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Striving to create innovators

Lance Bagstad

By Lance Bagstad / For the Enterprise

In Tony Wagner’s book, “Creating Innovators,” he discusses that innovators do not have to be entrepreneurs in the likes of a Steve Jobs, Oprah, or Albert Einstein. But more so, they are those individuals who can be innovative in working with organizations, corporations, and nonprofits. Wagner stresses that these innovators are people with purpose, style of behavior, and attitude that allows them to create something original of value, make a difference, or change a process, service, system or way of thinking.

As educators, we focus diligently on how to best provide our students with the opportunities that will cultivate the creative and innovative mindsets. A rigorous curriculum that allows for varying experiences in a supportive environment are key for skills, character, and learning to flourish. Our school district continually strives to transform our pedagogy of teaching and learning to meet the needs of our students for today and tomorrow. The goal of developing in all our students the skills and abilities to be an innovator, in some aspect of the definition, continues to be a major focus.

Through this journey, the Park Rapids Area School District strives to be the best educational system for students. The strategic roadmap adopted by the School Board sets forth policy and vision for the future of learning. This board is very committed to supporting staff and students to grow for success and opportunity for the future.

Looking to that future, our district continues to implement 21st century technology and strategies for student learning. In schools, technology alone is not innovative, but it is a tool for innovation. Through continuous, professional development training that focuses on the framework of teaching and learning, our staff members are implementing creative and innovative instructional practices that are transforming our classrooms. The use of digital, 21st century tools in our students’ learning will be more deliberate into the future. All classrooms are equipped with interactive Smart Boards, and all teachers are exploring and using mobile technologies for teaching and learning. In the vision of learning, the district has committed itself to educating our students using these tools.

The Park Rapids Area High School is implementing a one-to-one iPad initiative in grades 9-12. Century Elementary and Middle School incorporate classrooms sets of digital devices to enhance learning. The Middle School currently integrates three classroom sets of iPads and two classroom sets of Chromebooks within their curriculum. Two additional sets of iPads are accessible for the elementary School. All Park Rapids area students have opportunities of using 21st-century tools in learning on a daily basis.

As we move into the future, it is our goal at Park Rapids Area Schools to prepare and ready our students for a challenging global society. By supporting and guiding them with relevant experiences and opportunities, our students will be skilled innovative thinkers and doers making a difference in our world.

I am willing to speak to any organization about what we’re working on in the Park Rapids Area School District. Contact me at 237-6501 or