Inside Lakota Learning
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The Lakota learning experience is one filled with inquiry, innovation and discovery. Every student's learning style, passions and interests are different, which is why the experience of one student will never be exactly that of another. It's why Lakota teachers and support staff are committed to student-centered learning and providing a personalized approach marked by differentiated teaching methods. 

Let the Lakota Learning Team explain what that means and how that goal plays out on a daily basis in our classrooms. Through this blog, they'll guide parents and community members through the strategy behind Lakota's student-centered curriculum and how different methods meet students' educational needs. And because learning doesn't stop at school, they'll provide tips and strategies for how to be partners in the learning process and create a positive learning environment at home. 

Recent Posts

As we prepare to roll out Chromebook devices to all of our ninth through eleventh grade students, it is so important to focus on why we are doing this in Lakota and how it supports our new Strategic Plan. We could not be more excited to support this work and help all of our students succeed.

Being Future-Ready - To prepare our students for their future careers, many of which don’t yet exist, we are committed to providing the technology skills they will need to support their endeavors. Current studies identify that companies seek employees who can communicate effectively, think critically, work collaboratively and leverage technology successfully. At Lakota, we are empowering our students by putting the right tools in their hands so they may develop the skills critical to future success.  

But, is that really why technology is important to us?  Not entirely.

A Personalized Learning Culture - The driving “why” behind our integration is that we are dedicated to creating a personalized learning culture, meeting all students where they are in their learning journey while encouraging student voice and choice throughout the process. Teachers are continuously pursuing ways to boost student engagement. In education, student engagement is defined as “the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught.”  Across the district, we are working to place students at the center of the learning as a means of improving learning. Technology is part of the lesson design experience that is a catalyst to meet this challenge.

And while our teachers are committed to student learning, we also know that our students need the opportunity to create, to show their learning progress, and to have their ideas validated and celebrated. In support of the 1:1 initiative, junior high and high school media centers have been transformed into Innovation Hubs for this exact reason. These collaborative learning spaces allow students to explore varied forms of media, demonstrate and share their learning with authentic audiences in innovative ways and create new, deeper learning for themselves. This is again why giving our students technology opportunities is so important to us.

Ultimately, we are leading with learning and the learning is driving our use of technology for the teachers who are designing learning experiences, for the students who need to innovate and for better equipping all students for a future that has yet to be imagined.

Heidi Adams Innovation Specialist Michelle Miranda Innovation SpecialistHeidi Adams (left) and Michelle Miranda (right) are innovations specialists at Hopewell Junior and Lakota East Freshman schools, respectively, helping empower staff and students to use technology as a tool for more personalized and engaged learning experiences. 

Posted by  On Jan 04, 2019 at 2:29 PM

Parenting can be rough. I mean, there are days I would rather give up ice cream than deal with hearing “MOM!” from the opposite end of the house again. If you know me, you know ice cream is my life! By the way, I have tried changing my name; it doesn’t work. The kids just yell out random names, and it gets more annoying than just hearing “MOM” from the opposite end of the house again.

As parents, we are constantly told we have to plug in. What does that even look like for a modern parent? Staying plugged in to what our kids are doing is no easy task: Attend their school events, volunteer for everything, keep up with their school work and grades, monitor their social media accounts, know who they are hanging out with in real life, help them practice. I’m sure the list goes on.  So we have to ask, how are we truly engaging with our kids? How do we combat the exciting world of social media, FaceTime, Snapchat, virtual worlds, and the physiological euphoria that comes with interacting with technology?

Questions like this are difficult to tackle, and if you are anything like me, you end up spending nights throwing together something that resembles a meal, helping your kids check off the homework to do list as quickly as possible, and running from event to event as a glorified - let’s face it there’s no glory - chauffer for young people who act like they would rather be sitting on their iPad or phone than have an actual conversation with their….gasp….parents!

What about when we need to unplug? How do we unplug with our kids in meaningful and engaging ways that aim to foster positive relationships?  Now, before you get all over me about how crazy busy you already are, trust me, I KNOW! The last thing many of us want to do at night is figure out how we are supposed to be “engaging.” The least our kids can do is answer a simple question about their day without making us work for it! #AmIright

Here’s one way you can unplug: You actually plug right back in! Plug in to their interests, even those that may be digital. Yes, I said it, and I will repeat, “…even those that may be digital.” My son loves teaching his old school momma how to play video games a few nights a week. He indulges in my classic Mario for a bit while I swap out with some Zelda and Splatoon for him. True story by the way, the vocabulary acquisition in Zelda is just amazing along with plot development, characterization….but that’s the teacher in me leaking out! My oldest daughter is currently a huge fan of SIMS where she can design neighborhoods and houses.  Her interest in engineering, interior design, and architecture are leading her toward this path in all she does. She loves sitting me down and showing me her creations from neighborhood layout to house design all the way down to the window treatments. We have very different tastes in this area, but it’s fun to see where those conversations lead us and what ends up in my house later. My youngest will sit with me and snuggle to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood while pointing out all her favorite parts, singing the songs, and giving me life advice, “Out of the mouth of babes,” they say.  Her advice is actually quite good; we could all take some time to learn lessons from the wisdom of a 5-year-old. 

But, what about the two hours of screen time as recommended by pediatricians? Yeah….THAT! It’s a tough balance to achieve especially when kids spend some of their time at school using screens, come home to homework that may or may not require a screen, and then they want to relax with some screen time too. Even as an adult, that would adequately describe my day. I’ll be honest, some days we don’t have time for anything with a screen beyond what is needed for school. There just isn’t enough time in the day with all the craziness.  Other days, it’s those devices that bring me a sweet sense of serenity. 

My biggest advice for anything in life is to aim for the middle. The middle is a good place to be since extremes can be, well…extreme! Don’t hesitate to let your kids suck you in to a little screen time, especially if they are sharing some of their excitement and passion. Also, don’t hesitate to remember to push their butts outside on occasion to ride a bike, play with sidewalk chalk, read in the grass, or throw a ball around with you following right behind. You can have both. You can plug in and unplug.

Plug-In to Some Extra Reading:

New screen time rules for kids, by doctors

Screen Time and Children

9 secrets to managing your child’s screen time

25 Ways to Ask Your Kids ‘So How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’

How to Get Your Kids to Play Outdoors 

Tiffany Rexhausen is an instructional coach at Lakota Local Schools and the mother of three beautiful children. Follow her on Twitter @TRexhausen or email her at

Posted by  On Apr 02, 2018 at 2:23 PM 171 Comments