by Murrel Bland
In 2033, half of the jobs that are available aren’t in existence today. It will be most important for students to be prepared to meet the challenge of these jobs.
That was the message from Dr. Jessica Dain, superintendent of the Piper School District, who was the keynote speaker at the Annual Membership Meeting of Business West Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Rowe Ridge Vineyard and Winery in the Piper community. A voluntary committee from the Piper community created a strategic plan so that students would have a competitive edge.
Dr. Dain said this plan has an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, cross-cultural skills, self-reliance, communication skills, social and emotional well-being and creativity and innovation.
Dr. Dain said a program of academies starts in the eighth grade. Students are exposed to various areas of business including design, production and repair, entrepreneurship, fine arts, aeronautics, digital communication and graphic design, animal and plant science, health and life sciences, public services and information technology. Internships at area businesses are an important part of this program. A plurality of students has expressed an interest in entrepreneurship.
Dr. Dain came to the Piper School District about two years ago from the Olathe School District where she was an assistant superintendent. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from Emporia State University and a doctorate from St. Louis University. She and her husband, Dr. Todd Dain, are the parents of two daughters and a son.
The Piper District can trace its history to 1920 when it opened with 65 students. Today it has more than 2,500 students. The district plans to seek a bond issue next January to meet growing student enrollment.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.