Nine Park Rapids seniors moving on from virtual learning – Park Rapids Enterprise

The Park Rapids School Board heard a report Monday, May 20 about nine students completing a non-traditional path to graduation.

Director of curriculum and instruction Jill Stevenson reported that nine seniors are graduating this spring from the Park Rapids Area Virtual Academy (PRAVA).

Of the nine students, Stevenson said three will continue working at their current jobs; five will go on to vocational school, one as a massage therapist, one in a nursing program, one in radiation technology and two in heating, ventilation and air conditioning; and one “plans to embrace eight years of school to become a veterinarian.”

Asked what was the best part about PRAVA, Stevenson said, students said it allowed them to work at their own pace from home; it was flexible, enabling them to work around work, health and family issues; the work was straightforward and the teachers were helpful; it allowed them to create their own schedule based on their weekly needs; for a student dual-enrolled at M State, PRAVA was helpful with their college schedule; and teachers understood when a student was overwhelmed with life and schoolwork.

Stevenson thanked the school board for supporting this option for students who value learning from home and cannot come to school in a traditional way. She said other school districts are reaching out to PRAVA to learn about their educational model.

Going for the fences with school spirit

Century School Principal Mike LeMier reported how fifth- and sixth-grade art students led by teacher Chris Kirchner decorated the schoolyard’s chain-link fence in school colors. Over the course of about five days, LeMier said, they inserted 14,000 put-in cups to depict the words “Century School” and the Panther paw.


Middle school art teacher Chris Kirchner’s fifth- and sixth-grade students created school pride artwork, like this giant Panther pawprint, with put-in cups on the fence around the Century School playground over a five-day period this spring.

Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

“Working their little fingers out there,” said LeMier. “I think that by the end, they were over it. But they had good weather for it.”

LeMier said Kirchner purchased the put-in cups with grant funding from the Park Rapids Education and Activities Foundation. He said Kirchner did a similar project seven or eight years ago at his previous school in Warren, Minn.

“It was pretty neat to see the kids taking leadership on that,” said LeMier.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad reported that the school forest committee has been discussing how to make use of the district’s three school forests – Brush Lake, Two Inlets and Lake George.

Bagstad said students do use the Brush Lake school forest, which is close to town, but the other two forests have seen little use. He said Mike Lichter and Kyle Anderson with the Department of Natural Resources have been developing a plan to create trails and hold timber sales to create revenue for the school district.

“There are some mature trees that need to be harvested,” Bagstad said. “I asked them to come next month (and) give us a presentation on our school forests and how we can utilize them more as a learning opportunity, as well as for our community and visitors to our area to be able to explore.”

In consent items and general business, the school board:

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 3 at a location to be announced.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.


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