All ISD 196 students must have access to quality education, and their families need to feel welcomed and valued. We can do this through creative and innovative approaches to education, the community, the environment, and the health of our students, families, and staff.
The pandemic has disrupted the educational process for all students. Now is the time to take a hard look at how we can meet the needs of all students. We need to support new ideas, advance equity, and build on what works well while teaching what is relevant to students now and learning from their different perspectives.
We need to actively engage our community more to learn from our different perspectives and foster meaningful relationships. Creative partnerships between staff and community groups, colleges, universities, health systems and more will leverage experiences and expertise that is crucial to creating learning opportunities that will welcome students and their families.
People overlook how the environment can impact educational success. Removing physical barriers, creating culturally sensitive and healing spaces and increasing opportunities to experience nature only enrich the learning experience. Not all students thrive in large high school environments. How can we build off the success of the School of Environmental Studies? It is equally important to look at how we are impacting the environment around us as students become stewards of the spaces they inherit. Just as our staff care for our children, we need to ensure their needs are being met as well. For example, providing adequate space for nursing parents is essential for supporting the health and wellbeing of our school community.
Schools are being asked to provide more health services to students. Our district has excellent health leaders and now is a great time to develop systems to further support the physical and mental health of students and staff. Creating stronger partnerships with local public health, the Minnesota Department of Health, Mayo the U of M and health systems could lead to improved services; especially for those most vulnerable. As we review our policies and practices for diversity, equity and inclusion, we should also integrate and articulate health equity considerations.