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Business of the Month:

Northland Pines School District

Congratulations to Northland Pines School District!

November Business of the Month

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  In Vilas County, we’re privileged to have a stellar educational system in which children can learn, parents can feel proud, and teachers and our community can grow. 

For Scott Foster, District Superintendent of Northland Pines School District, there are three key “secrets” that enable Northland Pines to achieve its success. First and foremost, he says, is community.  “Our community supports our students and staff in so many ways,” said Foster. “The community has supported numerous operating referendums, provided us with outstanding facilities, donated to many of our organizations and teams, and donated time to help students or attend events.”

The second secret he says is their staff. “We are only as good as the teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, food service, office staff, technology staff and administrators,” said Foster. “School is a relationship-based organization and without dedicated and passionate staff Northland Pines would not be close to what we are.”

And, the third secret, the Board of Education. “They are dedicated to giving our students and staff the resources we all need to be successful,” said Foster. “They are focused on student outcomes while maintaining a budget that is fair and responsible to the taxpayers of the district.  They are leaders in our community who have done an amazing job as they have faced the unprecedented challenges of this Pandemic.” 

With success, comes a slight increase in enrollment too. With 1,321 students and 222 employees overall, the school is seeing an incremental increase in enrollment with 10-20 new students.  

The success of Northland Pines not only impacts the students and staff, but the local economy as well. “High-quality schools are very important to local businesses in attracting and retaining high-quality staff,” said Foster. “We give tours all the time to families looking to move for a job but they want to make sure there is a high-quality school. We have a strong academic track record.”

Foster says the school system offers “rigorous coursework, college and technical level coursework, supports the arts and offers numerous opportunities outside of the classroom, including a Bass Fishing team, Trap Shooting team, Drama, Music, Pep Band, SkillsUSA, HOSA, and sports. “We know many of our graduates will stay in the area, or return at some point, so having our graduates be employable and have a strong skills set is very important to our local economy,” said Foster. 

With a strong academic foundation and community support, Foster says operating a school during a pandemic has been extremely difficult. However, teamwork, dedication and the focus on students has enabled them to do in-person learning.

“The planning done this summer with staff, students and the Vilas County Health Department has been critical to keeping students and staff safe,” said Foster. “Face coverings have been followed and really are not an issue for students, hand washing/sanitizing, seating charts, bus changes, etc. have also played a role in keeping staff and students safe.”   

And, if all this wasn’t enough to manage, Northland Pines is going above and beyond to ensure the children whom they are educating have sufficient and proper meals. “Food is so critical to student and family success,” said Foster. “If students do not have basic needs met, then how can they learn, play on the playground or have fun with friends?  Food insecurity is real and knowing that every student can have a free breakfast and lunch this year is very important to our students and their families.” 

Congratulations to the staff, faculty, Board of Education, and mostly the students for their vision to understand that with a solid education, like that provided by Northland Pines School District, they will have the ability to change the world.  

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