MN School of Excellence Process

Submit a letter of intent by October 1, indicating you are interested in pursuing the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) Minnesota School of Excellence process. A sample letter follows these directions (in the Guidelines posted below).

Complete a Minnesota School of Excellence Self-Study (Part 1
of the MN School of Excellence Application).  Scroll down for a copy.  The self-study is a team effort to be conducted by members of your school community. It asks you to assess the strengths of your school community in terms of the six MESPA standards for effective elementary and middle level schools.

Each of the six School of Excellence standards contains several strategies. Within each strategy, you are asked to consider indicators of that strategy and rank on a scale of 1 to 5 how evident each indicator is in your school community. Include a description of your self-study methodology.   

Build and Plan:  After completing the Self-Study (application Part 1), use the Minnesota School of Excellence Application Part 2 to build on strengths and plan for improvement in your school community. Excellence is a process. Let the self-study guide your growth. In Part 2 of the application, show concretely using brief narratives to cite examples of:
  • How your school carried out the self-study process.
  • Results demonstrated from building on the strengths evident in your self-study (indicators ranked 4 or 5);
  • Plans for improvement to address areas that were not as strong (indicators ranked 1 or 2); and
  • Results from the implementation of your plans.

Standard 5, Knowledge and Data, is based on student and staff performance with data from your MCA scores and other applicable sources. In the application, attach documentation that supports your objectives in responding to areas from the self-study. Using multiple sources of data, including the Minnesota Department of Education Web site, illustrate your plans with concise, specific data examples.

Submit the application: When Part 2 of the application is complete, submit a paper and electronic copy (including data tables) along with your completed self-study (application Part 1), and a $100 application fee payable to MESPA.

Get Acrobat Reader  MESPA_MN_SOE_Program_Guidelines.pdf  
Complete guidelines on the history of the program, how and when to submit a letter of intent (with sample letter), overview of the self-study process (application part 1), description of what to include in application part 2 (as the school improvement process is carried out), and answers to other frequently asked questions.
Format for letter of intent to pursue MN School of Excellence validation.

Program Materials
To download all program materials, scroll down.

Guidelines tells you everything you need to know, including:
  • Where and when to send letters of intent to undertake the MN School of Excellence Program (due Oct. 1).
  • How to conduct the self-study (survey your school community).
  • How to use the self-study to build on strengths and plan for improvement.
  • How to prepare an application for MN School of Excellence endorsement.
  • Frequently asked MN School of Excellence questions, with answers.
Application Part 1: This is the survey document to use in conducting a self-study of your school community.

Application Part 2
: Use this document to guide your process in building on strengths and planning for improvement. This is an electronic template (Word format). It may be printed -- and answers may be typed directly into it to complete a Minnesota School of Excellence to prepare the MN SOE application.


What does a completed application look like?
Each completed application is different, reflecting the unique composition of each school community.

The completed application (Parts 1 and 2)
should be submitted at the same time electronically and in paper form. The electronic submission should include all data tables, but will not include signatures. The paper materials may be bound in a three-ring or other binder. Please include:
  • the completed surveys from the Minnesota School of Excellence Self-Study (application Part 1)
  • the completed plan for building on strengths and planning for improvement (application Part 2)
  • data printouts from the Minnesota Department of Education and other applicable data sources to support answers in Standard 5 (Knowledge and Data)
  • a page of signatures form your school community verifying the application.

Mission: 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.

Leading schools toward excellence through the MESPA vision to be the premiere resource for preparing today's principals for tomorrow and a strong leading voice for public education.

Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association
1667 North Snelling Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108
651.999.7310     MN toll free 800.642.6807    
Fax: 651.999.7311     E-mail: