elm creek students tossing hats in celebrationIn recognition of its commitment to educational excellence and creating a dynamic, positive school culture, Elm Creek Elementary has been named a Minnesota School of Excellence by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA).

The School of Excellence program engages schools in purposeful conversations that lead to meaningful action. The program utilizes six national standards, “ensuring there is a holistic approach to creating a plan for future achievement and celebrating the unique accomplishments of each school,” said MESPA Executive Director Jon Millerhagen. The standards include requirements on fostering and celebrating diversity; engaging the community to create shared responsibility for student performance and development; managing data to inform decisions and measure progress; and more.

Elm Creek Elementary serves approximately 520 students in pre-kindergarten through grade five. For Principal Beth Ness, going through the School of Excellence process gave Elm Creek students, families and staff a chance to come together to provide honest feedback and engage in important conversations.

“Elm Creek Elementary received this award because of the involvement and investment of our staff, students, parents and families,” Ness said. “Over the past several years, they have shared their feedback with us, helping us improve in many areas such as technology and how we leverage our community partners. There’s a great sense of community here at Elm Creek, and staff, students and parents should be very proud of this award.”

Elm Creek Elementary is one of eight schools to receive recognition as 2017-2018 Minnesota Schools of Excellence. Since the program’s inception in 1986, 197 schools (including Woodland Elementary, which received the award in 2011) have received Minnesota School of Excellence designation.

PHOTO: Elm Creek Elementary students celebrate the Great Kindness Challenge last January—one of the many events the school uses to foster a dynamic, positive culture.