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.

  • Winter Weather Decisions / Legislative Advocacy 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 ...
    Posted Jan 12, 2018, 2:17 PM by Brenda Williams
  • Bullying Prevention 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 ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2017, 11:00 AM by Brenda Williams
  • Oh, and by the way, Thank You! “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 ...
    Posted Dec 7, 2017, 3:31 PM by Brenda Williams
  • Gifts 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 ...
    Posted Dec 7, 2017, 3:28 PM by Brenda Williams
  • Athletic Officials Needed The winter athletic season is upon us. Dance and Girls Hockey are already underway and the other winter activities will start in the next couple of weeks. With the start ...
    Posted Nov 10, 2017, 11:46 AM by Brenda Williams
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 71. View more »

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

Athletic Officials Needed

posted Nov 10, 2017, 11:46 AM by Brenda Williams

The winter athletic season is upon us. Dance and Girls Hockey are already underway and the other winter activities will start in the next couple of weeks. With the start of winter games just around the corner, it is once again time to visit the topic of game officials. In short, we need more officials!

The varsity and JV officials have already been hired for the winter season; however, there is great need for officials to do the middle level and 9th grade contests. This fall there were 37 lower-level contests. This winter there will be over 55 games or meets that need officials, and in the spring there will about 33 games. The three seasons totaled make 128 games. This means we need quite a few people to cover all of these events.

If you want to be involved in athletic activities but coaching is not for you, I can’t think of a better way to stay connected to your sport and ensure our young athletes get to compete in a well-officiated contest.

Officiating is no different than participating in sports; the more experience you gain, the better you get. Officiating may look intimidating and perhaps you feel that you lack the knowledge to do the job. Experience is the best teacher. When possible, I try to schedule an inexperienced official with a veteran so the newer official can learn from the more experienced official. Good officials don’t just happen. They take years to develop their craft and my guess is, somewhere along the line, they started by working a few 7th and 8th grade games.

If you have ever thought about becoming an official, please contact me and I would be happy to help get you started. We are always looking for officials at the 7th, 8th and 9th grade levels in all sports. It’s a great way to stay involved with sports. You are providing a valuable service and you are helping contribute to the education of our youth.

Let’s be honest … without officials, there simply would not be a game!

See you at the games!

-- Marc Helmrichs, Activities Director

Keep Your Day

posted Oct 25, 2017, 1:21 PM by Brenda Williams

As someone who has worked in various school systems over the course of my professional years, there are some constants. There is buzz and panic at the start of each school year. There are parents and children excited for the start and others nervous about their new surroundings, new classes, academic workload and the like. There are also parents in a panic trying to figure out how their little babies grew up so fast, which is a category you can throw me into! There are lockers and busses and backpacks, which are all constant parts of a school year. There may be small variations to these things, but many have remained constant over the years, since everyone walked to school, uphill, both ways! Along with these constants, there is always some change.

As you encounter change in your daily life, I challenge you to embrace it and “keep your day.” Willow Sweeney is the co-founder of Top 20 Training, an organization that provides training and materials to empower leaders, teachers, parents and students to develop their potential. I first heard Willow at a back to school workshop about five years ago. She is truly gifted as a speaker and motivator, but the basis for what she does is simple, “keep your day.” Don’t let the worries of change, the person driving too slow in traffic or any other circumstance of your day, allow you to lose that day.

The theory is quite simple, really. We never get to “redo” a day. Once it is gone, it’s gone and we only have so many in our life. It is something I struggle with as much as anyone, but it is a great concept. Don’t let anything steal your day. There is plenty of turmoil in our world just hoping to snatch our day from us. You can see people losing their day because the Vikings lost or because the politics of the USA are not to their liking. You can witness people losing their day because of a mistake at work or because their child has spilled the milk, again!

You will always encounter challenges and change in your life. I’m sure there will be many times you can’t stop the challenges and the change is not to your liking, but don’t let them steal your day. Embrace them as something that will help you improve as a person. If you have children, I challenge you to help them do the same in their lives. It can be a great exercise that will serve your children well and furthermore, pushing them to “keep their day” can only help in developing a positive outlook through the challenges of their life. In an email signature I received from someone not long ago it said, “Today is all I have. Let me make the most of it.” I’d say it is safe to say, that person is choosing to “keep their day.” I challenge all of you to do the same.

-- Rich Spiczka, Community Education Director

I Wish You Bad Luck

posted Oct 13, 2017, 9:14 AM by Brenda Williams

I consider myself blessed to have parents, who despite my current age of 38, still take the time to clip articles out of the newspaper to share with their son. Every time my Mom and Dad venture to the North Country to visit the grandkids, they come armed with an entire stack of articles ranging from the latest news from our hometown Isanti County News, all the way to Op-Ed pieces out of the Star Tribune (and everything in between).

As I thumbed through a pile of articles this summer, I stumbled across an article titled “I wish you bad luck, so that you may grow.” (Opinion, pg. 4 Star Tribune, July 16, 2017) Intrigued by the title, I dove deeper. The piece centered around a short summary of a commencement speech delivered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to an audience at an 8th grade graduation at Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire.

Much like any other commencement speech, there was the traditional recognition of parents, discussions of the future, etc. Not long into the address though, Chief Justice Roberts shifted his focus. “An important stage of your life is behind you. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you it is the easiest stage of your life, but it is in the books.” He went on to state: “Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that and I’ll tell you why.”

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly-so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal-because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.” He then challenged the young adults through his words stating, “Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time - so that you don’t take your friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.” You can read the full article on your own (or better yet, search it on YouTube).

We talk at great lengths here at Pequot Lakes Middle School about partnering with school and home in helping to raise our students. Please take an opportunity to engage in what an educator calls a “Teachable Moment” by helping your child to navigate these tough situations. When faced with hurdles at school, we engage our students in conversations about helping them through “Struggle Strategies” when they are faced with adversity. It isn’t always an easy conversation, but we owe it to our kids to engage in the opportunity.

I signed up for the early October Patriot Perspective slot with no idea that this impactful article was going to be inserted into my life. Yes, we could write at great lengths celebrating a great start to a school year at, our spring test results, the fact that we had approximately 2/3 of our staff participate in phenomenal professional development this summer, etc., but we feel this message is perhaps a more important one. Join us in taking “bad luck” and turning it into a life lesson learned; striving every day to help our students to be resilient and reflective young men and women.

Oh, and thanks Mom and Dad, for taking the time to clip those articles!

-- Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal

Leaving a Trace

posted Oct 3, 2017, 12:57 PM by Brenda Williams

A couple of years ago, when planning a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), I read about the concept of Leave No Trace. Leave No Trace is a principle of interacting with nature that seeks to minimize the impact of humans on the environment of natural areas. The goal would be that no one would ever know you had been there. No trail. No evidence of your impact. Nothing.

I can’t imagine a worse way to experience high school than Leave No Trace. While this ideal is great for nature, it’s the sign of doom for a student in school.

When I think of the high school experience, I think most about the impact of this experience on the lives of our students. For many people, high school was an experience unlike any other that carries with it lasting memories and compels them to return 10, 20, even 50 years later to re-live those cherished moments. We buy class rings, letterman’s jackets, yearbooks, take photos, make scrapbooks, and other lasting mementos that remind us of the experience we shared with our classmates in the halls of a building we proudly called our high school. Many a past Patriot can recall the words of the school song, remember the winning basket of the biggest game in the old gym, or retell stories of mischief under the nose of a teacher. The impact of the high school years is felt long after students graduate. Being a graduate of Pequot Lakes High is a badge of honor carried for a lifetime.

The trace, the evidence of impact, goes beyond the symbolic experience of belonging to a place. It is also felt in the impact of the adults on students. Teachers whose legacy of professional practice is retold for decades after students were in their classroom. Secretaries, cooks, custodians, and bus drivers who took the time to make a meaningful impact on the life of kids. Principals who maintained a standard of excellence that held kids accountable. People who noticed when your day was tough or when you needed a boost. People who you wondered if they would ever retire, but you secretly hoped they would wait until your own kids were in high school. This trace of the high school experience is felt for a lifetime. Without the people, high school is just a building. The people made it an experience.

A school and community is also impacted by those who it serves. Every graduate leaves a little trace of themselves. This legacy is a reputation forged by events that have shown our character, our strength, our credibility, the evidence to others of who we are and what we stand for. Young men and women of character learn how to lead with confidence, learn to shoulder a burden, learn to think deeply, learn empathy, and skills that will guide them in life. What they leave behind is of far greater value. They leave a legacy of what it means to have a diploma from Pequot Lakes High School.

Pequot Lakes Schools have benefited from the efforts of our community and former graduates. Donations of materials and equipment to our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Technology Ed programs have enabled our students to learn skills for the workplace that prepare them for trades before they graduate. Support by local resorts for the Pro-Start program has provided new equipment and curriculums in our Family and Consumer Science program that provides students with real-world culinary skills that can fast-track them into careers. Support from local businesses has created internship experiences for six students that enable them to gain skills and training for careers they intend to pursue once they graduate. Donations to the Patriot Foundation and other funds have provided students with scholarships to enable them to pursue more education. Donations of time have put professionals in our classrooms to share their work experience so our students have an awareness of potential careers. Supportive voices have spread the news of the good work our students do every day and encouraged a friend or neighbor to attend school events or become active in organizations that support our school. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Patriot Activities Club (PAC) have supported our students both during the school day and beyond in opportunities that give kids an exposure to activities that stretch their world. Lifelong Patriots like Bob Uppgaard, Wayne “Wheaties” Wallin, and others have made it their legacy to support PLHS students through service of time and expertise. Community organizations and nonprofits have funded building updates, student programming, and travel expenses for students to attend activities that teach leadership and citizenship skills. And the list goes on.

These are the legacy of the Patriots. This the evidence that schools have a lasting impact on students, that a successful school is a result of the efforts of people inside and outside the building. That the lasting impact of this experience is felt for a lifetime. That school is more than test scores and grades. We all leave a trace, evidence of our having been there, and having made a difference. Whether you are a community member, a parent, or a student, what is your trace, your legacy of being a Pequot Lakes Patriot?

-- Aaron Nelson, High School Principal

Patriot Foundation to Support Scholarships, Grants

posted Sep 22, 2017, 8:09 AM by Brenda Williams

With the halls of Pequot Lakes Schools again full of students eager to learn and excited to be with friends, we Patriots have so much to celebrate! Our students and staff have returned to wonderfully prepared classrooms and facilities for learning, for the arts, and for our many athletic and activity programs. Our Patriot staff is working hard to personally know and reach out to each student, and the sense of community is palpable at our regular fall events. Recent news about hundreds of southern school districts struggling to open for the year due to hurricane damage has reminded me again just how fortunate we are to be living here in the central MN lakes area.

We are very excited to announce the relaunch of the Patriot Foundation this fall! The foundation is being launched to support scholarships for PLHS graduates, to fund innovation grants, and to support strategic efforts to serve our Patriot students. The foundation needs your support to take advantage of a significant matching grant from the National Joint Powers Alliance and invites you to share your willingness to join the effort. Please go to the district website at isd186.org and click on “Foundation Survey” in the left menu to provide your thoughts and input! Contact the district office if you have questions or would like to discuss arrangements for a significant or unique donation to the Patriot Foundation.

Finally, please continue to support our Patriot students by advocating with state legislators for fair and equitable school district funding. Pequot Lakes Schools continues to rank in the bottom 5% of school districts in MN for operational funding per student. This results in less funds to provide activities, less funds to maintain reasonable class sizes, and less funds to attract high-quality staff. In a year when the legislature had a surplus to work with, our school board was forced to make the difficult decision to reduce expenditures for 2017-18 by eliminating a technology support position, cutting a school bus out of the budget, and reducing a key support position for students at EV. Our Patriot students deserve better than the bottom 5% and getting that message across to decision-makers in St. Paul takes all of us advocating together on their behalf.

Thank you for supporting the Patriots and please fill out the “Foundation Survey” on the district website!

-- Chris Lindholm, Superintendent of Schools

Proud to have been a Patriot!

posted Jun 7, 2017, 6:28 AM by Brenda Williams

I have had the distinct honor of serving as the Pequot Lakes High School Principal for the past seven years. As this school year comes to an end, it will also mark the end of my time as a Patriot; at least for now. It’s been an incredible opportunity for our family of six, including four school-aged children, to have grown up in a healthy and supportive environment. Our communities are very blessed to have an extremely high-performing school district, which strives to treat each student like their own child.

I want to begin by informing and thanking our entire school community for the growth in achievement and opportunity we have experienced over the past several years. First and foremost, the improvement and investment in facilities has made a significant impact in the access our students have to STEM programming, technology, and significantly improved learning environments. As a result, the Class of 2017 will go down as the highest overall ACT achievement graduating class, with 13 students in the Class of 2017 having scored a 30 or better on the ACT. Furthermore, 12 students will be earning an Associate’s Degree in addition to their High School Diploma at graduation because of our awesome partners at Central Lakes College.

I want to personally thank the ISD #186 School Board for the support and investment they have made in the building level, grass roots initiatives undertaken in the last seven years. The seven--period day, the full implementation of PLTW, the investment in programming that allowed 73 students to earn an Associate’s Degree in addition to their HS Diploma are just a few of the initiatives we have successfully implemented as a result of the School Board’s support. In addition, our students have access to technology to include devices, programs, and curriculum as a direct result of our local School Board’s investment. Over the last seven years, we have been allowed to select the very best teachers to fill openings, even when the cost surpasses that of a beginning teacher. I cannot think of a single item, initiative, or proposal that was brought to the Board that didn’t receive complete support when it was warranted, and for that I want to say, “Thank you!”

It’s critical that I share the admiration, respect, and pride I have in the staff at Pequot Lakes Schools. I have the advantage of working in the district along with having students in the district. It is fairly normal to observe teachers consistently working through lunch, coming in early or staying late, or providing support on weekends, holidays, and evenings to ensure each and every student succeeds. For instance, our Robotics and Trap coaches have volunteered to ensure programming was available to all interested students. Volunteer tutors, weight room supervisors, and chaperones always come forward, because without them, these opportunities would be lost. I can even recall countless times that financial aid was provided to students who were in need without any strings attached. The staff at Pequot Lakes High School truly love the kids they serve.

In closing, I would like to thank our families and communities for the support they have provided to our entire school team. The donations of time, money, and support are so deeply appreciated. I hope we continue to invest in our great schools! 

-- Chip Rankin...Proud to have been a PATRIOT!

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