|MESPA Home > Honors > Minnesota Schools of Excellence > 2008-2009 Validations > Indian Mounds Elementary|
|Indian Mounds Elementary School|
2008-2009 MESPA Minnesota School of Excellence
|Joan Maland, principal, Indian Mounds Elementary School|
Bloomington Public Schools, ISD #271
“Decisions are made every day at Indian Mounds, and with each decision
one question is routinely asked, ‘What is best for the students?’ A
school is in the business of creating life long learners, and we feel
this question is essential to success."
Joan Maland is the principal of Indian Mounds Elementary School, which renewed its past MN SOE validation with this endorsement; the endorsement remains effective for seven years. Located just off the Minnesota River bluffs where Old Shakopee Road and 98th Street separate in east Bloomington, Indian Mounds Elementary serves approximately 400 students from kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as offering before and after-school child care. The school community is diverse, with over 100 ESL students, and provides a quality, differentiated education for all students—52 percent of whom qualify for “Free and Reduced” lunches.
As principal, Maland believes: “Decisions are made every day at Indian Mounds, and with each decision one question is routinely asked, ‘What is best for the students?’ A school is in the business of creating life long learners, and we feel this question is essential to success. The focus of helping students to become the best they can be is the common link among all staff at Indian Mounds. We are committed to innovation and collaboration.”
Indian Mounds Elementary School’s mission statement sets as the staffs’ goal: “To provide a safe, positive, productive environment that challenges all students to reach their highest level of academic success and social/emotional growth. We will ensure that all learners successfully meet the district, state and national standards for high academic achievement. We are committed to providing a system of academic support to assure that all students succeed. The entire staff pledges itself to these student outcomes.”
Indian Mounds hires “the best of the best” teachers to engage students and inspire them to become life-long learners. Over 50 percent of Indian Mounds teachers have advanced degrees. There is a balance of teachers new to the profession (21 percent having three or less years experience), and veteran teachers (21 percent with more than 10 years of experience). The standards-based curriculum is expertly taught by 32 full and part-time teachers and supported by six paraprofessionals. Additionally the Indian Mounds staff includes student services (Special Education, Speech and Language, Occupational/Physical Therapy, counseling, behavior management), food service, custodial service, “Kids Safari” (before/after school care), office clerical, school nurse, head secretary and a full-time principal. The staff has assorted licensures including: Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Education, Marketing, Communications, Business, Art, Music, ESL, English, Curriculum and Instruction, Economics, Reading, Social Studies and Social Work.
The Indian Mounds’ staff form a seamless, collaborative team to challenge students to reach their full potential. Because some students need a boost early in their school experience to help them reach their potential along with same-age peers, Indian Mounds provides a full-day kindergarten option based on need, though the traditional half-day program remains available as well. If kindergarten is one bookend, fifth grade is the other. Band and orchestra curricula are built into the fifth grade curriculum. Fifth grade teachers prepare students for life in middle school by having a modified middle school schedule, where students rotate to different classes amongst the fifth grade team, with a homeroom teacher to start and end their day.
All Bloomington schools follow a district-wide academic curriculum. Additionally, Indian Mounds includes a curriculum called Changing Lives out of the belief that character education is integral to developing responsible citizens. Staff use Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies to promote a healthy, positive, productive and safe learning environment. For students who may struggle with academics, staff use computerized versions of Read Naturally, Math Facts in a Flash, Accelerated Reader and Study Island. Teachers at Indian Mounds use an assortment of data to determine student need; among the most commonly used assessments are CALT, DRA, MCA and progress monitoring.
At Indian Mounds, staff take the responsibility of student learning very seriously. Principal Maland requires that all teachers “know” their students -- asking teachers to know their students’ achievement levels and learning needs and have frequent contact with parents/guardians. Morning meetings are used as a time to make a direct contact with each student. The character education program encourages students to discuss the affective part of their life, allowing staff to understand the student at a deeper level as well as the one visible on the surface.
The teachers, support staff, and parents are involved in making decisions that affect the school and student achievement. They seek advice and ideas from different groups, such as the PTA, site council, the Title One Parent Advisory Committee, and Planning, Evaluation and Reporting Committee (PER). At Indian Mounds, the PTA and staff members have a symbiotic relationship. Many staff members are involved in the PTA, so the decisions that are made are well supported by the staff and are in the best interest of the students. The PTA involves families in their child’s education by sponsoring family fun nights, offering free child care during PTA meetings to encourage attendance, informing families through newsletters and flyers, and paying interpreters to be present during meetings and to translate newsletters for limited and non-English speaking families.
The Indian Mounds staff is respectful of the families it serves. The principal’s motto of “My door is always open” suggests to families that they are welcome and encouraged to visit and discuss questions or concerns. The school is committed to creating a community of engaged learners by offering translators and interpreters, “any time” conferences and family education nights.
Indian Mounds believes that support is essential for teachers to maintain their resilience in this demanding profession. All teachers new to Bloomington schools become part of the Mentor/Mentee Program, and are assigned a district mentor for their first two years. They participate in training sessions with the mentors and their peers to ensure best practice is used in the classroom.
The staff at Indian Mounds has been exemplary in efforts to make the school a physically and emotionally safe learning environment. In
2004 staff started developing a lockdown system to keep students safe in emergencies. Their system has been a model for other schools across the district and the state, and was documented in coverage by the Associated Press and the BBC.
|Celebrating Indian Mounds Elementary validation as a Minnesota School of Excellence: (l-rl) MESPA President Dick Oscarson, Bloomington Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Allen-Mastro, Indians Mounds student Audrey Cummings, Bloomington Public Schools Superintendent Les Fujitake, Indian Mounds Principal Joan Maland, Minnesota Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren, and Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead.|
Indian Mounds Elementary Minnesota School of Excellence Celebration:
May 29, 2009
Indian Mounds Elementary School will cap off a week of activities with a celebration to honor its Minnesota School of Excellence validation on Friday, May 29.
On Friday, May 29, the Minnesota School of Excellence program will be held in the gymnasium. This will be a vibrant, active event – with children, families, school staff, and community dignitaries. The celebration will be student led, with an assortment of students serving as masters of ceremony.
- On Tuesday, May 26, there will be a pepfest in the gym.
- Wednesday, May 27, will be class color day and class banner day.
- On Thursday, May 28, there will be a picnic lunch, weather permitting.
Community dignitaries speaking at the celebration will include: Joan Maland, principal, Indian Mounds Elementary; Gene Winstead, Bloomington mayor; Alice Seagren, Minnesota Commissioner of Education; Les Fujitake, Bloomington superintendent. Also attending will be Bloomington Public Schools Asst. Superintendent Nancy Allen Mastro.
Richard Oscarson, president of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, will present Indian Mounds Elementary with a Minnesota School of Excellence plaque.
On Friday evening, May 29 from 6-7:30 p.m., the school PTA will sponsor a Minnesota School of Excellence Ice Cream Social. The Minnesota School of Excellence plaque will be on display.
“ I am very proud of the staff, students and IM families,” said Joan Maland, principal, Indian Mounds Elementary. “Everyone works together to do what is best for kids, and it shows. We truly are a school of excellence.”
"The MESPA validation makes the fine work of Indian Mounds real!” said Lynne Scherer, retired Indian Mounds teacher and celebration planning committee member. “It honors the work that reflects the collaborative effort at Indian Mounds Elementary in order to make it a great place for students to learn and adults to work. Personally, I look forward to the celebration during which students, staff, parents, community members, and MESPA join together to say...’job well done’.”
"It is wonderful to be validated as a Minnesota School of Excellence for all of the great things that happen at Indian Mounds on a daily basis to help all children grow and learn,” said Emily Ostern, Indian Mounds kindergarten teacher and celebration planning committee member. “The celebration week helps us show the community and celebrate what a fantastic place Indian Mounds is!"
“We take pride in our diversity, academic and social achievements, family and community involvement, and leadership here at Indian Mounds,” said Melissa Galarneault, Indian Mounds fourth grade teacher. “We are honored to be named a Minnesota School of Excellence.”
“The staff recognizes the significance of a School of Excellence designation, but it is the parents and community who need to hear our stories,” said Kristi Johnson, Indian Mounds media director. “I think the School of Excellence Celebration puts the word out to the community about who we are and what we accomplish every day.”
“We take pride in our diversity, academic and social achievements,
family and community involvement, and leadership here at Indian
Mounds,” said Melissa Galarneault, Indian Mounds fourth grade teacher.
“We are honored to be named a Minnesota School of Excellence.”