Operating 22 public school building and educating approximately 16,500 students, Lakota School District is the largest public school system in Butler County and the eighth largest in the state. To live up to this great responsibility, Lakota schools are mixing up how they educate their students with new and exciting programs to help the students get ready for life.

“One of our main goals as a school district is to not only educate our students by focusing on the foundational classes, but go beyond this curriculum to give the students true hands-on experiences,” says Lauren Boettcher, manager of media community relations. “An important area we take pride in is our internship program.”

As a high school student, deciding what you want to do after you graduate is a tough decision. With the help of several partners in the Butler County area, Lakota Schools are eager to help build confidence, solidify dreams and discover talent. 

Focusing on four main areas—medical, business, engineering and nonprofit—the students have an abundance of opportunities to find their niche. 

This program takes what the students learn in the classroom and expands that into real-world experiences that the students can get high school credit for. Partnering with multiple businesses within each field helps give students options and in turn gives the businesses positive recruitment for their future. 

“Our main goal with this program is to prepare students to be career ready when they get to college,” says Boettcher.

Partnering with local businesses isn’t the only way Lakota School District helps build a positive community relationship; it also puts a big focus on community service in the area. What better way to do this than with the help of its students? 

John Ferguson, a sophomore at Lakota East High School, started a school shoe drive in his grade to provide shoes to people in need. The shoe drive was a huge success, collecting more than 1,400 shoes for the community. Ferguson decided to bring the shoe drive to the district because of this success and within two weeks, the school collected over 5,200 shoes and was able to not only deliver the shoes to the community, but to supply shoes worldwide for people in need. 

“We also have strong ties with Reach Out Lakota, which is a local food pantry,” says Boettcher. “Every year, Lakota East and Lakota West High Schools have a friendly competition to see who can raise more food for the pantry.”

This friendly competition runs for two weeks in October to collect food that feeds the community. Having just finished its seventh year, it is considered to be the largest drive the school provides. 

“With this food drive, we are able to fill the shelves and keep them well stocked all throughout the holiday season, which is their busiest months, and keep them stocked well up to February,” says Boettcher.

“Here at Lakota School District, our whole model is built on innovation and the students voices are a huge representation,” says Boettcher. “They fill us with new ideas that will help us help them succeed.”