Three Park Rapids School Board seats in play for November

School board members take a first look at the faculty's view of "educational pillars" for updated school facilities.

Park Rapids Area High School Principal Jeff Johnson, at left, looks on as educational consultant Glenn Chiodo with ICS explains the results of a "dotmocracy" at a recent faculty workshop. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

The Park Rapids School Board on Monday set the candidacy filing dates for three seats on the school board that will be up for election on Nov. 3.

All three school board positions have four-year terms.

Candidacy filing will be accepted during office hours at the school district office from July 28 until 5 p.m. on Aug. 11.

The school board also approved a memorandum of understanding regarding wages, salary steps and district contributions for the district’s 2020-21 collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Educational pillars

Finally, the school board approved the first reading of the “educational drivers” or “pillars” worked out by grades 7-12 teachers, part of the planning process toward potentially restructuring the district’s facilities.


Two of the three facility options under discussion involve changing the layout of the district’s schools from a K-8 vs. 9-12 split toward having early childhood through grade 6 in one building and grades 7-12 in another.

High School Principal Jeff Johnson and educational consultant Glenn Chiodo told the school board about a two-day workshop with the 7-12 faculty, during which they explored “next century learning” practices. They heard from a guest speaker, Alexandria High School Principal Chad Duwenhoegger, whose school has been a leader in educational innovation.

Johnson said Duwenhoegger advised the faculty to establish a set of driving principles, or pillars, “that are going to help you make the right decisions on your design and how you move forward, as far as delivering curriculum and so forth.”

Chiodo said that after reviewing the district’s strategic plan, core beliefs and mission statement, as well as the information collected by stakeholder listening sessions during the past year, faculty members used sticky dots to vote for priorities.

Johnson said the workshop challenged teachers to think about, “What do we believe education needs to be built upon?”

According to Chiodo, goals and methods the teachers most strongly supported incorporating into the design of the district’s educational facilities were active, project-based learning; flexible learning spaces; time for collaboration and reflection; relationships with the community; up-to-date technology; cultural safety and citizenship.

Johnson presented a diagram representing the concepts that a faculty subgroup prioritized as “pillars” and parts of the foundation for the design of a learning environment to serve the community for the next century.

The pillars are labeled community participation, technology, flexibility, collaborative and citizenship. Foundation pieces were labeled as relationships, personalized, authentic, diverse, inclusive, digital learning, instructional tools, post-secondary career planning, building design, programming, resources and internships.


He said Duwenhoegger told them that he uses his district’s list of drivers to make decisions about whether an innovative teaching idea fits the school’s vision and mission.

Jay Pike moved to approve the first reading of the pillars/drivers. The motion passed without dissent.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Hired Concha Uzozie as junior high volleyball coach.

  • Approved volunteer Molly Aukes as volleyball coach.

  • Approved the district’s membership in the Minnesota School Boards Association for the 2020-21 school year.

  • Acknowledged a $2,500 donation from Lamb Weston/RDO Frozen to the high school career and technical education program.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, July 20 at the Frank White Education Center.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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