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It’s Great to be a Pequot Lakes Patriot!

posted Jan 27, 2016, 7:30 AM by Brenda Williams
First, let me begin by thanking all the community members that have and continue to invest their time, talents and funding to Pequot Lakes Public Schools. As a result of your contributions, I am proud to share with you that we have one of the finest schools in our Region, State, and Country. I know that sounds fairly lofty but I have the data to back up these claims. That’s why it’s great to be a Pequot Lakes Patriots.

Currently, Pequot Lakes High School is ranked in the top 35 schools in Minnesota based upon our 2015 ACT test scores. When students took the ACT in 2015 they scored above the state average in every area. Furthermore, these test scores were higher than nearly any other school outside the metro area. I will admit that the Class of 2015 did have 11 students, which represents 10% of the senior class, who scored better than a 30 on the ACT. It’s important to point out that the entire community both in and out of school directly impacted these results. Also, I would like to share with you that these results are not an anomaly, but the students at Pequot Lakes High School typically do outperform the majority of students in Minnesota. While this is just one data point, it’s significant because it allows students from Pequot Lakes to compare their individual readiness with students across the entire United States. Considering 86% of the students who graduate from Pequot Lakes High School attend a postsecondary program, these test results help students get accepted at the school of their choice.

Pequot Lakes High School has benefited from the investment the community made when the 7-period day was approved. This investment provided for a comprehensive system of interventions extended to all learners. Another key investment that has proven productive is a credit recovery program that allows learners to earn credits they may have failed using online resources. As a result of this support, 99.3% of students graduated in the Class of 2014 and 100% of students in the Class of 2015. These rates of graduation are up 6-8% from ten years ago. Furthermore, these graduation rates are some of the highest in the region and state. It’s important to mention these graduation rates are also a product of the Response to Intervention (RTI) and intervention efforts at the elementary and middle level. Finally, the average dropout can expect to earn an annual income of $20,241, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a full $10,386 less than the typical high school graduate, and $36,424 less than someone with a bachelor’s degree. In summary, we do everything we can to help students graduate with a diploma.

Another area in which being a Patriot has its advantages is in the number and availability of college credits through PLHS. Students at Pequot Lakes have a tremendous amount of options when it comes to course selection, from taking all classes online, to choosing from 90+ college and career readiness credits offered on the PLHS campus. The Class of 2015 had 19 students who earned an Associate's Degree and this year 28 seniors are working to earn an Associate’s Degree from Central Lakes College while earning their high school diploma. Each year roughly 84 students enroll in enough college courses to be considered full time college students at Pequot Lakes High School, without having to drive to Brainerd. These students collectively save families over $450,000 in tuition, books and housing because the local community and school board invested in the staff and programming at Pequot Lakes High School. The staff at Pequot Lakes works extremely hard to be credentialed to deliver the college coursework as part of the College in the Schools programming. This programming has opened the doors to all Pequot Lakes High School students and increased our Post-Secondary attendance rate from 72% to 91% for the class of 2015. This is an amazing opportunity and I want to thank our staff, superintendent, school board and community for making the commitment and investment to ensure all of our students are college ready.

Again, I want to thank everyone who has invested in Pequot Lakes Schools. Collectively, we continue to see significant achievements at Pequot Lakes High School that impact all students and families. Recent results on the ACT, graduation rate, and the number of students earning college credit while attending high school provide clear evidence that great things are happening at Pequot Lakes High School. We should be proud of our schools and it’s definitely a great time to be a Pequot Lakes Patriot!

-- Chip Rankin, High School Principal