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ICYMI: Lessons Learned During the Pandemic Community Conversation Notes

  • Community Conversations
ICYMI: Lessons Learned During the Pandemic 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 to gather feedback about how we should consider lessons learned during the pandemic as we build our master facilities plan.

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


What lessons learned during COVID should be considered regarding the future of education?
March 23, 2022

In one word, why are you here today? Why is this conversation about facilities important?

  • Progressive
  • Inclusion
  • Standards
  • Community
  • Interested
  • Diverse perspective
  • Be involved
  • Aging facilities
  • To learn

What can we learn from our COVID experience to improve education?

  • Experience
  • Accountability and engagement: When kids/teachers/parents are accountable, they become engaged
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Mental health for staff and students - what does this look like & being intentional about it
  • Flexibility with scheduling and educational choices
  • Outdoor classroom/learning spaces and breaks
  • Smaller class sizes/more staff to help support students; better student:staff ratios
  • Personalized
  • Collaborative
  • Whole child & meeting the needs of each individual student
  • Technology is great, but need to have paper and pencil, too - be intentional about technology usage and find balance
  • Socialization

What do you see from the list?

  • We’re all pretty much on the same page.
  • It all points back to the personalized, whole-child concept.
  • The list shows how to get to the Portrait of a Lakota Graduate.
  • Need to define personalized and collaborative because they’re not the same & those who don’t have students in the schools may not understand the difference between the two.

How do facilities help give the students what they need, based on the comments shared tonight?

  • Smaller class sizes or more support - student:teacher ratio or adding instructional assistance to give more access to support
  • Ample space for related arts but also for intervention support - this could be better utilizing larger collaborative space
  • Adding neighborhood schools to the conversation as opposed to larger schools, meaning fewer transitions and keeping neighborhoods attending the same schools (clean feeder schools as opposed to students from one school splitting into multiple for next transition)
  • More dollars will mean more priorities can be met
  • Flexible spaces that can be used for many things
  • Space that can be used to build community partnerships
  • Examples: a senior citizen center and preschool together; a central Cyber Academy where East & West students can come together for class instead of duplicating the cost at two schools; partnering with a healthcare system for many wraparound opportunities
  • Lakota is a generational place, people stay here. Providing this to the community will help encourage people to come back.
  • Partnering like this gives the opportunity for guided practice with skills
  • Adds layer of support for kids in different areas
  • Room flexibility is more important than a newer building
  • Access/flow for students between classes
  • Communication clarity at the building level - can you utilize the space you have to accommodate events/speakers/programs
  • Do we have the staffing to meet the demands of enrollment growth?
  • Can the facility be best utilized to meet the flexibility needs of the master schedule?
  • Not only large spaces, but do the facilities have nooks for small-group work

What surprised you about tonight’s conversation?

  • I really liked the energy in the room. I didn’t anticipate the positive energy.
  • I really like the idea of including a community center
  • Collaborative banter
  • Excitement for innovation
  • Continuity between ideas
  • It’s a huge job
  • Collaboration
  • Excited to see new faces tonight
  • Collaborative conversations of strategic planning leads to diversity
  • Space for community partners

The information below is feedback received from the March 2021 focus groups and community meetings on how to apply lessons learned about education during a pandemic to our master facilities planning process. Participants of tonight’s community conversation used this feedback as a guide for discussion.

Post-Covid Educational Vision (“What”)
Theme: We have learned that schools can try new things and still deliver excellent outcomes.

  • Learning should be:
  • Personalized.
  • Collaborative.
  • Whole child based.
  • Teachers and learning pedagogies should be flexible.
  • Spaces should be larger and more flexible.
  • Classes should generally be smaller.
  • Almost all students need some in-person learning or group experiences.
  • Students benefit from educational choices.
  • VLO or not (by day or by class)
  • Time and schedule flexibility.
  • A variety of real-world experiences.
  • School is important for student socialization.
  • Technology provides flexibility in learning options.
  • Mental health is affected by school, classroom, and pedagogy design.
  • Students need in-person art, music, sports, and extracurriculars.
  • Outdoor breaks and education time helps academics, mental health, socialization.

Facilities Vision (“How”)

  • Smaller class sizes (number of students) to increase personalization.
  • Larger class spaces for educational flexibility and to address health concerns.
  • Spaces that allow for:
  • Multiple uses.
  • Outdoor uses.
  • Personalized learning and diverse pedagogies.
  • Alternate schedules.
  • Socialization.
  • Collaboration.
  • Mental health.
  • Physical health.
  • Physical safety.
  • Real world experiences.
  • Connection to online learning options.
    • To increase building capacity.
    • To provide student options.
  • Flexible use of large spaces like cafeteria, gym, common areas.
  • More time flexibility and expanded hours.
  • Ample space for arts, music, sports, extracurriculars.
  • Space for community partners, ways to build community connections.
  • community conversations