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District Think Tank brainstorms graduation needs

District Think Tank

Infographic by Olivia Weirtz

The district has been looking for ways to improve; their most outside of the box method has been to brainstorm ideas with a 12 person district meeting dubbed as a “Think Tank”.

The Think Tank was held on the 27 and included school administrators, teachers, board members and community leaders. The dialogue at the meeting was geared toward enriching education for District 834 students, kindergarten to grade 12.

A focus of the Think Tank was to get a greater sense of what Stillwater students will need when they graduate and how the district can address those needs.

“Think Tank came out of conversations we were having with regard to getting voices from local industry experts, and make connections between the school district and industry. We really weren’t trying to address concerns per se, rather we were trying to gain insight on what industry sees as skills and competencies needed by graduates,” Bob McDowell, Executive Director of Learning and Innovation said.

The Think Tank allowed a collaboration between members of the Stillwater community along with the educators.  The district is putting forth graduating classes of future leaders and proponents of the town and it was thus imperative that diverse representation from education as well as industry were present at this brainstorming event.

The Think Tank allowed me to hear from those outside of education how they believe we should be helping our students prepare for life after high school.”

— George Hoeppner

“It seemed to reinforce many existing ideas and to recognize common ground between the service professionals and educators,” Curriculum Specialist Karen Latterell said.

This Think Tank is one of a series of three, one which was held in the August and the other that has yet to occur. The ideas discussed in the most recent meeting will likely resurface in the next and fuel progress in terms of improving graduate aptitude for the world beyond high school. True change to the district is not made final by these meetings, but the proposals could potentially jumpstart some adjustments.

“It really depends upon what the final ideas are and whether the school board believes those ideas are priorities for us to carry out,” McDowell said.

The Think Tank projects mean a deeper desire of district officials to become as in tune as possible with what their students need and to ensure that they are being given the best chances to succeed.

“One of our responsibilities as school board members is to continually update our understanding of what it means to be a Stillwater graduate. The Think Tank allowed me to hear from those outside of education how they believe we should be helping our students prepare for life after high school,” school board member George Hoeppner said.

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