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**Optimizing Your Child’s Education: How to Choose the Perfect High School**

Have you been following the Minnesota high school tournaments? They serve as a perennial a source of inspiration for me.

The dedication and sportsmanship displayed by the young athletes and their coaches are truly impressive. Attributes such as teamwork, leadership, enthusiasm, and desire are prominently showcased, embodying qualities we aspire for our youth to possess.

Every generation seems to express concern about the direction in which the world is heading, often questioning the values of the youth. However, observing the exemplary conduct of our state tournament participants, I am reassured that our future is in capable hands. Reflecting on my own youth, I remember similar apprehensions among adults, albeit Elvis Presley’s influence. Despite these concerns, we turned out just fine.

In 1959, James Conant, the President of Harvard University, released a report titled “The American High School Today.” This marked a period of transition as smaller rural schools consolidated into larger urban institutions. Conant advocated for a comprehensive curriculum encompassing subjects like math, sciences, languages, arts, and music—elements that continue to form the foundation of modern high school education.

The evolution of educational opportunities in prominent schools like Bemidji, Brainerd, and Grand Rapids, as well as in smaller institutions such as Clearbrook, Red Lake, Cass Lake, and Blackduck, aligns with Conant’s vision. The progress made, including achievements like the moon landing, would likely have pleased him.

However, one aspect overlooked in Conant’s report was addressing students who did not fully engage with the educational offerings. It was assumed that a well-equipped school would inherently cater to every student’s needs, fostering universal appeal. Yet, achieving a 100% graduation rate remains elusive, prompting us to question what essential element is lacking.

The key lies in ensuring that students feel a sense of ownership and involvement in their education. Active participation in extracurricular activities or a deep passion for a particular subject often correlates with academic success, echoing Conant’s underlying philosophy.

Despite educators’ efforts to engage all students, challenges such as transportation constraints, academic competition, personal circumstances, and varying interests can impede some individuals’ participation. This underscores the significance of extracurricular activities in providing students with a sense of purpose and belonging, ultimately enhancing their overall school experience.

For parents seeking the best educational environment for their child, active involvement in extracurricular pursuits or a genuine interest in specific subjects defines an ideal high school experience. However, if a student exhibits reluctance, academic struggles, and disengagement, options like open enrollment offer alternatives to explore diverse educational settings.

Encouraging children to explore extracurricular opportunities, engaging with teachers to understand the relevance of subjects, and considering alternative educational avenues like charter schools can significantly impact a student’s academic journey.

The success rates of students participating in various tournaments underscore the positive impact of student engagement, with a high likelihood of graduation among actively involved individuals. Therefore, the best high school experience is one where the student feels connected and engaged, fostering a supportive and enriching learning environment.

In conclusion, active involvement and engagement are pivotal in shaping a fulfilling high school experience for students, paving the way for academic success and personal growth.

Riddle: What can you easily break without touching it? (Answer: Your promise. I promise your kids will graduate from school when they are involved.)

I extend my gratitude to the area city councils for the opportunity to share insights on our dropout prevention initiatives.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji, a distinguished former university professor and principal, continues to inspire through his writing and public speaking engagements.