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Chisago Lakes Schools

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February 16, 2020

4/20/2018 11:21:00 AM
North Branch High School to get makeover in more ways than one

If you have ever wondered how school administrators and instructors keep busy over summer break;  those in the North Branch district will be putting in hours and hours this summer composing a whole new vision for North Branch High School.  

Principal Coleman McDonough told school board members last week this will take months.  The Board should expect to consider a fully developed “comprehensive high school review” and accompanying recommendations sometime around next winter’s holiday break.

Principal McDonough  explained the process for how this “design” for revising programming, graduation requirements and eventually students’ skills will come together for the Board to consider adopting.  He said teams looking into areas of “evolution” and “innovation” have already been getting together.  Everyone from administrative leadership to students and staff are going to have a chance to share what they want the high school to look like academically and socially,  what can be eliminated and what could be improved to meet the school’s basic task of preparing today’s student for a productive future.

“It’s an exciting time,” the principal remarked. The building itself is going to transform (physical structural changes paid for through bond referendum) and if ever there was a time to embrace educational innovations now is the time.

Superintendent Dr. Deb Henton reminded the School Board that graduation standards, as part of this new design,  was reviewed in depth at a recent work session of the Board.  

McDonough and district Director of Teaching & Learning David Treichel are leading the team down this design road.   The group has visited Hutchinson and was scheduled to go to Mounds View High School Friday last week, to see new programming and grading practices in action.
Treichel had a graphic that listed some reasons for why the high school is ripe for a revamp.  

The use of Post Secondary Education Options or PSEO is increasing among high schoolers.  State graduation rates have to be met and innovations in the learning environment helps keep older kids attending school.

Goals are to create a high school providing real life preparedness opportunities in a high school student’s school career.

McDonough said the conversation with the local community starts as early as next week-- at Orientation for high schoolers April 23.  Families will see invitations to a presentation starting at 5:30 p.m. at NBHS Auditorium.  Dates are also roughed in for May October and November, when wide-ranging general input from district taxpayers, graduates from North Branch, current students, parents all the “stakeholders” have been planned.  Details are still coming together.  There will be a mix of on-line input from the public and open meetings.

McDonough concluded telling the Board the district philosophy is to be “continuously improving” and there are many advancements in the future of education at the high school level and beyond, not necessarily “college” that are waiting to be tapped.   

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