- Pequot Lakes Public Schools
- Patriot Perspective Articles
Volleyball Team Kudos
“Pequot Lakes Volleyball Team”
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
Congratulations to the Pequot Lakes Volleyball Team on their 2023 MSHSL State Championship; the first volleyball state championship in school history. The volleyball team was runner-up at the 2022 MSHSL State Championship. As Superintendent, I wanted to share my thoughts and appreciation for the following groups of people:
Team Thank you for showing us how to play together and get through challenging times. Being down 0-2 sets in the state tournament quarterfinals and semifinals, you trusted each other and played together. Thank you for trusting the coaching staff to make decisions on what is best for the team. Player roles may have changed from game to game, yet the positive attitudes and team-first approach were constant. Thank you for representing our school-community with class.
Coaches Thank you for the time and extraordinary commitment to developing our student-athletes as people and volleyball players. The constant care you displayed for every player on the roster was evident. Thank you for being a consistent example to our volleyball players and community of what caring and outstanding leadership looks like. Finally, thank you for being the best volleyball coaching staff in the State of Minnesota, as the tactical moves and game strategy were more than anyone knows.
Parents Thank you for supporting the team and your child throughout the season. With the talent on this year’s team and a roster full of seniors, you were able to trust the coaching staff and appreciate the team approach.
Boosterthon, Conferences, Veterans Day, Oh My
“Boosterthon, Conferences, Veterans Day, Oh My”
Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Phil Jackson was very accurate with this quote, as it takes a team in all areas of life - your family team, team of friends, colleagues, or sports teams - your people. In this Patriot Perspective, we are celebrating some excellence in teamwork.
First off, we want to say congratulations to Eli Hall, Calia Chaney, and the PLS Cross Country Team on their successful season. We also want to recognize Patriot Football for another amazing season. Last week, we sent off the Patriot Volleyball team with all of our Eagle View Patriot energy and cheers (it’s quite the volume). We wished them luck as they were off to represent Pequot Lakes at the State Volleyball Tournament. Go Patriots!
There’s truly never any downtime at EV. That has never been more true than the past couple of weeks for the EV team. We rolled back from Fall Break kicking off the PTA Boosterthon fundraiser on October 23rd with a building goal of $25,000.
This year’s Boosterthon theme was World Changer Workshop. Lessons included identifying a need, coming up with a plan, gathering a team, launching the plan, and then gritting it out. Positive life lessons to remind us all that we can each make a difference. Sometimes, making a difference isn’t a big thing; it can also be a small act. After a week of activities and incentives, the Boosterthon wrapped up with a Glow Run on October 31st, held inside this year (due to snow).
As stated by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” There is no doubt that we have world changers here in ISD 186 and at Eagle View. Thank you to our families, community organizations, and businesses for your support of our school and district. With your help and support, Eagle View surpassed the goal of $25,000 to over $40,000. EV earned the reward of going to the movies! Other special rewards for earners go to the 4th grade for Top Grade, and Top Class is Mr. Kristenson’s 3rd grade class.
Following the Glow Run, families were invited to confer with classroom teachers on November 1st & 2nd. There is a unique and special partnership that is fostered by a team of parents, teachers, and students in an elementary setting. Conferences are an opportunity to celebrate each student’s positives and make a plan for areas of concern. We appreciate your attendance at conferences and your partnership throughout the year.
On Friday, November 10th, all of EV will be honoring Veterans Day by participating in the Pequot Lakes High School Veterans Day program. Thank you to each and every Veteran for your service and sacrifice.
We hope you all take the time to celebrate “your people,” your team, and if you have a chance, send the EV staff a thank you for all they do for EVery student, EVery day!
Benefits of Granite Ridge Conference
“Benefits of Granite Ridge Conference”
Byron Westrich, Activities Director
Pequot Lakes Public School has moved into the Granite Ridge Conference and is providing more opportunities for our Patriots to compete in a variety of activities. The conference has many additional activities that our previous students were not able to participate in. Playing similar-sized schools has given our students more levels of play that weren't previously possible.
We are only three months into the new conference move but we have already found more chances for our students to compete. The best example might be in the sport of volleyball. Last season, only half of our opponents had four levels of volleyball like we do. This year, every conference contest has had four levels or teams. Some schools even gave us an extra set or two against the C squad level, giving more students playing time. In the middle-level volleyball programs, all of our conference schools played two teams with each grade. On many nights, we were playing six sets against each opponent. This gave the 50 girls we have participating in junior high volleyball more playing time. Tennis had a similar experience of teams having the same number of athletes. More playing time, more competition, and similar facilities will help our already strong programs to improve, grow, and compete at a higher level.
Fine arts activities offered in the GRC are One Act, Speech, Knowledge Bowl, Band, Choir, and Visual Arts. Previously, we had no conference opportunities in any of these activities. In January, our school will host the One Act festival one week before the subsection competition. The experience our school will have prior to entering section competition can be a major benefit. Band and Choir students can participate in a practice and produce a concert with the other seven conference schools, which will help our programs to grow along with allowing another opportunity to perform in front of others. Knowledge Bowl only had three regular season competitions last year, but will now have another date to compete with conference teams. These opportunities will give our students the ability to make connections with other students who have similar interests, and will provide great learning experiences that they can’t get from the classroom setting.
On November 1, all of our program advisors and coaches will meet during an activities summit. This night will provide a great chance for Patriots to connect, network and work with opposing advisors and coaches; bringing the coaches and advisors together to discuss how we can create the best possible experience for our children. Advisors and coaches will have the opportunity to review conference bylaws and can make suggestions on how we might be able to improve what we do as a conference. Coaches and advisors will also review varsity schedules, junior high schedules, awards, and procedures.
Looking ahead to winter and spring activities, we will find they will also bring similar opportunities as those experienced by our fall programs. Boys and girls basketball will have two levels of play in the middle level. Our C team will have the ability to play at the same time as our junior varsity, rather than playing earlier in the day. This will alleviate the need to depart from school earlier and reduce the transportation needed for each contest. Track season will give us two field houses to run indoor meets when a late spring arrival keeps us from competing outdoors. The GRC will also give us more track meets to help with scheduling needs.
We are excited for all of the new opportunities the Granite Ridge Conference will provide for Pequot Lakes students. We will find the GRC will continue to provide a better experience for our student-athletes.
An Ounce of Prevention
“An Ounce of Prevention”
Tracy Princivalli, RN, LSN, NCSN - School District Nurse
Benjamin Franklin famously advised fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736 that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the case of vaccine-preventable diseases, the concept is the same.
According to MN law, to enroll in child care, early childhood programs, and school in Minnesota, children must show they’ve had the required immunizations or file a legal exemption. Parents may file a medical exemption signed by a health care provider or a non-medical exemption signed by a parent/guardian and notarized in lieu of the vaccines.
Schools are also required by the state of Minnesota to complete a report summarizing the immunization status of all students K-12 enrolled in school – the Annual Immunization Status Report (AISR). For Pequot Lakes, it is the responsibility of the District Nurse to complete and submit the AISR by December 1 of each year. Pre-pandemic (2017-2018 school year), the immunization rates of our kindergarten students who were fully vaccinated were between 97-99%.
As a result of missed primary care visits and vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic, childhood and adolescent vaccination rates have dropped significantly. In the most recent data from the Minnesota Department of Health, nearly 30% of our six-year-old students are not up to date on the vaccines required for kindergarten, and nearly 30% of our thirteen-year-olds are missing at least one Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) and the MenACWY vaccine that prevents four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that causes Meningitis. Those percentages represent children who are vulnerable to diseases that can be debilitating, or life-threatening, but also can be prevented.
The MN Department of Health has provided an immunization tool kit for School Nurses to utilize to overcome the immunization gaps and become compliant with the laws that keep our students safe at school. Those tools will be implemented in the health offices at Eagle View Elementary School and the Pequot Lakes High School and Middle School in order to ensure our compliance with state law and our responsibility to our students. For families that cannot, or choose not to vaccinate their children for medical, personal, or religious reasons, a medical objection signed by a medical provider, or a notarized conscientious objection form is required in lieu of the vaccinations.
Together with parents and guardians, we have the opportunity to regain our safe vaccination levels and prevent a recurrence of childhood illnesses that have essentially been eradicated. Equally important is to have the proper objection forms on file to protect those students who are not fully immunized in case of a breakout of disease in our area. Please check with your child's health care provider or your child’s School Nurse to ensure they are up to date with their vaccination series, or that we have the proper documentation on file to excuse the vaccination requirement. In the case of vaccine-preventable illnesses, a mL injection for disease prevention can be worth a lifetime of disease protection.
Setting Goals at PLMS
“Setting Goals at PLMS”
Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal
Goal setting is a way of life in the public school setting. Districts set goals, buildings set goals, teachers set goals, and we challenge our students to do so as well. Pequot Lakes Middle School enters the 2023-24 school year with our eyes focused on improvement in three core areas.
Our first goal on the 5-8 campus is associated with helping our grade-level cohorts to increase the trajectory of their academic success. What we mean by that is, research tells us that for every day that goes by on the calendar, students will grow. Point toward the impact of maturation, or learning to navigate the world around us; everyone becomes a bit more wise with every day that passes. Our academic goal for PLMS in 2023-24 is set to increase student achievement in each cohort’s (e.g. the graduating class of 2031) Math and Reading scores on both our statewide MCA and also on our in-house assessment series called the STAR test. We hope to create a positive inflection point of 3% growth, or more, in their achievement through intense support during Homeroom and best first instructional practices in our core classroom settings.
The second goal for this school year is anchored in some feedback our students shared last spring. In polling our student body, 87% of our students report that they feel supported by our staff. Though we feel great about this data, we aim to improve this metric to 90% when we ask that same question later this year. A more concerning data point came from the same question with one word adjusted. When asked the prompt about “I feel supported by my peers,” our student body poll showed that only 63% of our kids feel supported by their classmates. We can blame adolescent development; we can blame phones or social media; we can point the finger in a multitude of directions. Regardless, this data is something that we need to work on. In response, PLMS is doubling down on our existing structures built around character education, and adding some new components to help this number to climb to what we hope will be 70% or more in the spring.
Our last goal focuses on the strategic use of our Homeroom period of the day. The Middle School Model is anchored in a portion of the day called “Homeroom” or “Advisory.” By design, this time period is intended to create time and space for students and staff to make a strong connection.
From their interests and hobbies to their learning profile, it is our hope that this 25-minute period of each day gives kids what they need to be successful. In 2023-24, we are looking to revamp the student experience in Homeroom. From growing the love of reading through quiet reading in a book of student choice for all, to diving in on a reteaching of a Math lesson a kid didn’t quite get the first time, we are hoping to make this window of the school day even more impactful than it already is.
The Pequot Lakes Schools take deep pride in growing our students. We unite with our parents and guardians to accept the enormous role that we both play in the development of the kids in our community.
GLAPA's 40th Season: A look back at our start
“GLAPA's 40th Season: A look back at our start”
Joell Tvedt, Community Education Director
This Fall marks the 40th season of Pequot Lakes Community Theatre. We are kicking off this milestone with a very special production called Enchanted April. Opening the evening of Thursday, October 5 in the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium, this charming, romantic comedy is the story of two London housewives feeling lost in the shadows of marriage and forgotten in the rush of the 1920s post-war society. Together with a pair of difficult upper-class women, they pool their savings to rent a villa in Italy for a ladies-only holiday.
Forty years is a long time for a community theatre to thrive. Just think about the dedication, commitment, and number of volunteer hours, not to mention the tens of thousands of people who have enjoyed our shows!
To celebrate this historic occasion, we have brought back some of the key people who were there from the beginning. Cumulatively, with hundreds of years of performing arts experience, the cast and crew involved with this production are simply magnificent! In addition, we will be showcasing costumes, favorite memories, and photos from the past 40 seasons throughout the run of Enchanted April.
Our community theatre has sparked countless interest in young actors over the years. It has been the place where people have gotten their start in theater and honed their artistic craft. It has proven to be a place where our community finds quality entertainment right in their backyard.
Getting its start back in 1984, the Pequot Lakes Community Theatre was born after conversations about the high school auditorium being underutilized. A relatively new auditorium at the time, built in 1979, it only made sense to fill the space with something that would benefit the community. So, the school district contacted Judy Larsen and others who put together the very first Pequot Lakes Community Theatre production called Bits of Broadway.
In the beginning, actors purchased and made their own costumes. Directors paid for their own shows. Set supplies and props were donated by the community and stored in people's homes and outbuildings. Over time, the school district was able to offer storage for these items. Through community and individual donations, along with grants from the Five Wings Arts Council and other entities, our community theater eventually had a small budget, allowing production teams to be hired for each show and show-specific items to be purchased.
As the idea of a community theater evolved, contract shows with various artists helped to fill the auditorium. This is where the name Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA) emerged. We were more than just a theater, offering up to three theater productions each year, along with three to four contracted shows. People were coming from all over the area and state to enjoy the entertainment we provided. Not only were they coming for the show, but they were shopping in our town and eating in our restaurants.
As I reflect on the history of our community theatre and write this article, I am purposely leaving out the names of those involved in getting us to where we are today. There have simply been so many individuals who have positively made an impact on the success of our community theatre over the years and I don’t want to leave anyone out. If you are reading this and you are one of those people, THANK YOU. Your time, generosity, and commitment to the arts in this community is invaluable. Without your dedication and passion for performing arts, our community theater would not have made it to this remarkable milestone.
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School District has launched Patriot-Vision.org, a website to provide our community with information on the upcoming capital projects levy and facilities bond referendum. The website provides:
– A detailed list of improvements to support outstanding education and a positive learning experience.
– Information on the community-led process that helped inform the school board’s recommendation for the proposed plan.
– An overview of the plan and the two ballot questions the district is asking voters to consider on November 7.
– A tax calculator to determine your estimated monthly tax impact.
– Voting information and additional resources such as the site improvement plan and frequently asked questions.
A question that I have received from community members is, “What are the specific projects included in the bond referendum?” Below are some highlights of the projects:
Safety & Security - There is roughly $21 million budgeted for projects including roofing, HVAC units (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), electrical/mechanical system upgrades, sidewalks, enhanced secure entrances and door modifications at all campus facility entrances, moving the high school office to a more central location, fencing around playgrounds, improved zoning and a sidewalk from Oak Street to secondary campus by the baseball field, addressing County Road 11 concerns at the Eagle View site, and reconfiguring parking and traffic flow at both the elementary and secondary campus. Upgrades to the kitchen areas would include a remodeling of the secondary site serving area to increase efficiency and flow of student traffic during breakfast and lunch, and adding food storage space (freezer, cooler and dry) at both the elementary and secondary sites.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) - There is roughly $9 million budgeted for CTE projects that include new spaces for robotics, technology, woods/metals and culinary arts with updates to the current FACS (Family and Consumer Science) and woods/metals spaces.
Educational Upgrades - There is roughly $35 million budgeted for educational updates that include new Early Childhood spaces at Eagle View, additional classrooms at the grades 5-12 campus, a new 750-seat auditorium, remodeling and expanding of the grades 5-12 commons area, and a middle school multi-purpose area. Also included in the plan are updated outdoor spaces that include two new softball fields and two new baseball fields built off-site, resurfacing the track, relocating fields and track zones to better utilize outdoor spaces, a new tennis court, and new bleachers around the track.
I encourage everyone to visit Patriot-Vision.org to learn more about how the capital projects levy and bond referendum would invest in our students and our schools. Thank you for the continued support.
MN Free School Meals Program
“MN Free School Meals Program”
Patty Buell, Food Services Director
On March 17, 2023, Governor Walz signed the MN Free School Meals bill into law. The MN Free School Meals Program provides state reimbursement to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program so that students can have one school breakfast and one school lunch at school per day at no cost. In simple terms, it means every student receives a free breakfast and lunch every day!
Even though meals are free for students, it is important for families to complete the Application for Educational Benefits form. Applications for Educational Benefits determine how much funding your child’s school receives for educational programs and supports. Additionally, eligible families can qualify for other benefits including waived deposits for Chromebooks, reduced sports fees, reduced fees for community education programs/classes as well as reduced fees for early childhood programs/classes.
Forms can be found on the school website (Departments>Food Services) and on the school’s student information system using your Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Paper versions are available in each school office.
Please fill out a form to help our schools receive funding and possibly qualify your family for additional benefits.
Feel free to reach out to Patty Buell with any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School Board is continuing to explore options in formulating a long-term facility plan. The main purpose of the facilities planning process is to ensure that the district has a comprehensive long-range facilities plan in order to be fiscally responsible and to meet the needs of our students. At the board meeting on May 15, 2023, the school board voted to direct the Superintendent to formulate a recommendation for a date, scope, amount, financing, and ballot language for a facilities bond election. The school board will spend the next board meetings discussing the recommendation. Below is an overview of the facility process timeline.
January 2022 - The Pequot Lakes School District published a Request for Proposals for facility planning. There were two main components of the facilities planning: (1) Facilities Assessment; and (2) Long-Range Facility Plan.
March - April 2022 - Six firms officially submitted a proposal in response to the RFP. Three firms were interviewed by a district committee of nine people, which included students, staff and community members, and a school board member. After the interview, reference checks and contract negotiations, the school district partnered with ATSR, an architectural and engineering firm.
May 2022 - ATSR representatives met with students from grades 3 - 12 as well as teams of staff from early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school. All staff were also given the opportunity to answer facility survey questions.
June 2022 - August 2022 - ATSR engineers and architects conducted site visits evaluating the current conditions of all aspects of Pequot Lakes School District facilities.
August 2022 - ATSR presented their findings on facility maintenance and prioritized the maintenance needs based on the current buildings and facilities. There were about 7M in high priority, 12M in medium priority, and 3M in low priority needs.
September 2022 - The Facilities Planning Team (FPT) kicked off a 5-meeting series to review the current facility assessments and to work through a process in order to prioritize current and future facility needs. The FPT was charged with providing a recommendation for a long-range comprehensive plan for district-wide priorities and baseline needs for our facilities to the school board.
October 2022 - Hazel Reinhart presented an enrollment study to the school board.
January 2023 - Amelia Reynolds and Jobey Tvedt, two Pequot Lakes School District students on the FPT, presented the committee’s recommendation to the school board, which included 35 items ranging from maintenance needs, updating some current facility areas, and building some classrooms and an auditorium.
At the regular school board meeting on January 23, 2023, Michael Hart from PMA Securities presented financial information. PMA Securities is the District's financial advisor. The presentation included a review of the current tax base, outstanding bond debt, and options and information for facility upgrades.
March 2023 - The Pequot Lakes School Board received an update at the board meeting regarding the FPT recommendations. Additional follow-up information was requested from school board members on various aspects of the facilities plan. The school board meeting involved discussion only and no formal school board actions were taken.
April 2023 - At the regular board meeting on April 17, 2023, the School Board received updated cost estimates for the proposed facility improvements and updated financial information.
May 2023 - At the board work session on May 1, 2023, the School Board received a report on a Capital Projects Levy option and updated financial information prepared by Michael Hart, PMA Director.
Community members are encouraged to visit the District’s website to learn more about the facilities planning process (www.isd186.org → District → Facilities Study). Thank you for the continued support of Pequot Lakes School District students.
Support a Patriot Tradition - Fitness Center Improvement Project
“Support a Patriot Tradition - Fitness Center Improvement Project”
Byron Westrich, Activities Director
The Pequot Lakes School District is seeking donations to upgrade its weight room equipment. There has been a steady growth in the number of students who utilize the weight room. Increased enrollment and increased interest have created a need to update the equipment and layout so that more students can work out. The weight room is open every morning with roughly 15-25 students lifting before school even starts for the day. During the day, we often have at least one physical education class in the weight room. We do have enough room for two classes to lift at once but we don’t have enough equipment for those sixty students.
The size of the weight room does fit our needs and it is in a perfect location, near the locker rooms, access to the indoor running track, and close to the athletic center; however, with more student use needed during the day and the increased use before and after school, it is time to improve the layout and upgrade the equipment inside the room so that more students can work out at the same time. In addition, the vision for our Strength and Conditioning Coach is to work with all of our athletic teams so they can lift twice a week while they are in season. Currently, our teams find they must lift before school in order to have enough room for everyone to get in these twice-a-week sessions.
Our current weight room only has four places to bench press, squat and clean. These are the big-three lifts that students use when training. We also only have one dumbbell area, one place to use a lat pulldown or a seated cable row. These areas often have a line of students waiting to use these lifts. Many of our older students are starting to pay for memberships with area facilities because they are tired of waiting for equipment to open up. We need to change this so all of our students can lift within our facilities, to create a better sense of pride and cohesiveness by lifting together.
The initial part of this project is to change the room name from our weight room to the Fitness Center. The name change is more user-friendly, and it seems more welcoming to all students to train and work out, rather than just those who want to lift weights. Our proposed plan will give us sixteen areas to bench, clean, and squat. Each station will be equipped with a bench that is mobile so students can bench, use dumbbells, and raise the bench for inclines, making these areas practical for a group of students to get in and work out in just one area. On the other side of this is either a lat pulldown and seated cable row or an inverse curl machine that is state-of-the-art for training explosive leg power. This setup with our equipment will allow more of our students to work out at the same time. We can have multiple classes at once during the day. We will be able to have all of our teams work out in this facility during the season, to create more competitive teams, to be better prepared for injury prevention, and to create that team atmosphere that is desired. The new equipment will be branded with school colors, with Patriot logos, creating more school pride. The new equipment layout will also facilitate our students that are handicapped or injured to be able to work out.
We are seeking donations from the community and businesses to support this outstanding improvement for our students. We know this improvement will help all of our students improve their mental health, increase physical strength, help prevent injuries, and give them an athletic edge when competing. The donation goal to improve the Fitness Center equipment is $300,000. There are various levels of sponsorships, from Patriot Level ($50,000 or more) to Barbell Level ($499 or less). All donations are welcome and can be submitted online through our District website (click on Payment Portal and then Donations), or mailed directly to Pequot Lakes Schools, Attn: Fitness Center Project, 30805 Olson Street, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.
Thank you for your support! Go Patriots!
Naloxone in the School Setting
“Naloxone in the School Setting”
Tracy Princivalli, RN, LSN, NCSN - School District Nurse
In response to the rising opioid overdose deaths, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education collaborated with School Nurse leaders across the state to develop a toolkit for schools to implement policies and procedures in school districts across the state to be better prepared to handle an opioid overdose emergency.
According to the MDH in 2021, an average of four Minnesotans died each day from a drug overdose. Opioid-involved overdose deaths among Minnesotans increased by 43% from 2020 to 2021, and the number of deaths has more than doubled since 2019. The continued increase in opioid-related deaths is thought to be driven by the availability of synthetic opioids (e.g., fentanyl), psychostimulants (e.g., methamphetamine), and cocaine. One might think that is only an inner-city problem; however, data shows that for the first time since 2014, a larger percent increase occurred in Greater Minnesota than in the Twin Cities metro area. Overdoses are most often accidental and can occur with the use of legally prescribed medications.
Naloxone or Narcan (brand name) is an opioid antagonist that will temporarily reverse deadly respiratory depression experienced by an opioid overdose. When administered quickly and effectively, Naloxone can immediately restore breathing to a victim experiencing an opioid overdose and prevent death. The medication can be given by intranasal spray (into the nose), intramuscular (into the muscle), subcutaneous (under the skin), or intravenous injection. There is no potential for addiction or other misuse of Naloxone. Naloxone is not a controlled substance.
While Naloxone is life-saving for suspected opioid overdose, there are other health conditions that may have similar symptoms in emergency situations, such as diabetic ketoacidosis, hypothermia, and stroke. If Naloxone is mistakenly given to someone not actually experiencing an opioid overdose, it will not harm them, but it also will not help the person, and 911 should always be called when Naloxone is given. Shallow or absent breathing is a hallmark sign of opioid overdose, leading to decreased oxygen in the body that can result in heart attack and eventually death. Opioid ingestion can be confirmed once the victim is alert, but Naloxone treatment can begin immediately anytime an opioid overdose is suspected, without fear of causing harm.
The new Naloxone toolkit provides Minnesota school districts with standard information and recommendations for policy and emergency procedure development, the role of medical providers for standing orders/protocols and prescriptions, resources for obtaining Naloxone medication, resources for education and training and recovery/referral resources to meet the needs of those who are at risk or who have experienced an overdose.
The Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) offers a sample of policy language for the administration of Naloxone in schools (MSBA Model Policy 516.5). Our school board is currently reviewing the information and collaborating with School Nursing staff, Superintendent Stumpf, and School Resource Officer Sheri Fyle to create and adopt a policy that will ensure Pequot Lakes Schools are the best prepared to treat opioid-related overdoses if they occur with our students, staff, or visitors.
Language is an Asset
“Language is an Asset”
Megan Zierden, HRS Coach & EL Teacher
Multilingual Learner (ML) refers to all children and youth who are, or have been, consistently exposed to multiple languages. This asset-based term comes from the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) consortium. The state of Minnesota uses the term English Learner (EL) in reference to the learner or instructional program, so ML and EL are often used interchangeably in place of other terminology used in the past (LEP, ESL, ELL).
The work done with multilingual learners is based on WIDA standards and these standards are rooted in WIDA’s Can Do Philosophy. Can Do Descriptors are a tool to help educators meet students where they are in their language development. They are set up like steps so each proficiency level includes and builds on previous levels. The goal is to build towards independence.
The Pequot Lakes School district historically has had fewer than 10 students each year who receive English Learner (EL) services. As an EL teacher, I ask myself, “What can the student do and what does he/she need in order to reach the next step?” If students have similar needs at similar ages, I group them together. If this isn’t the case, then I support students individually. Much of our time together focuses on vocabulary and language structures that build listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The important thing is to do this work while still staying relevant to the students’ grade level and content. As students get into high school, we also work on building confidence and self-advocacy. Here are some comments students made about our time together: “It’s helpful ‘cause I can get a lot more work done.”; “Good. I like the word games.”; “It’s great. It’s very helpful and you pretty much build a bond before we work on studying”.
Along with asset-based and Can Do approaches, we must remember that students who continue to be fluent in their first language do better with English proficiency as well. Because of this, students and their families are encouraged to use their home languages, including but not limited to the following: telling stories, singing, reading, or having discussions. These types of activities support student language development. As stated on the WIDA Family Connections through Home Languages flier, “Rich cultural and linguistic interactions can bolster children’s sense of themselves and their primary language skills. Children can master a language and academic learning when their primary language and culture are stronger.” These types of fliers are available in several languages so educators, like myself, can send home resources that families will understand.
All of these things are important, but we must be willing to embrace the idea that language, any language, is an asset. When students come to us with a limited experience in English, we must remember that the language they do have is a foundation to build on and so are the experiences that come from that language. Being a multilingual learner is truly a gift and I remind my students of this often.
April is Testing Season in Minnesota Schools
“April is Testing Season in Minnesota Schools”
Travis Raske, Director of Teaching & Learning
Pequot Lakes School District students will be taking the MCA and ACT tests this month alongside other districts throughout the state. Schools utilize the MCA test to monitor and measure student progress towards the Minnesota state academic standards. The purpose of the ACT test is to measure a student’s readiness for college and it is one component of the application process.
While recognizing that a single test score does not define or completely measure a student's capabilities, testing has become an integral part of the educational process, providing students and teachers with valuable feedback on effective curriculum, instructional practices, and learning.
For schools, testing is an important way to measure student learning and evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs. It can help identify areas where additional resources or services may be needed, and it can also provide data that can be used to set school and building-level goals. Standardized tests are valuable for tracking overall student achievement at the school level. Many school districts use these tests to compare student performance on a state or national level, helping to identify both strengths and weaknesses across different schools.
For students, testing provides a way to measure their academic progress, which can be used to help them set goals and assess their strengths or areas of needed support. The score can help to demonstrate a student’s academic progress and can also be used as a measure of college and career readiness. ACT scores are shared to students’ accounts a month after testing; MCA scores are shared with families in August.
The MCA test is given in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in reading, grades 3 through 8 and 11 in math, and grades 5, 8, and 10 in science. The ACT test is offered to 11th graders within our school and students are encouraged to take it more than once in preparation for college entrance.
Did you know that Minnesota statute has capped districtwide testing at 11 hours or less per year, depending on grade level? This equates to students spending less than 1% of their time on tests each year.
While testing is a valuable comparison tool, it is important to remember that tests do not measure the whole child. They do not measure a student's creativity, work ethic, social skills, or other important qualities essential to be a productive member of the community. Therefore, it is important to recognize that Pequot Lakes schools do not rely solely on the score from one test. Rather, we look to foster strengths in many areas and recognize students for their talents.
Overall, these are summative assessments and we triangulate this data with many other forms of assessment to best understand the academic needs of the student and respond to what they know, what they don't know, and how we can best meet their needs to reach state standards. Standardized tests are a valuable resource for measuring student achievement and helping to guide academic decisions. By providing a consistent and objective assessment of student performance, these tests can be a powerful tool for educators, administrators, and families.
Five test-taking tips that will help students perform at their best: 1) get a good night’s sleep; 2) eat a healthy breakfast; 3) dress confidently; 4) arrive early with necessary materials; and 5) smile, you are going to do great!
Achievements and Opportunities
“Achievements & Opportunities”
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
It’s hard to believe but we are already making plans for end-of-year activities. There has been, continues to be, and we are still planning many activities and exciting opportunities for our students and community. Below are some highlights.
Pequot Lakes students have competed and achieved at impressive levels, such as: Minnesota Class AA State Runner-up in Volleyball; One-Act Play advancing from Sub-sections to Sections for the first time in many years; Robotics team winning Regionals again and advancing to the World Competition and the State Tournament; the Roadcrew Wrestling team and individuals earning a trip to the State Tournament; and the Boys Basketball team advancing to State competition.
Pequot Lakes students have enjoyed many opportunities provided by dedicated staff who plan events, as well as supportive parents and community. Some of these awesome opportunities include: all 6th-grade students having the opportunity to attend a 3-day overnight Wolf Ridge trip; elementary students participating in the PTA Color Run; high school students taking part in a Career Fair; elementary students having an all-school Bingo with prizes from PTA; middle school students taking a day trip to Nisswa on their bikes; as well as many other field trips and awesome classroom experiences.
The school district is partnering with ATSR for an educational facility assessment and long-range planning services. The educational facility assessment provides a district inventory of all assets, including roofing, HVAC, electrical, and interior finishes. The inventory includes a cost and timeline for replacement. The second component of the facilities study, long-range planning, has included stakeholder input on future educational needs and long-range planning. The school board continues to receive and discuss information relating to facilities planning. Please view the Facilities Study webpage (www.isd186.org → District → Facilities Study) for up-to-date information.
Safe Routes to School
A group of roughly 15 school, city, county, and community members have met monthly to evaluate the ways our students get to and from school, as well as how to improve the safety of those walking and biking routes. There have been multiple surveys, observations, walk audits, and other ways to gather information throughout the process. The committee will be finalizing a plan in May that will be shared with the community, school board, and local city councils.
Thank you for the continued support of the Pequot Lakes School District this year.
American Indian Education Program Celebrates Indigenous Culture
“American Indian Education Program Celebrates Indigenous Culture”
Lisa Christensen, AIE Coordinator
The MN Department of Education established the American Indian Education (AIE) Act in 1972 with a mission “to strengthen and promote positive experiences and educational outcomes for American Indian students statewide.” In addition, they provide funding and guidance for school districts across the state.
The Pequot Lakes AIE Program focuses on academic support, college and career readiness opportunities, and cultural experiences that affirm and value students’ Indigenous identity. Most recently, students and their families were invited to a Family Night where they built an Anishinaabe drum set made from real cowhide.
The drums are more than a percussion instrument to the Anishinaabe peoples; in particular, the Ojibwe consider them “the heartbeat of the people.”
The Family Nights help provide a sense of community and an opportunity for families either to feel affirmed about one of their cultural traditions or to learn more about it. The next Family Night will celebrate the seniors graduating from the program. In addition, they will learn more about Indigenous cooking and prepare an authentic American Indian dish.
Other program offerings include the following: secondary luncheons, field trips, tutoring, Homework Hangout, and an Eagle View Book Club (upcoming event), among other things.
Approximately every month or two, the secondary students meet for a luncheon where they have the opportunity to develop some close connections with their AIE peers and explore a cultural lesson. This year we have learned more about uses for birch bark, powwows, Ojibwe winter games, and college tuition.
This is my first year as the AIE Coordinator. Thus far, my favorite part of the program is making connections with students and their families, along with learning more about Native American culture myself. Students shared some of their favorite parts about the program:
“The program helps us establish a strong sense of community and love.”
“I like all of the different hands-on activities.”
“My favorite part was making the drums.”
“I like just hanging out.”
“I enjoyed attending the Native American College Fair.”
“My favorite part was the Snow Snake game.”
“I like all of the Family Nights.”
“My favorite part is learning about different cultural foods.”
“AIE helps me learn more about the traditions.”
One of my goals is to establish annual traditions that students will look fondly back upon. So far, they are off to a good start.
Photo Courtesy of University of Minnesota
SNOW Much Learning & Fun!
“SNOW Much Learning & Fun!”
Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal
There’s “SNOW” much learning and fun going on at Eagle View. These past few months have been busy with activities and learning. During the school day, classes have been making the most of the snow with snowshoeing, sledding, curling, and cross-country skiing. Here are a few other highlights:
Schoolwide Winter BINGO
On the last day of January, Eagle View students participated in a schoolwide Winter Bingo. Winter items were called using Google Meet for students to mark on their Bingo cards. Students ran to the game tables on each floor when they had a bingo. We are so very thankful to our staff and volunteers for helping us with this activity. Lots of fun was had and many prizes were given out!
STEM Innovation Award
Eagle View’s E-STEM program was nominated and chosen to receive the 2023 MESPA STEM Innovation award. This award was presented to Ms. Hesch and Mrs. Trottier in early February. The award is given by MESPA and the Science Museum of MN. Congrats to Mrs. Trottier and Eagle View!
I Love to Read Month!
Eagle View is reading The World According to Humphrey as a school. A variety of school staff, community members, and students helped by recording a chapter as part of our I LOVE TO READ celebrations. Pequot Lakes PTA supported this by purchasing books for each student, items for raffles, and even a huge hamster wheel. Classrooms are playing a chapter a day spread over three weeks. Eagle View also had some special readers from the Northern Lakes Hockey team visit on February 10. Thank you for supporting the love of reading!
EV Title I Student & Family Game Night
On March 14, we will hold a Title I Student and Family Night. Students will be invited along with their families to a Game Night focused on math skills and fun. Look for upcoming information to be sent with your child if they have been part of Title I services at Eagle View this year.
Kindergarten Info Night
The incoming class of Patriot Kindergarteners (2022-23) are invited with parents to an information night on March 2. Students will participate in activities in the classroom and a scavenger hunt around the building. Parents will have information sessions about traditional Kindergarten programming or Patriot Academy. If you have an incoming Kindergartener or if you want more information about Kindergarten or Patriot Academy, please contact the EV office at 218-562-6100.
Donor Opportunity - Weight Room Renovations
“Donor Opportunity - Weight Room Renovations”
Byron Westrich, Activities Director
With student use at an all-time high, Pequot Lakes High School is looking to update its weight room equipment. In addition to use by physical education classes, the weight room is open for students every morning before school, with typically 10-20 students in attendance. The weight room is also open after school and, depending on the season, there are between 25-80 students utilizing this space after school. We have recently started to open up the weight room on Saturday mornings to allow more access for students. During the summer, the Community Education summer strength training program typically serves over 150 students.
The first update to this space would be to rename it from the weight room to the Fitness Center, as it incorporates more than strictly weight lifting. Not only is the Center used by physical education classes and student-athletes during their seasons, it is also used by students who may not be participating in any specific activity.
The second piece to this is selling most of our existing equipment and updating it with equipment from Dynamic Fitness. The new equipment would give us a state-of-the-art performance and training center to better serve our students. The updated setup would allow a student to enter one area and complete all of their lifts rather than traveling around the room in order to work on different pieces of equipment. This will speed up the process for students to get in a great workout, allowing more students to lift at once. This would also allow for two physical education classes in the space simultaneously, as well as multiple teams lifting after school, and still have room for our regulars who work out each day.
Currently, the space has four places to bench, squat, and clean lift. These are the three most common lifts we ask our students and athletes to perform. The new equipment will give us 16 stations to perform these lifts. There is currently one machine to complete a seated row or lat pulldown exercise, while the new equipment will allow 8 places to perform these. The new setup will include Patriot branding on the floor, weights, and equipment to enhance and create an exciting culture while working out.
The benefits of a fitness center renovation include improved mental health, enhanced training methods for our student-athletes, and promoting wellness for all of our students. The estimated cost to provide these benefits to our students is $300,000. In order to accomplish this, the school district is requesting donations to complete this project. There are various donation levels that businesses and individuals can rally behind, with each including various levels of recognition.
A brochure detailing the project and the donation levels is available. For more information, contact Byron Westrich, Activities Director, at email@example.com or 218-568-9213. Thank you for your support. Go Patriots!
Have It Your Way
“Have It Your Way”
Aaron Nelson, High School Principal
Burger King’s motto “have it your way” began in the 1970s and speaks to the franchise’s goal of tailoring their product to the wishes of their customers. In the decades since, more and more businesses have reworked their business model to offer a more customer-driven product that allows individual customers to customize their purchases to better fit their needs. Today the concept of “have it your way” is nothing new and actually an expectation of the customer. Imagine ordering a coffee at Starbucks and being told “sorry, we only have coffee with a choice of cream and sugar.” It is hard to imagine that business model will result in many satisfied customers.
Education is not exempt from this same trend of a customized experience. In the past few decades, we have introduced options such as College In the Schools, Post Secondary Enrollment Options, Advance Placement, AA Degrees, online learning, and Internships that give our students a customized experience that allows them to tailor their education to their postsecondary ambitions. These options and more have enabled students and families to create learning experiences that better prepare them for expected careers or learning styles.
Pequot Lakes High School is uniquely positioned to offer many customizable options for students while still offering a small town experience. We have expanded our elective options, partnered with colleges to offer college credits to our students, partnered with local businesses to offer internships for interested students, expanded our technology to integrate curriculums that represent high growth areas of the economy, and hired high-quality staff to ensure our students are getting the best education possible.
There are limitations to customization. While we work hard to build schedules that benefit students and their ambitions, we are limited by the same realities that students experience at the postsecondary level: class size, teacher availability, teacher certification, and student scheduling. Our priority is to provide students with a schedule that gives them their courses requested in February the year before. This means that other factors such as teacher choice, class period, and ensuring their friends are in their classes are not able to be accommodated. Given our familiarity with individualizing everything else in our lives, it can be challenging to accept a schedule that is not customized to our every desire. In spite of this reality, PLHS continues to provide our students with the preparation they need to succeed after graduation.
At the core of our success are highly qualified teachers and two remarkable counselors who support 620 students. Our staff continues to learn about trends that impact our students and prepare them for a world that may be very different from the one their parents experienced when they turned 18. Pequot Lakes High School offers our students options for their education that rival much larger schools while providing a setting where most people know each other on a first-name basis and feel connected to our small Patriot community. Check out our website to learn more about how our offerings can help you “have it your way.”
Amazing Community Support - Wolf Ridge
“Amazing Community Support - Wolf Ridge”
Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal
PLMS is excited to send the class of 2029 to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland MN next week. This second annual 6th-grade field trip is due in large part to the amazing support present in the ISD 186 community.
Let’s start with our funding partners. We are beyond grateful for the overwhelming support demonstrated by these local non-profit organizations: Knights of Columbus, Pelican Lakes Conservation Club, Ideal Community Service Organization, Whitefish Area Property Owners Association, Crow Wing Power, Nisswa Lions, Pequot Lakes Legion, Pequot Lakes PTA, and our very own Patriot Foundation. Let’s be reminded that many of these organizations are the same groups that are read aloud each month when our School Board reads the long list of donations that have funneled through our district office in support of our schools. Whether you’re a pull-tab player or a hard-working volunteer at a pancake breakfast, we are so fortunate to have a community that is vested in giving back to our schools.
To our parents and guardians, we know that this trip represents potential “firsts” for your child. For some, there may be apprehension. This might be the first time your child has left on an overnight without a parent. Other adults might be concerned about how their child is going to do without access to Snapchat or TikTok via their phone. For some families, this trip might bring excitement. This excursion might represent the first time a child has seen Lake Superior and the 36+ inches of lake effect snow they have at the facility. How about viewing constellations without light pollution or doing Kitchen Patrol Duty without complaining? From rock climbing to high ropes courses framed against the backdrop of beautiful Lake Superior, we’re extremely excited to bring these opportunities forward for our 6th-grade students.
Lastly, we’d like to celebrate our staff and the handful of parent chaperones embarking on the trip with us. Our appreciation surrounding this trip isn’t just about donations of money, it is also about those who are giving of their time and talents on behalf of our 6th graders. Countless hours and manpower have been put into ensuring this trip goes off without a hitch. PLMS staff and chaperones, we see your commitment and we thank you for it.
As always, PLMS is feeling truly blessed to be a part of this amazing community. Thank you to those who have contributed to our trip. We’ll make sure to share all the amazing stories and images when we get back!
Community Education: Here for you!
“Community Education: Here for You!”
Joell Tvedt, Community Education Director
As 2022 closes and we look forward to the new year, we want you to know that Community Education is here for you!
Over this past year, we were here for thousands of youth and adults as they participated in our programs. Kids learned how to be safe at home, acquired new skills in sports and the arts, and had fun learning about science and technology. They discovered important safety lessons in swimming and snowmobiling. Adults grasped knitting and pickleball skills, learned about beautiful travel destinations, and participated in health & wellness classes. They enjoyed finding out about Minnesota history and attending our outstanding theater productions.
If nothing else, this past year has taught us that people need people. We crave conversation. We want to share experiences and stories. We long for laughter and to see each other's smiles. One of my favorite things about Community Education is how it brings the community together. I’ve been witness to people becoming friends over the course of an art class. I’ve seen early childhood families connect and become a trusted resource for one another. I’ve watched partnerships grow between local organizations to better serve our community.
Looking ahead to 2023, Pequot Lakes Community Education will continue to be there for you! If you are new to town and need to connect with others who share similar interests, we are here for you! If you are looking to learn a new skill or teach others about one you have, we are here for you! If you have a new business or organization and are looking for ways to promote your mission, we are here for you! Community Education will continue to meet the needs of the community by bringing impactful programming and access to quality opportunities and resources.
We will be kicking off 2023 with a few exciting events. First off, our winter brochure will be hitting your mailboxes the second week of January. It is packed full of new and exciting events and opportunities to socialize, connect and learn. Secondly, on January 7, we are having a Scandinavian showcase. This event is a smorgasbord of Scandinavian singing, traditional Nordic music, comedic acting, and Scandinavian storytelling. Tickets for this event can be purchased online through the Pequot Lakes Community Education website or over the phone at 218-568-9200. Lastly, if you are looking for a winter birthday party option for your child, give us a call. We offer a variety of fun options, including dodgeball, floor hockey, basketball and Little Tikes Games/activities.
Wherever you are, whatever stage of life you are in, Community Education is here to create opportunities for growth, education and belonging that connect you a bit more closely. We are here for you!
Shout Out to the Team
“Shout Out to the Team”
Heidi Hagen, Finance Director
The school district’s annual audit ensures frameworks, regulations, and policies and procedures that define the path for operational effectiveness and financial accountability are demonstrated in the work of the district office. By following the guidelines and managing risk effectively, the likelihood of success increases.
Recently, the district completed the fiscal year 2022 audit and the results are in. A successful audit! So, what about our success? Every year a budget is created with the expectation that at the end of the year the actual outcome is within 1-2% of the budget and the fund balance remains stable at 15-17%. The FY22 variance comparing final budget to actual for revenue and expense was 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively. Considering a total budget in the general fund of over $21M, ending the year within percentages less than a 1% variance is remarkable. Another positive was the FY22 audit produced only one finding, segregation of duties, which is a finding that is most common in smaller school districts. This finding will always be present in a school district our size.
There is a lot that goes into a successful audit, most notably the staff that does the work. Technical skills are essential for what we do every day at work. We need to know about accounting, finance, process improvement, information technology and cybersecurity, risk management and fraud schemes. Many of our stakeholders don’t understand what we do, how we do it, and why it matters to them.
There is greatness within each team member in the district and a commitment to a lifetime of learning, improving and supporting one another is important. Having the right employees who support each other, demonstrate confidence and have positive attitudes is a great place to be.
Jim Collins’ quote, “I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great,” comes to mind. Everything done with care and in a way that reflects the high standards that support the vision, mission and values of the district with a team full of optimism, confidence, forward-thinking and open-minded individuals who support and encourage each other is what brings the level up from “good-to-great.”
Together we must possess or obtain the knowledge, skills, and other competencies needed to perform the established responsibilities. When each of us sets high goals and works diligently towards their achievement, we elevate the quality and results of our work. The results will not only include a satisfying list of achievements now, including an almost perfect audit in FY22, but also in the future. We will continue to appreciate the satisfaction that success brings when it is the result of a great team doing the hard work. Impeccable results are a reflection of a great team! GO PATRIOTS!
Off to Work I Go
“Off to Work I Go”
Aaron Nelson, High School Principal
Recently, I sat in on a candidate forum where the topic of schools was discussed at length. The questions focused on a variety of topics, but the common concern raised was the focus of secondary education, high school, and how students were being prepared. “Not every student is a college student” was the phrase that was offered frequently by some candidates who recalled their own experiences in school, some decades ago, and the feeling that high schools push college entry as the mark of success. While this accusation is often leveled against high schools, it fails to accurately reflect the focus and mission of the modern high school.
Pequot Lakes High School is required to achieve student preparation in a number of ways identified in the World's Best Workforce legislation that measures a school’s effectiveness through data collected by the Minnesota Department of Education. Saving readers all the boring details of this legislation, we are required to ensure every graduate has a postsecondary plan for what they wish to achieve after graduating from high school, along with details on how they will achieve that plan. These plans include military, workforce, trades schools, community colleges, and university options chosen by students based on their academic skills and interests.
At Pequot Lakes High School, about 70% of our students enroll in post-secondary education. This means that of our 148 graduating seniors, 103 of them will choose to continue their education through an institution of higher learning. What it does not mean is that these students are “college bound” in the general sense of the word. Many will choose to attend a four-year university in the fall after graduation from high school, but nearly as many will choose trade schools or technical programs. Another 5% of our graduates will choose to enroll in a branch of the military, while the remaining 25% of our students seek options in the workforce.
At Pequot Lakes High School, we offer 30 separate courses in our Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings. Students at PLHS are required to take 16 credits of core classes and 10 credits of electives to earn a diploma. At PLHS, we offer 30 course options for students to fill those 10 credits just in career fields focused on CTE or the trades. A student who has no interest in college would never have to choose a college-focused elective in any of their four years of high school and still have numerous options for classes that would prepare them for the workforce.
Beyond our CTE course offerings, PLHS has partnered with several local businesses to offer our students an opportunity to earn credit through internships. Over the past five years, we average 11 students per semester who choose an internship in their career field of interest and have the opportunity to earn credit through this job-embedded work experience for up to two hours per day of their school day. Just this fall, these experiences include manufacturing, welding, auto repair, heavy equipment repair, teaching, dock services, construction, cosmetology, equestrian services, broadcasting, and child care.
It is safe to say that high school graduates have many post-secondary options and those choices can be overwhelming. Many seniors are stricken with indecision as they consider the extensive options to choose from as they create their plan for life after graduation. At PLHS, we require students to create a plan that gives them options best suited to their academic skills and interests. For most of our graduates, that plan has been years in the making as they explored the world of work through the many CTE courses and experiences offered to them as a student at Pequot Lakes High School.
Mindi Brill and Kathie Harman, Literacy Interventionists
Have you ever wondered how schools provide assistance for students who need support with reading? How are students selected to receive additional help? Read on to find out how Eagle View supports every child, every day.
During the first week of school, all first through fourth-grade students at Eagle View are screened individually using a one-minute FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) fluency probe at each grade level. All Kindergartners are assessed on letter names and sounds using ESGI (Educational Software for Guiding Instruction). A median score for each classroom is determined and if more than 50% of the students are below the fall benchmark for that grade level, the teacher is given materials to implement a classwide fluency intervention for ten to twelve days. For classes whose median was above the benchmark, the PRESS (Path to Reading Excellence in School Sites developed by the University of Minnesota) Phonics Inventory was administered to students who fell below the fall benchmark to determine which particular phonics skill needs targeted services.
Using that data, we create small groups based on the following skills: letter names, letter sounds, short vowels, digraphs, blends, long vowels, vowel teams, and variant vowels. Once a week, skills are progress-monitored. Once students show mastery of the phonics skill by twice scoring 90% or higher, they are moved to the next skill group needed, based on the PRESS inventory. Our groups are flexible, based on the weekly data.
When classwide interventions are completed, interventionists rescreen the class and determine which students need to take the PRESS Phonics Inventory, based on the fall benchmark.
This process is repeated again in January, so we ensure no students are missed who need to master phonics skills. We currently service approximately 100 students on a daily basis, meeting with small groups of four to six students for twenty minutes each. Students read, write, and engage in an activity for each lesson, working to strengthen their skills and read more fluently.
What is our advice for parents with young readers? For beginning readers, let your child see you read, make a routine of reading such as before bedtime or right after supper, and be encouraging. It is important that each reading is a positive experience. For reluctant readers, take turns reading aloud, share your experiences with the topic you’re reading about to generate interest, or read a chapter book together and then watch the movie to compare and contrast. Every book is a gift and you don’t know what’s inside until you open it up and give it a try.
Continuous Improvement Planning
“Continuous Improvement Planning”
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School District is committed to improving student learning outcomes. Each school building, as well as the District, has created action steps that align with increasing student achievement. Below are the highlights of the plan:
Continue the Science curriculum and instruction review process, since the state has adopted new standards and will be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year.
Perform a comprehensive internal audit of the PreK-grade 12 curriculum and instructional materials in order to determine short- and long-term goals.
Provide support and professional development relating to the newly adopted Teacher Growth Plan.
Utilize data tracking processes to collect and analyze data monthly in order to identify student strengths and supports.
Implement the Pyramid Model through professional development and support for Early Childhood staff.
Implement additional instruction on phonics and word work while increasing reading practice to build students’ literacy skills.
Increase and improve number sense instruction and practice to build students’ numeracy skills.
Create homeroom connections through Connection Meetings and intentional team building activities.
Evaluate and improve progress monitoring in Math and Reading for all students.
Provide intervention time for 5th and 6th grade students to receive literacy skills instruction with an English-Language Arts teacher.
Implement a daily homeroom Math intervention and additional instruction for 5th and 6th grade students to build students’ numeracy skills.
Continuously review achievement data in Math and Reading in order to impact classroom instruction and improve student achievement.
Develop a comprehensive overview of systems of support for students to ensure students are making academic progress and are on track with credit requirements.
Continue implementing a Post Graduate Plan for all students and determining the necessary resources and programming to support students.
These action steps were developed by Building Leadership Teams including administration and classroom teachers. We look forward to reporting on our goals and action steps as the year progresses.
Positive Fan Behavior
“Positive Fan Behavior”
Byron Westrich, Activities Director
Patriot students have shown greatness this fall. Patriot fans traveled to Brainerd to support our volleyball team, chanting “We Love Conner” in support of Brainerd’s football player who suffered an injury in a football game at Moorhead. A similar setting took place at Pierz when students from Pierz came across the gym floor and shook our students' hands as they were impressed with our volleyball team’s performance.
To encourage this positive support, the Minnesota State High School League is offering meetings across the state called “Together We Make a Difference.” The purpose of these meetings is to support an action plan to provide leadership opportunities for all students to attend school, learn and participate in safe, respectful environments free from poor fan behavior. The meetings are designed to engage students to elevate their voices in creating these safe, supportive school environments where students learn and participate in their activities. Students participate in round-table discussions about how we can make sure our student fan sections are cheering positively for our teams and not shouting negative comments toward the opposition.
It is so fun to see a town rally behind their school during an event and to show their support during the season. A team can bring people together to cheer, support, show up to watch and enjoy the fun experience. I always ask our students to “Cheer for our Team!” Cheering for our team doesn’t include singling out a player on the opposing team. Cheering for our team means we don’t boo the officials, players, or coaches that represent the opposing team. Cheering for our team should include celebrating our successes and tipping our hat to the opposing team when a great play is made. Sporting events are so fun to attend as our emotions run high and low as our teams compete. These emotions are why people love sports.
When we coach, we always remind our athletes that when they put that jersey on, they not only represent themselves but also the team, the school, the town, and the community. The expectation is similar for our fans. We want to make sure we represent ourselves in such a positive way that people will be left with an impression of greatness. We want others to see our passion, to hear our energy and enthusiasm. We want them to leave the event with a positive feeling of the environment. We want teams and communities to be left with a wow factor from our teams and our supportive fans. Together we can make a positive influence that will represent our community.
No Cell Phones in the Classroom: An Update on How It’s Going
“No Cell Phones in the Classroom: An Update on How It's Going”
Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal
It’s been a phenomenal start to the 2022-23 school year. With over 50 new students entering our system (150 districtwide), we are eager to welcome our new Patriots to the Pequot Lakes Middle School.
“Back to School” is an exciting time period for everyone. Like many schools throughout the region, our PLMS team is entering the year with anticipation of greater levels of clarity and structure for our students, bringing back procedures and expectations that were at the core of our building climate before the pandemic. Shifting the focal point back to students in classrooms has our team of school staff energized and excited to dive into the school year.
In alignment with bringing greater clarity for all, our PLMS team enacted a policy for the 2022-23 school year requiring all cell phones to be in student lockers during the school day. As we wrap up this second week, we can say with fidelity that our students have had a great start and followed through with this expectation. Thanks students!
In addition to our appreciation directed at our student body, we would also like to say thank you to our parents and guardians. As we gradually rolled out this change, as a principal I was apprehensive about how some families might respond to not having immediate communication access to their child while they were at school. Prior to our Open House meetings with families, I personally spent time preparing myself for rebuttals regarding this policy. The interesting thing is, all of that preparation was for not; not a single parent or student challenged our policy shift. What I prepared for, hands being raised and families asking a lot of questions, was instead an auditorium full of parents nodding in agreement and quietly clapping their hands regarding this shift in policy.
Why is that? Why was I so wrong in my initial thinking? In reflecting on those Back to School interactions with parents: the emails, phone calls and conversations in appreciation of the cell phone policy change, I think the answer is that the adults in our students’ lives “get it”. They get it because they have found themselves frustrated in settings where our kids are choosing screens and technology over human or family connection. They are fearful of what kids might be accessing on their device, even despite our best intentions in monitoring. Many of us have experienced those feelings of disconnection at the dinner table or unstructured time at home, or have witnessed families out to eat with their faces buried in their phones. Now, take those same levels of distraction and transpose them into the classroom setting with 25-30 teens/pre-teens. I think people share in the concern with how phones have crept into and impacted our lives and the urgency in making a change.
We’re only two weeks into this journey, but our Middle School team hopes this policy shift helps our students to spend more time living in the moment, connecting directly with their classmates, and leads to them more intently focused on the learning opportunities that are in front of them.
To all of our families, we are saying thank you for a phenomenal great first two weeks of school. Our partnership between school and home is a critical one and we appreciate our high levels of engagement from families thus far.
In closing, our PLMS team would love to challenge our families to consider setting the phones aside at home as well. Once your family makes it through the withdrawal process, you might enjoy what comes of it!
Welcome New Students and Staff
“Welcome New Students and Staff”
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
Kicking off another school year brings excitement and energy. This school year the Pequot Lakes School District community welcomed 19 new staff members, including teachers, clerical staff, a long-term substitute, student teachers and the Director of Teaching & Learning. We are excited about the talent and leadership that our new staff will bring to the district. The only opening prior to the school year starting was a regular route bus driver, although back-plans are in place ensuring all routes are covered.
Along with 19 new staff members, the District is also the new home to roughly 151 new students in grades 1-12. Our district is fortunate to attract new families by having an outstanding staff, students who care for each other, and a supportive community.
As we welcome the new students and staff to the Pequot Lakes School District community, it’s important to be intentional in creating a supportive environment. Please take time to welcome and connect with our new families and staff. Invite and encourage our new staff and families to take advantage of all the awesome opportunities in the District and area. The more we are connected as a school-community, the better off our students will be. Go Patriots!
It's More Than a School Meal Application
“It’s More Than a School Meal Application”
Patty Buell, Food Services Director
Since the start of the pandemic, we have been proud to serve all students breakfast and lunch at no cost through Federal funding, regardless of family income. As of this writing, the USDA has not extended the free meal waivers. Effective the start of the 2022-2023 school year, we will be returning to free, reduced, or full-price meals. We are asking for all families to submit a school meal application now to ensure all students have continued access to our nutritious meals.
The school meal applications are used for so much more than just certifying students for free or reduced-priced meals. Filling out an application can help you and our school in several ways:
Provide additional funding for state and federal programs and services at our school
May result in free or discounted activity fees
May qualify your family for discounted rates on home internet service
May qualify you for reduced registration fees for AP, SAT and/or ACT tests
May qualify you for discounted rates associated with college admissions
Every eligible form counts and adds valuable resources to our school. Submitting your school meal application helps ensure that all students and their families can access these key benefits.
How to apply, you ask? It’s easy! Applications and instructions on how to complete the form are mailed to every household on August 1st of each year. Watch for it in your mailbox! Forms are also available on the school district website under Departments>Food Services.
Completing an application takes less than 10 minutes and you only need to complete one application per family. Applications are completely confidential and will not be shared outside of the schools’ district office. Only the last four digits of your social security number are required. Since your family’s financial situation may change from year to year, you must fill out a new application each school year.
Thank you for taking the time to submit your application.
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
An organization is only as good as its people - and the Pequot Lakes School District is fortunate to have an outstanding staff who are dedicated to students and this community. On May 25, 2022, the District hosted an Employee Recognition Celebration at the Breezy Point Resort. The following staff were honored at the event:
Kelly Crosby (Eagle View) - Region 5 Educator of Excellence
Kyle Spray (Middle School) - Region 5 Educator of Excellence
Megan Johnson (High School) - Region 5 Educator of Excellence
Megan Johnson (High School) - Teacher of the Year
Mike O’Neil (Middle School) - MASSP 2022 Minnesota Middle Level Principal of the Year
Brian Alt (High School ) - 20 Years of Service
Jessica Mudgett (Early Childhood) - 20 Years of Service
Rachel Sullivan (Eagle View) - 20 Years of Service
Mindi Brill (Eagle View) - 25 Years of Service
Anna Larson (Middle School) - 25 Years of Service
Andrea Neva (Eagle View) - 25 Years of Service
Lynn Smith (High School) - 25 Years of Service
Debra Buckner, High School Paraprofessional, 5 years of service from 2016-2021
Mark Rieschl, High School/Middle School Custodian, 5.5 years of service from 2016-2021
Janet Durham, High School Paraprofessional, 23 years of service from 1998-2021
Eileen Nelson, Eagle View Social Worker, 24 years of service from 1998-2022
Tom Smith, High School Physical Education Teacher, 31.5 years of service from 1991-2022
Barb Wallace, High School Secretary, 33 years of service from 1989-2022
Wade Hoppe, Middle School Math Teacher, 37 years of service from 1985-2022
A video showcasing the seven retirees' careers is now posted on the District website. Please join us in thanking and honoring these and all staff members.
Summer Time: The Importance of Staying Active and Engaged
"Summer time: The importance of staying active and engaged!"
Joell Tvedt, Community Education Director
Believe it or not, summer break is just around the corner! Does that mean long days on the water, gardening, sports, family vacations…transitioning to summer break can have a real impact on both children and adults.
It has been found that children generally spend more time in sedentary activities over the summer than during the school year. A little surprising since one would think that the nice weather would get kids out and about. However, the lack of structure, organized events, and limited responsibility simply results in a less active lifestyle. Summer also contributes to student learning loss, which is not a big surprise. We’ve heard that for years. Many students experience a “summer slide''. Research has shown that participating in activities that include both body and mind keep kids healthier and sharper.
Pequot Lakes Community Education has more opportunities than ever for your child to participate in. Keeping your child involved and engaged this summer will keep your child healthy, active, and prepared for future learning!
BUT, staying active and involved is not only healthy for kids. It is also what keeps us adults young and connected. Pequot Lakes Community Education has a full lineup of adult classes and activities planned for this summer, including enrichment classes, recreation opportunities, presentations, and expert advice. Join us for art and music classes, history lessons, cooking demonstrations, pickleball and fitness instruction, and so much more!
EVEN BETTER, these fantastic youth and adult opportunities are happening right in your backyard. Check us out online at www.isd186.org/domain/63, give us a call at 218-568-9200, or stop by our office located in the Pequot Lakes High School, just inside door # 4. See you this summer!
Heidi Hagen, Health & Wellness Committee
The Pequot Lakes school district created and implemented a Health & Wellness Committee at the start of 2019, and kicked off the program with a professional development day for all staff during the Presidents’ Day school break. Other events were planned to be held each year and continue to this day.
The focal point of the Patriot Health & Wellness initiative centers on opportunities for employees to improve their health and well-being, empower staff with health education and lifestyle skills that enable them to achieve their best possible mental and physical health, positively affect employee morale and job satisfaction, optimize performance and productivity, and provide valued and tangible benefits. Professional development opportunities focus on overall well-being: mind, body, and spirit; and offer resources available in our community to foster living healthy lifestyles.
The focus on health and wellness is for all employees. Albeit more of a behind-the-scenes program, the committee feels strongly that the best opportunities for the students, families, and community members we serve is to first take care of our employees through outreach in a safe, health-conscious and collaborative work environment.
We believe our District is on the verge of something good that has the potential to be great with the support of community partners: The Patriot Foundation, Crow Wing Energized, Sourcewell, and Resource Training & Solutions. On behalf of the Pequot Lakes School District Health & Wellness Committee, thank you to these community partners and to our staff for making a commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community. We look forward to ongoing efforts and contributions from the Patriot Health & Wellness Committee and expect the program to evolve and thrive, and create a legacy that can be felt throughout Pequot Lakes and the surrounding communities.
"SNOW" Much Learning & Fun!
"SNOW" Much Learning & Fun!"
Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal
There’s “SNOW” much learning and fun going on at Eagle View The past few months have been busy with activities and learning. During the school day, specialist classes and recess have been making the most of the snow with snowshoeing, sledding and cross country skiing. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Eagle View staff give golden tickets to students for Respectful, Responsible, and Safe behaviors. Students then use their tickets to get individual rewards by shopping at the school store. After the shopping is complete, the tickets are collected into the clear collection bin at the entrance of our school, marked with a goal line. The goal was reached with ALL the Patriot Pride tickets and Kind Kids Notes from February. The reward for meeting the goal was that all Eagle View students got to participate in School Wide BINGO on March 4. Lots of fun was had and many prizes were given out!
ECFE “Snow” Much Fun
Early Childhood families were invited to an outdoor event on February 25. Students and families were able to spend some time outdoors and enjoy a variety of activities. Participants went sledding, snowshoeing, made s’mores, and got to warm up and read stories in the yurt.
A Night With the Stars - EV Title 1 Student & Family Night
On Thursday, March 3, students and their families participated in A Night With the Stars, which was organized by the Eagle View intervention team. The evening consisted of a Night Sky hike, a story read by flashlight in the Yurt, and songs around a campfire accompanied by a ukulele. Participants enjoyed hot dogs, chips, and a rice krispie treat as well.
Kindergarten Info Night
The incoming class of Patriot Kindergarteners (2022-23) were invited with parents to an info night on February 24. Students participated in activities in the classroom and a scavenger hunt around the building. Parents had information sessions about traditional Kindergarten programming and a new pathway for learning at Eagle View next year, Patriot Academy.
Patriot Academy will serve as a bridge between preschool and Kindergarten as an addition to our learning pathways for students at EV. This will be a FULL DAY program for kindergarten-age children. The program is designed as a bridge between preschool and traditional kindergarten to provide more time for learning with intentional social/emotional focus. Patriot Academy will be fully funded by the district - there is no cost to parents who choose to enroll in the program. To be eligible, a child must be Kindergarten Eligible for the 2022-23 school year - 5 years old by September 1, 2022. The class will be kept to around 10-15 students.
If you didn’t attend Kindergarten Info Night and wish to enroll or would like more information, please contact the EV office at 218-562-6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How Big is the Heart?
"How Big is the Heart?"
Aaron Nelson, High School Principal
It was my first year in Pequot Lakes as the High School Principal and I was given a warning by Barb Wallace, my secretary, “we need to sit down sometime and talk about the month of May.” Seems like a normal conversation in any high school, thoughts of graduation, end of the school year and summer school ran through my head. When she asked me what I knew about Day of Caring and Relay for Life, I had to admit I was not really familiar with either event. What I would soon learn is that the heart of mankind can be very large when it comes to caring for others in a community.
Each year for the past many years, our school has held a Day of Caring event for grades 9-12. This event is an opportunity for our students to practice the act of volunteering and giving back to the community. On the first Wednesday of May, we send over 600 students out to all areas of our school district to help the elderly, non-profit organizations, community groups, and families who have a special need to clear leaves, chop wood, paint fences, clean windows, and just general chores that would help to make a difference in our community. It is a single day for our students to give back to a community that has given so much to them over the past year. It is a chance for our students to know the rewarding feeling of volunteering, a chance for our students to give without receiving, for young and old to share a laugh while working side by side. The day has become a much anticipated event in our community both by students and adults.
The last time we held a Relay for Life event was in May of 2018. Organized by Nikki Stark, math teacher and passionate supporter of kids, this biennial event was like no other I had ever seen. The first Relay for Life event in the country hosted by a school and involving the whole student body and planned by the Interact Club, this activity involved 550 students organized into teams of 10 to fundraise, plan silly themed activities, dress in costume, and run an all-day relay. It involves a survivor's lap, tears of joy and sadness as cancer survivors and victims are recognized and remembered. Students camp out on the field inside the track and participate in activities throughout the day to raise their understanding of the many impacts of cancer and the strive for a cure. The last event in 2018 raised over $20,000 for cancer research, a remarkable result of the efforts of our students.
If you know someone who would benefit from the efforts of students on our Day of Caring on May 4th, please let our office know. We will be sharing a sign up form at the beginning of April for citizens of our school community and organizations to add their name to the list of people who request to receive help.
Perhaps you are of the mind to donate to our PLHS Relay for Life event on May 11th to help our students fund cancer research. If so, please consider reaching out to our Interact Club and letting them know you would like to assist in the efforts of our students in raising awareness of causes greater than self.
This May, I will be much more prepared for the experience of witnessing student efforts to bring hope and care to our community. I am looking forward to being filled with hope as I watch young and old alike join in efforts to unite as a community to show everyone how big the heart really is.
Reflecting Upon an Amazing Experience on the North Shore
"Reflecting Upon an Amazing Experience on the North Shore"
Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal
Who in their right mind would willingly spend three days and two nights with over 140 eleven and twelve-year-olds? Better yet, throw in a four-hour bus ride, with over 50 inches of snow, unbroken trails, cold temps, unforgiving wind chill and a lodge full of preteens smelling like wet feet and campfire. Sounds like fun, right? Actually, it does!
Last January, Pequot Lakes Middle School took our 6th-grade students to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN. Nestled against the backdrop of majestic snow-covered pines, rock outcrops, and the pristine shores of Lake Superior, our students were immersed in a three-day field trip exploring our natural world. From Beaver Ecology to Winter Survival Skills, our middle schoolers dove into a deeper understanding of our natural resources. While at the camp, they were also exposed to the concept of sustainability and personal responsibility. From Kitchen Patrol (KP) to room-by-room energy consumption monitoring, our students took an active role in understanding the foundational concepts of “conservation”.
Beyond experiential learning about our living and nonliving world, our kids learned a lot about themselves. They learned that serving others is important. They learned that they can challenge themselves. They learned that they can successfully get a bus full of kids to scream at the top of their lungs as they go through the tunnels near Two Harbors and so much more!
Bringing each night to a close, our chaperone group would sit down and talk about the successes of the day. Needless to say, our kids gave us a lot of material. I too have been reflecting a lot lately upon the necessary ingredients of a great experience at school. Sure, it starts with phenomenal kids and families, but I’d also like to highlight that it is anchored in the teachers that set foot in front of our kids that truly makes the difference. In regard to our field trip to Wolf Ridge and our 6th-grade team, I’m incredibly thankful for educators who are willing to take a chance and do something different on behalf of our students. I’m appreciative of the time they were willing to take away from their own families, so as to make a difference for someone else’s child.
In addition to the teachers and the kids that make PLMS such a wonderful place to learn, I also want to take a moment to express our gratitude to the funding partners that helped to pull off this incredible Wolf Ridge opportunity. Our PLMS Patriots would like to extend a sincere thank you to: Dan and Janet Dryer & Friends, The Patriot Foundation, Whitefish Area Property Owners Association, The Pelican Lake Conservation Club, and others. We’d also like to thank the Freking family for dropping off twelve dozen donuts the morning of our trip! We are proud to say that, between gracious donations and district support, not a single dime was spent by our student body to participate in this event ... no bake sales, no fundraisers, nothing. Join our PLMS team in celebrating that every kid had an equal opportunity to go on the trip without cost. Again, we are so grateful for a supportive community.
In the end, we’d really like to circle back to our students. We all know that the last two school years have been a challenge for many. I had the good fortune of spending much of my time at Wolf Ridge in a climbing harness amongst the tall pines, helping our students through the high ropes confidence course. The mantra we instilled in our kids on the course was “take a step toward challenging yourself … and then take one or two more”. What a great life lesson that we as adults could benefit from as well.
Found somewhere in this edition of the Pine and Lakes Journal you’ll find a list of our A and B Honor Roll students. Whether it’s kids who tackled their fears on a zip line at Wolf Ridge, or a middle schooler grinding through homework at the kitchen table, we want to say “thank you” to all of the kids at PLMS for a great start to the year. We’re proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself!
A New Look at the Pequot Lakes School District's 'Vision'
"A New Look at the Pequot Lakes School District’s” Vision”
Tracy Princivalli, District Nurse
There is no doubt that Pequot Lakes Public Schools inspire a passion for learning to ensure success for every student, and the district has added a new piece of technology to help support students on their journey to success.
When it comes to the vision, I mean literally the vision of its students, Pequot has hit one out of the park with its newly acquired Welch Allyn Spot Screener. The Welch Allyn Spot Screening system allows for quick, no-touch, no-subjectivity assessment of vision using a handheld, portable device that can quickly and easily detect vision issues in adults and children, even as young as six months old.
The Spot Screener is a photorefractor that uses an infrared camera that captures and analyzes images of the pupils to assess the correct alignment of each eye and estimate the eye refractive error. It looks a little bit like an old polaroid camera, it is held three feet from the eyes, has lights and sounds that help engage children to look where they need to for the measurement to occur, and it happens in less than a minute! The results are either “Screening Complete, all measurements in range” or “Complete Eye Exam Recommended” and are instantly displayed on the screen, along with the actual measurements that are out-of-normal range. Those results can be saved, sent wirelessly to a printer to be printed out, and sent with a vision referral to assist the provider with identifying possible treatments.
Not only does this device reduce the amount of time it takes to screen a student’s vision, but it also allows us to include every student in our school-wide screenings. It eliminates the subjectivity of whether or not a young student knows their shapes or letters, and it allows students with disabilities in communication and cognition to be screened along with their peers.
Vision screenings at school are not used to diagnose vision problems, but they are used to identify and treat preventable visual impairment at the earliest possible age. The most common eye disorders in children include:
~ Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. Children with amblyopia have blurry or reduced vision in one eye. Early detection is especially important because often, this condition does not have symptoms, so it is difficult to identify in time to treat.
~ Strabismus, also known as crossed eyes. In this disorder, the eyes don't line up correctly and point in different directions.
Both of these disorders can be treated when found early.
Other vision conditions that are found during screenings can include nearsightedness (myopia), a condition that makes far away things look blurry; farsightedness (hyperopia), a condition that makes close-up things look blurry; and astigmatism, a condition that makes both close-up and far-away things look blurry.
The Spot Screener does not completely replace the more well-known SLOAN or LEA vision charts for screening, as those are the standard screening tests for visual acuity, but the MDH and the American Academy of Pediatrics do recognize the important contribution to the screening process made by the new technology. And, now, thanks in part to a generous grant from the Patriot Foundation, we are fortunate to have both measures available to our students.
Pequot Lakes Schools’ own Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener will be an invaluable tool to help ensure the success of its students by helping with the early detection and treatment of eye conditions that could impact our student’s success.
Byron Westrich, Activities Director
It is always great to see our alumni back in the school attending our events and supporting our Patriots. “The Patriot Family” is a phrase we use often to describe the closeness of our community and the support we receive from alumni. This means people notice the little things that impact the connections between our current students and the history of our success as Patriots. If you have entered our middle school/high school building in the past couple of years, you may have noticed the Pequot Lakes School District has been working on a branding theme. The district continues to collaborate with a company to create branding items that are high quality, professional-looking, and student-centered. Some examples of this work are as follows:
We have taken down banners that represent state champions and installed a board that recognizes all of them in a more professional manner. The wall will include hall of fame individuals along with state tournament individuals.
Slides have been installed in the athletic hallway to replace news articles with team photos. The photos replace the banners that hung on the railings inside our athletic center. This allows us to recognize more teams and give all activities a chance to be recognized. We have also captured pictures of fans and students in action and placed them in our tuck-in areas. We continue to add photos from additional activities so all of our student activities have representation in our school. The plan is to replace these every five to seven years so our more recent Patriots are shown in these areas.
The leaderboard banners that showcase basketball 1,000-point scorers, tennis 100-win club, and volleyball record leaders are being updated and will be moved to the north wall by the east bleachers, right above the doorway where our home fans enter and exit the Athletic Center. This location change will be easier for our fans to see and will lay flat on the wall rather than hanging from the railings.
All of the trophies have been photographed and added to the touch screen located in the student commons area. This project took place this past summer. If you go to the touch screen you will see trophies located in the menu items. Currently, they are displayed by the year the trophy was earned. Another touch screen was purchased and will be placed by the Community Education office across the hall from the ticket booth. Fans will enjoy the ability to view trophies, hall of fame information, and senior graduation photos with this touch screen.
Additional branding with our Patriot logo can be found in our senior hallway. The art hallway has also been updated to showcase current work by art and tech ed students using our branding images with the Patriot logo. This is another way to create pride in our student body while showing off their talents.
We believe these branding changes around the building are improvements that will showcase our past and current talented Patriots. They will help to show the passion our Patriot alumni demonstrated during their tenure and encourage our current Patriots to strive for the same levels of excellence.
The Power of Listening
"The Power of Listening"
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
Listening is an undervalued skill. In a society where immediate responses are viewed as necessary and there is a constant desire to judge, the power of listening is a simple approach that can have major positive effects. Listening and withholding judgment should be seen as a strength. Here are three components that are critical for listening:
Genuine care - Listening and questioning must be grounded in genuine care in order to have a positive impact. Genuine care for another person can be challenging when perspectives are on opposite ends, but it is during those difficult conversations that the need for genuine care is most needed.
Seek to Understand & Not to be Understood - Actual inquiry and the need to understand has to outweigh the need to be understood. If you are entering a challenging conversation with a need to be understood, you’ll likely be disappointed. It’s when people enter a challenging conversation with a need to understand that actual common ground can be found.
Listening Takes Time - Thoughtful listening takes time, which requires people to slow down and oftentimes pause. There is a case to be made that the time investment upfront in listening and slowing down will save time later.
Listening, like any other skill, takes time and practice. Please join me in continuing to improve our listening to build an understanding school-community.
Happy New Year!