Monday, July 30, 2018

It's a Busy Place!

     When I was an elementary student growing up in Richmond, the last day of school was literally the last day of school!  When that final bell rang, I ran as fast as I could to my bike, threw my baseball glove on the handle bars and off I went.  From there I spent my summer playing baseball, fishing and hanging out with friends that lived within the radius of where I was allowed to ride my bike.  The elementary school was virtually "closed up" for the summer.  Things have certainly changed!
     When the last bell rings at PAES, the building does not go into hibernation!  Instead, the building becomes a place where students spend an entire day attending our PAWS program.  It is a place that serves thousands of free breakfasts and lunches.  It is a place where students attend community education classes, summer school, theater camp and VBS.  It is also a place where custodians and contractors tend to the building's many needs.
     Registration and open house are rapidly approaching.  When I was a child, Open House meant meeting new classmates and catching up with friends who lived outside my biking radius.  Today, it seems more like an extension to the many activities available for our students.
     Soon, school will officially start and the building will be full of activity, but in today's world that is nothing new!

David Oehrlein, Elementary Principal

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How Do Career Pathways Fit in Today's School System?

How Do Career Pathways Fit in Today’s School System?

by Matt Bullard

Sitting here today, I am twenty-five years removed from High School.  I also happen to come from a ‘split family’.  What I mean by a split family is that my mother and I both pursued careers in public education.  My father and brother journeyed through the private sector with careers in insurance and health care.  This, ‘split’, creates its share of robust discussion at family gatherings and holidays.  Without doubt, the question, ‘What has changed in public education over the last twenty-five years?’, is raised.  This question undoubtedly generates many answers.  In fact, most responses will be grounded in an individual's personal experience.

One element impacting public education that has changed over the last twenty-five years is the job market.  Generations of Americans are graduating from high school, pursuing advanced training and degrees with the hope to position themselves in the job market to secure the career of their choosing.  The job market today is different than the job market when I was in high school.  In the last 10 years, the following jobs have been created:
     Application Developer
     Social Media Developer
     Uber Driver
     Driverless Car Engineer
     Cloud Computing Specialist
     Big Data Analyst / Data Scientist
     Sustainability Manager
     Youtube Content Creator
     Drone Operator
This list is far from exhaustive.  It is just a small sample of the jobs that are now occupying the market place.  I am sure others could add additional new jobs in their industry as well.  Clearly, none of these jobs existed at the time of my high school graduation. Furthermore, I would venture a guess that none of my classmates, or I, would have guessed that these careers would be a possibility. 

To further complicate matters, the main goal of high schools in Minnesota, and across the nation, twenty-five years ago was to develop students for colleges and universities.  In fact, I would argue that most schools systems defined college quite narrowly.  In many cases, college was viewed as a four year baccalaureate producing institution.  My high school experience was a reflection of this definition.  Coursework was crammed with the academic foundation required for my success at college.  Generally speaking, in my case, it was successful.  But that model may be outdated.  Today’s high school students need options.  The job market demands far more than academic skills. 

Enter career pathways.  At the core of all pathways is a rigorous and relevant commitment to academic and technical literacy.  These skills are fundamental in today’s society and particular our rapidly evolving job market.  Paynesville Area Schools is beginning the process of developing career pathways for students to explore while in school.  The Minnesota Department of Education has provided a useful illustration defining the career fields and clusters. 

Our plan as we become intentional about preparing students for college and careers after high school is to provide students an opportunity to explore different career fields while creating partnerships to the pathway of their choosing.  These partnerships may include area colleges and training centers along with local and regional businesses.  The overarching goal is to provide opportunities for all students to access a rigorous and relevant education while fostering the individual passions within all students. 

Back to the original question, What has changed in Public Education?  In my opinion, education has moved away from an ‘one-size fits most’ approach.  Career pathways is one example how Paynesville Area Schools can offer a rigorous and relevant education that develops the unique passions of each student.   The conversations about career pathways are just beginning at Paynesville Area Schools. 

Go Bulldogs!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Welcome to the NEW PAS Bulldog News Blog!

Welcome to the New - PAS Bulldog News Blog.  To stay up to date on all of our Bulldog News, please subscribe to our Blog by entering your email in the address bar on the right side of this page.  This Blog will be updated frequently throughout the School Year. 

Everything is going well

We are already a quarter of the way done with the school year. Students started their second quarter of classes last week Tuesday, the 6th. ...