State of the Schools Highlights & Video

State of the Schools Highlights & Video
Posted on 04/20/2022
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state of the schoolsLakota’s annual State of the Schools event was the perfect venue for the community to learn about the exciting things going on around the district. For those unable to attend, the event can be viewed on demand.

The program took place at Lakota East High School on March 29, beginning with a Showcase of all Lakota schools. The Plains Junior Jazz Band and Lakota East Voices & Company Choir provided entertainment for attendees as they visited the interactive School Showcase.

Following the Showcase, Superintendent Matthew Miller began his address. “When our students cross the graduation stage, we want them to not only know what their next steps are, but to be prepared and confident that they will succeed.” Staff and students followed Miller by presenting programs that align with the district’s mission statement of providing a future-ready, student-centered learning experience for every Lakota student. 

Miller first introduced teachers Jen Greer and Jake Knight from Woodland Elementary. These co-teachers are looking at how they teach in a whole new way.

“Success looks different for every student, and we have to look at each child individually to determine their strengths and their needs,” said Greer. “We can do this through data-driven instruction and personalized learning. Our objective is to prepare our students not for something, but for anything they want to accomplish.”

Donna Haury, Lakota’s Transition to Work Coordinator and East senior Brecken Kruse then spoke about the Work Study Program for special education students. The students are employed by area business partners, where the students receive valuable work experience to prepare them for their future.

Lakota West senior Caleb Heideman was next, sharing his experience with INCubatoredu, a real-world learning class resembling Shark Tank. As part of the class, Caleb and his group pitched an idea called Local Eatz. They won $1000 in seed money and Caleb now serves as CEO of the company. “I took this class my junior year and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve learning real-world skills that will last a lifetime – communication and presentation skills, working with diverse groups of people, networking and more.”

Jenni Logan, Lakota’s Treasurer/CFO, discussed ways in which the district is fiscally responsible with tax-payer dollars, including a balanced budget for 10 years, refinancing debt, no levies since 2013 and a rising cash balance.

Ridge teacher & Sources of Strength Adviser Andrew Wuest and students Sophie Hard and Ameer Hasan were the last group to take the stage. They shared details about Sources of Strength, a health and wellness program for junior high students, designed to be a companion to the high schools’ Hope Squad initiative.

Miller summed up the evening thanking teachers, staff and administrators who put the students and their needs first every single day. “I am proud of the education and opportunities we provide for ALL of our 17,000 kids. I choose Lakota, and I am grateful for all of our staff, families and community members who do the same.”

The State of the Schools concluded with the debut of “WE Choose Lakota,” a video where parents and students express how Lakota has impacted their families.