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        Page 8                                                                                                 Electronic Edition:

        Minnesota School of Excellence Awards 2023

            The  Minnesota  School  of  Excellence   applications  to  the  board,  which  allows  for   St. Croix Preparatory    almost 200 students in grades K-4. It takes
        (SOE) program promotes excellence through   an  improved  flow  of  instruction.  Having  the              pride in its strong sense of community and
        a rigorous one or two year-long, self-directed   newest technology allows for a variety of web- Academy’s Lower School  commitment  to  student  growth  and  well-
        evaluation  process.  The  schools  earn  vali-  based tools for students to access up to date   Congratulations   being. Their mission is “To prepare students
        dation  by  completing  a  school  community   information and current events.”        to  St.  Croix  Prepara-  for  life  by  engaging  them  in  meaningful
        self-study,  developing  a  plan  to  build  on                                        tory  Academy’s  Lower   learning experiences.”
        evident  strengths,  addressing  areas  needing                                        School, under the leader-  “Our participation in the SOE process
        improvement,  and  assessing  ongoing  results                   ship  of  Principal  Joann   was an intent to be purposeful,” expressed
        from implementing the plan.                                                            Karetov!            Principal Jennifer Olson. “We wanted to look
            Established  by  the  Minnesota  Elemen-                                              St.  Croix  Prepara-  closely  at  and  celebrate  the  things  within
        tary School Principals’ Association (MESPA),                                                               the school where we are thriving, and make
        the program is recognized by the Minnesota  South Terrace Elementary    tory  Academy’s  Lower  School  serves  over   plans to address identified needs discovered
        Department  of  Education,  as  well  as  the          Congratulations  to   400 K-4 students in the St. Croix Valley. They   in our outcomes. This self reflective process,
                                                                                embody  the  K12  charter  school’s  mission,
        National  Association  of  Elementary  School      South Terrace, under the   “St. Croix Preparatory Academy will develop   especially done with our whole school com-
        Principals                                         leadership  of  Principal   each  student’s  academic  potential,  personal   munity, created an automatic investment and
                                                           Donita Stepan!       character,  and  leadership  qualities  through   sense of pride in our results.”
                                                                                                                       Principal  Olson  shared,  “I  am  person-
        Lake Park Audubon                      South  Terrace  Elementary  is  part  of  the   an  academically  rigorous  and  content-rich   ally  most  proud  of  our  connectedness  to
        Elementary                          Carlton  School  District  and  serves  approxi-  educational  program  grounded  in  a  classical   everyone that makes our school community
                                            mately 160 students in grades preK-5. It takes
                           Congratulations   pride in its strong sense of community and com-  “I am most proud of my amazing faculty   what it is. We are a FAMILY, first and fore-
                        to  Lake  Park  Audubon,   mitment to student growth and well-being. Their   and staff. They work above and beyond what   most,  and  relationships  matter.  Students,
                        under  the  leadership  of   vision is to become “the leader in educational   is  expected  to  make  sure  our  students  and   staff,  families  and  our  community  partners
                        Principal Craig bahr!  transformation”,  while  showing  P.r.I.D.E.  in   community are supported and that their needs   expect and hold each other to high standards,
                           Lake Park Audubon   everything they do. Students at South Terrace   are met. Our students also work very hard to   help us to create safe spaces for risk-taking
                        Elementary  is  part  of   are  Positive  (P)  and  show  respect  (r),  while   meet high expectations – they persevere and   and exploration, and have fun learning and
                        the  Lake  Park Audubon   demonstrating Integrity (I), Determination (D)   accomplish the academic demands…” Princi-  being together. I love our ability to embrace
        School  District  and  serves  over  400  stu-  and Empathy (E). They do this by ensuring they   pal Joann Karetov shared.  each  member’s  unique  gifts  and  find  ways
        dents, pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade. Its   have systems in place to educate the students   Investing  in  a  comprehensive  profes-  to connect talents to different opportunities.”
        mission is to prepare students with academic,   and staff, and empower and inspire the students   sional  development  program  for  faculty  and   Winsted  Elementary  has  cultivated
        social, and life skills to succeed in a changing   and staff to try new things. Stepan is both the   staff is fundamental to the success of St. Croix   an  environment  that  sets  high  standards
        world.                              South Terrace’s Principal and Carlton’s Super-  Preparatory  Academy.  They  have  a  detailed   for  the  development  of  all  students.  As
            Community engagement has been essen-  intendent.                    onboarding process for teachers that includes   the  leadership  team  wrote,  they  are  “fos-
        tial  to  Lake  Park  Audubon’s  success  and   referring to the SOE process, the leader-  work  on  student  seminars.  This  onboard-  tering  a  learning  culture  that  is  adaptive,
        positive impact on students. As the leadership   ship team mentioned, “it was agreed that this is   ing  occurs  for  a  span  of  two  school  years.   collaborative,  innovative,  and  supportive.
        team wrote, “Lake Park Audubon Elementary   not only something we should do, it’s something   There are also professional development days   The  school’s  principal,  administrators,
        recently passed a bond referendum for a newly   we must do. [...] We knew we needed to do the   throughout the year where teachers can choose   teachers, staff and stakeholders consistently
        renovated elementary school. This was done   work and were thrilled to have a process to help   from  a  variety  of  different  learning  options.   seek  opportunities  to  enhance  student  and
        through  the  Pave  Your  Way  project  to  gain   us get there. We agreed that now is the time.”  “Our teachers appreciate the flexibility in pro-  adult  performance  by  embracing  diversity
        community input and through sharing informa-  Diversity is valued and enhances the learn-  fessional development that meets their specific   in  people,  ideas,  perspectives  and  experi-
        tion with community members. [...].” Principal   ing  of  the  entire  South  Terrace  community.   needs as a teacher or to support their students,”   ences.  To  achieve  these  goals,  the  school
        bahr adds, We are very fortunate to serve our   Specifically, the school community honors, sup-  the leadership team affirms.  community  engages  in  various  activities
        surrounding communities. We always fill the   ports and highly regards diversity as a way to   St.  Croix  Prep  recognizes  that  relation-  and initiatives that promote inclusivity and
        gym for student showcases, regularly hit 98%   increase learning, not as a barrier to learning.   ships matter. They start building relationships   support diverse learning needs.”
        conference  attendance,  and  benefit  greatly   For example, this past school year, our Ameri-  with  families  early  by  dedicating  the  first
        from partnerships with our parents. I hope this   can Indian Coordinator brought in a group of   four  days  of  school  for  parent  conferences.
        award can serve as a badge of pride for our   American Indian students from our community   “Prep  for  Success  conferences  provide  an
        communities. They have helped create a great   to teach and discuss the ricing process within the   opportunity  for  teachers  to  complete  incom-
        school that reflects the values and character of   Ojibwe culture,” the leadership team affirmed in   ing assessments so the teachers may begin the
        the communities it represents.”     the SOE process.                    year already having targeted objectives based
            In  addition,  the  school  has  partnerships   South Terrace strives to build relationships   on student needs and success,” the leadership
        with businesses in the area to expose students   with the school community and reaps the bene-  team shared.               Randolph
        to potential career paths in their community.   fits. As they wrote in their SOE application, “We                          Elementary
        “An onsite visit is held to first introduce stu-  work hard to reach out to parents and ask for
        dents to the company and to learn about local   their partnership in everything from behavioral        Congratulations  to
        careers  within  the  organization,”  the  leader-  expectations for their children to partnering in   lower-school        randolph  Elementary
        ship  team  noted.  Each  grade  level  partners   getting work done. Many of our teachers have                            under  the  leadership
        with a different business or sector.  relationships  with  parents  outside  of  school.                                   of  Principal  Matt  rut-
            Lake  Park Audubon  Elementary  invests   [...] Many of our staff members volunteer and  Winsted Elementary  ledge!
        in  a  technology-rich  culture  that  connects   engage in activities outside of school. They are   Congratulations   randolph Elementary is part of the ran-
        learning to the global society. As the leader-  always looking for ways to create partnerships   to  Winsted  Elementary   dolph Public School District and serves over
        ship team shared in their application, “Not only   with area businesses or organizations.”  under  the  leadership   400  students  in  grades  K-6.  Their  mission
        do all students in grades K-12 have their own                                          of  Principal  Jennifer   is “Working in partnership with the family
        computer, but all classrooms are outfitted with                                        Olson!              and the community, [randolph] is dedicated
        a Promethean board [which enables students]                                               W i n s t e d    to providing a caring, disciplined, and chal-
        to share their work easily with the class using  Elementary  is  part  of  the  Howard  Lake-
        screen  share.  Teachers  are  able  to  connect                        Waverly-Winsted School District and serves       Continued on Page 9
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