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What, Why, Who, and How of Pequot Lakes Community Education

posted Jan 21, 2015, 1:37 PM by Brenda Williams
What is community education? Each school district chooses whether to have a community education (CE) program offered through the district. Minnesota legislates funding to support community education services in a school district.  Pequot Lakes ISD #186 has offered community education since 1972.

Why does a school district have a community education program? Community education programs were created to make use of the school facility during out of school time hours. It has been referred to as the “lighted school” concept. Community education programs offer a variety of life long experiences to community members from birth through senior citizen age. Learning does not begin or end with K – 12 schooling. Community education offers informal non- credit classes, events and programs based on needs that have been identified in the local community. Local community resources are used to develop classes. What would you like to see offered here?

Who uses community education? Is it just for adults to take classes? I heard it is only Youth Sports. Annually a CE program submits a report of program participation to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The 2013 – 2014 Pequot Lakes Community Education report covers the program activities from July 1, 2013 through to June 30, 2014. Participation numbers show that there were 134 children who registered for the Kid Konnection school age child care program, there were 645 preschool participants in program like Safety Kids and Swimming lessons, there were 1,027 youth participants in CE youth enrichment such as after school classes, day camp activities and youth driver’s education; in addition there were students who participated in Youth Sports in the following numbers: 591 students in grades K to 5, 102 in grade 6 to 8 and 125 adults who were coaches; adult enrichment numbers were 4,644 which includes attendance at the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA) shows and driver improvement classes. The Early Childhood Coalition had 800+ participants who received free books from the Bright Red Book Shelves or at family events that were offered by the community based Early Childhood Coalition. Adding all of the participation numbers together indicates there were 8,068 times when a community member participated in one or more CE activity. The participation numbers shown above do not include the enrollment in ECFE, School Readiness, Early Childhood Screening or Adult Basic Education (ABE) data that are submitted to MDE in other state reports.

How can I use community education? As a resident of ISD #186 you are encouraged to utilize community education services. There are many ways for you to be an active consumer of community education. You can 1- Sign up for a CE class or enroll your child in a CE class or activity; 2- Share your knowledge and skills to lead a CE class;  3- Volunteer as a parent or adult to be a Youth Sports coach or to serve as a board member on the CE Advisory Council, the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts board, the Youth Sports Advisory board and the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) / School Readiness Parent Advisory Council; 4- Audition for a role in community theater production, 5-Attend performances of the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA) shows.

Pequot Lakes Community Education strives to serve the residents of the school district. If you have not been involved with a CE program check out the opportunities on the school website, go to and then click on Community Education. Check over the winter book with classes for December 2014 through March 2015. Community education is here to serve you.

-- Julie Despot, Community Education Director