November 2019

Working to create the world’s best workforce
Posted on 11/04/2019
It is an exciting time for our seniors to be thinking about entering the workforce. In the United States, more workers are reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce with fewer younger workers available to fill the open positions. The acceleration of new industries and positions created by technological advances will provide new types of career opportunities. On the other hand, traditional career paths in many areas, including the trade industry, are finding it difficult to hire qualified employees. The future certainly looks bright in terms of job opportunities for our young people and we are working to prepare them to pursue any career path they choose.

While the number of job opportunities is increasing, it is estimated that 70% of these future jobs will require more than a high school diploma. The needed education and training will depend on the specific job category they choose. The challenge for our district is to determine what the best way is to prepare our students for a future workforce while striving to realize our mission of igniting a passion for lifelong learning. We work to provide strong core content knowledge through our graduation requirements and by offering a variety of elective course options for students to explore their interests. By ensuring all of our students are competent in the core areas and have expanded their knowledge and interest in a variety of areas, we believe they will be ready to take the next step when they graduate.

While our district and other districts throughout the state have set high goals for student achievement, we all have continued to see areas where certain student groups are outperforming others. These persistent gaps in achievement and opportunity for students have been the focus for educators and legislators as we look to the future of what our students will need to prepare them for meaningful careers once they graduate.

In 2013 a bill was passed called “Striving for the World’s Best Workforce.” The goal of the legislation was to ensure every school district in the state is making strides to increase student performance. The World's Best Workforce (WBWF) legislation requires that school districts set annual goals for student performance in the areas of closing the academic achievement gaps between all student groups, kindergarten readiness, (all students ready for school), all students reading at grade level by third-grade, all students ready for college and career options, and all students graduating from high school within four years.

Our district has set goals for the WBWF based on the legislation and the goals set forth in the North Star Accountability System from the Minnesota Department of Education. These statewide goals have been established with a clear focus on ensuring excellence and equity for all Minnesota students. The goals outlined in our plan requires that all students reach a high level of success but take into account the accelerated improvement that is necessary for some student groups in order to close the gaps. While all groups are expected to improve, student groups that are currently achieving at lower levels than their counterparts have the highest expected gains.

Each year we provide the community a summary of our progress in reaching our WBWF goals. A summary of our plan and our progress can be found on our website at The district will be presenting a summary of our findings for the 2018-19 school year at a public meeting on November 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the District Service Center in Cottage Grove. Anyone interested in learning more is invited to attend.

The future is certainly bright and exciting for our students and we are working to provide every student with an education that will serve them well once they graduate.