Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Moose Lake school board upodates goals, discusses marketing of school


Transitioning from the current school to the new school was one of the changes in the goals that were discussed by the Moose Lake School Board at a special meeting on June 30.

The previous goal of passing the bond issue for a new school had been accomplished, it was said.

Changing to a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or STEAM (adding art to the STEM subjects) curriculum education was another goal to focus on, board members Jamie Jungers and Kris Lyons pointed out.

Offering vocational education, such as auto mechanics, is also important for those students who will not be going to college, added board member Julie Peterson.

Goals have been met by returning to the five-period school day or block scheduling, it was said. Because of block scheduling, the students have more class choices, and the longer class periods enable teachers to teach more in depth about the subjects.

Each student has a Chrome book (laptop computer), which is a goal that has been met, as has the success of the Mini Moose Lodge in-house daycare that has been operating for two years. Middle school math has been added for fifth and sixth grade and has been a benefit to students.

The MCA and ACT test scores are better than the test scores in neighboring schools, it was said, but there is room for improvement. Scores from the last school year will not be available until September, said Superintendent Robert Indihar.

An ongoing goal is to attract more students and retain the students from the district who are attending other schools through open enrollment.

Community relations and pride goals have been met with more communications on Facebook and news releases about student accomplishments. The elementary school has earned the title of a Celebration School, said Supt. Indihar.

Board member Steven Blondo pointed out there will be a fitness center in the new school that will be available to the public.

Financial goals include hiring a grant writer. Supt. Indihar said a grant writer is going to be hired by NASC, an organization of superintendents of the schools in the area.

Progress has been made in unassigned expenditures in the General Fund, even though the goal has not yet been met, reported Supt. Indihar.

For Facilities and Property, Supt. Indihar said the school district is going to be required by the Legislature to have a 10-year facility plan. The school district does not have a facilities plan currently.

“We are in a special situation,” he added. “We are not going to be in this building in the future.”

The school district is continuing to try to sell the family center on Elm Avenue. Meanwhile, another renter is in place, and a second renter may be using more of the space available in the building.

The updated goals and objectives will be brought to the board again at the July 20 meeting.

For the second half of the meeting, Aaron Hautala of Red House Media of Brainerd, spoke to the board about branding, positioning and visioning for the school district. The firm had been hired by the board to market the school.

Hautala was accompanied by two writers from his staff, Heidi Lake, media and public relations manager, and Jodi Schwen, copywriter.

Hautala listed “be humble but always take the high road” and “communicating the truth” as two of the most important values to remember in the communication plan.

Hautala asked questions of the board to determine how the school district stood as far as academics, standing in the area, the community, the school identity, school spirit and school pride,

“A strong, healthy community and a new school is an exponential opportunity,” said Hautala. “That’s rare. “

He asked for the board’s input on what is great about the Moose Lake school.

The board members listed the benefits the Moose Lake school offers students.

“I think that we do an incredible job with what we have,” said board member Jamie Jungers.

“Our kids are held to much higher standards here,” added moard member Tom Paull.

He spoke of a student from a neighboring district came to Moose Lake. At first the student wasn’t sure about being held accountable for the amount of homework that had to be completed, he said.

“By the end of the school year, he was excited about the opportunities here,” said Paull.

Paull also said that, with the new school, the school district will be able to sell itself.

“This old building turned people off,” he said.

“There will be an entire wing for daycare and early childhood education,” added Jungers. “We got a matching grant to add 9,000 square feet for that. “

“That’s a facility’s answer to prayer,” replied Hautala. “If you embed the kids when they are 3, the kids will later say, ‘I’m a Moose Laker.’ You must talk about that.”

Designing a new logo and an identity for the school is one of Red House Media’s tasks.

A moose was the natural choice, it was said by Lyons.

Hautala said that multiple versions of a logo will be created and brought back to the board to make a choice.


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