Deer River, MN (September 15, 2010)—Deer River’s King Elementary School has received yet another award for demonstrating excellence. Just this summer, the school was honored with the 2010-2011 Minnesota School of Excellence award, along with eight other elementary schools within the state.
“Being recognized like this is really a recognition of the community,” said Deer River Schools Superintendent Matt Grose. “Our parents being flexible with our staff development needs and early outs, our staff working hard to do what is best for kids, our school board making decisions that support quality education, and our local businesses supporting our work all influence student success and achievement. We need to continue to work together. This award provides an opportunity to celebrate together and be proud together.”
The award was presented to King Elementary by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA). This association endorses schools whose principal, staff, students, and community work as a team to strengthen education by successfully undertaking a research-based school improvement process. The program allowed King Elementary to participate in a rigorous evaluation process of self-study, developing a school improvement plan, and then implementing the plan. “Basically, it measures where a school is and gives schools direction on where it needs to go,” said King School’s principal Amy Galatz. “We participated in the self-study process throughout the 2009-2010 school year.”
Just last school year, King Elementary was also one of two schools honored with the Minnesota’s Future Award by the Minnesota Business Partnership. In addition, the school received the Distinguished School Award from the Minnesota Association of Administrators of State and Federal Programs.
Both of those honors recognized King Elementary School’s success in raising overall student performance and in closing the achievement gap between white, minority, and low-income students.
“King Elementary is a truly extraordinary school community,” said Galatz. “We work to build strong relationships with our families and students. The staff has an incredible commitment to making sure each child reaches their full potential. I am so proud of the hard work of our students and staff. This award supports the efforts of staff in our dedication to ongoing school improvement.”
Some of those school improvement efforts emphasized the students’ social-emotional development. Teachers employ the Responsive Classroom strategies, assisting them in creating classrooms of respect and responsibility.
King Elementary recently received a grant and coaching support from the Minnesota Department of Education for implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. This initiative has provided more streamlined efforts with social skills groups and peer mediation programs, as well as facilitated other school-wide programs such as anti-bullying initiatives.
Additionally, Galatz stressed the importance of the district philosophy of prioritized professional development and improvement for staff. She mentioned that King staff have participated in learning opportunities on how to improve instruction in the areas of reading and math. “We know the most important factor in a child’s student achievement is the teacher in front of the child. King School is dedicated to supporting staff in order to allow them to grow professionally in an effort to reach every child,” Galatz added.