For the first 23 years of my education career, in addition to teaching, I had the privilege of coaching various levels of high school football. I often loved to take a deep shot (going for a quick touchdown) on first down and also loved the fake punt - so much so that after a few years opposing teams would be screaming, ‘Watch the fake!’ as soon as we broke the huddle (it didn’t stop me - coaches can say what they want and still teenage boys can be easily fooled). But what that coaching style really taught me, besides the fact that calculated risk will pay off from time to time, is the fact you better be ready for second and ten, or, playing defense on a short field.

The point I’m making is that it’s OK to take chances in life - in fact, for most of us, it’s one of the few ways you’re really going to get ahead. Most decisions (Should I take the job? Do we consider moving? How much do we borrow? Should we keep school open? What’s for supper? - ha!) won’t have an easy right/wrong answer. The decisions will require some research, some soul searching, and even then it can often be a tough choice. But indecision won’t get you anywhere. YOU need to make the call and move forward. And if it doesn’t work out, then you have to have a Plan B in your back pocket, you need to have a ‘second and ten’ play ready to go.

Working through this pandemic has reinforced this lesson to all whether we wanted it or not. Most of us have faced tough choices and there wasn’t always a perfect answer for the taking. What I’ve seen in our area schools, from a superintendent’s perspective, is a willingness to make these tough decisions and to continually adjust to ensure we do our best for students, families, and our employees.

At Braham we have been able to keep our youngest learners (PreK - grade 7) in school every day this school year. Our 8th-12th grade students have endured a tougher load as they transitioned in October to one day in person and four days of distance learning each week. While not perfect, this system has allowed the district to provide a high level of service during challenging circumstances. And rest assured, Braham, like other area schools, has a Plan B ready to roll out when needed.

Finally, ISD No. 314’s efforts are only possible due to the strength of our community and the 130-plus employees (including our partners at Braham Bus/ Braham Ford) who have shown up day after day to make this happen. They are some of my greatest heroes during this time of the pandemic!

Keep in mind Braham is BIG enough to offer opportunity, and SMALL enough to stand out!

Contact me at 320-396-5199, 320-288-6634, or kgagner@braham.k12.mn.us should you have questions. Follow the district on our website, Facebook, or Twitter at: @Braham_Schools or my own feed @Supt_Gagner.

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