My name is Rich Spiczka and this summer I began my journey as the new Community Education Director of ISD 186. As a dad, husband and lifelong learner, the first thing I did when accepting the job was get a lay of the land here and find out what opportunities there would be for myself and my family to get involved in activities, meet people, etc. In many areas of the USA, that can mean municipal recreation programs, church programs, YMCA, community center programming, etc. In Minnesota we are fortunate to have an entity in many communities to provide a variety of opportunities for all ages called Community Education. If you are reading this, then Community Education is about serving you.
The concept of Community Education began in Flint, Michigan during the Great Depression. It was developed to provide programs outside of the school day for children and expanded to include adult education and programming. In 1969 Governor of Minnesota Harold Levander hosted the “Conference on Lighted Schools.” The purpose of this conference was to identify ways in which the public could use school facilities for educational, social and recreational purposes beyond the regular school day. In 1971 legislation was passed, funds were appropriated and Community Education in Minnesota was born.
The goal of Community Education is to promote “lifelong learning.” We aim to provide programming, enrichment and access to opportunities to community members of all ages. In the Pequot Lakes area that means Early Childhood offerings for children ages birth to 5 years old along with their parents. It means youth sports offerings by season for all of our school aged children. It means enrichment classes ranging from kayaking, to knitting, to technical theatre, defensive driving courses, CPR, swimming lessons and the like. We have offerings available to people of all ages, skills levels and interests. We also operate Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts through ISD 186 Community Education that includes bringing great entertaining musical, dance and arts acts to our area for all to enjoy. As part of our GLAPA offerings, we have three Pequot Lakes Community Theater Shows where our local talents are displayed in plays and musicals as actors, actresses, musicians, musical directors, stage managers, set designers and the like.
As a member of our Pequot Lakes area community, we want to serve you and provide programming and opportunity that appeals to all members of our community. I encourage you to check out our website, view our catalog and try to find something that appeals to you. If you have ideas for programs you think we can offer or you have an expertise you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. I look forward to getting to know you and helping encourage you to become a lifelong learner.
- Rich Spiczka, Community Education Director