful feedback on their work. Your efforts create deeper thinkers who are reflective in their work.

Thank you: to the food service worker who serves breakfast with a smile and a kind word every day, because you know that may be the only kind word those students may hear in a day. You may be the very reason those kids make it through the day.

Thank you: to the grandparent who knows that a little extra love will never spoil the child. Your influence on their lives is felt when they write their admiration essays, and share the values taught in your home.

Thank you: to the community member who buys three pizzas from a teenager at their door, knowing they could get them cheaper at the grocery store, because it will mean that student will get to experience a trip to South America. Your generosity has opened the minds of many young men and women to the possibilities of the world.

And thank you: to the tireless souls who trek the halls of the school for every game, contest, concert, and performance. Your support of our students has given them a greater sense of what it means to be a part of a community than any civics lesson will ever give them.

I hope you take a moment to offer your own thank you’s to those who matter in your life. I hope you give the gift of gratitude for the efforts of others in your life. The rush of joy you experience when someone has done something extra for you, because they knew it would make your day. You felt the gratitude; you have wrapped your present … have you given it?

-- Aaron Nelson, High School Principal

Gifts

posted Dec 7, 2017, 3:28 PM by Brenda Williams

There is a concept called “Love your people.” The essence of this means to contribute, be kind, be honest, be patient, encourage, apologize and thank people. Each of these are gifts that we can give to each other during this busy time of year that won’t involve a cost. At Eagle View and Pequot Lakes we have much to celebrate, so in the spirit of “love your people,” I would like to take a moment to express gratitude for the team of parents, staff and students that are part of the Eagle View family and unwrap a few GIFTS.

G is for grit and growth mindset. As parents and educators, it is vital we help students foster the ability to persevere when still developing or when mastery of a concept or skill hasn’t occurred. Encouraging each other to keep trying allows the development of grit. Sometimes the most difficult part is accepting the journey toward mastery; the power of “yet”. This applies to student learning and also staff professional growth.

I is for initiative. Celebrating staff who are approaching instruction with changes for a student-centered classroom. With small group instruction and personalized learning through WIN time already a practice, others have explored the use of technology and flexible seating, developing classrooms that address student needs.

F is for focus. This year, focusing our work on safe and collaborative culture - our team. The priority is based on establishing a school culture that embraces collaborative practices which becomes the foundation for all further work. It begins with how we work together as teams, how staff team with students and parents, and additionally, how academic and behavior supports are added. Our mission is “Working together to ensure the success of Every Student, Every Day.”

T is for teams working collaboratively. In schools, the daily work of teaching is visible when you spend time in a classroom. What isn’t as obvious is the work that goes on behind the scenes planning units and lessons aligned to the state standards, reviewing data and personalizing student learning based on strengths and areas of need. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) focus on what do students need to know and developing the collective efficacy of the team.

S is for Still prioritizing literacy. The ability to read is the foundation for all future learning. The priority to meet students where they are and accelerate learning through the balanced literacy process. Reflection has allowed us to revisit and adapt practices to best fit the needs of our students. Reading with your child at home is one way parents can support and model reading for your child.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Phil Jackson was very accurate with this quote as it takes a team in all areas of life - your family team, team of friends, colleagues, or sports teams - your people. I hope you all take the time to celebrate “your people,” your team this holiday season!

-- Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal

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