Education in Owatonna is among top drivers of communities future, organization says

/Education in Owatonna is among top drivers of communities future, organization says

As part of an ongoing occasional series, presented in the Tuesday and Weekend editions of the Owatonna People’s Press — a series which began on Dec. 5 and will continue through Dec. 19 — those destiny drivers are being revealed to the community.

It’s not surprising that the education component came up in those listening sessions and the survey results, not only because of the inevitable connection between education and a community’s destiny, but even because of the name “Owatonna Forward” and what connections that may have with some in the community.

The name “Owatonna Forward” was first used in 2015 as the name of a group that was formed that year to gather support for and push passage of the school bond referendum. What’s more, some of the same people have been involved in both groups.

Nevertheless, those involved in Owatonna Forward in its current incarnation insist that it is not tied to the former group or to any other project for that matter.

Still, in addressing one of the Destiny Drivers — the group’s name for its 13 specific action-driven goals — Owatonna Forward acknowledges that one of drivers “will be difficult and controversial” even as it is “none-the-less important.” That Destiny Driver is new high, which the organization says must be addressed because of how it was one of the top items.

Even so, that Destiny Driver is just part of the larger picture of the education component.

‘Cornerstone to a thriving community’

Destiny Driver

Lead preschool through grade 12 education opportunities and rank in the top 10 percent of Minnesota school districts by 2027

Why Do We Care?

When choosing a community to live in, nothing matters more to young families with children than a high-quality education system. A strong education is a cornerstone to a thriving community and ensuring a future generation that will be ready to compete in a global market.

Destiny Driver

By 2024, 100 percent of graduating Owatonna students will have an individual career plan.

Why Do We Care?

Owatonna’s future must be able to support a growing and changing economy. Early career or vocational exposure informed by classroom programming, hands-on learning and short-term work experiences will inspire all students to dream big and reach their potential.

Destiny Driver

Create a 21st century high school facility that prepares students to be college and/or career ready.

OWATONNA — When stewards with Owatonna Forward met residents of the community in public input sessions and gleaned the results from public surveys, one general area kept topping the list — education.

The participants in the sessions and respondents to the survey saw education as a “cornerstone to a thriving community,” and therefore an important part in the ongoing discussion of Owatonna’s future. And that determining what that future should look like is the whole purpose behind Owatonna Forward.

Launched in January 2016, Owatonna Forward is a grassroots, citizen-driven effort that, according to its website, “seeks to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the Owatonna community.

Why Do We Care?

Coming off the approval of the 2015 bond referendum, a new high school will be difficult and controversial. But it is none-the-less important. We must be able to provide educational and vocational opportunities supported by modern technology for students. A new high school was one of the top items discussed in the community survey and public sessions. If Owatonna strives to be the regional community of choice, we simply have to address our high school.

Our Shared Destiny:

Owatonna will become the hub of southern Minnesota and attract the world to its doors. Through shared and purposeful action Owatonna will

• be a vibrant community with authentic small town charm and big city amenities.

• welcome and embrace each generation across its broad diversity of citizens.

• develop assets to enrich and nurture its quality of life, so that it is considered a healthy and desirable place to live, learn, work, play, raise a family, and retire.

• be “open for business,” capitalizing on its entrepreneurial and agricultural history, diverse business sectors and physical location.

• serve as a crossroads for recreation and tourism, enhancing its economic, wellness and human diversity.

• encourage leadership alignment and citizen participation at all levels, so the entire community creates and contributes to its prosperity.

2018-08-13T15:43:32-05:00December 12th, 2017|In the News|