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ELC group tells of The Blueberry Partnership

March 7, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Estherville Rotarians Thursday heard about a local takeoff on The Blueberry Partnership, based on a book by Jamie Vollmer, former business executive and attorney who is now working to increase public support for

American's public schools.

Locally, The Blueberry Partnership, comprised of both school and community leaders, is asking the community what ELC needs to do in order to create students who can meet the future demands of society.

Brad Leonard, ELC activities director and assistant principal, said locally The Blueberry Group is asking community members to give their input to implement change in schools

"You can't touch the culture of the school without touching the culture of the town," said Krystie Brashear, business person and partnership member, who pointed to the community support of the ELC girls basketball team as a good example.

"We are all about cultivating our students' success," Brashear said about the entire community. "We're at the beginning stage and moving forward."

"Schools can't look like they did 50 years ago. And unfortunately they do," said Leonard. "They can't look like they did five years ago."

The group posited the question: "What would our system look like?" if schools adapted to meet the needs of society.

Leonard said he would like kids to "get their hands dirty" and see what jobs are all about.

ELC principal and Rotarian Frank Christenson said teachers are good about bringing guest speakers in - outsiders who affirm what teachers are saying.

And Brashear said kids need to transition from the school to work environment by knowing what's appropriate for work and what's not.

After collecting responses as to how students should be prepared to enter the community at large, Paul said data would be compiled to see what kind of system the district needs to create.

"Our goal is to prepare our students to enter into our society," Paul said.

As for the contributions business can make, said Paul, "We don't believe it's always monetary."

Rotarian Rick Olesen said he would like to see more students job shadowing engineers. Along a similar vein, Christenson said he struggles with getting kids to take the courses they need to enter their chosen field.

Brashear pointed to the advantage high-school students have now by being able to take college classes which still in high school. She said students need to be better prepared for online classes, though, and be better motivated.

Other Rotarian comments included club president Chris Fuhrman who would like to see shorter job shadow times during the day and Glen Caron who would like to see kids who have a better concept of scheduling.



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