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It Takes A Village

posted Oct 26, 2018, 3:04 PM by Brenda Williams
The success of any organization is the precise workings of its many parts. Many parts, one purpose. As our school works to ensure every student belongs at PLHS, and as the district focuses on a Safe and Collaborative Culture in our High-Reliability Schools efforts, we know that this is only achieved with disciplined and purposeful work on behalf of our students. Many programs in place to ensure this success are not well known by parents and the community. Here’s to shedding a little light on the subject.

Not everyone comes to school excited to be here. For some students, the challenges they face in a school make it a place of great difficulty. Whether the need is academic, social, or emotional, Pequot Lakes High School has the supports in place to make success achievable. School skills are those strategies beyond academic learning that students need to be successful; skills such as organization, study skills, time management, test-taking strategies, and workload management. Some students face barriers to success that are a result of non-academic factors. Home life and school life collide in complicated ways for some kids in a way that makes learning algebra a low priority in the mind of a 15-year-old. For these students, strategies for managing emotions, dealing with grief, seeking safe relationships, finding a friendship group, or identifying a trusted adult to confide in. These social-emotional skills are essential for success beyond high school.

To address this variety of needs, Pequot Lakes High School has created system-level programs and individual-level programs to help students learn, grow, and survive. For more consistent needs we have our Focus program. This structured setting helps students to gain skills while assisting with day-to-day tasks of school that can easily overwhelm a struggling student. Students are screened into this intensive intervention program based on need and are taught both school skills and social-emotional skills to help them improve their success in school and beyond. Students are tracked based on their individual growth and eventually move beyond the need for this resource as they gain confidence in their abilities.

For students that experience a traumatic event and find themselves lost in a cycle of emotional confusion, Pequot Lakes Schools is fortunate to have several resources on site to provide assistance. Our school counselors serve as point people for students. The counselor is able to isolate need and refer students to the appropriate resource. Our collaborative workers provide students with skills and resources in cases of financial, emotional, and social needs that limit a student from a successful experience in school. Mental health services are also available to students who experience greater needs. Available within the building, this service addresses the needs that present the greatest barrier to student learning.

Some needs do not require as intensive support and are the more common issues addressed at the classroom level. Teachers implement study sessions, structured reteaching, guided assistance and reassessment in their classrooms outside of class time as a way of helping students struggling with the content. Our tenth-grade teachers have implemented a more intensive intervention for students who demonstrate greater academic needs with a program they call “Lunch Bunch”. This program assigns students to a lunchtime eat and learn session with the student to help get them back on track and ensure success by reteaching content or assisting with learning deficits.

The process of helping a child be successful in school starts at home with a structured and supportive environment and continues in school through the careful integration of many resources. Rarely does one individual take sole responsibility for every need a student may have on the road to success. It truly does take a village to raise a child.

-- Aaron Nelson, High School Principal
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