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DL Elementary schools honored by Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association

Elementary school education in Detroit Lakes is being celebrated on a statewide level.             

Students and staff at Rossman and Roosevelt Elementary Schools are likely not yet over the good feeling of being labeled among the top schools in the state with designations of Reward  Schools (Roosevelt, top 15 percent Title 1 Schools) and Celebration Schools (Rossman, the next 25 percent under the Rewards Schools) … but now, they’re being recognized again.

This time, it’s the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association, as they named both schools “Schools of Excellence” — an endorsement that went to only 12 elementary schools in the state.

The schools received this recognition based on factors such as test scores, technology, quality of instruction, leadership and community engagement.

“Those are different stakeholders that help them in different learning areas,” said Diana Hedstrom, a Roosevelt kindergarten teacher helping to head up DL’s site team for the School of Excellence Program.

“So for us we had the Boys and Girls Club, the PTO’s, the United Way, Relay for Life, coaches, musicals, DLCCC and Tamarac with some of the science and nature programs.”

The Minnesota Schools of Excellence Program is designed to help each individual school generate its own strengths, weaknesses and plans to improve.

 Hedstrom says the process to gather all of the information needed for the application for the program took about a year, as coordinators went through extensive surveys of the community and staff as a way to get feedback on how the schools were doing in those key areas.

Roosevelt School Principal Renee Kerzman and Rossman School Principal Sandy Nelson will be heading to the State Conference for the Schools of Excellence Program on February 6 for recognition, which Froke says will be quite an honor for them, as DL will be “front and center.”

Although not all elementary schools in Minnesota participate in the MN Schools of Excellence program, Nelson says it is a distinction the community can be proud of.

“It’s a committee of principals across Minnesota (that decide on which schools to endorse) and they truly have high standards,” said Nelson, “so it’s not just about applying — you have to meet those standards. So we’re pretty proud of our staff and our students.”

Now, school leaders are busy planning a real celebration for the students and staff at each of the two winning schools and their communities of families.

Each day of celebration will be open to students, staff, families and local organizations that work towards youth education.

For Roosevelt, that day will be April 3 at the Middle School, which will include some music programs, t-shirts for the students and some speakers.

“It’s exciting, and this validation shows we’re doing what we can for kids and researching and staying abreast of the best practices,” said Kerzman, “and I can say our whole district is doing this — this is  an elementary award, but our whole district is doing this with professional development.”

For Rossman, the celebration will be held May 20 and will include a parade and picnic lunch.

Sponsors of the Minnesota Schools of Excellence Program will also be providing banners and posters for the schools, as well as ice cream socials.

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