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On the Path to Greatness

posted Sep 20, 2018, 2:18 PM by Brenda Williams
Before school could officially kick off this year, both Pequot Lakes High School and Pequot Lakes Middle School were presented with separate awards demonstrating that purposeful and strategic hard work pays off when we stick to it with dedication, focus and resilience. The Brainerd Dispatch announced in late August that Pequot Lakes High School was voted the #1 Best School in the Brainerd Lakes Area in their annual Best of the Brainerd Lakes survey! While the award was a surprise, the news was not. The team at PLHS has been working methodically and diligently in recent years to expand and streamline course and activity offerings, to develop digital curriculum resources, and to implement a personal learning plan system that results in a personalized learning pathway for each Patriot. The community investment in updated facilities, increases in technology access for students, and time for teachers to work collaboratively to build a repository of resources is the foundation upon which the PLHS staff has developed the high school of choice in central MN. The staff at PLHS should be extremely proud of their hard work and the community should be very proud to see their investments paying off and showing excellent results.

One week after the announcement from the Brainerd Dispatch, the MN Department of Education released statewide results from state accountability tests last spring, and Pequot Lakes Middle School earned accolades for being in the top 5% of schools in MN for overall reading achievement! Once again, the award was a surprise but the news was not. The teachers and school leadership teams at Pequot Lakes Middle School and Eagle View Elementary have worked very hard in recent years to build a robust system of interventions and enrichments to ensure all students are learning at high levels, and the needle is starting to move. All of our schools are now implementing the leadership practices of a High Reliability School, establishing metrics on practices critical for success, and monitoring progress methodically over time. They are working towards being certified in the five levels of a High Reliability School: Safe and Collaborative Culture, Effective Teaching in Every Classroom, Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum, Standards-Referenced Reporting, and Competency-Based Education. The ultimate long-term result of this hard and deliberate work is students learning more and achieving at higher levels.

The school board of Pequot Lakes Schools adopted and implemented a strategic plan in 2013-14 calling for a rigorous, relevant, and personalized learning experience for each student. At that time, our schools didn’t have structured and empowered leadership teams in place or a cohesive system for developing and evaluating instructional staff. As a result of bold and strategic decisions by the school board and strong principal leadership, Pequot Lakes Schools now has three highly effective leadership teams in place that are leading methodical, focused, and research-based approaches to improving results on many fronts. And the results are starting to come in…

As we kick off the 2018-19 school year, the Pequot Lakes Schools community can be more proud than ever that our schools continue to improve and outperform most school districts. Our high school was voted the #1 Best School in the Brainerd Lakes Area and our middle school is in the top 5% in the state in overall reading achievement. There is no question - it is a great day to be a Patriot!!!

-- Chris Lindholm, Superintendent of Schools