President Obama recently unveiled a plan to have every American receive two years of free community college to ensure they had the skills necessary to meet the demands of a competitive global job market. Regardless of how you feel about this concept, no one can disagree that the more skills an individual has the more competitive they are in obtaining a good paying job in a competitive job market. At Pequot Lakes High School, we offer a full Associate’s Degree while earning a high school diploma to qualifying students. While I am not a proponent of everyone earning an Associate’s Degree while attending high school, I and the staff at PLHS encourage all eligible students to take a minimum of at least one college course while attending high school. This requires diligent planning on the part of students, families and PLHS staff throughout the year and especially during registration.
As first semester comes to an end and the second semester begins, students will begin planning for next year’s courses through the process known as registration. This process involves more than a few meetings to help students select next year’s classes. It is a coordinated effort of planning and advising involving the entire staff. Well before winter break, staff are planning, researching, and developing curriculum to meet the needs of our students. This planning extends to our partners at Central Lakes College. We strive to have the right courses and curriculum to ensure the best learning opportunities to meet the needs for each individual student. At Pequot Lakes High School, we’ve implemented the Ramp Up to Readiness program that uses advisors to deliver college and career readiness curriculum. These same advisors have been working with students to get acquainted with their strengths, plans, and career goals. Every year, the advisor and their students revisit their individualized learning plan, evaluate course selections, and make adjustments as needed.
In the next couple of weeks, students will begin the process of registering for the 2015-2016 school year. Advisors have been and will continue to meet with students to develop the best course selection to meet the needs of their individual learning plans to ensure each student is college and career ready at graduation. It’s critical that we encourage all students to push themselves to take the most rigorous courses that meet their needs to ensure they are college and career ready. Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone takes a full college load while in high school, as every student has different interests and skills. What is more important is that students select courses that appropriately challenge them at their level and are in-line with their individualized learning plan and goals. Also, it’s vitally important that parents and students understand the changing job market. A four-year college degree doesn’t necessarily mean a higher paying job. We have a number of tools for students and families to look at when developing a post-secondary plan.
In closing, there are a number of options at PLHS that rival large metro high schools while maintaining a small-school approach and atmosphere. Appropriate planning will ensure personalized learning plans are tailored to meet the needs of each student’s post-secondary plan. If you have questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact the Pequot Lakes High School office at 568-9210 to schedule an appointment with Principal Chip Rankin or HS Counselor LaVonne Murray.
-- Chip Rankin, High School Principal