|MESPA MN School of Excellence Program|
|"The 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." |
--Laura Pierce, MN School of Excellence Program
chair, and principal, Akin Road Elementary, Farmington. The program, supported by the
Minnesota Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary
School Principals, assesses six national standards for quality elementary and
middle level schools. These standards are based on the NAESP Leading Learning Communities: Standards for
What Principals Should Know and Be Able To Do in correlation with MESPA
guidelines. The national standards
were created in partnership with Collaborative Communications Group, with
national research and development made possible by the LAB at Brown University,
Principals Leadership Network, and funded by the office of Education Research
and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.
The MN SOE program has grown from the 1984 work of the
MESPA Task Force on Standards and Assessment. To continue reflecting current
issues in education, the program was updated in 1992, 1998, 2005 and again in
2010. Also in 2010, the program was peer-reviewed by University of Minnesota Ed.PA doctoral students. The result is the current three-part MN SOE process that validates school
communities dedicated to continual improvement. Through the program, elementary
and middle level school principals, staff, and school community members
demonsrate, as a team, the desire to improve the quality of education by:
--Completing a school community self-study.
--Developing a plan to build on evident strengths
and address areas needing improvement.
--Assessing ongoing results from implementing the
Excellence is a process. Everything done in an
effective school community focuses on ensuring the learning of adults and
students. The MN SOE program supports this focus by combining the findings of
current research on effective schooling with the practical on-site experience
of working principals and education staff. For a current list of endorsed schools that have received MN School of Excellence validation, visit MESPA Honors.
Six Minnesota School of Excellence Standards
The Minnesota SOE program assesses six standards
for quality elementary and middle level school communities. Research has shown that if these six
standards are evident in a school, best practices are being followed.
“In this time of high
stakes testing, the quality of our school
communities can far too easily be misrepresented by the single-purposed
federal testing requirement,” said P.
Fred Storti, MESPA executive director. “High stakes
tests, such as the MCA II tests used to evaluate Minnesota schools for
Adequate Yearly Progress as required by the federal No Child Left
Behind Act, offer a snapshot in time with no context. One high stakes
test should not determine a school’s public stature and cannot
adequately assess its educational effectiveness. 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."
- Learning Centered: Balance
management and leadership roles to lead schools in ways that place student and
adult learning at the center.
- Diverse Communities: Set high expectations and
standards for the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of all
students in an environment that acknowledges, fosters, and celebrates
- 21st Century Learners: Demand content and
instruction that ensure student achievement.
- Quality Instruction: Create
a culture of continuous learning for adults, tied to student learning and other
- Knowledge and Data: Manage
knowledge and data to inform decisions and measure progress of student, adult,
and school performance.
- Community Engagement: Actively
engage the community to create shared responsibility for student performance
Click here to download a MN School of Excellence Program card with: contact information for questions, the program timeline, and an overview of the MN SOE process.
Reviewing 2011-2012 Applications
The MESPA Minnesota School of Excellence Committee (Matt Dorschner, chair) met on June 22, 2011, for the initial review of applications from schools seeking 2011-2012 validation as Minnesota Schools of Excellence. Committee members present were:
Tom Cawcutt, Matt Dorschner, Malinda Lansfeldt, Dr. Fatima Lawson, Jim Meyer, Sandy Nelson, Laura Pierce (our incoming MN School of Excellence chair), Sharon Schindle, Sharon Schultz, and Merry Tilleson.