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ICYMI: 4Es Community Conversation Notes

  • Community Conversations
ICYMI: 4Es Community Conversation Notes

Now in its tenth year, Lakota’s Community Conversation program gives school board members and administrators an opportunity to gather feedback from parents, staff, students and community members on a variety of topics. Each conversation in the school board listening program is led by a professional facilitator. Using both small and large-group discussions, participants share their thoughts, ideas and concerns.

While these meetings are not recorded, notes are taken and are posted on Lakota’s website. Most recently, the district hosted a community conversation about the 4Es: Enrollment in higher education; Enlistment in the military; Employment; and Entrepreneurship.

Notes from these conversations, along with prior sessions, can be found on the Community conversation page of Lakota’s website.

Community Conversation: The Portrait of a Graduate & 4Es
February 24, 2022

Q1: What did this mean to you? (Regarding a presentation about Lakota's Portrait of a Graduate)

  • Love idea of pathways, BUT what about kids who are dabblers or don’t fit into a pathway? 
  • So important to have ways to try something to determine if it is or isn’t meant for you. 
  • Other pathways that aren’t so STEM heavy; want more arts and humanities focused pathways. 
  • Communication gap to make students and parents aware of opportunities and also change perceptions of what the traditional experience of K-12 was.
  • Break away from the traditional “Reading, Writing & Arithmetic” expectation
  • Where does the average kid fit in? I have a student who i just lost. The student who needs someone who’s watching after them. 
  • They really don’t know and aren’t bold enough. They’re not seeing touching and feeling because no one is making them do it. 
  • The pathways are exciting if you know, but otherwise are intimidating if you don’t know. 
  • Feels more like you’re segmenting people off (trapped) almost like they do in Europe. 
  • Internships are the answer to this. This helps dabblers dabble. 
  • How many people are taking advantage of this? Is the majority of the students participating in this? 
  • My daughter didn’t know about it. How do we communicate the opportunities? 
  • Many internships going unfulfilled, so that’s perplexing. 
  • It is newer and COVID interrupted it. 
  • Is there a disconnect that students know about it but parents don’t? Is there an opportunity to do an internship fair like the Summer Fun Fair? 
  • Surprised at how flexible and accommodating internships are. 
  • What about our transient students? What does it look like when you come in with a different background? 
  • Kids need to work and make money on top of sports, etc. Is it possible to have more “take your sons and daughters to work” shadowing model. It’s more of a sampling experience.
  • Need to change language; “internship” has a certain expectation and connotation and most experiences aren’t like that.
  • Are we reaching everyone from a diversity standpoint to include ED, special needs, minorities, ESL, etc.? 
  • Do we need to focus more on in-school experiences to catch more students, as opposed to extra commitments beyond the regular school day like internships? 
  • Can internships be structured such that they are an extension of the school day (i.e. only for seniors and everyone leaves at noon on a Wednesday and Friday)? 
  • This worked for one of the participants whose HS internship turned into a 15-year career.
  • Lakota’s internship coordinator will go out and find a business to match up with a student’s interest. 

Q2: How can the district with this ambitious learning model work in partnership with parents and the kids on all the things that are non-academic to develop the “whole child”?

  • Weave 4Es or link into the secondary experience. SEL, for example, allow you to have the soft skills to be successful in a pathway come high school.
  • Project based learning and E+R=O feeds into this too. 
  • Bring families along with those programs and language so we can support and reinforce at home. 
  • Study skills, time management, organization need to be taught earlier so it becomes a habit by high school. 
  • How do we instill the soft skills in our parents to be able to reinforce it at home? As parents, we have to be supportive and connect those dots.
  • If we are to remain personalized, with the diversity in our district, we have to be very careful to keep curriculum in the hands of our teachers. Not to say we can’t let the community weigh in. As a parent, I don’t want my child’s teachers to teach them what to think, but how to think. 
  • We need to teach them what society needs them to know to be functioning member of society. The social and emotional learning is critically important. 
  • We should look at our teachers with a partnership. We go to the teachers directly when there’s a problem or question. Keep the communication lines open. 
  • Also feeds personalized learning to build those relationships. 
  • The classroom sizes don’t lend to personalized learning. One-on-one time is not realistic. Physical space is also a barrier.
  • As parents, we need to remember that teachers can’t do it all and have large loads to carry. On the flip side, there are parents that don’t have the means or flexibility to be so involved. 
  • Need to flip the switch and retrain parents to be involved after COVID conditioned parents to step back and not be as involved in the school community.

Story Ideas
Follow-up with first year INC students who acquired LLC status with their business


  • community conversations