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8/18/2011 8:57 AM2011-2012 Vanguard in Minnesota Education
(St. Paul, MN -- August 19, 2011) Five elementary schools have been validated as MESPA 2011-2012 Minnesota Schools of Excellence:
The Minnesota School of Excellence Program promotes excellence through a rigorous evaluation process that showcases dynamic schools of the 21st century. Established by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), the program is recognized by the Minnesota Department of Education, as well as the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and was nominated for the 2011 Brock International Prize in Education -- which identifies “the best ideas on education in the world…to expose them to our educators, teachers, administrators, and politicians."
- Bendix Elementary School, Annandale (Annandale Public Schools, ISD #876), Principal Dr. Tracy Reimer;
- Chatfield Elementary School, Belle Plaine (Belle Plaine Public Schools, ISD #716), Principal Bill Adams;
- Dowling Urban Environmental School, Minneapolis (Minneapolis Public Schools), Principal Joe Rossow;
- Raven Stream Elementary School, New Prague (New Prague Public Schools, ISD #721), Principal Patrick Pribyl;
- Woodland Elementary School, Brooklyn Park (Osseo Public Schools, ISD #279), Principal Linda Perdaems.
MESPA endorses schools whose principal, staff, students, and community -- working as a team -- demonstrate the desire to strengthen education by successfully undertaking the research-based Minnesota School of Excellence school improvement process. Aligned with six national standards (Learning Centered, Diverse Communities, 21st Century Learners, Quality Instruction, Knowledge and Data, Community Engagement), the Minnesota School of Excellence Program includes a systematic self-study, development of a school improvement plan, and implementation of the plan.
“These schools represent a vanguard in Minnesota education,” said P. Fred Storti, MEPSA executive director. “In this time of high stakes testing and federal Race to the Top tenets for reform, the quality of our school communities can far too easily be misrepresented by single-purposed high stakes tests. Elementary and middle level schools provide the foundation for children’s lifelong learning, and the Minnesota School of Excellence program clearly connects the education process to student learning," Storti continued.
“The MESPA Minnesota School of Excellence Program is a valuable, standardized process that engages all stakeholders in meaningful conversations about their school and is a program in which all schools have the opportunity to participate,” said Laura Pierce, Minnesota School of Excellence Program chair, and principal of Akin Road Elementary, Farmington Public Schools.
“Utilizing the self-study process provides instructional leaders with the data, knowledge and tools to increase the capacity of collaborative data driven decision-making with an outcome of increased academic achievement. When my school undertook this school improvement process, our staff was able to determine specified areas of improvement directly aligned to the needs of all learners. The increase in collaborative conversations among staff improved our already strong, cohesive, effective teaching teams and their focus on student learning. Lastly, the MESPA School of Excellence Program recognition brings an entire school community together for purposeful celebration of the wonderful accomplishments taking place in schools across the great state of Minnesota,” Pierce concluded.
"What we know about great schools and great leaders is that they adhere to a reflective process of change," said Matt Dorschner, MESPA president-elect and past MN School of Excellence Program chair (principal, Chanhassen Elementary, Eastern Carver County Schools). "And that process itself empowers leadership from within. All true change grows from within a school, building from the ground up, as opposed to an external force applied from outside. The MN School of Excellence Program supports great schools -- building from within."
Minnesota School of Excellence Program Mission and History
The Minnesota School of Excellence Program promotes excellence through a rigorous evaluation process that showcases dynamic schools of the 21st century.
The Minnesota School of Excellence Program was established in 1986, combining the findings of current research on effective schooling with the practical on-site experience of working principals and education staff. It offers a comprehensive school improvement process that results in student learning growth. This school improvement process focuses on six national standards and involves a systematic self-study, development of a school improvement plan, and implementation of the plan based on demonstrated results. Since the program’s inception, 154 schools have earned Minnesota School of Excellence validation.
MESPA Mission and History
The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association is dedicated to promoting and improving education for children and youth, strengthening the role as educational leader for elementary and middle level principals, and collaborating with partners in education to assist in achieving these goals.
MESPA is the professional association of Minnesota’s elementary and middle level principals. With the vision to “be the premiere resource for preparing today’s principals for tomorrow and a strong leading voice for public education” and a statewide membership over 950 principals, MESPA has represented Minnesota’s principals since 1950. MESPA is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and its 29,500 members nationwide.
For details on each school, visit MESPA Honors (click on the MN School of Excellence logo).