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Public planning session for Detroit Lakes School District is Monday

The Detroit Lakes school district is looking to make some changes for the future - and it wants the community to comment.

Although the school board puts together a strategic plan every five years or so, Superintendent Doug Froke said the most recent one, which was scheduled to last until 2011, wasn't "addressed to the level it should have been."

In order to revisit the issues, a strategic planning meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Holmes Ballroom at the DL Community Center, designed for community input on "what a Detroit Lakes graduate should look like now and in the future."

Although Froke said there isn't a specific agenda of issues to address, Bruce Miles, a facilitator with consulting firm Big River Group, will be present to lead and direct discussion.

"Really, we're looking for people to come in for a couple of hours and draw out their feelings," Froke said. "It's not a preconceived thing. It's about how do they think we do and what could we be doing better."

Froke stressed that "this is a community school," and that the members of said community should have a chance to weigh in on the educational services offered.

The community sets the vision, he said, and he would like to see a discussion on both sides of the issues.

"For us to continue to provide world-class education and for people to understand that their tax dollars are being spent appropriately, we want to move forward with the rapid state of change that surrounds us," Froke said.

It shouldn't be all administration making decisions, he said, so they're trying to create a setting where people "can speak freely of their impression of the district."

The process of building the strategic plan has already begun. Staff members and administrators have already had the chance to voice their opinions with Miles, so the community input would be one of the last steps.

After the community meeting, Miles will analyze common themes of discussion and bring them to a school board and administration retreat on June 9.

"We will have garnered input from staff and the community," Froke explained. "The facilitator will help us develop a plan based on the data and our own perceptions."

Froke noted that times are changing, and, therefore, so must education.

He said he'd like to see graduates be technologically sound, know how to be resourceful to solve problems, write and speak effectively and be team players.

Societal issues like energy costs, the aging of America and the shape of the Social Security program are some of the key issues facing high school graduates these days, Froke said.

He said he wants the school district to prepare students for the challenges they'll face once they're out of school.

While he said he realizes how busy many parents are, "we'd really like people to come."