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Lake Park Audubon Elementary School Principal Sam Skaaland held up the "School of Excellence" award from the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association. Also seated on stage were LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie, former LP-A Principal Rick Hanson, and Fred Storti, executive director of the MESPA. Not pictured to the right of Skaaland is LP-A School Board Chairwoman Vicky Grondahl. (Courtney Sinner/DL Newspapers)

LP-A Elementary receives School of Excellence Award

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After committing to a process that takes two years, the Lake Park-Audubon Elementary School was presented with the "School of Excellence" award at a Friday afternoon ceremony by Fred Storti, executive director for the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association.

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LP-A is one of eight schools in the state that received the award this year.

Storti said they give between five and 10 awards every year, about half of which are in the Twin Cities Metro area.

This year, four were awarded in the Bloomington School District.

Since the award was created in 1986, the MESPA has given 135 "School of Excellence" awards.

The self-study process that a school goes through examines standards of leadership, vision, student learning, a culture of adult learning, data and decision-making, and community engagement.

Storti said it helps schools examine what they're doing well and how they can improve on their standards.

"Today, I take the opportunity to celebrate your school and your community with you," he said.

Storti presented the award to LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie, who said the award was a result of hard work from everyone at the school, including teachers, custodians, bus drivers, and the like.

"This has been a community effort for a number of years," Hogie said.

LP-A Principal Sam Skaaland simply raised the plaque above his head and said, "It belongs to all of us!"

He also gave credit to teachers Mary Softing, Bonnie Iverson and Kristen Frank, who sat on the preparation committee with Skaaland and helped prepare the data and paperwork to present to the MESPA.

Former LP-A Principal Rick Hanson remembered a time when visiting a Rosemount, Minn., school to help distribute a test, that he noticed they had received a "School of Excellence" award.

"I said congratulations to them, and the students had a look of pride and accomplishment," Hanson said.

"When I saw the newspaper article announcing that we were getting one, too, I felt the same swelling of pride in my heart. You are all an integral part of achieving that goal."

LP-A School Board Chairwoman Vicky Grondahl also presented an award to Hogie: a School Spotlight award from the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation, endorsed by Governor Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Alice Seagren.

The Friday assembly also featured performances from student choirs and bands.

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