Preparing our students for the future.


Elect Laura A. Carder

What you see as the education imperative in the community over the next 3-5 years?

I believe our first priority needs to be working together to get the students, teachers and staff safely back to school. I don’t want our new normal to be that our students, faculty and staff can’t be within 6 feet of each other and that students only see friends that have last names that start in the same half of the alphabet. Secondly, we need to prepare students for the future including the role technology and STEM is going to be in their adult lives. Finally, we need to continue to grow involvement with the communities Lakeville Schools serve, including listening to insight that businesses can share and giving back to the community in a true partnership.

What is your position on education and equity and opportunity for all students and what is your strategy to achieving it?

In my full-time job, I work for a software company that enables work-from-home and enhancing the “student experience”. I work with higher education institutions and some K12 schools across 6 states. I have seen firsthand (specifically with Chicago Public Schools) the technology divide that exists today. From what I have seen, Lakeville School District is doing a great job providing services to special needs students and students that need additional help with reading/writing/math, etc. We are also providing devices to every student in the district that needs one. However, I believe we still have a lot of work to do including working to make sure all students have internet access at home.

What is your position on school boundary changes?

Lakeville area is growing. Last year, Lakeville alone issued permits for 521 new single-family homes. According to Minnesota Housing First, Lakeville led the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area for residential areas. My daughter’s school, Lake Marion Elementary saw nearly a 30% increase in student population from the 2017-2018 school year to the 2018-2019 school years. I think the key is to be as planful as we can and communicate as early as possible and to make changes to school boundaries only when absolutely necessary.

Mental illness continues to be in the forefront of many conversations around education today. What role, and responsibilities, do you feel the school district has in addressing this topic among our youth?

According to the World Health Organization, “half of all mental health conditions start by age 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated. The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend into adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.” It is for these reasons, that I believe that our schools have a responsibility to help identify students that may have mental illness, fully communicate to parents and offer further resources available in our community to help address the needs of the individual student.

The school district and the chamber of commerce have a partnership called Lakeville Works. There is a large focus on the skilled trade industry. What is your stance on the need for this type of program and continuation of the partnership?

I think Lakeville Works is a great program. Did you know that many students that graduate from high school and college don’t have basic Microsoft Office computer skills. Meaning, these students don’t know how to use Microsoft Word or Excel. Many corporations are including a training session on how to use these basic computer programs as part of the new-hire onboarding process for recent college graduates. I know this because the company I work for requires this training for new employees who just graduated from college. This is just one example of a lack in skillset that may be identified through such a partnership. There is definitely a need for the continuation and strengthening of the partnership.

Further, I think we need to educate students, educators and parents about what jobs in the trade industry look like today. Many of them are using technology in new ways that may make them more attractive to students. Also, these jobs offer comfortable wages. I think we need to continue to invest and expand Lakeville Works and similar programs.

Lakeville businesses increasingly struggle to find workers. Demographic trends only increase this problem into the future. What would you change or improve in the curriculum to better equip students with the skills needed in today’s workforce?

65% of children entering kindergarten today will end up working in jobs that don’t even exist yet. I think we not only need a stronger focus on science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, but we also have to speak to our students differently to help them find what they are passionate about. If you haven’t, I encourage you to watch the ISTE19 TED Talk by engineer Aspen Meineke. She talks about helping students find their spark and then using creativity and innovation to apply that spark to solve a problem. And, that this is the creativity and innovation that will be needed for 21st century jobs. So, I think we need to focus on STEM curriculum as well as we need to talk to our students differently to help them find what they are passionate about and how that might be able to help solve a problem.

Increasing property taxes is always a concern when making decisions on school area topics. What are your thoughts about increasing property taxes to fund future school needs?

I believe in investing in our students. I think our first goal must always to be responsible with taxpayers’ dollars. I believe in increasing property taxes only when it is absolutely necessary.

Laura Carder for Lakeville School Board