A recent exit interview with Pequot Lakes Teaching & Learning Coordinator Tracy Tschida tossed me a challenge about how we ignite passion in the hearts and minds of our school district’s most important resource - our teachers. Tracy has served as our Teaching & Learning Coordinator this year and she is returning to her high school social studies classroom in the fall with a renewed sense of excitement. When I asked about how this past year has challenged her and what she’s learned, she said, “I got my creativity back!” She shared how this year-long assignment has given her the opportunity to get into other classrooms, to learn from her colleagues, to read the research on highly effective school systems, and to take on the different challenges of leading adults. “I now have a ton of new ideas to try and a vision for how my teaching can be so much better.”
“I got my creativity back.” Tracy’s statement last week leaves me grateful for our school board’s recent decision to create meaningful teacher leadership positions and to insert four professional development days into the school calendar. They understand that inspired teachers who are empowered to take risks and innovate are more effective than teachers who are left to work in isolation. Our board is supporting opportunities for all of our teachers to “get their creativity back,” and our end of year celebrations have provided a clear indication that a renewed passion for innovation and excellence is being stirred up in the classrooms of our schools.
Like most other districts, our leadership team at Pequot Lakes Schools has been researching and vetting options to put technology into the hands of our students to access curriculum and learning resources. This is a key component of our strategic plan which calls for personalized learning by the year 2020. Because all four core subject areas are now using digital curriculum, the time is ripe to take a bold step forward and to connect our students to learning both inside and outside of our school walls. Two basic options are emerging from our research: A) a lease plan for devices that are checked out to students, or B) an economical purchase option for families. The greatest challenge is to create a model that is fiscally sustainable over time, however we are optimistic as the price of technology continues to fall. Stay tuned for more information about possible plans for student devices in the year ahead. It is indeed a great day to be a Patriot!
-- Chris Lindholm, Superintendent of Schools