Each school year is marked with a few new concepts in programming in an effort to continually make Pequot Lakes Public Schools the best district in the area and state. This school year is no different. At the high school, a couple of new programs are being implemented aimed at improving student achievement and school climate.
This year Pequot Lakes High School has seven 50-minute periods compared to six 60-minute periods previously. The rationale is to provide additional opportunities for students. As a result, PLHS now has STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) courses in the areas of Robotics, Video Game Design, and Introduction to Information Technology, Medical Careers, and Video Graphic Design. These courses, in combination with our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses in Introduction to Engineering, Principles of Engineering, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing, provide robust technical skills course offerings to meet the demands we’ve heard from our local business partners. These courses are more than just science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; these courses provide the development of real skills, solving real problems, and making discoveries about the world. In addition, PLHS has added courses like classroom drivers education and “know your car” to meet the needs of our students. This opportunity allows students to get the classroom portion requirement for earning their driver’s license along with the opportunity to learn about buying, maintaining and servicing a vehicle.
Another change at Pequot Lakes High School is the number of course offerings in general. At PLHS, students can take a wide variety of courses, from completely online, along with both technical and college level. This fall we have 19 seniors and 28 juniors who are working to earn an Associate’s Degree from Central Lakes College while earning their high school diploma. Last year there were roughly 84 students enrolling 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 saved 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 have worked 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 2014. This is an amazing opportunity that 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.
Finally, as we approach the fall, I want to thank everyone for making Homecoming the best it’s been in many years. The student council and community were exceptional in making this a memorable event; thanks to both! We are off to an amazing start and can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.
-- Chip Rankin, High School Principal