Supt. News

Recent thoughts from Superintendent Jeff Drake. Click here for an archive of previous newsletters.

Week of 10/28/19

Every day, in a hundred small ways, our children ask, “Do you see me?” “Do you hear me?” “Do I matter?” Their behavior often mimics our response. L.R. Knost

Last week, Women United, sponsored “Chasing the Clouds Away” as part of their ongoing Conversations that Matter series. The topic was children’s mental health. Given my role with the school district and a background in mental health, I was asked to moderate a panel discussion. I was very honored to do so as children’s mental health remains a topic that is close to my heart.

I read some years ago that it is customary in some African villages to greet one another with the simple question, “How are the children?” The answer to that question gives the visitor an instant overview of life in the village.


Week of October 7, 2019

“There are no grownups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.” Pamela Druckerman

After you have been doing something in excess of twenty years, it feels like one should be able to claim the mantle of “expert.” Although I have been a parent for that long, I still find myself learning and, in some cases, making the same mistakes I have vowed to correct many times over. Somehow, the feeling of expertise has managed to elude me.

My mistakes? I would characterize them most typically as involving a lack of patience or, if I am really feeling contemplative, worry that job demands made me the poster child for the lyrics behind Harry Chapin’s, “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Does anyone else ever feel that way?


Week of September 23, 2019

What are your perceptions of school lunch? I have a confession to make - I nearly always enjoyed eating school lunch. Naturally, I had my favorites which usually involved mashed potatoes and gravy. One of my fondest elementary school memories was the smell of fresh-baked dinner rolls every morning. If you ate all of your lunch and were still hungry, you could go back up to the serving line and get a roll with a smear of peanut butter on it. Delicious!

Back in those days, there was one meal option and you either ate that, brought your own lunch to school or went hungry. When I arrived at college, I found that the dining experience had evolved significantly from what I had experienced in high school. There were a couple of entrée options, along with a large salad bar, water, milk, juice and pop to drink and a desert station. Plus - it was all you could eat!


Week of September 2, 2019

The Fergus Falls Public Schools 2019-2020 school year is officially underway amid blue skies and glorious sunshine! It is exciting to have students back in the building again and we look forward to a great year ahead.

“Can our school be so welcoming, so inviting, and so comfortable that every person who walks through our doors believes they are going to have an amazing experience?” from How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Ian Pumpian. As a staff, each of us is committed to creating an environment that will support all students in reaching their potential. That means that we will establish high expectations, hold each other and our students accountable, and provide the necessary support and guidance to students. We will also celebrate our successes.