I was in third grade when Mom took me in to see the eye doctor. It was no surprise as both of my parents and all of my sisters wore glasses, and I had started the classic squinting look to see the chalkboard in school.
I’ll never forget when my glasses came in and we went to get them fitted. The old doctor got them sized in pretty close and put them on me. I looked out the window and for the first time I could see clearly across the parking lot — and even past the next building!
I was astonished at the amount of detail I had been missing, and I wondered just how long I’d been looking at a fuzzy world. The miracle of seeing 20/20 for the first time was cemented in my memory as something to cherish.
Much like the eye doctor does with corrective lenses, or much like you do by focusing a set of binoculars or your camera lens, our school board is currently trying to look into the future and bring the year 2020 into focus.
What will teaching and learning look like in Pequot Lakes Schools in the year 2020? Will students still be arranged in groups of 25-30 and sit in desks? Will groups or classes still be split up by age?
Is passively listening to a teacher in a room of 30 other students about content authentic and relevant learning in an age when nearly everything can be Googled on a phone in less than five seconds? If not, what will we do in the classroom? The way we do teaching and learning is being questioned today across the entire globe — and it should be. The foundational structures and processes of public education were created well over a century ago to prepare employees for industrial jobs, and aligning those structures and processes to the needs of our future economy is no small challenge. The first question is: What do students need to know and be able to do 20, 30 or 40 years from now?
This question is the heart of our strategic planning process and our school board is asking for your input.
Please consider engaging in a discussion about the future of our schools on Monday evening, Feb. 3. Our challenge is to peer into the binoculars of the future, bring the year 2020 into focus and capture what we see in some descriptive statements. Those statements will then be framed into a vision statement and complemented by strategic directions that guide our annual decisions about aligning our resources.
In addition to the community meeting on Feb. 3, look for upcoming announcements about an opportunity to offer input online, and local community groups (in all of our local communities) are asked to contact the district office to schedule a separate time for discussion during January, February or March.
We are fortunate to acknowledge that we have a wonderful school district, and we are challenged to ensure greatness in the year 2020 for our children. Please join this exciting district wide discussion!