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Letter: Thanks for your thoughts on DL school district

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opinion Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
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Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Thanks for your thoughts on DL school district

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to all who came to the community input session for the support of the Detroit Lakes School District. While it is not easy to make time to attend one more meeting, a number of people made the sacrifice, giving of their time and stepping into the unknown to speak their mind about the direction of our schools.

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I choose my words carefully and very intentionally.

The word sacrifice because those that came to the meeting gave of their time and put their thoughts, feelings and ideas on the line. This is not an easy thing to do in this day and time. We all have a schedule full of meetings, kids to run from one activity to the next, not to mention ordinary everyday life that make demands on our time. Then there's the sharing of one's thoughts, feelings and ideas: talk about scary. We did this in a face-to-face manner, no hiding behind a computer screen, no anonymity. What will people think? So to those of you that came and shared your thoughts, thank you!

The word unknown, because this was a discussion led by someone outside the community as a "chainsaw" planning session. As a school board member I made sure to invite many people to the meeting. Each and every one asked me what kind of questions should they be prepared to answer. My response: "I have no real clue, but think about where you want the district to be in 10 years, what we should be teaching, and what the students should be prepared for upon graduation." As anyone that was at the planning session can tell you, these questions never came up directly; rather they ended up as the final outcome by this "chainsaw" planning that discussed what we did well, tried to do but didn't turn out, should have addressed, and shortcomings. Dr. Miles with Big River Consulting conducted the planning session. None of the session was directed by the administration or by the school board. The only control we had as far as this session goes was that we, the school, hired Big River Consulting and in the end, the school will receive the final reports. Everything else was at the direction of Dr. Bruce Miles. I would like to thank each of you for putting your heart and mind into this session.

My thoughts: we had a nice, albeit small, cross-section of the community attend this meeting. We were able to discuss educational goals and visions for our district. We learned the positives of rural education and how many things we are getting right. We learned that we all want to do more for our kids, the differences were the what's and how's.

For those who did not make it to the planning session, again we know it is difficult to make time. Some may not have known about the meeting. Others may have felt that their opinions would not matter or that they didn't have children in the district and therefore were not welcome. This is what I would like to say to you: it is never too late to get involved. The kids in our community are more than worth it. Come to the school board meetings. Keep an eye on the district Web site. Make contact and let us know your thoughts.

For those that gave of themselves: many, many thanks! You are what it takes to grow a community! -- Terrie L. Boyd, School Board Member, Detroit Lakes

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